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Polyfidelity - issues in a non-traditional relationship
May 22, 2006
3:05 pm
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Mardoll
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OMW - "I would say going to the land of the dead would be extreme "self punishment" to end up there."

No more or less than being born in this world is punishment to the living. This is where the living are, that is where the dead are *shrugs*.

Dad - "I do find it fascinating that the notion of non-monogamy can be discussed as just another example of lousy, irresponsible men screwing women over, while the concept of monogamy can also be used as an example of lousy, controlling men screwing women over. Which ever way you go, you can be accused of being a patriarchal bastard."

*laughs* It's a very good point, honestly. Which proves that it's as much a matter of perspective as anything. For example, the basis for gay marriage in Greek times was that women were SO icky that true love could only be between men. A lot of the habits of caring for women as if we are fragile objects across Europe is probably actually the remnants of a more respectful interaction reinterpreted through a misogynistic filter. It all just brings me back around to "Informed Consenting Adults" because the biggest sign of prejudice is who you keep in the dark.

"Is there a name for someone who believes that marriage is a properly the union between a man and a guitar?"

Musician! Seeker got it in one. 😉

Seeker - "The men could easily dispute parentage, in which case which guy would take on responsibility for them, especially if the rules can differ among polyamorous relationships?

Yes, everybody knows who the mother is, so in any case she would end up raising the child, and possibly alone. Hopefully there'd be more of a feeling for community support in the poly community. Let's hope so. "

Well, these days there are tests to establish identity. Yes, the community tends to get together and help out in strained cases. Then, also, you may well find that there's a male role model who enjoys helping raise children even if they're NOT his.

And don't be too quick to downgrade the men and uphold the women. I know an example where the kids live with their biological father and his wife, because the biolgical mom just doesn't have the mothering instincts she needs to be more than auxilary.

"I think mothers are more important to a child's upbringing than the father. Decidedly more so."

I dissagree vehemently that one is more important than the other. I think good and stable role models of all kinds are extremely necessary for children. Children can think in very black and white terms, and if they have only one parent, and look at the fact that (most of the time) there are two genders, they will often construct a reverse image of the existing parent to figure out what the other gender is supposed to act like. This can be especially difficult on boys without a male role model.

And what to do when you've got gender dysphoria and other issues tossed into the picture?

Then, also, a child will take on traits from both parents, and it's extremely helpful to have somebody experienced with living with those traits around. My Mom can't tell me what it's like to grow up with my Dad's temper - but my Dad can, and does, and it's helped me a lot over the years.

"I couldn't disagree more. Monogamy, if properly practiced and the man doesn't cheat on his wife, means that a man would support and stay with his wife and children. He wouldn't abandon them and leave them to fend for themselves. He'd take care of them."

Well, that right there assumes that the wife can't take care of herself, I suppose. Honestly, it depends an awful lot on the underlying assumptions, and alternatives. If the alternative is that the man can sleep with whoever he wants, but the woman is stoned to death for sleeping around, then it's an improvement. If the alternative is that the woman is free, and nobody assumes she has to have a man in her life to be a whole person, then I guess it's a problem, isn't it?

Polygamy / Polygyny

While technically you are correct that polygamy doesn't distinguish between men and women, I've generally heard it used to refer specifically to Polygyny, which is one of the reasons we emphasize "Polyamory" is the word for dropping the gender distinction. It also drops the emphasis on sex, however, that is present in the root "gamy".

"If I didn't believe that God prefers one way over the other, how could I feel in my heart that any one of them was best?"

Ahh, that's a personal thing. I don't have a problem with you expressing your relationship with God, but it's true that others feel very differently, and you need to be careful how you generalize your personal specifics to avoid stepping on toes. It's one of the reasons I phrase things the way I do. The gods I work with have all kinds of oppinions. Their guidance is as that of a sepparate being who knows far more than I. But I know they don't know everything, and that they have their own agendas, so "knowing in my heart" is not at all a function of "god told me". It's a function of trusting myself.

Matteo - "Seeker, I know. I would gladly explain to you what my beliefs are or rather what is offensive to me, but I am afraid we would have to continue our discussion on libs. I also don't want to force my beliefs on anyone, and that's why I am trying not to mention God in my discussions and it bothers me that not everyone is doing the same. Hugs."

