Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Life stories and blogs

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #11  
Old 09-02-2010, 01:05 AM
MonoVCPHG's Avatar
MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: In Redpepper's heart
Posts: 4,742
Default

Thanks for sharing all this my friend
__________________

Playing the Game of Life with Monopoly rules.
Monogamy might just be in my genes

Poly Events All Over
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-03-2010, 03:45 PM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,934
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derbylicious View Post
Did you run out of lube?
Heresy! I am after all the proprietor of:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
Imaginary Illusions International Lube Emporium
Such a thing is unimaginable.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Thanks for sharing all this my friend
No problem...there's always lots of lube to go around from:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
Imaginary Illusions International Lube Emporium
Oh wait....what were you talking about?
__________________
ďPeople who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.Ē - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:41 PM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,934
Lightbulb Nurturing changes to Nature

Thereís some discussion about how much we can control ourselves...nature vs nurture. At what point are we programmed the way we are...how much control do we retain over our ability to change ourselves. Is being polyamorous or monogamous a choice? The debates on such things on this very forum have gotten quite heated at times. I donít know what the larger answer for the bell curve 80 percentile average person. But for me, I found I have a lot more control than I would have thought.


What was I? I was quite comfortable being monogamous. I knew the scripts, the rules, and was good at following them. No point in predicting a future that didnít happen...but we got through the first decade pretty damn good, and without incident. So I personally donít figure there was some imperative need that Ďhadí to be satisfied by opening our relationship. It was a conscious and deliberate decision to turn away from monogamy and follow a different path. Itís not like we were bored either...as much as we may have started unicorn hunting, it was never about anything so trivial as Ďadding spiceí...we could have done that by visiting B&B or the fresh fruit isle at a farmers market.

Anyways, I had to change the way I thought about things. About cheating, other partners, my wife, what should happen when we were together, and what could happen when we were apart. I had to let go of the old ways of thinking. Illusions of control, possessiveness, belonging...they needed to go, or be modified. The laundry list of things that had to change is probably far more extensive...maybe I should have made some notes.

Itís kind of funny looking at these words now, since I was never a particularly possessive or jealous person to begin with...and far from ever considering my wife to be chattel or anything so absurd. Yet Iím sure I was still capable of displaying the requisite behaviours if it had been called for, so I canít pretend like the feelings werenít there.


When it came to some of the issues surrounding poly, it required me to make some pretty radical changes to my mindset. Itís probably a good thing finding new partners was so problematic, since it gave me all the time I needed to sort those changes out without too much emotional distraction. My mind can be heavily compartmentalized, so I find reorganizing it is a fairly intellectual exercise...so long as I can make rational and deliberate decisions on what needs to change. Being in the throws of NRE, being emotionally compromised by crushes, or what have you, would have made things considerably more difficult since it becomes harder to discern if Iím making a decision because itís right...or just right now.


Donít get me wrong...decisions made from the heart may be very genuine and sincere...but they can also be really really dumb. One of the best bits of advice I see around here frequently is that if youíre going approach opening an existing relationship, best to do it when there isnít a prospective Ďotherí already waiting in the wings. And I think thatís in no small part because itís a lot easier to reprogram the heart and mind when the heart doesnít need to do a lot of thinking...since itís not very good at that part. And trying to change the way the heart feels when already in use?...Yeah, right...thereís epic poetry and ballads galore that speak to that futility.


For me, I come about changing through time, and introspection. This is probably why I drive my wife a little nuts, since it doesnít involve a lot of outward talking on my part. I will spend a great amount of time talking inwardly to myself. Fortunately thereís periods where I get a significant amount of time to do such things, away from TV, video games, loved ones, or any other fun distractions. I just always have to keep in mind that Iím not crazy if I argue with myself...only if I lose.

I do very much the same thing to myself as Iíll tend to here on the forums. Iíll try to ask the hard questions with no easy answers. Not to get the right answer, but to determine what the answer is first, and then Iíll worry about how to change it later. Changing stuff on the surface is just a band-aid, and will eventually fall off, so I try not to waste time and energy on the superficial when I can help it. I dig into the roots, the whyís, attempting to expose the core of the matter...and then figure out what if anything needs to be done about it.

