Subject: My File on Polyamory (LONG) Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1993 21:20:15 GMT [From one of my e

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From: noring@netcom.com (Jon Noring) Subject: My File on Polyamory (LONG) Message-ID: <1993Jan21.212015.21161@netcom.com> Organization: Netcom Online Communications Services (408-241-9760 login: guest) Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1993 21:20:15 GMT Lines: 853 [From one of my e-mail friends:] >So, Jon, tell me about polyamory... I am both happy and apprehensive that you ask me about that. It is a very controversial area, and so whenever I talk about it, I am opening myself up to judgement. Other polyamorous people who are "out" have said that this lifestyle option is right now at the same place in the public eye that gay/lesbian/bi people were viewed several decades ago. Essentially, polyamory is a lifestyle option where a person maintains/allows/ pursues simultaneous multiple intimate/romantic relationships. It is the opposite of monogamy, which states that a person *should* have only ONE lover at a time (and until recently it was defined strictly in the context of marriage). Monogamy is so ingrained in our culture that it is just assumed. Even discussing polyamory to some people literally blows their circuits since they can't even imagine anything else. There are different variations of polyamory. For example, some believe it is o.k. only in a group marriage context. Others, like me, are more loose and relaxed about it and can keep it outside of a marital definition. Following is my PolyFile (tm), which answers lots of questions and concerns about this lifestyle option. I'm sure already you have thought of objections to polyamory, and may even feel uneasy about it. For example, the aspect of jealousy comes up often in discussions about polyamory. You're probably also thinking (with associated strong feelings) whether or not you'd allow your SO (current or future as the case may be) to have other lovers while you are intimate with your SO. The words and concepts of 'committment' and 'fidelity' also come up often in discussions about polyamory. So, without further ado, here's my PolyFile (tm). Enjoy. Jon Noring *************************************************************************** This is assembled from many posts and e-mail to Internet and elsewhere the last two years. No particular order. Where thought appropriate, some names were changed and identifiers removed to protect the guilty, I mean the innocent. :^) :^) :^) *************************************************************************** *I* think poly can be learned. My wife learned that it is possible to love many people and that's it's possible for me to love many people without hurting our relationship or the love we have for each other. She used to be extremely jealous of me spending any time with other women... even if I was only talking to them. Through discussion, we learned that her concern was based on her low self-esteem. In a sense, she couldn't understand how I could not want to leave her to be with another woman, especially if she felt that the other woman had more to offer than her. The other problem is that she equated love with sex and sex as being love. If another woman and I danced sensually, she would figure that I wanted to have sex with her and therefore I must be in love with her. She could never believe that I didn't get turned on dancing sensually with other woman. It didn't fit into her understanding of relationships. This was mostly due to her strict Christian upbringing that told her that sex and love are the same thing. How did we resolve it? Through lots of talking. Most of the jealousy had disappeared by the time we were married. The sex=love thing disappeared (along with the rest of the jealousy) when she had her first affair. I do not recommend this as an appropriate way of resolving the mono/poly problem, but it is what worked for us. And we have been extremely happy ever since. :) Brad Booth *************************************************************************** >Just from the statistics of the situation, and the lack of further information >in the original post, Mr. Hulick is probably correct in his ASSUMPTION that >the gentleman who posted the original ad is in a "closed" marriage. However, >what would you say if it was further stated in the ad that his marriage were >"open" by mutual agreement of both partners? It sounds to me as though Tom is describing the essential element of a social contract: the fact that it is voluntarily entered into by two competent people. I've always thought marriages would work out much better If there was less talk of 'commitment', 'vows' and 'promises' and more about the voluntary nature of the interaction and the fact that needs change and fluctuate. The idea that anyone can 'vow' to stay with another for the rest of their lives is ludicrous. If one is changing and growing, his/her companionship needs will change also. It is not only possible to love many people in our lifetimes, it is impossible not to have a number of connections, at varying levels of intensity. My marriage was open and when it was time to end it, we ended it. On that level at least, it was honest from the