You are viewing tacit

Previous Entry | Next Entry

dragonpoly
One of the frustrations of being part of the poly community is the number of folks who are already partnered and who want to try polyamory for the first time, but who approach the notion of opening their relationship in a way that makes experienced poly folks cringe. Often, it seems that these folks expect concessions from any person who wants to join their relationship that they would never have expected, or been willing to accept, from one another when they first met.

Now, to some extent that's natural. There's a learning curve to any relationship style, and we live in a society that deluges us with so many fairy-tale images of how relationships are "supposed" to go that the idea of stepping outside of those normal social paradigms can leave one feeling hesitant and a bit overwhelmed. Folks who already have a relationship want to try to make sure they don't damage that relationship as they explore polyamory, but often in doing so they inadvertently set up their newfound poly relationships to fail.

If typical monogamous relationships were approached the way some folks approach poly, it might look something like this:

New poly couple
We have an amazing relationship and we want to make sure that nothing comes between us. So we only date as a couple. We're looking for a bisexual partner who will date both of us. Since I'm a guy and my partner is a woman, as long as you're bisexual that shouldn't be a problem, right?

Monogamous equivalent
My friend Bill and I have been friends since high school. We have an awesome friendship, and we want to make sure that nobody gets between us. If you want to have sex with me, you have to have sex with Bill, too. Since I'm a guy and Bill is a guy, as long as you're a heterosexual woman you won't mind having sex with both of us, right?

New poly couple
We have a veto relationship. If someone tries to damage or undermine our relationship, we can use our veto to make sure we stay strong. This is important to make sure that new people respect our relationship.

Monogamous equivalent
My mom gets the final say over any of my girlfriends. If you try to undermine our family, my mom can tell me to dump you and I'll do it. If you object to that idea, it means you don't respect my mom. I would never date anyone who doesn't respect my mom.

New poly couple
My existing relationship is always Primary. It will always take precedence over any secondary. If you date me, you have to agree to be a secondary relationship. That doesn't mean you're not important; it just means that my partner always comes before you.

Monogamous equivalent
I take my job very seriously. If you want to be in a relationship with me, you will always take a back seat to my work. It's not that you're not important; it's just that my career is more important than you are.

New poly couple
Our families don't know that we're poly. They want us to be monogamous. It would kill them if they found out. All our friends are monogamous too. So if you date one of us, you have to be in the closet.

Monogamous equivalent
My family is Amish. All my friends are Amish. I'm not Amish, but I don't want any of my friends or family to find out. If you date me, you will never be allowed to meet my family (or if you do, I won't tell them who you are). You will never be allowed to meet any of my friends (or if you do, I won't tell them who you are). I will not acknowledge my relationship with you. You will not be allowed to talk about me to any of your friends.

New poly couple
I am looking for a new sister-wife for a polyfidelitous family. My sister-wives must all be faithful to me. We will all be part of a close, nurturing family.

Monogamous equivalent
I am looking for a new Best Friend. If you become one of my Best Friends, you will not be allowed to have any other friends. You will be expected to be emotionally close to all my other Best Friends, though.

New poly couple
We want to make sure that we avoid jealousy when we explore poly. So we will only do things as a couple. Any sex or any activity that we do with a new person will only be done with all of us together.

Monogamous equivalent
My friend Bill and I have been buddies for a long time. I don't want Bill to get jealous if I have a new girlfriend, so whenever we go on dates, Bill will come along with us. If I take you out to the movies, Bill will be there too. The only way that you and I can spend time together is if Bill comes along.

New poly couple
We are looking for a third to move in with us and who will want to be part of our family and share a life with us. Our third will get to share in all the love that we have, and will be a part of our family in a committed relationship.

Monogamous equivalent
I know we've never been on a date, but I'm really looking for a husband, not a boyfriend. Let's go out for coffee. If we click, you can move in with me tomorrow and we'll get married on Tuesday. I already have the gown, and I've picked out the perfect flower arrangement. I have the marriage contract filled out in my top desk drawer at home. You just need to sign it and notarize it. What do you say?

New poly couple
We want to make sure that our relationship stays secure and we don't feel threatened when we explore polyamory, so we sat down with each other and we worked out a list of rules about how we will do polyamory. Here's a contract that spells out all our relationship agreements.