I appologize as well for my own contributions to the religious murk in this thread. I have tried to leave my religion out except when asked, or when it is so much a part of the context of what I am explaining that I cannot make sense of the situation without it, but nobody is perfect. I'm sorry if I don't succeed well enough to avoid offending people here.

I would be happy to get into comparative religions in a more appropriate place, if others are interested.

Bonni - "So, I guess I believe we can physically and emotionally love more than one person, especially if it is in a way that doesn't take away from anyone, but builds us all emotionally."

Well, that's very much a model of Polyamory, but you don't have to go labelling yourself just to fit a mold. 😉

Juanita - "unless both or all the people involved are willing or open to the idea, let it drop."

EXACTLY. Hence "Informed Consenting Adults". Polyamory is not ethical where one of the people involved objects, or has no clue what's going on.

"That I could NOT be physically involved with another UNLESS EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED with them."

Actually, neither can I. I'm deeply attached to both of my lovers right now.

"My spouse has dropped the subject & swears never to bring it up again, but the damage has been done. My love for him / our relationship will never be same."

Please take heart that in the end he chose to stay with YOU despite your differences. I have seen plenty of couples that did not last such an argument. It demonstrates his priorities that you ever reached such an agreement in the first place. Personally, with only what you've said so far, I have tremendous hope for a relationship strong enough to survive such a foundational dissagreement.

This is one of those cases where I think empathy in both directions is needed. I may well be just as hard for someone to have to squelch self-expression of interests that hurt their partner as it is for their partner to hear of such interests. For me, part of needful trust is having a mental space for discussing hypotheticals without becomming attached to them, or offended by them. I think it's very important not to attach shame to mere thoughts, and to remember that even actions are good or bad not by themselves, but depending on the context they are in. So yes, you are correct, that it may well be important to note that a polyamorous individual and a monogamous individual may be simply incompatible. What's also important to note, however, is that that's nobody's fault. It's NOT the monogamous person's fault for being "posessive" or "repressed". It's NOT the polyamorous person's fault for being "perverted" or "immature".

Some values and preferences just don't combine well. There's more than reason for the saying "to each their own".

May 23, 2006
8:39 am
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Juanita
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"That I could NOT be physically involved with another UNLESS EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED with them."

Actually, neither can I. I'm deeply attached to both of my lovers right now.

"My spouse has dropped the subject & swears never to bring it up again, but the damage has been done. My love for him / our relationship will never be same."

Please take heart that in the end he chose to stay with YOU despite your differences. I have seen plenty of couples that did not last such an argument. It demonstrates his priorities that you ever reached such an agreement in the first place. Personally, with only what you've said so far, I have tremendous hope for a relationship strong enough to survive such a foundational dissagreement.

Ah - his heart has decided to stay with me .... this is true.

but, what of mine?

I wrestle with this. My heart has been damaged, and it is attracted to another.

Did my spouse seek to create this situation? No. He just wanted some extra "fun" on the side for all of us. I warned him though, several times, not to ask this of me. My feelings towards him were hurt. I never thought or imagined I could love another man before this happened.

Guess what?

I discovered differently. I CAN feel loving feelings towards another. He is lucky I am still around & trying to work things out between us.

May 23, 2006
5:55 pm
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Mardoll
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I take it that, for you, having feelings for another tends to interfere with your feelings about your existing relationship?

May 23, 2006
7:47 pm
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bonni
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For me, it was my hopelessness and despair and loneliness that led me to feelings for another man. My feelings for my dh are returning, though I'm still cautious about relying on him. He is being pretty patient and understanding, which is endearing. At the same time, he is the one who abandoned me with small children. Knowing he didn't want to is the only reason I'm trying. It doesn't take away the pain. The only thing that dulled the misery was our friend.

bonni

May 24, 2006
12:12 am
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Mardoll,

{I dissagree vehemently that one [mother or father] is more important than the other.}

In theory, I agree with you. But in actuality, in divorces, it is very common for the woman to raise the children without a great deal of help from the father. Even in a happy marriage, the mother usually puts more time in with the children than the dad. This is the sense I meant.

{Well, that right there assumes that the wife can't take care of herself, I suppose.}

Not that she can't, but most women would ideally, I think, like some help raising the children. Most women I've met have no objection to and indeed would prefer being "taken care of" by a man if it's done in a loving, respectful way.

