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  #11  
Old 10-18-2012, 11:10 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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I wonder if codependency comes into this at all. A codependent person would be more likely to give up their autonomy in exchange for love. That's pretty much the definition of codependency.

I personally have no trouble enjoying a trip when my partner is at home. Indeed, it gives us something new to talk about when I get back.

I organize all my own time, except what's dictated by my education. It just so happens that I actually want to spend time with my partners so I choose to put them in my schedule. I don't understand how that equates to me giving up my time autonomy. They're not forcing me to spend time with them. If I didn't want to, I wouldn't.

I've always been a ruthlessly independent person. I don't let people tell me what to do or how to think, except where required by law. So in my own life, I rarely feel forced to do anything. Oh sure, when we got sued by my husband's sister, we were forced to deal with it. But anyone who thinks they can be fully autonomous while living in a society is delusional. Even if you go live on your own land by your own rules and never interact with any other people, you're still bound by tax laws. Failure to comply will result in your land being taken away. There's no getting out of it.

If having emotional autonomy means not being emotionally affected by what happens to other people... I'm not sure I want it. To me, a person who is not affected when people in their life are having problems is a callous dickwad. I prefer not to be a callous dickwad. If that means I forego emotional autonomy, that's a small price in my opinion. Sure, I feel empathy when my husband is sad. But I also feel joy when my husband is happy. Without the one, the other would be impossible.
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  #12  
Old 10-19-2012, 12:37 AM
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I'm going to play Devil's advocate by pretending to be mono for this post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkylerSquirrel View Post
I see what you're driving at here, but there's a difference between "I will walk out on you if you have sex with someone without telling me" as a way to manipulate and control, and "I cannot stay in a relationship with someone who has sex with others without telling me" to express what YOU will and will not tolerate in a relationship.

If it's the latter, it's something you've told the person up-front. "This is a condition of you being in a sexual relationship with me. We can have sex if and only if you agree to these terms."

I agree that adults should not try to coerce one another or control one another's behavior. But adults can make mutual agreements with clearly defined terms, and to me, that doesn't fall under the category of coercion.
Exactly. This is what I was trying to say. Thank you for clarifying my point.

Also, I wasn't only talking about "without telling me" but even "I cannot stay in a relationship with someone who has sex with other people." I don't see that being at all coercive, as long as I was upfront about that from the starting gate. If I tell someone I'm monogamous and I will only be in a monogamous relationship, and then you make an informed decision to be in a relationship with me, you are explicitly agreeing to be in a monogamous relationship. I am not forcing you to be monogamous. It's not semantics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Deciding for my partner what they have to divulge to me about their life is not something I'm willing to do. I only date adults who are concerned for their own health and happiness - in that, I feel no need to keep up with their relationships because I know they are going to take care of themselves.
"I only date adults who are concerned for their own health and happiness" is a boundary. You will not agree to date someone if they are not concerned for their own health and happiness. "I only date people who are monogamous" is a boundary. I will not agree to date someone if they are not monogamous.

It's not like I would wait until 6 months in, get them hooked, and then say "Oh, by the way, if you ever sleep with someone else, I'm leaving." I would have made it clear from the beginning that I am only interested in being in a monogamous relationship. If you later decide to stop being monogamous, then the consequence is that you are no longer a suitable partner for me. It's not coercion to leave someone who is no longer suitable for you. Suppose you say "I'm thinking of experimenting with non-monogamy" and I say "Okay. But then you will no longer be a suitable partner for me, so I will have to leave in order to respect my own boundaries." I still don't see that as coercion.
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  #13  
Old 10-19-2012, 03:05 AM
SkylerSquirrel SkylerSquirrel is offline
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Yeah, I don't think monogamy is coercive.

However, I think the traditional ideal of monogamy-until-death-do-us-part is inherently coercive. "I expect you to not have sex with anyone else while you are in relationship with me, AND expect you to stay in a relationship with me for as long as we live." That is controlling the other person's behavior.

People can legitimately end up in that sort of long-term monogamous relationship without coercion, but to define it that way at the outset is coercive.

