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Old 10-18-2011, 01:12 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is offline
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Default The superiority complex against monogamous people...

First off...some background so people won't think that I'm trying to be purposefully inflammatory here: My wife and I have been married for 28 years. For 22 years, we've been "involved" with another friendly couple. Some ups and downs but there hasn't been much poly angst. Overall, I'd say that it works for all of us and I can't complain.

Despite living in a fairly conservative area, my wife and I never really treated being poly as a big deal and we mostly kept to ourselves. This means that while we believe that demonisation and ignorance towards polyamory is a definite negative, we don't believe in "poly pride" or acting like we're going against society's rules. IMO it seems rather contradictory to forward the idea that being poly is normal and natural and okay, while simultaneously acting like you are morally special or different from "normal people"...it's the same reason why I am not part of the LGBT community despite being bi. That makes sense right?

So, after our kids moved out my wife and I decided to learn more about our "lifestyle" (we're pretty clueless). We went to a poly convention (first timers...getting so involved in all of this is a new experience for both of us) to start off with. What I found disheartening was the underlying level of ignorance, generalisations, assumptions, condescension and overall ego-masturbation that was displayed towards the idea of monogamy and monogamous people...especially coming from an environment of supposed sexual open-mindedness, tolerance and understanding. I went looking around some relationship forums and I found this attitude to be disappointingly prevalent among many open-relationship/poly posters too (could just be confirmation bias). This place doesn't seem too bad though.

It's really put me off since a) most of my friends are mono and I don't look down on them because of their personal choices, and b) I thought that the amount of smugness displayed was testicle-shrinkingly painful.

So I guess that I have to ask: Where does this superiority complex against monos come from exactly? Is it a recent thing? Can anyone explain it to me? I'll admit that I am apparently more sheltered than I thought I was (and also somewhat naive) since I've never really seen this type of attitude before. Most of the people that I choose to get close to are relatively humble and open-minded. I certainly never would've found my boyfriend, girlfriend, or wife appealing if any of them were that bigoted.

What are your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2011, 02:02 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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There would be no need for LGBT pride or poly pride or anything like that if our lives were generally understood and accepted by the rest of society. If telling my parents or co-,workers about my gf and my gf's lovely husband were as easy as telling them about my bf, again, no need for a movement.

These days, on LGBT issues at least, it's much easier than it used to be to be out without being ostracized or attacked. Why? Because of the movement's work over the decades. Because people stood up and stood together and talked about who they were publicly and challenged the negative stereotypes and made it possible for more and more people to do the same, made it possible for celebrities to come out without ruining their careers. By showing the public at large that we felt pride in our loves and our lives, rather than shame, we made people stop and rethink their attitudes and assumptions.

Change doesn't happen on its own, and we still have a long way to go. But you can be bi and you can be casually out if you choose to be without being in danger because of the LGBT movement, so please don't be so quick to dismiss it now. Being forced to live in the closet ruins and even ends lives -- pride can save them. It's not about being special or better than others, it's about supporting each other and changing the world. I'm not saying you need to go find a march to participate in, but why denigrate the community that's done so much for all of us?

/rant

As for poly exceptionalism, you're right, it's not ok for poly folk to act or talk like they're better than mono folk, not at all. And I don't blame you for not wanting to hang out with people who are doing that. Consider it growing pains of the movement, like the unfortunate 2nd wave of feminism that begat radical women-born-women-only (i.e. not only no men allowed but no transwomen) separatist groups that (I think) do more harm than good. It's a silly phase, and part of the reasons I love the community on this board is because we generally don't engage in that behavior, so thank you for seeing that.
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2011, 02:18 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hey Oldguy,

If you think about it, I think what you are observing is just typical for human nature. It's just the ego interfering as usual. It happens in all areas of life. Anything from a neighborhood you move into to the latest hybrid car you drive etc.
People tend to feel they've discovered this leap in evolution and everyone else is lagging behind.

I do think this exists in life/love style oriented choices also. Monogamy appears to be a very "broken" system and there's been lots of discussion about it for a long time. For those that feel they've transcended this 'brokenness', they let their ego boost them up a notch.

You have to remember, people love to speak in broad generalizations and that's really all it probably amounts to. There are, and always have been, many successful (semi?) mono relationships but it's a numbers game. I'm just going to pull a number out of my arse - say 10-15% success rate, which IS dismal. So people get caught up in now not belonging to that failed 85-90% and think they are special.

Human nature. Let it pass

GS
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:16 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
We went to a poly convention....

What are your thoughts?
The vast majority of polyfolk won't be found at conventions. Anything that you find prevalent among convention attendees can *not* be said to be typical of polyfolk. Indeed, the same things that put you off are the very things that keep some of us uninvolved in any poly organization of any sort (other than showing up here).

As there is no "poly lifestyle" to worry about, there's no benefit to getting involved with any group that exhibits such negative attitudes. Find the folk with whom you enjoy being associated and politely decline invitations from the rest seems to be the best approach.
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2011, 10:24 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is offline
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Quote:
There would be no need for LGBT pride or poly pride or anything like that if our lives were generally understood and accepted by the rest of society. If telling my parents or co-,workers about my gf and my gf's lovely husband were as easy as telling them about my bf, again, no need for a movement.

These days, on LGBT issues at least, it's much easier than it used to be to be out without being ostracized or attacked. Why? Because of the movement's work over the decades. Because people stood up and stood together and talked about who they were publicly and challenged the negative stereotypes and made it possible for more and more people to do the same, made it possible for celebrities to come out without ruining their careers. By showing the public at large that we felt pride in our loves and our lives, rather than shame, we made people stop and rethink their attitudes and assumptions.