Itís not always comfortable, especially when I occasionally unearth something Iím not particularly happy with. Iím not a perfect person, so confronting ugliness within is a little sobering and not so much fun...fortunately my parents did a pretty good job raising me, so I donít come across such things overly often. Sometimes all I need is to find the right question... which is probably why I sometimes seem to have more questions than answers. If I have the right question, the answer is so obvious as to make the question itself rhetorical.


There was two key things that I needed to reconcile with myself before Poly was a truly viable option for me. The concept of cheating, and the possibility of my wife being with other men.
__________________
ďPeople who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.Ē - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:41 PM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,934
Unhappy Whatís the big deal about Cheating anyways?

Cheating was probably the easiest to reconcile, since I had started working on it when we started down the non-monogamy path. And we had also had previous experience with it from before we became exclusive in the first place. Our rules surrounding cheating even when we were monogamous would be surprisingly permissive to a lot of people...especially considering how many profiles I see on OKC and such places where kissing, hugging, or even just looking at other people is somehow Ďcheatingí. Too much Jerry Springer in some peopleís lives me thinks. I realize this is a personal choice,...it just leaves me mostly shaking my head when I realize how cold and affectionless my life would be if I surrounded myself with people who held such views. I havenít always had friends that I could kiss hello and goodbye ...although I donít care to go back there either...but I canít even imagine a world without hugs. That would truly sucketh.

But I digress. It wasnít too hard to figure that cheating is a matter of trust more than anything. Itís not about a specific act...as thereís so much variance between people about what would be cheating, and what doesnít. Itís the trust in a partner that they will behave themselves in a predictable manner. Of course the mono world has this pretty straight forward...no nailing other people. I think the inclination to further restrict actions to the realm of kissing, hugging, looking at magazines, internet chats, fantasizing, etc. arises where fear takes over from trust, and so extra restrictions appear as an attempt to control the relationship to maintain a status quo...with variable, yet possibly predictable results.


How much did I...how much do I...trust my wife? What do I expect her to do? How do I expect her to behave? What did I fear? What was there to lose?


We had already been together for over 10 years why this time...married at least 7. Two kids...house, careers, friends, family blood and chosen, etc. Everything I had done since I left my parents was tied to my darling wife. So when I looked at what I had to lose...it was only every aspect of my adult life that we had built so far. I donít think I can really explain the magnitude of that properly. About the only thing I might have expected to keep if she left, was my career...and without her...itís not like thatíd have much point either. As much as she doesnít love my work, her and the kids are the primary reason I put up with half the BS that comes with the job. If worrying about home, family, etc. seems shallow, so be it.

The prospect of my wife picking up and leaving for someone else would have been survivable, (we donít find co-dependency very attractive, or even cute, so I donít think sheíll begrudge me for saying that...whether due to a divorce, or a bus, we need to be able to carry on independently one way or another) But it would be a hell of a blow regardless.

Itís still a lot to lose in my world...and itís something I fear more than anything. Loosing her is one of the few things that gives me nightmares.... Have you ever woken up and not be able to tell whether or not you were just remembering a dream, or a memory? Where the only way to be sure would be to talk to the person in your dream, since not finding the papers when you riffle through the desk might just mean you misplaced them? I have...and it sucks even more when email and phones arenít working for 3 days while waiting for a reply. Ok, ok...Iíll stop boring you with my personal neuroses now.


Knowing that I could loose my wife and family, and that the prospect scares me...what could I do about it? How do I control the situation so that opening up the relationship wouldnít result in her running off with someone else? Wait a tick...What right do I have to expect to be given control over those behaviours? How is such control even possible over another individual...itís all an illusion at the core anyways. More importantly...If I trust her...why would I need or want to?

Really...was there anything that was controlling her from leaving me when we were monogamous??? Nope. She was with me from the get go of her own volition. She was very determined to be with me, and to my everlasting shame, I didnít make it easy for her. After 10 years together, and starting the way we had, she had every opportunity anyone has to find greener pastures, a better match, whatever. In terms of loosing home, family, etc, she carried the same risks I did...and I know she values our life together as much as I do.


How much do I trust my wife? Completely, totally, implicitly, with my heart, soul, children, and everything else I could possibly hold dear. She holds herself to a high standard, and even as a teenager when we met, she had an excellent personal philosophy of not doing anything that she would be likely to regret later. How could I not trust a person like that?