Monogamous equivalent
I have been thinking about it for months, and when I have a girlfriend, I've decided exactly how I want it to be. So I sat down and wrote on a piece of paper just exactly how our relationship will go. Here's a list of all the dates we will have and the things we'll do on those dates. For your convenience, I've made up a schedule that has all the times and places for our dates. After we're finished with the dating phase, here's a list of all the things we'll do once we've decided to commit to each other. Look, I made a copy for you!

Tags:

Comments

( 75 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
the_failed_poet
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
Teehee! I like these!
miss_lisa_ma
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
Dude. What vitamins are you taking lately? I SO want some.
margareta87
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
And this is why you're on my "crushes" list on Facebook.
eireangel
Feb. 6th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
Ditto!
etaoing
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
jealousy
So how does one avoid the jealousy when beginning to explore poly?
zaiah
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
You don't. Why would you want to deny yourself the opportunity to feel new things and examine those emotions for their hidden triggers to make reasoned decisions about who you want to be in life, rather than being a meat bag of reactionary conditioned responses that is afraid of experiencing difficult emotions because it might difficulty, pain, work, and growth to gain new insights?
thanks - etaoing - Feb. 5th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Heh. - zaiah - Feb. 5th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - siriciryon - Feb. 7th, 2012 01:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zaiah - Feb. 7th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: jealousy - margareta87 - Feb. 5th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: jealousy - etaoing - Feb. 5th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: jealousy - margareta87 - Feb. 5th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: jealousy - tacit - Feb. 5th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: jealousy - etaoing - Feb. 6th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: jealousy - mellyjc - Feb. 8th, 2012 07:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashbet - Feb. 6th, 2012 11:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - badfae - Feb. 8th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC) - Expand
kimboosan
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant! Thank you!
zellion
Feb. 5th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
What's sad is I know people who have done some of those monogamous equivalents. Which probably just shows something about human nature.
margareta87
Feb. 5th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
My career is incredibly important to me. While I wouldn't go so far as to say at the outset that it will always be more important than any relationship--one never knows what life will throw at you--I think that a relationship that required me to make more than trivial sacrifices in my career would have a very hard time persisting.
(no subject) - ab3nd - Feb. 6th, 2012 04:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - silverrose - Feb. 6th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zellion - Feb. 6th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - silverrose - Feb. 6th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Feb. 6th, 2012 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xaotica - Feb. 7th, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Feb. 7th, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
spiralflames
Feb. 5th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU. I cannot you're this loud enough! when I was exploring poly, I got so sick of her (why did it always seen to be her? Husband decided to explore anne age decided she'd go along or lose him? Hello) explaining ” the rules” that it would take any fun out of what should have been a flirty beginning. Such logic!
spiralflames
Feb. 5th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
*cannot TYPE this loud enough..
naraba
Feb. 6th, 2012 12:48 am (UTC)
Reassuring
As a poly person in a relationship with a chillaxed mono (he knows, he's cool), this is reassuring. I have yet to pursue a second relationship, and occasionally worry about falling into a "new poly" trap. Or him assuming something, and me accidentally bulldozing through it. This list seems like a lot of common ones, and it all seems like he's clear on these fronts.

Hoo. Theoretical crisis averted!
no1supermilf
Feb. 6th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
Oh sweet validation. Franklin, the things that come out of your mind bring me such joy and more brain fodder. Thank you for that.
felisdemens
Feb. 6th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
This is a good post and you should feel good about it.
gailmom
Feb. 6th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
This. Is. AWESOME!
edwardmartiniii
Feb. 6th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
The Mantra of Doom
If only more people really took to heart "There are plenty of fish in the sea" most of this horseshit wouldn't fly.

Plenty of fish in the sea.

Plenty of fish in the sea.

Has saved my bacon before!

(although if we're talking about someone who jizzes gold and diamonds, I might consider options -- but not ordinary genitalia.)
mouser
Feb. 6th, 2012 02:22 am (UTC)
This would be better explained as "I have a cat."

"If you want a relationship, my cat has to like you."

"My cat has veto power."

"Love me, love my cat. Allergic? Sorry, I have a cat."

"I'm not getting rid of my cat so you can move in."

"My landlord doesn't know I have a cat, so you have to keep quiet about it. And brush off any stray fur when you leave so he doesn't know."

"You can't have your own cat - my cat will sense it and be pissed off. Most likely in your shoes. Or worse, mine."

"When I take my cat to cat shows, you get to come with us! Won't that be fun!"