Change doesn't happen on its own, and we still have a long way to go. But you can be bi and you can be casually out if you choose to be without being in danger because of the LGBT movement, so please don't be so quick to dismiss it now. Being forced to live in the closet ruins and even ends lives -- pride can save them. It's not about being special or better than others, it's about supporting each other and changing the world. I'm not saying you need to go find a march to participate in, but why denigrate the community that's done so much for all of us?
True. Let me just say that have nothing against the LGBT movement as a whole, and that I believe that their overall intentions are admirable. I guess it just doesn't appeal to me personally for reasons that are off-topic.

And yep, the rest of you are correct. People will be people. Haters gonna hate etc.

I suppose I just got my hopes a little too high up.
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2011, 10:33 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I agree with AutumnalTone that it is a small cross-section of poly people who go to those things. I also feel it is hugely distasteful when polyamorists take an elitist, holier-than-thou stance that anyone who lives polyamorously is more evolved than those who are monogamous. There is more to who I am than how many people I love. And I dislike how poly groups align themselves with other groups that I see would only marginalize polyamorists further. Been thinking a lot about that lately.

Your thread is timely, for me anyway, because I recently read an old discussion thread about proposing a national Poly Coming Out Day and there were lots of folks who disagreed with the idea (myself included). The thread is here: National Poly Coming Out Day and, again, I really like AutumnalTone's contributions to that thread, in posts #4 and 6. I have been feeling a little frustrated about wanting more poly-accepting people in my life and have been thinking of getting more involved in the local groups -- but it's the possibility of being around this posturing about poly being superior to mono that keeps me away.
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-18-2011 at 10:38 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2011, 11:43 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Default Privilege

As GroundedSpirit noted, it is human nature to put down what one has rejected and build up its replacement. I've seen this dynamic in all kinds of movements - social justice and otherwise. Eventually the superiority complex is replaced by a more complicated and realistic view. Still, it's annoying and can be off-putting.

I have to admit that, OldGuy, I found your initial statement about poly and bisexual people offputting. You have the privilege of hiding in plain sight since you are married to a woman and are presumably 'straight looking' i.e. not effeminate or flamboyant.

I do not believe that all queer or poly folks are required to come out. That is not possible for everyone. I also do not believe that you are obligated to be activists, to associate with activists that you find unappealling or think that the agenda of the LGBT or poly movements is what you want too. Perhaps you do what you can to move poly or LBGT rights forward. Since all I know of you is from one statement, I am going to assume that's so.

However, the statements above read like someone who seems rather unaware of the privileges they possess. Do you recognize that those same stuck up, misguided people you ran into at the convention are also the same folks attempting to make life a bit easier for poly folks? This doesn't mean you need to go shout alongside them or even agree with them but do recognize what they are trying to accomplish - for themselves, certainly, but also for people like you, your wife, your boyfriend and your girlfriend.

Again, I don't know you. You may be very aware of the privileges you possess. And I think your main point about the annoying growing pains of movements - like superiority complexes - is well taken.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:22 AM
OldGuy OldGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
I have to admit that, OldGuy, I found your initial statement about poly and bisexual people offputting. You have the privilege of hiding in plain sight since you are married to a woman and are presumably 'straight looking' i.e. not effeminate or flamboyant.

I do not believe that all queer or poly folks are required to come out. That is not possible for everyone. I also do not believe that you are obligated to be activists, to associate with activists that you find unappealling or think that the agenda of the LGBT or poly movements is what you want too. Perhaps you do what you can to move poly or LBGT rights forward. Since all I know of you is from one statement, I am going to assume that's so.

However, the statements above read like someone who seems rather unaware of the privileges they possess. Do you recognize that those same stuck up, misguided people you ran into at the convention are also the same folks attempting to make life a bit easier for poly folks? This doesn't mean you need to go shout alongside them or even agree with them but do recognize what they are trying to accomplish - for themselves, certainly, but also for people like you, your wife, your boyfriend and your girlfriend.
As I said, the overall message of tolerance and acceptance is admirable. There just happens to be other aspects that I find...less than admirable. Superfluous. Of course, this is the case with groups of people in general.

That is only my opinion and I've never expected anyone else to see my thoughts in a positive light.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:25 AM
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clairegoad clairegoad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
As I said, the overall message of tolerance and acceptance is admirable. There just happens to be other aspects that I find...less than admirable. Superfluous. Of course, this is the case with groups of people in general.

That is only my opinion and I've never expected anyone else to see my thoughts in a positive light.
I see the "superiority" as a human condition. Each of us makes choices... and we assume our choices are the best.

I've seen child-free couples and parents...as two sets of people who each feel smug and content with their choice... and can't understand why others choose the other option (or assume the others 'can't' or 'won't' choose the other option.) Parents assume everyone would be a better person if they had a child or two... The Childless assume they are better people because they are not overpopulating the world...

Same for education... Most people who have a college degree feel they've accomplished something... and (recent conversation with the maintenance man at work...) some with technical experience/training feel that the college educated a 'morons.'

And the opinions become more strident when several people of the same type are together... i.e. a group of parents or sorority girls or military retirees.

Poly is the best option for me. It might be a good option for others... but they don't know it. Am I superior? Not really. I'm different... and I'm proud of my differences and decisions.

Poly is not best for everyone... there is no one size fits all solution to relationships..... including marriage.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:43 AM
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clairegoad clairegoad is offline
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Default Superiority Complex and Privilege

Interesting blog post about privilege...

(because from the mono viewpoint, from the hetero viewpoint, we are quite privileged... and don't understand... even when we say we do...)

http://www.theferrett.com/ferrettwor...quietly-opens/

(I rather enjoy this blogger... he's poly.. and has a great article about how to have a long distance poly relationship...)


http://www.theferrett.com/ferrettwor...-relationship/
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