Would she go around banging anyone who showed up at the door with a bottle of wine and a smile? Not bloody likely. Would she keep secrets about relationships or activities from me? Weíve had that conversation already...and sheís a far quicker study than I am. She may avoid confrontation on occasion, but I know sheíll never lie to me...or if she has, I havenít discovered it yet. Would she engage in activities that would put herís, or my sexual health at risk? I only had public school sex ed in jr high, and I wouldnít. For her...someone who works in the health care field, not a chance. So what was there to fear from opening up our lives to the possibility of other loves? Really when I looked at the bottom line, there was little to nothing in opening up that wasnít there before. And so much to gain.

At the end of the day, there was only one thing *I* could do, mono or poly, open or closed. Let go. No delusions of control. I had to keep being the man she fell in love with...or some older, more mature, yet still fun-loving (stop laughing dear) version there-of. Sheís been with me this long...I must be doing something right. So really the only tricky part in opening up will be to learn to give love and affection to others, while still being the husband that my wife needs and wants.


Well, that was a longer diatribe than I expected...since I expected to talk more about getting over the guy thing. But reorganizing cheating...or more specifically getting to the root of fear and loss are what enabled me to get past the one penis problem.
__________________
ďPeople who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.Ē - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:42 PM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,934
Red face So What?

While I never had any issues with my wife being with women, even during the mono days (hmmmm, girl on girl hotness), I do recall having severe misgivings about the idea of her being with a guy...and it took some time and effort to sort that out. A lot of it was simply asking some of the same questions over and over again. Mostly the question was ďSo What?Ē

In the end it was mostly just trying to deconstruct societies expectations about male/female sex roles, homophobia, double standards, and the various other crap weíre fed from the monogamous mainstream media...all the expectations about being first, preferably only guy with a girl, protecting her virtue at all costs, whether she wants you to or not. (maybe Iíll just dub that the Ďmonostreamí....someone remind me to cross post that to the glossary thread).


At any rate, the conversation typically went along the following lines:

Why would it be ok for her to have intimate relationships with girls, but not guys? Why would a relationship with a guy be different? If Iím going to be allowed to date girls, why shouldnít she be allowed to date guys? Only fair right?

Penetration??? Whatever...like the girls canít find phallic toys. Sloppy seconds? So What? Goes both ways...and heíd have to be worth getting fluid bonded first anyways. Anyways, same applies for a prospective gf...if Iím going to date girls, chances are good that sheíll have one or more men in her life too. So why would any of this apply to my wife if Iím willing to get over it when it comes to a gf? Itís a bunch of petty patriarchal crap anyways...outdated attitudes designed to shame men who couldnít Ďcontrolí their womenfolk well enough to keep them out of another manís sack. Really? Fuck that.

Will she love him better? Leave me? So What? Why wouldnít she do that with a woman? After all, my aunt decided after 10 years and 2 kids that she never should have been with a man and left my uncle. Itís not without precedent. And thousands of women drop their husbands for a whole lot less every year... So What? no reason to expect that kind of silliness from my wife. (Or weíd have much larger problems going on anyways)

Better sex? So What? Some people I knew used to jest that they didnít mind their gfís kissing other girls, but didnít want them sleeping with them...after all...women would know what women want so much better that theyíd never go back to the poor guy. Is it a risk to take seriously with women? No...so why should it be for guys? Ok, there might be a point in conversation of details I donít need to know for the sake of fragile male egoís...but really...grow up.

Was there an upshot? Maybe heíd love her...same as Iíd hope from any woman who was going to be with my wife. Maybe sheíd have someone to keep her warm at night when I was away. Maybe sheíd get the attention she needs when Iím not able to. And maybe sheíd love them back. So What? Thatíd be kinda cool.


And so the conversation went...over and over again for about 8 months. Until one day the questions in the middle didnít come up anymore. When I could look inside and ask myself if I was comfortable with a guy being intimate with my wife, and I could honestly say,...yeah, as long as he was good for her, why the hell wouldnít I be?


Now...fortunately, or possibly not, my wife has not had the occasion, or I guess more importantly the desire to test the theory. Am I truly comfortable with it, or just think I am? It has become important for me though to remain open to the possibility, and now itís not just a matter of fairness, tit for tattaís or whatever.