Actually, I think any relationship in which a breakup would necessarily be a Horrible Thing is coercive. If people can't imagine a calm you-no-longer-meet-my-criteria-so-we-will-amicably-go-our-separate-ways sort of breakup, not even in theory, then it's coercive: "Stay with me or else we will have a miserably painful ending to our relationship and we both will suffer!"

Even poly relationships could be coercive in that way, though.

(I'm tired, so tell me if I'm not making sense.)
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  #14  
Old 10-19-2012, 04:19 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I do not think any "Closed" relationship model is coercive. Be it monoships or polyships. Basically everyone is going "Ok, full now to capacity. Cannot take more on board. Let's leave it here. "

The people invited to be in them? They can say "No, thanks. I do not want to commit to you in a closed model. I am not full -- I'd like to keep my options open."

I tend to assume people enter closed models because they want to be there and that's all they want to handle at this time. What's coercive about that?

Person A can seek whatever shape rship they want. Doesn't mean anyone HAS to sign up. Person B can go "Nah. I just like dating ya. Thanks!" Person C could say the same!

They also maintain sexual autonomy. Person A and Person B who are married choose to share sex when they want to share it together for mutual pleasure. Person A cannot go foist themselves on unwilling person B -- married to them or not! Person B cannot foist themselves on A. That would be marriage bed rape. It would be the same in a polyfidelitous configuration that is closed. You can't go foisting yourself on others. Ew.

If the contract no longer satisfies all they have to do is break up if they want to break up or negotiate to go from "closed" to "open" if that is what they want. Cheating has to do with dishonesty and unwillingness to be held accountable -- not the shape of the relationship the cheating happened in.

OP -- how are you doing? Are you feeling any better?

GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 10-19-2012 at 04:58 AM.
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  #15  
Old 10-19-2012, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I wonder if codependency comes into this at all. A codependent person would be more likely to give up their autonomy in exchange for love. That's pretty much the definition of codependency.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkylerSquirrel View Post
Actually, I think any relationship in which a breakup would necessarily be a Horrible Thing is coercive. If people can't imagine a calm you-no-longer-meet-my-criteria-so-we-will-amicably-go-our-separate-ways sort of breakup, not even in theory, then it's coercive: "Stay with me or else we will have a miserably painful ending to our relationship and we both will suffer!"

Even poly relationships could be coercive in that way, though.

(I'm tired, so tell me if I'm not making sense.)
You guys are on to something here. A codependent relationship, one in which people exchange their independence in the hopes that the other person will make them "whole", is like a tiger-pit (once you get in, it's almost impossible to get out). This kind of relationship would be mutually coercive, each person holding the other hostage.

This is not something that poly relationships are inherently free from, most definitely. I was acquainted with a triad who were deeply emotionally codependent, it was painful to watch.

I agree that a good identifier for these hostage type relationships by how the breakup goes (would go). If the break up looks like the finale of a Michael Bay movie, complete with jet fuel explosions, odds are that was a relationship where at least one person involved is not a complete human being and cannot handle the concept of their life-crutch being removed.

Interesting arguments, I'm going to have to ponder this a bit more.
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  #16  
Old 10-19-2012, 07:13 PM
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Default Boundaries or Coersion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
"I only date adults who are concerned for their own health and happiness" is a boundary. You will not agree to date someone if they are not concerned for their own health and happiness. "I only date people who are monogamous" is a boundary. I will not agree to date someone if they are not monogamous.
You make a fine point and this is a good topic for discussion.

I do have a criteria for the type of person I will be involved with. The standards are actually pretty high and I find that most women I have known throughout my life do not even come close. Fortunately I have met a couple of women who are "cool enough" AND think I'm "cool enough". These criteria exist to raise the chances of my having an effortless, loving, stimulating relationship. I *can* date someone who is on the fence about monogamy and polyamory, but I'm not going to because the odds are this relationship is going to become possessive and I'll need to end it in the near future anyway.

