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kill_inhibition
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds like a potential train wreck. I don't know how I feel about that. I get it, but I'm not sure I like it. I know it's not my place to judge (and I'm not) but it seems like the odds are really stacked against the HBB for a long meaningful commitment from both parties.
trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:20 am (UTC)
This is pretty much what tacit's infographic is about, to me. Relationships based on privilege-assertion are unstable unless everyone plays along with the privilege.
catwoman980
Dec. 29th, 2010 09:05 am (UTC)
And you can't even get rid of it completely even if you don't want it. Even trying to find a way to erase the HBB dynamic and have an egalitarian triad feels practically impossible because the rest of the world is so determined to bestow couple privilege on two of the folks in the relationship. Even if no one is treated as the "spice" internally, someone will be externally viewed that way, which puts strain on the entire dynamic.

It applies to big and little things. As a hypothetical, say, where you're going for the holidays. If two folks in the group are legally married, the family of the married component could raise hell and make everyone's lives miserable because they feel the group should come to their home since they're the "real" couple. It's often easier for everyone's sanity to capitulate to that kind of social pressure.

Privilege is ultimately a trap. It's a bargain that has to be maintained, and nobody really comes out better for it in the end.
tacit
Dec. 29th, 2010 09:26 am (UTC)
A triad can do a lot of things that reduce the privilege and the HBB dynamic, though I think it's a lot harder to do that when the triad consists of one married couple and an "extra" person.

I'm actually preparing what will likely be a very long post on couple privilege. There are several forms of such privilege, often tacitly buried beneath claims of "egalitarian" relationships (for example, should there become a problem within a triad, I think it's generally assumed that it's the married couple, rather than, say, the "third" person and one part of the married couple, that will get the most attention, and most couples will seek to preserve that part of the relationship). Not always, but often enough that it's a fair bet.

I think that triads which form that way tend, in my observation anyway, to be less steeped in privilege than triads that form when an established couple adds a third person. But that's a whole 'nother post as well.
catwoman980
Dec. 29th, 2010 09:50 am (UTC)
Marriage is definitely another category of privilege--a federally recognized one, at that.

If a triad begins to dissolve, and the married element is the one that remains, most folks outside of the family unit say hurrah! I'm so glad they got that out of their systems! Things will be so much more simple now!

Excepting unusual circumstances, however, if it's one of the non-married units that survives the dissolution of the triad, folks outside the family unit retroactively call it an affair or use phrases like "homewrecker." That's my observation, anyway. I've even seen that when the surviving couple got together before the marriage occurred.

In general it's weird and arbitrary the dynamics we confer superiority to. Maybe irrational is a better word than arbitrary.
ashbet
Dec. 29th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
*nods* Agreed -- while the individuals involved may be in a completely egalitarian relationship (I'm part of a triad with a married couple, but I'm not their "third" -- we're all equals, and I've been involved since before they got married), outsiders can perceive things differently.

And you're right -- if a triad dissolves, there are basically two ways that the majority of observers are going to react, as you described.

On the plus side, it's nice to know that triads CAN exist without the "third" partner being automatically in a "spice" role -- my relationship, and another triad who I'm good friends with, are both fully egalitarian and there is no assumption that certain dyads are privileged over others *within the relationship.*

-- A :)
ashbet
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to that couple-privilege post -- this is a really interesting discussion! :)

-- A <3
misskitty_79
Dec. 29th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
I would be very intersted in reading this "couple privilege" entry. I hope I will see it when you post it.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 30th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
Natja
I am very interested also, as a member of a triad I have been very interested in couple privilege.
trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 09:51 am (UTC)
As with any sort of privilege like that, it takes a lot of effort on the part of the privileged to minimize the effects. Every moment of "just letting it go" reinforces the negative effects. Every bit of "standing up against it" helps bolster the effort to stave off the tide. I've seen some stable triads. Changing healthcare laws in the U.S. would have helped a few relationships I know of - it sucks when only two partners can give each other the benefit of shared healthcare benefits.
catwoman980
Dec. 29th, 2010 10:13 am (UTC)
I agree with every bit of what you said.

I do think intersections make things a bit complicated, at times, when it comes to minimizing privilege. A poor white family who shops at wal-mart may be reinforcing the negative effects of that corporation and of U.S. privilege, but they're not in much of a position to stand up against it directly. They have other options, perhaps.

Healthcare is one of the biggest and cruelest ways we confer privilege in the U.S.
ashbet
Dec. 29th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
The healthcare thing *is* cruel and arbitrary, and it has huge effects in my own life -- I'm disabled and can't GET insurance other than through my legal husband (I'm on Medicare, but it only covers so much -- my meds alone would be $600+ a month without private insurance), and I'm not eligible for the current high-risk state pools because they have steep hurdles for joining (you have to have gone six months without coverage, and the coverage they offer is ridiculously expensive/unaffordable) . . . so that has influenced my choice to remain legally married even though my husband and I are no longer romantic/sexual partners.

It SUCKS to feel like my life and health is dependent on his generosity -- and there is always the potential that he's going to want to get divorced at some point, or even if we had some kind of a major fight, and then I'm stuck without health care . . . and I deeply fear what the incoming Republicans are going to try to do to health-care reform. I was really hoping that in 2014 I could get an affordable individual policy, but I'm not holding my breath at this point :/

And my boyfriend has no health insurance, because he's a contractor for a large telecom -- so he works with full-time employees who receive benefits, but doesn't receive them himself. Corporations are doing their best to contract everything out as much as possible, because they save money by not having to pay for benefits/vacation/retirement . . . and the people who need a job are having to take these contracting positions, because nobody is OFFERING full-time employee status right now.

It sucks :(

-- A <3
said_wednesday
Dec. 30th, 2010 09:17 am (UTC)
NeedyMeds.com
@Ashbet: Have you looked into the website needymeds.com I get several of my prescriptions through that site. It hooks you up with which companies offer free prescriptions of certain drugs they make. It's for people with low income, who would otherwise have trouble paying for their prescriptions. Worthwhile to check out.
trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
*nod* Once there's a Walmart in town, the viable options tend to dry up for all but the privileged. (There are times in my life that I avoided Walmart at some cost to myself, but the fact that I could do it at all was not a privilege I took lightly.)

(had to relogin - amusing captcha - unifty tragedy.)