very beginning. Monogamy is probably a carryover from old Judeo-Christian theology and is used for the purpose of control. The key element to any successful relationship is that understanding of individual liberty. We all have the right to design any sort of contract we choose. If it harm none, do as ye will. reykja ****************************************************************************** In article (Reykja Sigurdsson) writes: >It sounds to me as though Tom is desribing the essential element of a social >contract: the fact that it is voluntarily entered into by two competent >people. I've always thought marriages would work out much better if there >was less talk of 'commitment', 'vows' and 'promises' and more about the >voluntary nature of the interaction and the fact that needs change and >fluctuate. I very much agree with this. And very well put, Reykja. And I would add that any social contract, such as marriage (I agree with Reykja that marriage is essentially a contract) should be renegotiated with different terms if both people agree to the change. The idea (imposed by society) that the terms of marriage have to be a certain way forever is, to put it mildly, not very pragmatic nor workable for most people. People change, needs change, even society changes, so the marriage contract needs to be very flexible, even with respect to the expression of sexuality. >The idea that anyone can 'vow' to stay with another for the rest of their >lives is ludicrous. If one is changing and growing, his/her companionship >needs will change also. > >It is not only possible to love many people in our lifetimes, it is >impossible not to have a number of connections, at varying levels of >intensity. > >My marriage was open and when it was time to end it, we ended it. On that >level at least, it was honest from the very beginning. Monogamy is probably >a carryover from old Judeo-Christian theology and is used for the purpose of >control. > >The key element to any successful relationship is that understanding of >individual liberty. We all have the right to design any sort of contract we >choose. If it harm none, do as ye will. S.I. Hayakawa once said (my paraphrase - can't remember the exact quote): "Society is nothing more than the sum total of all mutual agreements between individuals." When viewed in that light, we realize that to change society (maybe to solve some pressing problem), we need to understand the dynamics of social contracts between individuals. For example, most view that the high divorce rate is symptomatic of something wrong in our society, and there are many theories as to why this is so. Maybe the fundamental reason is that the marriage contract is so imposed on people by social and religious pressure to the extent that the terms are not necessarily the best for the particular physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the two individuals entering into the marriage, nor does this default, socially imposed contract take into account that people, circumstances and society itself change over time. Jon Noring ************************************************************************** I thought I'd comment on Jeffrey's message (hi, Jeffrey) because it raises some good questions and sets the stage for a point I want to make. There's been a great deal of discussion recently about definitions: what is and isn't polyamory. Jeffrey is having a happy relationship with two women and faces these issues: >Now I am faced with the task of explaining this relationship to [people] ... >I am perfectly happy to just live the way I have been and not define what >I am doing, but I must answer those that I care about when they ask. Nope. You don't have to explain yourself at all, or answer to anyone. You're happy. Your feelings require no justification. It's a mistake to try to reconcile what you feel with a social classification, because the classification may not really suit you. You start with your feelings, understand them and be comfortable with them. You, your feeling, and the people you care about are the important things. You're getting in this unnatural, inverted position of trying to explain yourself. You don't have to explain yourself to the world. You just are, and your relationship just is. If other people want to understand it, then you try to explain to them in basic terms what you feel, and that you're happy. Specifically: > What is Polamory vs Polyfidelity? They're words. Just words. Don't get lost in the jargon. If you find these terms helpful in describing you and your love, use them. You make labels, they don't make you. It's a mistake for everyone to argue and try to define polyamory. It means different things to different people, just like love. It just generally deals with loving other people. >What tactics would you suggest I use when asked, 'what the hell are you >doing (with my daughter)?' That's a rather rude question. The only response a question like that deserves is "Would you please rephrase that in a less offensive way?" A daughter isn't a car. Daughters are people. People can't be owned. They fought a war over that 100 years ago (we won). Here's how I'd deal with some specific questions: --> Are you seeing my daughter or this other girl? I'm seeing them both. --> So you're