If Iím going to embrace poly as a way of life, and part of my identity, then I canít just say Iíll tolerate other guys nailing my wife...or itís only fair so I can date other girls. Itís about loving others...opening up to the possibilities. So if my wife is bi and poly, then she should have the opportunity to find and experience that love, no matter what package itís wrapped in. If itís someone she loves a fraction as well as sheís loved me, what could I possibly have to say about that?

Mind you if she ever does find someone that causes me to test the theory against the practical....Iíll let you know.
__________________
ďPeople who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.Ē - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-04-2010, 03:37 AM
idealist's Avatar
idealist idealist is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Deep South
Posts: 542
Default

I'm enjoying your posts!! Love the way you think and process things!!!

Have you ever taken the Myers Briggs test?? If so, I'm guessing you're INTJ.....
Thanks and keep sharing!!!
__________________
The key to life is in being fully engaged and peacefully detached simultaneously and authentically in each moment.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-05-2010, 06:07 PM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,934
Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by idealist View Post
Have you ever taken the Myers Briggs test?? If so, I'm guessing you're INTJ.....
I've probably taken it...I've taken all kinds of those tests...mostly the informal abbreviated sort...I can never remember what the results were.

Quote:
Originally Posted by idealist View Post
I'm enjoying your posts!! Love the way you think and process things!!!
Thanks...and hang onto your boots...there's more to come...

Wow...that could be a really loaded comment out of context couldn't it?!


Anyways...something occurred to me as I was writing all the background stuff, and itís not entirely poly related, but more to do with where I was in my life, and what else was going on at the time. My wife has been encouraging me to reconnect with my former hobbies and interests. Thereís been a growing disconnect with them for some time, and I do miss them...and in the process of rehashing the poly journey, itís slowly dawned on me some possible reasons why...
__________________
ďPeople who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.Ē - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?

Last edited by ImaginaryIllusion; 09-05-2010 at 06:16 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-05-2010, 06:20 PM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,934
Question This is my brain trying to unscramble eggs...

Right at the time this journey started was right after we had made many other changes to our lives. My wife and I, when we make changes, we donít do them half-assed. When we change one thing, we tend to change a bunch of things. We didnít move in together, and then eventually get married. Nope. We got married and moved in together the day after the honeymoon, when I was still on probation for a new job. When we decided to buy a house, she got a new job at about the same time, and we radically altered our lifestyle to something far less sedentary and idle...utterly changing our eating and exercise habits at the same time.


When we started down this road to non-monogamy, we had done it again...I had changed careers, we had become parents, and we had moved to a city in another province. I had also become a very different person than before...Iíd call it a rite of passage (or at least one of the few mechanisms in our society that functions as one) ...sheíd call it brainwashing. Either way I wasnít suffering from a case of being a boy in a manís body anymore. The process involved a purposeful stripping and rebuilding of identity, so while the core of me is still here, my overall identity changed quite significantly...and itíd be foolish to think that some of that wouldnít be apparent to others...especially someone as closely attuned to me as my wife is.

We also left all my friends behind...everyone that I knew and held dear pretty much were back home...still are. I donít give up friends easily. The core of our social circle before I left were people I have known since elementary school, with some late arrivals from university, and a few tag alongs that showed up since. We grew up together, know everything about each other because we were there when it happened...rejoiced together during the good times, and seen each other through the worst...even when it was our own doing. And even 20 years on, weíd get together almost weekly to socialize, party, game, whatever...lots of gaming. If it sounds a little sappy and sentimental so be it...I have no doubt Iím suffering from a bad case of nostalgia this weekend.


I should probably explain briefly why I call them Ďmyí friends...even though they were very much my wifeís friends as well. Her last bf managed to drive away all her friends at the end of high school...so she fell into my social circle as a consequence...it was a source of some dissatisfaction back then that all her friends were Ďmyí friends....something which has been reversed in the new city, where I have no friends, save co-workers (which Iím not discounting by any means, but itís a very different kind of friendship), and all Ďourí friends outside work, are actually Ďherí friends...and Iím just tagging along for the ride.

There are times, like now, as I reflect on this fact and finally understand completely why she was pissed off about this before we moved. It explains why she doesnít want to move back there anymore...her life, her friends, social activities....lovers....itís all hers now. Made by her, for her, on her own terms, and through no small amount of effort, for the first time since she was a teenager in high school.