My argument is not against people doing what is their preference when it comes to relating with other consenting adults. My argument is that my set of criteria are not oppressive and the rules set up for the traditional monogamous relationship are. That it is this list of standard monogamous rules which demand that an action is classified as "cheating". Most people enter freely into relationships and agree to whatever rules the other is laying down, voluntarily. Perhaps this voluntary submission would make the use of the term coercive inappropriate, I'm not sure. However, rules about how Partner A governs themselves just because their Partner B is insecure and can't handle Partner A living an autonomous life is petty at best, and coercive at worst.

OP: sorry to have totally hijacked your thread
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  #17  
Old 10-20-2012, 05:11 AM
SkylerSquirrel SkylerSquirrel is offline
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To clarify: I do not think a relationship is coercive just because it is closed. A closed relationship (or any relationship) becomes coercive when the partners are not given any leeway to decide they no longer want to be in a closed relationship at some indefinite future time. At least, not without EPIC HUGE relational fallout.

I'm talking about a rigid "you're staying with me, and if you ever think about leaving, shame on you" attitude.

And Marcus is right - not all monogamous relationships are set up that way, but traditional monogamous relationships are.
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  #18  
Old 10-22-2012, 01:56 AM
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There is a feeling of deja vu going on here - and I think that Marcus was involved in this discussion the last time, too...

Because in addition to dependence, codependence and independence, which have been discussed here, there is the concept of interdependence.

This idea that being in a committed relationship necessarily involves giving up autonomy ignores the model of interdependence, which is based on cooperative autonomous participants. That is my preferred model of relationships.
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  #19  
Old 10-22-2012, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
This idea that being in a committed relationship necessarily involves giving up autonomy ignores the model of interdependence, which is based on cooperative autonomous participants. That is my preferred model of relationships.
Do you have any references about interdependence? The only thing I can find in a web search is that interdependence just dependence, but both-ways... So I don't understand where the cooperative autonomy comes in.
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  #20  
Old 10-22-2012, 04:40 PM
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A lot of it comes from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the idea that there is a growth continuum from Dependance (and it's associated Codependance) through Independence to Interdependence.

"We all start out life as babies completely dependent on our parents or other person to take care of us. This is a state of weakness and powerlessness.

"As we grow up we work to become independent, moving out of our parent's home, earning money for ourselves, etc. A person at this level is able to do things for himself and does not need anyone else to survive.


"The greatest human achievements come from people working at the third level, interdependence. This is when people work together to achieve a common goal, and is the level of maturity of many people in a mature society or organization. This is how mankind has achieved things together that no single person could do alone. Interdependence is the state of human development of greatest maturity and power."


It's the idea that a group of people can achieve more together than a bunch of independent individuals - synergy - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It involves thinking in terms of "win/win", rather than "win/lose" or "lose/lose" that you so often see; the idea of seeking first to understand, then to be understood, and synergy itself - valuing people's differences in how they see the world, which includes that of relationships. Recognizing that all people see the world not how it is, but how they are. Each has something to bring to the table and can form a more powerful entity than the independent individuals can.


Most of our culture is focused on being independent as a goal. That is definitely the first step - if you don't know who you are, then you can't be a whole individual. I believe that finding that interdependence is powerful - it is the core of what makes my polycule strong. We don't have to be one mind on anything - in fact we work best when we each have our own opinions, but we are each working towards a common set of goals, being able to trust that each person is in it. We are certainly stronger and more stable for it. Life is full of changes for each of us, but the common factor is that the three of us are working together as individuals to make this function.


Seven Habits training was offered to us through my work, and I was highly skeptical, thinking it was just yet another scheme for self-help, but it really pulled together quite well the concepts that I believe in for my relationships. Among others was the idea of a so-called "Abundance Mentality" vs a "Scarcity mentality" the first says that there are plenty of resources to go around for everyone involved (i.e. the poly concept of love) whereas the scarcity mentality says that if one person gets more, another must get less (i.e. the oft-quoted monogamous concept of love).


I think that a lot of the principles in there are important, if not essential, in order to make any romantic relationship work well, and especially a poly relationship.

Oh, the Wikipedia article on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdependence has some wider definitions.
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