{If the alternative is that the woman is free, and nobody assumes she has to have a man in her life to be a whole person, then I guess it's a problem, isn't it?}

That's not what I mean. Women can do just fine without a man, and many do, but most would prefer to have a good man with whom to share their lives.

{Polygamy / Polygyny }

The above terms signify marriage. Polyamory does not. This is the main differrence I see between the terms.

{it's true that others feel very differently, and you need to be careful how you generalize your personal specifics to avoid stepping on toes.}

We step on each other's toes all the time. It can't be completely avoided. The way I see it, we just have to expect the toe stepping, and do what we reasonably can to avoid it. But I can't stop completely talking about God. I generally talk about doing what's right rather than what God wants me to do. Same difference, but it comes across more gently. Sometimes this doesn't fit the situation, though.

I'm very curious. Can you give an example of you communicating with your gods? How do you know what they want, or what they tell you?

Seeker

May 24, 2006
1:33 am
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free2choose
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I would think in the same manner you consider yourself to be "comunicating" with God...

Maybe I am wrong...

You know, it is all about how we Define things on a personal level...Like prayer...maybe your definition of prayer and the ways that you pray are different from mine. My GF is repeatedly amused (and slightly offended I think) when she hears the way I talk to God. I curse, yell argue, let my feelings be heard. I talk to God like he is a person standing in front of me, and if I am pissed or overwhemled I say it..."Damnit, could you stop already, that is enough!!" I call that prayer....she says it is blasphemy! But it's my God, and I can do what I want and say what I want! I mean, supposedly, if he was really God, he would know I was thinking it, so I might as well just be honest outloud, Right???

It's all about personal belief and opinion, all about how we define things... Same God, just different relationships, different ways of doing things... And as diverse as we are as a species...as diverse as life is on this planet, I would think that the "creator" of all this diversity would respect and approve of such diversity being carried out in the ways in which he is regarded!!! If he wanted us one way and one way only...wouldn't he have made us that way in the first place????!!!!

Why can't people get that???? Why does it have to be ONE way!! Why can't we all just be right! No one has to be wrong, just different. Wrong is bad! It is judged, it is NO GOOD. Different does not have to be such! Different can be respected! Reverenced! Appreciated for the lessons it teaches us, like tolerance, patience, communication and compromise!!! Thinking outwide of the DAMN box.

Agggrrrrhhhh.... I get so frustrated!

Live and let live, for GOD's sake!!! And for our own...

Free 2 Choose!!!

May 24, 2006
3:40 pm
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Erica,

Your prayers sound like some of mine. I've been known to get quite angry with
God and tell him so, and also be quite happy with God and tell him so.

I was just wondering how the gods communicate with Mardoll, is all. I was wondering if it's any different from how God communicates with me.

Seeker

May 24, 2006
4:03 pm
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craftypics
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I just have to post on this subject...
I think Polyamory isn't as far fetched as some people think. I don't know about "most" couples so I am going to speak from my own messed up one however its a subject that in my bedroom gets brought up and since guys tend to "look" anyways I just don't see the harm if a couple thinks this is what they need in their relationship. I don't think I could do it however I am not going to down the person or couples that do.
My own personal beliefs on this subject just seem to be a little old fashioned for someone my age but I am going to go ahead and say that If I could find a guy who only had eyes for me and we worked on a relationship and he didn't talk about other women and what he would like to do to them it would be dandy with me...however since my views are a tad old fashioned I can understand why it isn't happening.
I also believe what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I mean for centuries it has been socially acceptable for men to look and talk and stuff but not women. I think its great that couples are exploring something together if that is what you both want to do.

May 25, 2006
10:26 pm
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craftypics,

There are out-fashioned guys out there still. I'm one of them. Sure, I can't help noticing women, but when I marry again, I'm planning on transfering all those noticements (if that's a word) into energy for my relationship with my wife.

The trouble is, it's oftentimes the man's idea to include others in their sexual relationship, and the woman feels she has to indulge him, against her better judgment, to keep their relationship.

May 25, 2006
10:38 pm
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bonni
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seeker,
actually i'm the one that initiates talk of others in the bedroom. he mainly just wants to have sex, but i like alot of foreplay. and he likes anything that gets me interested in sex. I think the key is security. I know he doesnt' want to spend the rest of his life with someone else. Sex is just one expression of intimacy - but it can be other things. when he shares his intimate thoughts with me, it makes me feel closer to him. for me, its about the sharing, regardless of the topic. that he would trust me enough to talk about what excites him, even if it includes more than me (and i'm always assuming i'm in there too), its just really a demonstration of trust and intimacy. i wouldn't force him to share, but i create a zone where it feels safe. and then we share that space.

bonni

May 25, 2006
11:01 pm
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Bonni,

Sounds like talking of others in the bedroom enhances your sexual experience, and thus his, and also that both of you have sex only with each other. That's great.