So whatís the problem Iím getting now? Why does my wife want me to reconnect with my old hobbies and find new gheeks to hang out with? I always used to encourage her to find hobbies to give her an outlet...and got her involved in mine when she wouldnít go get her own. Now sheís found her outlet...which tends to leave the husbands as widowers to it....and she hasnít been able to get me involved in her world...I might actually think about it someday, but for now Iím never around. Is this the same thing? Turn-about is foreplay...er, fairplay, isnít it? She has her hobby to keep her busy and wants me to have mine back now? Is this why sheís trying to give me my office back to be Ďmyí space?...something else I lost in the move...told you she was well attuned to me.

Did I lose something when I went though transitioning my identity? Perhaps it was just the new city, not knowing any gamers, and not having a lot of time to get involved with a regular session or group? But itís not like pick-up games are hard to find, or gamers. Thereís usually notices, meetups, etc. Iíve looked for them on occasion, and found some...but I never actually put in the effort to make sure it happened. I never actually went to the meetings.

Even though Iím not gaming, Iím still getting pretty sedentary again. I donít work out as much as I should, or could. Iíve put on enough weight to become fairly self-conscious about it again...which keeps me from doing other things that I had always intended to do...skydiving, tattoos, surfing...dating. Funny how Iím still not actually Ďdoingí much about it.


It hasnít been a complete loss....I took up Guitar after all, after a 20 year love/fear relationship with anything artistic, and stringed instruments in particular. (I suffer from L.O.F.T....Lack Of Fucking Talent) Iíve been at it, off and on, mostly off for 2 years now....and still suck. But unlike every other instrument I ever picked up, I havenít quit this one...and still enjoy it in spite of sucking. Either Iím getting better, finally learned stick-to-it-ivness, or I am truly a sadist at heart by inflicting such auditory pain on anyone within earshot. But why did I start it to begin with? I got along fine with just listening to music....why would I start trying to play it...especially well into my 30ís? Reading the book This is your Brain on Music there was something in there about certain centers of the brain being activated by music...iirc some of the same pleasure centres involved with ...other...activities...which is why so much music revolves so much around emotionally charged situations such as romance, and why it can illicit particular emotional responses....hmmm.



Part of stripping out the old identity involved a period of loss. Like a depression following a death...a mourning period for the part that has past away. For things that were personal, close, part of my personality, it was dealt with at the time. But did I every go through that mourning for the other things I lost? My hometown? The gaming routine? My hobbies? Most importantly my Friends? I suspect by the time I got back to the new life in the new city, I was busy with everything else. Given the nightmare last week about loosing a dear friend from back home (and who just happened to be having similar thoughts about loosing my wife and I that same day) I donít think that process ever happened.


One thing about having friends who have been around effectively my whole life, is that there was never a doubt that I was loved when I walked into a room. Even if there was an argument and a collective bitch slap upside the head for doing something stupid, it was because they cared enough. Is that what Iím lacking? It might explain why Iím drawn to poly meets whenever I can find the time for them...since itís full of people with lots of love to give...and the women are usually happy to give hugs without an undue amount of convincing. Is it just the physical and emotional affection Iím missing?

Is this why I keep trying to make new friends online, locally and long distance...even when my dance card for now is approaching full? I like to be open to possibilities, but when I contact people now, itís purely in the interest of connecting as friends. I was originally thinking it was just a good way to approach relationships in general is that friends first makes for better lovers later...and reduces expectations, which keeps me from getting attached to the infinite possibilities which in all likelihood wonít ever happen. But I donít think thatís it. Maybe I just like being able to go places and have someone being happy to see me again. Where their face lights up with a smile and they actually divert their time and attention from whatever it was to come over and get a hug. I was a hug junkie in high school...not surprise I suppose that a couple decades later maybe Iím just building a network of lovely lady friends to feed my addiction?



Now hereís an uncomfortable thought....How much of my inclination towards poly is just an extension of those changes, the sense of loss, and the impulse to find new people to help fill some possible need for affection?

Iím not too worried about the karmic balance of love received from others...since I ended up having a large collection of friends back home, and I gave as good as I got. Which is maybe why the notion of being able to romantically love more than one person didnít seem like much of a stretch when I was first re-introduced to poly a few years back;...it was one of those things where I didnít doubt for a moment that I could. Does it actually matter? Even if that loss is what got me started on this path, so what? Will I get to a point where Iíve had enough and will want to turn back? If Iím addicted to human affection....is that a problem? Should I see a 12-step program about that? (Hello, my name is II, and Iím a lube-aholic....opps, wrong meeting...that oneís on the day that ends in Ďyí!)