cheating on her? No. They both know; we're all friends and we're happy that way. --> Well, which one do you love? I love them both. --> Which do you love more? I don't understand the question. They're different people. How do you measure? --> Why don't you commit to one of them? Why can't I commit to both of them? See? You don't have to bend over backwards to express yourself in their terms. They may have to learn your terms to understand you. You're not the one who doesn't understand; they have to put in the work to comprehend you. Remember, the three of you have something that comes naturally and feels right for you; whether or not other people get it is a secondary issue. As long as you do what you want you'll be happy. David R. ****************************************************************************** In article baba@samadhi.Tymnet.COM (Duane Hentrich) writes: >In article samurai@uriel.cs.mgill.ca writes: >>In any event, I assure you that Psychologists would think that sex with >>one's mother at the age of 15 is not healthy behaviour. >And I assure you that Psychologists(tm) find it disturbing when a father and >son wrestle with each other on a Sunday morning in bed in pj's. I could not >disagree with them more. I don't buy into their "authority" very much. Years ago, most, if not all, psychologists/psychiatrists believed that homosexuality was not healthy, i.e., that it reflected some type of psychological aberration that required a 'cure'. Over time this view has substantially changed (although I'm sure there are still a few psychologists who hold such a view in private). Though gay/lesbian/bi people still have problems with acceptance in our society, at least the label of "mentally aberrant" is no longer automatically applied to them by the mental health professionals like it was in our recent past. Thus, by this one example, it is clear that mental-health professionals themselves are susceptible to society's influences, paradigms and biases, even if it flies in the face of scientific fact and objective reason. I'm not saying that parent-child sex is therefore alright in *some* circumstances (the original thread leading to this reply), but what I am saying is that we have to be careful and think through very clearly before we label a certain behavior as *always* "wrong". That is, using the argument that society says it is wrong cannot be the *sole* reason to put the "wrong" or "aberrant" label on certain human behavior and practices. In this case, the 60's dictate, "Question Authority", takes on new meaning. Here, the "authority" is the blind dictates of society. This leads me to change the thread and present a related topic that I have become quite interested in because of recent personal experience, and that is polyamory. Polyamory is the belief/practice of simultaneously having more than one intimate, romantic/sexual relationship (not the best definition as my friends in alt.polyamory would say, but the briefest one I could think of - read the newsgroup alt.polyamory for a further perspective on this new way of viewing intimate relationships.) At the present, most psychologists would automatically assert that a person who is inclined to have more than one close and intimate romantic/sexual relationship is somehow "imbalanced" and will strive to "help" or "cure" such a person with the goal of assisting them to become "monogamous" as is considered "normal". (I have a good friend who is a very well-known psychologist in New Mexico and she basically agreed that most psychologists view polyamory in this negative light.) I assert that such thinking does not come from a valid scientific or objective basis. Rather, it comes from the extremely strong monogamous paradigm or message that permeates throughout our society, the basis of which can be traced to religious beliefs, tradition and custom - not necessarily the best bases upon which to decide what is "healthy" and what is "aberrant", particularly since our society has greatly changed in the last few decades to a form never before seen in human history. We cannot always effectively play a new "game" using "old rules". To summarize this long post and to present my belief on polyamory, I do not believe that polyamorous feelings/practice is in any way abnormal, rather it is normal and natural, and if properly regulated by a new set of social "rules" to insure that it is not abused (it seems that almost everything we do, even eating, is governed by social rules to prevent some type of abuse), that polyamory can be a very happy and fulfilling lifestyle for those who are inclined that way. I'll be interested in getting further perspectives on this. Jon Noring (BTW, I'm cross-posting this to sci.psychology in order to get the opinions of mental-health professionals (I am not one) on the topic of polyamory. Of course, I am willing to look closely at a different opinion by experts in the field and could even be persuaded to change my opinions provided the arguments are well-reasoned and compelling. Though everyone has a right to their opinion, I cannot personally accept as valid any argument whose *sole* underlying basis is "because society says so" for the reasons I cite above. Such an argument - one could call it "circular reasoning" - is used strictly