I was refering to situations where men talk of actually having sex with others for their own pleasure, not for that of their partners, and the woman feels pressured to play along or lose their man. That's an entirely different animal altogether.

May 27, 2006
10:34 am
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Juanita
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Yep.... many women tend to want to 'please' their men, even at the cost of self sacraficing themselves, their values, their self-esteem... all in the name of love & pleasing their man.

Perhaps this is why, after having gone thru some of this myself, my idea & concept of love has changed.

No one should feel they have to do anything they do not want to, to please or keep anyone. Both partners should be mutually happy, agreeable, and satisfied. If the limitations of one partner rub the other the wrong way & they cannot live with that, time to reconsider what is important & if this relationship will work.

To give up on one's self is a terrible long thing to over come ~ at least for me. I think the type of women who perform, or consider to perform, these acts for their men are extremely sensitive ones who want to do whatever they can, within the limits of their own moral boundaries, to keep their man happy. Tamper with moral boundaries & it gets very messy.

Ladies, if you don't want to do it ~ then stand up for yourself firmly in the first place. If they don't listen, speak louder. If they still don't listen, try something else. One dear friend recommended a cast iron skillet up against the head if the man is particularly thick skulled.

Just don't give up on yourself.

Juanita

May 27, 2006
10:41 am
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Juanita,

That's excellent advice! Maybe one should keep an iron skillet hanging on the bedroom wall for a reminder. :o)

I'm sorry to hear your concept of love has suffered. No doubt you are a sensitive soul who wants to be a peacemaker. May your concept of love be restored and then some.

Seeker

May 31, 2006
5:21 am
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Mardoll
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Sorry for the delayed response. I was away from home for the last week.

Seeker - "Not that she can't, but most women would ideally, I think, like some help raising the children."

Oh, certainly. Hrm, I think part of what's going on here is that I am aware of what usually happens, but I'm very wary of the mental patter of being stuck in the idea that what usually happens is that way because of specific traits in each individual when in fact the roles are a great deal more interchangeable than that if you're just willing to swap the players around a bit.

For example - what man wouldn't want help raising a child?

"Most women I've met have no objection to and indeed would prefer being "taken care of" by a man if it's done in a loving, respectful way."

And again, I point out that it's not a gender-specific concept - that's a mental trap generated by culture. Yes, I'm aware of the cultural norm, but I think it colors the perception far more than it needs to here: Most *people* I know would prefer being taken care of if it's done in a loving way, just because it's a tremendous weight off their own shoulders! I know at least as many thoroughly independant women as men, though, and I know as many men who are looking for a woman to take care of them - it's just that our culture has taught us very different meanings for how men take care of women and vice versa.

"Women can do just fine without a man, and many do, but most would prefer to have a good man with whom to share their lives."

How is that different from a man's position, then? Men can be independant and yet most men would prefer to have a good woman to share their lives with.

Do you see my point? This isn't a relationship model that inherintly favors one or the other gender in a hetero relationship, and moreover it's just not particularly *useful* to try and categorize the interactions that way. You haven't made any notable statements so far that *couldn't* be gender-swapped. It's completely true that the roles you are describing are what most often happens, but that's a sepparate issue from my point.

"The above terms signify marriage. Polyamory does not. This is the main differrence I see between the terms."

Actually, no, they don't. At least not in terms of the root words. You are correct in terms of their common useage, of course, but "gamy" comes from the same root as "gametes" - reproductive cells. It just refers to the potentially reproductive act of sex. "gyny" is a sex/gender term referring to women. "poly" just means many. In no way do any of these refer to length or type of committment.

"Can you give an example of you communicating with your gods? How do you know what they want, or what they tell you?"

Let's take that one to the Liberation Brew thread, shall we?

Free - I'm taking my responses to yours to the thread in Liberation Brew as well. Um... I'm just going to go for the one Seeker started to discuss this stuff with me and Matteo:

"Matteo ... we can continue our discussion here"

--Ember--

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