How did this loop back to poly? I was talking about reconnecting with gheeky hobbies!


This is me processing...and how I come to change who I am, how I behave, what I think, and alter my course towards my eventual destination. And now that Iíve let you all in to see what a complete headcase I am, my waistline will be the least of my dating concerns...good thing I use a different handle for dating sites.

This is a work in progress....Iíll update as answers or better questions become apparent.
__________________
ďPeople who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.Ē - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-06-2010, 05:26 AM
marksbabygirl marksbabygirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Squamish, BC
Posts: 790
Default

Psssssssst.. I can get you lube in quantity...

Love reading your blog - I can relate to a lot of it (I momentarily have George Carlin in my head) and I'm looking forward to hearing more

You still in Vancouver? I"l be there tomorrow ... coffeee...?
__________________
Some believe in destiny, and some believe in fate
I believe that happiness is something we create


My Journey to Health and Fitness
My Journey as a Widow

Jane
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-19-2010, 06:59 AM
ImaginaryIllusion's Avatar
ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,934
Unhappy Ethics, Morality, Fallibility

I was going to try and continue my story...but the weeks events left me empty and exhausted, with little time or capacity to recollect the past. Maybe next time. The upshot of this, is that it was personal, and individual, and not related specifically to my relationships, or any poly context.


This week has been a valuable learning experience, a practical exercise in ethics and morality, and an abject lesson in corruptibility, fallibility, and humility... the point of which I hope will stay with me for a while. Given the fallout from this week, and the damage done to my own sense of self, I donít fancy a repeat of the experience.


So what happened? Letís set the scene. I had a test to do. Itís not an easy test...high failure rate, and requires an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of very long and wordy topic. I sometime wonder how it is that anyone ever passes these. And despite the fact that itís an environment where we take personal integrity very seriously, I have seen before, where people have taken liberties with the fact that weíre very loosely supervised on occasion. Itís also not uncommon for the supervisors to make tests very easy to pass...and they arenít at all subtle about it. So before the test, I got word from another person writing that while the test was officially closed book, the guy running it would allow it to be open book. It was a little unexpected...but not really surprising, and I reckoned that it was perhaps just the way it was done. Indeed, after the my boss gave out the test, and the standard CYA blurb, he very much gave us tacit permission to use our books while writing, just as long as we put them away before he entered the room.


The Setup:
So do I, or donít I? Perhaps to play exactly by the rules would be putting myself at an unfair disadvantage. The others writing had their books handy. Do I just go ahead and bomb the test honestly? Why the rotten feeling that somethingís about to go sideways? Something about that gut feeling said something was wrong....well of course it was....itíd be cheating. I should have listened better to my great-grandfather....the little voice in my head that habitually tells me not to things that I will regret later...like when to stop drinking, or when to stop speeding...not always a premonition kind of thing, but sometimes it very much seems like it. When I listen, things go fairly smoothly. When I donít...I generally regret the hangover.


The Fall:
Regardless of what implied permission I had from my boss...he apparently didnít send the same memo to my bossís boss, who came barging into the room unannounced late in the session. There was no time to put anything away, or any point in pretending that I wasnít doing what I was doing. Caught, red-handed, and rightly so. My Great-Grandfather had been warning me for hours that this would happen, and I hadnít listened, and it was going to be something Iíd regret.


The Dilemma:
So what was the ethical quandary? Believe it or not, it wasnít the decision to cheat...ok, it was, and I chose poorly, and was ready to deal with the consequences of that. I had no issues with the idea that I had been caught, that I was in the wrong, and that Iíd have to make some kind of restitution. I donít cheat...never have during my entire academic career, Iím so bad at it that I get caught even when Iím allowed...so why did I let this happen?

Like Raffiki says, it doesnít matter, itís in the past.

No, the problem was, whatís my excuse? More specifically...how much do I tell? Do I just take my lumps, and fall on my sword over this? Or do I take down my boss, and the other people writing the test with me? The guy who told me that weíd be able to use books in the first place spared no time covering his ass...and for what it might have been worth feigned ignorance at my behaviour...except that to be complicit in my cheating would have reflected on him too, so itís hard to figure he was motivated by anything but his own self-interest.