"I'm looking for someone to help me take care of my cat."

"My rules with my cat are pretty important. I'm sure that you can follow them all. Here, I've written them down. Oh, and vet times are on there."

"Did I mention I have a cat?"



Edited at 2012-02-06 02:23 am (UTC)
_luaineach
Feb. 6th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
:)
(no subject) - devianttouch - Feb. 6th, 2012 07:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashbet - Feb. 6th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asarin - Feb. 6th, 2012 04:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kindredsgirl - Feb. 7th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mouser - Feb. 7th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kindredsgirl - Feb. 7th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mouser - Feb. 7th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kindredsgirl - Feb. 7th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Feb. 7th, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
mama_hogswatch
Feb. 6th, 2012 12:18 pm (UTC)
You'll be entertained to know that some of the people who follow the Polyamorous Misanthrope Facebook page think you're a smug, self-righteous bastard for this one. Your work is done.
tacit
Feb. 6th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Of course they do. I reckon they're doing one of the things on the list and don't cotton to the idea that it might keep people away?
(no subject) - mama_hogswatch - Feb. 6th, 2012 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Feb. 6th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashbet - Feb. 7th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC) - Expand
elnigma
Feb. 6th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
This is great!
comfy_chair
Feb. 6th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
Wonderful stuff! If only there was a One Twoo Way so we could make this required reading!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 6th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
Utterly fabulous
Yep I like it alot :). Putting the monogamous version into the poly context (or mabey that should be the other way about??) really brings home how wacky those exploring poly for the first time can be *lol*!

God I hope I wasn't like that and if I ever pull any of these stunts in future just glare at me kindly ok and I'll get the message.

loveeeeeeee poly!!!

Liz x
lance_lake
Feb. 6th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
http://www.reddit.com/r/polyamory/comments/pd68p/if_people_approached_monogamy_the_way_they/c3ohu54

Also...

New poly couple
We want to make sure that our relationship stays secure and we don't feel threatened when we explore polyamory, so we sat down with each other and we worked out a list of rules about how we will do polyamory. Here's a contract that spells out all our relationship agreements.

Monogamous equivalent
I have been thinking about it for months, and when I have a girlfriend, I've decided exactly how I want it to be. So I sat down and wrote on a piece of paper just exactly how our relationship will go. Here's a list of all the dates we will have and the things we'll do on those dates. For your convenience, I've made up a schedule that has all the times and places for our dates. After we're finished with the dating phase, here's a list of all the things we'll do once we've decided to commit to each other. Look, I made a copy for you!

I fail to see how this is correct since you put down "We" for the poly and "I" for the Mono. Also, there is a big difference between sharing concerns and working to make sure both are happy compared to listing a set of rules and telling your partner that they need to accept them.

Most of these seem to be off kilter.

Edited at 2012-02-06 08:04 pm (UTC)
tacit
Feb. 6th, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
I fail to see how this is correct since you put down "We" for the poly and "I" for the Mono.

Then you've missed the point of the analogy. The thing both of these have in common is that a new person coming into the relationship is handed a list of expectations; the relationship has already been plotted out in advance, and the new person isn't given a voice in how it unfolds.

This is perhaps the most common thing I see couples looking for a third doing. They will sit down and discuss with each other what role that third will play in their lives, how she (and it's almost always a she they're looking for) will be integrated into their family, how she will interact with them, the parameters of the relationship she will build with each of them...

...and then they join poly mailing lists and say "We've been looking and looking for our third, and we can't find her! We talked to poly people and they don't want to date us! It must mean that there are no TRUE poly people out there."

I know--no exaggeration--one couple that's been looking for their third for *more than 40 years*. It has never occurred to them that the fact they have already sat down and decided *exactly* what "their" third will do, how the relationship she will be, and what niche she will fill might have something to do with their lack of success. Instead, they just say "You're a One True Wayer! You don't respect how other people do things differently!" whenever anyone attempts to talk to them about it (and I've seen people try).

40-some years later, they *still* haven't figured it out, and they still don't have a third.