for social control and conformity to the old ways of doing things and by its nature is hostile to looking at innovative ways to improve or engineer our society to bring more happiness and benefit to all.) ****************************************************************************** Date: Wed, 26 Aug 92 17:30:21 CDT From: [removed to maintain privacy] Subject: Re: Polyamory (was Re: Adults, Children and sex) (LONG) In article noring@netcom.com writes: >To summarize this long post and to present my belief on polyamory, I do not >believe that polyamorous feelings/practice is in any way abnormal, rather it >is normal and natural, and if properly regulated by a new set of social >"rules" to insure that it is not abused (it seems that almost everything we do, >even eating, is governed by social rules to prevent some type of abuse), that >polyamory can be a very happy and fulfilling lifestyle for those who are >inclined that way. I couldn't agree more. I've always intellectually held these beliefs, but for a long time I had wondered how I would react if I were to experience such a thing first-hand. As a result of a recent relationship with someone who is polyamorous, I now know that such things don't really matter to me. All that matters is how much I love the person. As for the question "could I be polyamorous?", I think the answer is "yes", but I don't expect to really know for a while (women I'm interested in are few and far between -- and *all* of the people involved in a set of polyamorous relationships need to have very good self-esteem). Lee ****************************************************************************** Marky writes: >[Story of talking with a class about his poly relationships and how much > opposition he got] > >I had one student come up afterward and thank me for sharing. Only one. :( >I was truly amazed at the lack of acceptance. I can only hope that in the >end love will prevail... It doesn't surprise me all that much. The acceptance of poly style relationships is VERY low in this society. I can remember a program on poly relationships on Donahue where the audience was almost universally hostile to the guests on the show. And this was basically the same group of people who on previous shows had been fairly receptive to strippers and prostitutes (ever notice how people are more accepting of "deviant" sexuality when there's monetary exchanges involved?) One particular exchange during this program brought home to me just how little understanding there is of the poly lifestyle there is in society: three of the guests were a FMF triad. A female audience member asked one of the women, "doesn't it bother you when you can hear your husband enjoying himself with another women?" And the woman responded, "No, I get turned on by it." The woman from the audience had this look of total shock and surprise on her face. You could tell that never in a million years would it have ever occured to her that someone could respond that way. This is how wide the gap really is. Chris Andersen ***************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 30 Aug 92 15:34:21 EDT From: [removed to maintain privacy] Subject: Re: Polyamory (was Re: Adults, Children and sex) (LONG) Bravo on a great article. I am currently living with 2 psychologists, and Boy oh Boy are they having fun talking to me about polyamory. They just don't get it. The strangest thing, to me, is that they are a lesbian couple and so should have a basis for understanding that discrimination based on sexuality can and does apply to things that are not abberrant or unhealthy. Sigh. Jennifer **************************************************************************** In article (Greg Connor) writes: >Do you usually find that you have one BIG relationship where all partners >have open communication lines to all other partners? Or do you have a >collection of twosomes with partners dividing their time (for example XY and >XZ spend time together, but Y&Z barely know each other)? For those of you >who have had BOTH kinds, which do you like better? Which do you find more >stable? The above questions triggered some thinking about past poly relationships that my wife and I have had. Usually, any involvement has been started by my wife and eventually the person has joined my wife and my relationship, but this has mostly occured on a friendship level. It has been very stable and very enjoyable for everyone involved. Recently though, my wife has become seriously involved with another woman. I have not met her yet, but I'm beginning to think that they are falling in love. This is not the standard friendship that we've seen in the past and has been forcing us to rethink and re-evaluate our relationship (in a good way). I guess to answer your question: I'm finding that the circumstances really dictate how the relationship will evolve... and talking about it helps. >Another (possibly naive) question: Do you usually find in your relationships >that there are 'dominant' pairings, and that one person may be more important >to you, (possibly the partner you have been with longest)? My wife and I have been the dominant pairing, but mainly due to the fact that we live together. If we weren't married or didn't live/sleep together, then the dominant pairing may