Thereís various complications about the relationships between the boss, myself, the other guy, and the bossís boss that I donít feel it necessary to dig into for the purpose of this entry. Nor too much about the aftermath ...but suffice to say, the others have not had any real consequences yet, and Iím working the last of mine out today....other than the more lasting blow to my reputation and integrity if the cheating actually becomes open knowledge.

In thinking back into the nature of what I do, and the things I have to say in order to get things done, I realized that as much as we may value integrity, and honesty, sometimes thereís no easy way for it to mesh with loyalty. Sometimes they are oil and water, and we must say things, and even lie about things, usually insignificant things like our personal opinions. We have to because sometimes loyalty takes precedence....itís a case by case decision that sometimes has to be weighed and measured.

I donít know if these people deserve my loyalty, the jury is still out on that. I wasnít even sure for the first couple days that the paranoid part of my brain wasnít right in smelling a conspiracy to make it east for me to be caught so that the boss could get some dirt on me.

Regardless...I said nothing about being given permission to cheat, and used a convenient excuse that the boss gave me while I wrote repentant letters apologizing for being stupid.



So What?


So why this need to expose this very very embarrassing, and possibly damaging story here? Partly because the anonymity allows me to tell what really happened without affecting the others involved. Maybe because Iím hoping that Iím still safe to expose this kind of thing here without being entirely ostracised for it...something that I wasnít even convinced my wife would forgive me for when I told her about the episode.

Mostly because I think it speaks to something Iíve seen here on the forum from time to time. Even Iíve been guilty of it from time to time, Iím sure. That people sometimes get so caught up in the heat of moral absolutes, that we forget or ignore what itís like to be human. To stray, to be corruptible, to be fallible. To find ourselves in such circumstances that spin the moral compass towards bad decisions which weíll regret later.

The prime example that comes to mind, shares the same word, but itís the cheating we often end up speaking about on the forum, cheating not on tests, but on partners. There seems to be no small number of people who arrive here trying to find their way to ethical non-monogamy because theyíve been set on the path by their own (or a partnerís) unethical mistakes. In the lense of moral absolutes, thereís no room for the error, or allowance for the circumstances, and often thereís some very strong opinions expressed and echoed, either to comfort one party, or to chastise the other, usually both together since itís a very two-way dynamic. One that resonates in my mind is a retort Iíve seen more than once to people who claim they Ďaccidentallyí screwed someone that they werenít supposed to; something to the effect of disbelief that their dick could Ďaccidentallyí fall into someone...as if it was impossible to do so. (This theory should actually be tested....with the judicious application of obscene amounts of LUBE! It might be fun. )

I find myself this week wondering how many people have been chased off from trying to follow an ethical path, simply by the judgement of those who may have already managed to find it. And how many of us that think weíre on the path, are still able to slip from it...poly is after all, by in large, a less travelled, not well mapped or marked trail with many hazards on which to trip.


This week I found out that while I never cheated on a test before, I was fallible, and was capable of doing so. Iíve never cheated on my wife before either...but if I was corruptible to cheat on a test, could I cheat on my wife?


This week I rediscovered that loyalty and honesty donít always work well together. How many times in the past have I done this calculation unconsciously? How many times have I had to lie, or withhold, in order to protect those that I hold dear? Because the weight of the lives affected by the truth, and the damage that could be done, isnít worth the cost of telling the truth just so I can feel better about myself?


Try not to misinterpret my meaning in writing all this...itís a blog after all. This diatribe is not intended to condone cheating, or other similar behaviours considered incompatible with poly or ethical non-monogamy. Nor is it intended to disparaging those who attempt to re-orient the moral compasses or try to make people take responsibility for their own stupidity. It is simply a reflection on the matter from my own viewpoint, and perhaps others will take a moment to look in the mirror their own selves and see what they find. Do we honestly know where our limits are, before we forget to listen to great-grandpa?

For my own part, I shall endeavour to be a little more compassionate and understanding of those who may arrive here having erred in the past, and particularly if their trying to find their way.

If I am a fail, than so are they...and if I can find my way, stumble though I might, so can they.

What we do may not always be right...but itís always human.
__________________
ďPeople who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.Ē - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

How did I get here & Where am I going?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
blog

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:03 AM.