It's like one of my sweeties says: There's no one right way to do poly, but man, there sure are a lot of wrong ones! If a person, or a couple, keeps trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and can't seem to manage getting a poly relationship to work, then maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't that the whole poly community is filled with one-true-wayers who just want to slag their approach. Maybe, just maybe, there might be a possibility (however small or remote) that their approach isn't likely to lead to success.
(no subject) - badfae - Feb. 8th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lucky_otter - Mar. 23rd, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Feb. 6th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that I'm allowed for my poly lifestyle to just go with the flow without all these rules and expectations. It isn't fair to the other person to try to fit them into some mold that you expect in your life.
fallconsmate
Feb. 7th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)
yep, yep, and yep. one of the things the ex always said was "you dont have to get along with the wife, you DO have to respect that she's not going anywhere, and be polite to her face". he thought that was acceptible, and i did too.

i never veto'ed, but i did occasionally raise a point of conversation about "i see this and it makes me uncomfortable". occasionally he'd say "yes, i know but", more often it was "huh, hadnt seen that" and things shifted a bit till they were comfortable again.

i like your list, indeed!
petemosq
Feb. 7th, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
Dear God you are fucking brilliant. Maybe even more than Gene Simmons. :)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 7th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC)
Coming from you, this is rich.
(no subject) - petemosq - Feb. 7th, 2012 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - margoeve - Feb. 7th, 2012 05:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - evilsausage - Feb. 7th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
thattodd
Feb. 7th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
Really well done, put to concise words a lot of stuff that gets trampled in effort to make the 'couple' secure. Thanks.
Andrea Marie Chesak
Feb. 7th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
From a Monogamous person
I think these are over simplifications of situations, but coming from the experience of entering into a relationship with someone with poly tendencies and making it very clear that I only wanted to be monogamous, I think since a lot of couples enter into their primary relationship monogamous and then one person wants to explore, the other may try to be accommodating even though it makes them uncomfortable, so naturally there are considerations and ground rules for the original couple, and if those are too strict for another poly person to enter into or for it to work, then the reality is that the original couple can not work as a poly couple and should either split up so the other person can explore or the poly leaning person has to make the choice that their partner is more important to them than having relationships with other people. You can't have your cake and eat some else's too ;) you can't have everything you want in a relationship on either side, choices have to be made, poly and monogamy are both major life decisions. My advice to couples who are like this, if your not poly and your partner is take a break from one another, you don't have to make an promises to be there for that person if they feel they made the wrong decision in the end, you are free to move on with your life if you choose. The main reason I'm not poly is because I don't think most people are mature/have good self esteem to be honest and respectful, my life is complicated enough to deal with a third persons problems, I'd rather be single.
badfae
Feb. 8th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
This is excellent. I've often thought some of these things in a very abstract way, but didn't quite have the words for it.

The "dating as a couple" thing especially bothers me, and I knew from the beginning I didn't want to go that route, either as an established couple OR as anyone setting out to date others who are already paired up. I never really saw the point. How can grow as a person and learn more about myself and other people (which is a big part of poly, for me) if I'm forcing other relationships to conform to the dynamic of the one I've already got? Likewise, I don't want the pressure of HAVING to be attracted to someone's partner. I guess this sort of thing works for some people, but I'm not one of them.

Technically, my husband and I have veto power, but the likelihood of it ever being invoked is pretty slim. We both trust each other to make good decisions about people, and we're similar enough that the idea of one of us liking someone the other doesn't get along with, or having a major blind spot where the other sees clearly, is pretty much purely hypothetical. However, if something like this *should* ever happen, it would be before anything progressed, because he and I (and this is the case with my other partners, as well) tell each other when a new possibility appears on the horizon.

We *have* had a few times where I knew more about a woman he had a mild interest in than he did, and was able to give him that information (not always negative) just so he had a somewhat broader picture. There have also been a few times where we've brought up concerns about trends/behaviors we've spotted, though both of us respect the privacy of each other's relationships.

I don't have as big a problem with the idea of being closeted, at least to a small degree, because I've seen what assholes some people can be. I wouldn't want to be completely hidden from the world, but I'm okay with showing some discretion around people who might be uncomfortable with/unaware of the situation in order to protect my partner(s) and make things run a bit more smoothly. In the case of boyfriend #1 (I have two) and my girlfriend (also his live-in girlfriend), it's pretty much an open secret. Those who are close either know or most likely suspect the situation, and those who aren't are not that big a part of their lives. My husband and I are out, too, in much the same way, but his girlfriend and boyfriend #2 (my husband's girlfriend's husband)are out only to their friends.

Whew. Sorry about the long comment. I guess I had a lot to say :P
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 75 comments — Leave a comment )
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner