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Old 11-29-2013, 12:41 AM
Handmaiden Handmaiden is offline
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Default Ethics and friends

Hi all,

I joined a while back but had decided to try to suppress the poly inclination as it was causing my (mono) partner distress. I hadn't acted on it at all so in physical terms I'm still monogamous with him but I am actively looking again. We've discussed it and he acknowledges he doesn't own me and he's just basically waiting for something to happen to deal with his shit.

So the ethical dilemma I have is that one of the guys I am interested in (call him B) is the good friend of another very good friend of mine. My very good friend (call her A) had started dipping into the poly world with her husband, with this guy that I'm interested in getting to know better. So far I have only met B online so there might not even be any physical chemistry, but the only way to find that out is to meet up with him. Anyway, her relationship with her husband imploded, and she's still seeing B. I instinctively feel I at least need to give her time to sort out the mess in her life before making my interest known to B, but from there the ethics escape me.

Should I write this off? I don't want to lose her friendship over a guy, but at the same time I think about B a lot. B is happy to call himself poly and doesn't really want a full time relationship (from what he's said). My other concern is, that if it's ethically ok to pursue him, I worry they will form an exclusive relationship and I will lose my chance unless I make my intentions known.

So, basically, should I give up on him and look elsewhere, for the sake of my friendship with A? Or wait, and then try my luck... or let B know how I feel and see what happens? WWYD?
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Old 11-29-2013, 12:54 AM
Handmaiden Handmaiden is offline
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I suppose the other option is to talk to A. :-/
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Old 11-29-2013, 01:11 AM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handmaiden View Post
I suppose the other option is to talk to A. :-/
Well, yeah, that might be a good place to start.

Really, though, a better place to start would be just to relax a little. Breathe.

I may just be reading into your description of the situation, but it strikes me that there might be some remnant of the kind of competitive relationeering that goes on in conventional monogamy, a sense that you and A are somehow in competition over B.

On that model, A already has something of a claim on B, such that your even meeting B in person might constitute a challenge or a threat to A.

That needn't be the case. Consider acting on the working assumption that you, A and B are all individuals, and that you can work out the terms of your relationship with each of them separately.

If your concern is that A may think of herself as having a claim on B, such that she'll feel threatened or challenged by your interest in B, that just suggests you might, indeed, need to talk with A.

But even then, as you say, you haven't even met B in person. You may be getting ahead of yourself in worrying about this at all!
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Old 11-29-2013, 01:29 AM
Handmaiden Handmaiden is offline
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Yes, your last line is spot on. My partner even said that. I would need to meet him, but in order to do that I pretty much have to make it happen as it won't happen automatically.

I will chat to A. I value her friendship more. And yes, she is only recently considering herself poly so I do worry that the mono dynamic will still be there, especially as she has just left her husband. Whereas I'm happy with my partner and so have no desire to take up all of B's time.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:25 AM
london london is offline
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Did you ask him when he plans to tell her about you? I agree with advice so far, by the way, I'm just curious.
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Old 11-29-2013, 04:35 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
I may just be reading into your description of the situation, but it strikes me that there might be some remnant of the kind of competitive relationeering that goes on in conventional monogamy, a sense that you and A are somehow in competition over B.
The idea that we are in competition with each other easily gets grandfathered in from exclusivity based models.

I was recently reminded that this is not only a monogamous issue, but any relationship which is not independence based but instead condones calling "dibs" on other human beings. An old friend of mine, CB, was talking about being interested in a girl I dated a long time ago, AD. Shortly after CB expressing his interest in her, I actually hooked up with her at a party (we made out, it was great). When I told him about it later he was hurt that I would play around with her even though he said he was thinking about dating her. I tried to explain to him that, because I function by an independence model of relating, my dating AD would not have any impact on whether or not the two of them dated... but his feelings were hurt nonetheless.

I know he doesn't view his relationship model as ownership or exclusivity based, but he is still functioning under those ideals.

I reserve the right to date anyone I am interested in, as long as everything is above board. If I decided to date AD at some point down the line I would do so without regret, though because I know CB is sensitive about it I would let him know.

tl;dr: Calling "dibs" on another human being is bullshit and I don't alter my actions because of someone trying to do it.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:45 PM
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Inyourendo Inyourendo is offline
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Well if it were me I would not get involved with B, simply because I don't like drama. I never date my friend's exes.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:02 AM
london london is offline
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Yes, there are many more reasons not to date your friend's partner or ex than because you are working with exclusivity ideals.
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:35 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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I have no tolerance of drama in my personal life so I follow the don't hunt in your own back yard view meaning I do not risk relationships that are important to me. Plenty of others in this world to get involved with.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:24 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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There is some truth in Dagfieri and London's points about not dating in your social group. It can be a place of drama.

But... I almost always date people who entered my life as friends. I rarely date someone who is not already in my life in some way - acquaintance, friend of a friend, someone with same hobbies as me. It happens - Whip was outside of my friends group when we met - but not very often.

Anyway, I think this is very common. And it is more common in smaller communities - for example, the lesbian communities I was involved in had the stereotypical everyone has dated everyone else at one point or another. Yes, this sometimes caused issues. But generally people handled their business. There is always going to be drama - people are drama generators, it's part of who we are are as humans. I find the difference is how conflict (drama) is handled. Is it handled openly? Honestly? With empathy? If drama can be handled constructively, then the concerns about dating in one's friend group are manageable.

I also tend to be around people who can handle their own emotional business. I'm not someone who tends to be very tolerant of people who generate drama and can't handle it in a constructive way. So I self-select for people who are at least aware that their emotional issues are their own deal. This doesn't prevent drama but so far it does largely prevent unproductive drama - the type that ends up on this board a lot.

Anyhoo, long story short. OP, I think you need to give your friend A a heads up you are interested in the man she is dating. I would not say you need her permission but rather a 'this is a situation that may affect you and you should know.' I wouldn't wait until her divorce issues settle down because that could be a long time in coming. Just a 'hey, I wanted you to know B and I have been talking. I find him attractive and want to meet him.' If she has issues or concerns, perhaps you wait to meet B for a while. Or not. I don't think friends have an automatic veto in this situation. But it might be a kindness to her (and you if you value her friendship) to wait a bit if she has feelings about it.
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