be different. Again, circumstances have dictated this. >Or do you feel that favoring one partner over the other would be unfair? This is an interesting question... my wife has been feeling that she has been favouring her lover over me. She feels that this is unfair to me, yet I have no problems with this. I know that the two of them are early in their relation- ship and (like all new couples) need more time to become familiar with each other. This can cause a lot of stress if the other person feels ignored. I've tried to step back and be more a friend than a husband... hopefully this will ease her concerns and permit her relationship to grow with her lover. Brad Booth **************************************************************************** This post came to me, literally, in a dream. >[From talk show] > >Janice: Because my feeling is that by him being very close, sex is a sign, >I feel, at least with us, of being, um... intimacy and attachment to another >person, a sense of closeness to another person. And we are so close that as >he has that with somebody else that person in some way is close to me, is >brought into our relationship. > >Charles: Let me see if I can help out a little bit. The reason I care >is, for me, bisexuality is primarily emotional fulfillment, and I need >or desire close emotional attachment to both men and women. And for >Janice to be emotionally close to somebody that I don't know is scary. >I mean, what is it about this person that she likes, what is it that's >interesting, what is it that's attractive about them? So I want to know >this person and I want to feel like this is a good person that's >somebody I like as well. > >Geraldo: Does that sound real to you, or does it sound like just words >to justify extramarital affairs? > >UAM 2(F): It sounds like words to me, because I really don't understand. > >UAM 4(F): But Why do you have to go out to someone else? > >Charles and Janice (simultaneously): We don't have to. > >UAM 4(F): So why do you do it? > >Charles: Because we like to. > >UAM 4(F): You guys, I don't understand you.... These two incidents stuck out in my mind to the point where I was dreaming them, over and over and over. I mean, after all, what is the objection the audience has over doing "what you like to?" Notice the "Are these just words to justify extramarital affairs?" Justify to WHO? The audience? Why the f*ck do they need justification? To their partner? That's _obviously_ not the case, they're perfectly happy. Over and over I see that phrase, "I don't understand you." Help me, folks. Am I missing something? What's not to understand? Elf !!! **************************************************************************** I've been following this thread with some interest, wondering exactly how I was going to make my comment. You see, I've agreed in part at least with just about everything that's been said so far. If I was into partitioning and pigeon-holing, I could say I can partition people into the following groups : people I have met but know nothing about people I have known casually people I'm friends with people I'm close friends with people I love people I'm in love with BTW - the ordering of the above groups is not meant to suggest a hierarchy of importance or value. Now, over the years I have had sex with at least one person in each of the categories above. I certainly have developed preferences out of that list in terms of who I like having sex with, but nothing's engraved in stone. For that matter, I can also identify at least one person in each of those categories that I *haven't* had sex with. In terms of the three categories of Polyness that were in the original post in this thread, I'm a mixture of all three. I've had sleep-together friends. I've had secondary love interests. I've been in multiple long-term committed in-love relationships. I remember when I was a lot younger and still strugling to separate sex, love and being in love. I felt guilty whenever I had sex without being in love. I often confused loving someone with being in love with them. Now that I've evolved a bit since then, life's a lot more relaxed. A relationship is too complicated a thing to try to form mechanical rules about. Thanks to the Poly relationship I'm in, I know that no combination of sex, love, and being in love is going to be "legislated" against. The essence of being Poly for me is that I insist that each relationship is dealt with purely on its own merits. Of course there may be some times or situations where different relationships may begin to affect each other; but that's dealt with as it happens. Brian Arthur can tell us that the Rede of the Goddess is "Do as thou wilt, 'an it harm none" (or something close to that, anyway 8->). It's a good motto for polyamory. I suppose I can accept that many people (for whatever reason) seem to find some combinations of sex, love, and being in love appropriate, and others not. Fine, I guess - but make sure you're not doing yourself out of a perfectly fine situation for anything less than a good reason. Sex is good. Love is good. Being in love is good. All of these are good on their own, even if (as I think) they're usually better combined. Sorry if I'm treading on anyone's toes. I guess I've wandered off the thread a bit here. Back to your regularly scheduled programming. 8-> Joe Woodhouse ****************************************************************************** Outside of religious constraints, I don't see any solid reason to be monogamous, even in marriage. Of course, safe sex is important. I love my wife, I'm *spending* my life with her, she is my best friend, but I don't *share* all of my life with her, and she doesn't share all of her life with me. In fact, the more worthwhile relationships I develop, the stronger my bond is to my wife since I can then better enjoy her strengths that I am attracted to and which complete me, while getting my other emotional needs met, that my wife cannot satisfy, from others--I don't believe that one person can be all things to another, it is impossible. It runs counter to the prevailing thinking [monogamy], which is simply wrong, IMHO. Anyway, I don't expect most net.readers to see eye to eye with me on this issue, since monogamy is so embedded in our culture that people have trouble seeing that other alternatives are possible and that they can work very well. So far, polyamory has worked for me. Mike **************************************************************************** >Although I may not agree with everything that you believe in, what you do >say makes for an interesting discussion. I appreciate your open-mindedness on alternative lifestyles. And I understand your viewpoint, you are in the majority who believe in sexual monogamy as the only way to run a relationship. To best understand my viewpoint, I separate sexual intimacy from other aspects of relationships. Thus, I am committed to my wife, and have full trust in her and our relationship. I just don't include sexual monogamy between us to be a part of trust. In fact, I view that true trust is only possible when there are no rules or restrictions on the relationship. Any relationship based on rules and possession is by nature untrustworthy, thus true trust is not possible unless the relationship is truly open. Thus, if you look at the argument for sexual monogamy as being necessary for trust in a relationship, it becomes a circular argument. Of course, polyamory has its challenges, too, but most of them deal with the paradigm of monogamy that we are inundated with from birth. Just listen to most songs--there is usually some mention about monogamy, usually as being the only way, when in fact I and others have real-life examples that there is an alternative. Anyway, I am not saying these things to "convert" you or any of the net.readers, but only to share my thoughts and experiences on this. Every person needs to choose what they find most comfortable. However, I ask everybody to look closely at their feelings of uncomfortableness whenever they think about polyamory and ask the question...Why am I uncomfortable? Mike *************************************************************************** >What exactly does trust mean in this type of situation? This is very hard to understand. Part of the reason that polyamorous relationships are very hard to understand is that the concept of monogamy has permeated so strongly into all aspects of our culture, that even the definition of words have monogamous roots, so talking about polyamory using monogamous words is very difficult. >I think that this would be my A #1 fear in this whole type of relationship. >Does this ever concern you, or is that where part of the trust comes in? Yes. Communication, that is, not hiding anything from the other romantic partner (RP), is very essential. Even in purely monogamous relationships, totally open communication is essential. Everybody agrees on this. For example, suppose you had a close, monogamous relationship with a man, and he himself is dedicated to sexual monogamy with you. How would you feel if he told you that there was another woman that he flat-out is sexually attracted to, yet he says that he won't make any move on her because of his decision to be monogamous with you? I know many women who would kick the guy you-know-where for even entertaining the thought, yet if he didn't say this, he'd still be thinking about it. Thus, by hiding that, he is not really communicating. As a side note, I'll guarantee one thing--a vast majority of people are not monogamous in their thoughts and fantasy life, even though they may be monogamous, or at least strive for it, in their physical life. It is this dichotomy that causes some of the relationship problems we see today. [...some stuff deleted] I don't believe that a true, deep relationship is possible until both people totally give up the notion of "ownership" and the demand of some sort of "fidelity" to keep the "contract" alive. Looking at this another way: if I *truly* loved her, and she needed to spend more time with someone else for whatever reason, which, by the way, is none of my business because I don't own her, then out of that love I will give her the time to do just that. Demanding fidelity at all times to keep a relationship is not a very good way to run a deep relationship, is it? I know this all sounds very weird, but it's because of all the crazy paradigms that we were brought up with from the time we were born. >I guess in a way I would feel like someone "having their cake and eating it >too," so to speak. If it's possible for both people in a RPship to "have their cake and eat it, too", and are accepting of it for each other, isn't that the best of all possible worlds? >I would think that this is because, even though it may be done, it may not >yet be all that socially acceptable. Sort of like homosexuality. It is also >something that is out there, but yet, even though we all know it may exist, >some people wouldn't admit to being part of it. You hit the nail on the head. Imagine the hilarious scenario, which has not happened to me yet but has happened to some other of my polyamorous friends, of me getting a phone call from one of my wife's co-workers, whispering on the phone to me "Do you know your wife is fooling around with somebody else", and I answer "I know, she told me about him and I'm going to let her spend the evening with him. And she's letting me spend the weekend with one of my women friends!" You can imagine that person's brain has just short-circuited! [...some stuff deleted] ...There's more to a relationship than sex, and when a monogamous relationship demands sexual fidelity to be the basis of that relationship, that puts sex above everything else. The best relationships are defined by caring, sharing, etc., where sexuality is an important, but not the only, part of it. >...Then what's the point of getting married? Good question. Again if you *define* the concept of marriage to automatically assume monogamy, which most people do, then I'd ask the same question. However, if you define marriage to be a public statement that we are spending our life together, possibly for legal, financial and/or children reasons, then that's different. As I've said, my wife and I *spend* our life together, but we don't *share* all of our life together. >I would have to say that if both people can deal with the situation like >this, then more power to them. I would think it would take someone with >a very strong will to not get at least a little jealous. I don't think, >in my case that I could ever be that easy-going. If think that if a person >wants this type of relationship, then they shouldn't bother being married. >Unless, of course, the other person wants it that was as well. Exactly. An open, polyamorous relationship *has* to be two-sided to work. Comments on marriage given above. Jealousy does happen, but it is not usually healthy. Communication as to what and why we are doing what we are doing is essential. Excessive jealousy is always a sign that the jealous person has severe self-esteem problems. [...some discussion of differences in sexual drive between people.] Not everyone's sex drive is the same--in fact polyamory solves this aspect of a relationship, and usually improves it. If a person is comfortable with their sexuality, then they shouldn't worry about it and enjoy the sex when they feel like enjoying it. However, if a person feels that maybe there is something in their past that is making them uneasy about sex, such as teaching that sex is dirty or sinful, or coming from a dysfunctional family as examples, then I'd suggest counseling as soon as possible to find out what is the root cause of such feelings so they don't miss too many years from truly enjoying sexuality. Sex is too great to miss out! Mike ****************************************************************************** >Hi everyone, I've been reading alt.polyamory for a while now. It's been >very interesting and thought-provoking so far. I have a question to ask >of all of you. Do you (especially those who have done poly relationships) >think that it's important for each partner in a poly relationship to "approve" >of all the others? Or is each partner free to conduct relationships with >anybody they are interested in regardless of their partners' personal >opinions of the other partners? I suppose it depends on how the other relationships fit into or add to your current relationship with your partner(s). My wife and I share everything about any other relationships we are having. We do have a loose agreement that the other(s) get a chance to voice their opions on an impending relationship. By other(s) I mean all that are currently in our "family". Now, we don't have a hard and fast rule that says you must get agreement from the other(s), but just that it should be discussed. I've gotten a "I don't think you should" once from my wife. After listening to her reasons and looking at it from her view point I decided not to pursue the relationship. But it wasn't because she said "No", it was because she made sense (and saw some things that I didn't because of her perspective). In a good relationship, I think all actions of your partner(s) are up for discussion at any time. This tends to keep tensions from building up due to imagined problems. It is also a good way to keep jealousy to a minimum. Communication is one of the key ingredients in a successful poly relationship. Marky **************************************************************************** (No good nickname yet) writes: >Hi everyone, I've been reading alt.polyamory for a while now. It's been >very interesting and thought-provoking so far. I have a question to ask >of all of you. Do you (especially those who have done poly relationships) >think that it's important for each partner in a poly relationship to "approve" >of all the others? Or is each partner free to conduct relationships with >anybody they are interested in regardless of their partners' personal >opinions of the other partners? I suppose it depends on how the other relationships fit into or add to your current relationship with your partner(s). My wife and I share everything about any other relationships we are having. We do have a loose agreement that the other(s) get a chance to voice their opions on an impending relationship. By other(s) I mean all that are currently in our "family". Now, we don't have a hard and fast rule that says you must get agreement from the other(s), but just that it should be discussed. I've gotten a "I don't think you should" once from my wife. After listening to her reasons and looking at it from her view point I decided not to pursue the relationship. But it wasn't because she said "No", it was because she made sense (and saw some things that I didn't because of her perspective). In a good relationship (IMHO), I think all actions of your partner(s) are up for discussion at any time. This tends to keep tensions from building up due to imagined problems. It is also a good way to keep jealousy to a minimum. Communication is one of the key ingredients in a successful poly relationship. Peace and Love, Marky ********************************************************************** Yes Lisa, I know what you mean, and I welcome your voice here. Let me add a bit. I find there are two basic reactions from SO's or others to whom I bring up the idea of polyamory. 1: "You don't actually love me." If you really loved me you wouldn't think about anyone else. This sort of came up in a relationship I was in years ago. We had talked about the idea and she agreed sort of academicly or philosophicly, but expressed deeper discomfort she couldn't fully explain. One time while I was out of town she spent a sexual evening with another guy, and told me about it when I returned. I basicly said "I'm glad you had a good time while I was gone", and I think she was really disappointed. I think she wanted me -- on some deep level -- to be upset, to tell her I didn't want her to do this sort of thing, how I found it threatening to our relationship, and by not acting that way some part of her said "this proves he doesn't really love me, because people who are actually in love don't sleep with anyone else." 2: "You just want to sleep around," especially if it is a male bringing up the idea. This comes from the stereotype of the male who will fuck anything that moves and most things that won't. This one is a slamming door in conversation. Any protestations about it just being an alternate lifestyle, analogies to balanced diet (romance with SO) and occasional snacks (romance with others), or analogies to other forms of friendship (you wouldn't want to have only one friend, why have only one sex-friend?) come across as rationalizations and just wither and die trying to get past this one for most people. You're just an over-age hormone crazed teenager and you'll just have to put it out of your mind. Obviously these come from deep stereotypes in western culture, and most folks have internalized these rules to the point where they have a very hard time thinking about them criticly. It just "feels wrong" to them. Steve *************************** (Steve Scott Roy) writes: >Howdy folks. I've been reading this group for a couple of weeks now >and I thought I'd get a bit of clarification about what falls under >the general heading of 'polyamory', at least as you guys define it. >Didn't find it in the dictionary. Well, for me it's the ability to love (physically, emotionally, or both) more than one person at a time. My wife and I noticed many years ago (before we were married) that love and sex were in some sense 'inexhaustible'. Not that we couldn't get tired of either, but that giving love to person A did not reduce the amount of love one is able to give to person B (or C, D, E, etc.). Once we realized that loving someone else didn't reduce the love we felt for each other, it made no sense to maintain a monogamous relationship. As others have said here, communications is the key. We always let each other know when we're interested in someone. That way, if the relationship deepens, it's not a surprise to the other. It's worked for us for over 16 years, and we think it works better than monogamy (it certainly does for us). Roger Ritter ******************************* -- Charter Member of the INFJ Club. Now, if you're just dying to know what INFJ stands for, be brave, e-mail me, and I'll send you some information. It WILL be worth the inquiry, I think. ============================================================================= | Jon Noring | noring@netcom.com | I VOTED FOR PEROT IN '92 | | JKN International | IP : 192.100.81.100 | Support UNITED WE STAND! | | 1312 Carlton Place | Phone : (510) 294-8153 | "The dogs bark, but the | | Livermore, CA 94550 | V-Mail: (510) 417-4101 | caravan moves on." | ============================================================================= Who are you? Read alt.psychology.personality! That's where the action is.

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