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Polyamory

So as to not take over the other thread.

I do have emotional relationships.  If something happened and I or my partner wasn't able to have sex, I could work around that.  If our emotional/intellectual relationship diminished, it'd be over.  For me, the "connection" is the most important thing.  Sex is important to me, but it isn't defining - although bad sex will end a budding relationship.  I can usually tell by kissing styles.  I tend to work on the "connection" with people who I think will be good sex partners, so it goes hand-in-hand.  In a relationship, for me, what makes us "us" is the overall bond.

I avoid casual sex.  There's a high probability of first-time sex being bad because partners aren't in tune with what the other person likes.  I'm likely to be sexually monogamous, because for sex to be good (for me) it takes a few times with the same person and that wanders into emotional monogamy space.  However, I don't feel necessarily tied to either casual sex or monogamy.  

I dunno why I don't have a problem with open-ish relationships.  If people continue this dicussion, it may help me put it in words.  

bp... again... everything you just said.

i was always so against the idea of marriage for that exact reason.  everything we do even in the ceremony is a way of giving the bride (property of the father) over to the husband (to be his now), giving her the husband's last name (since she belongs to him), and even the ring and placement of the ring.  the ring is supposed to show that his power is strong and will never end (i think it was something like that?) and it goes on her left hand which is usually the weaker hand and on the "ring finger" which is a weaker finger in between two fingers meant to symbolize the father and husband, showing that she will ALWAYS belong to a man.

brittney and i didn't even have rings until christmas for this reason.  but then i sorta got envious of the fact that other people had pretty sparkly things so i got over it for the sake of vanity.  haha.  ;)

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also, if monogamy is programed or biological, then why wouldn't people be happy with one partner and not cheat/divorce/etc? most people don't practice true monogamy (one sexual partner). they do serial monogamy, which is essentially polyamory separated by time and space.

EXACTLY!  exactly exactly exaclty.

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bp, you are so smart.  i never took formal classes (on this topic).  all i know is how i feel and what i've seen and experienced.  but you know how to put it in logical, smart sounding terms.

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Oh crap! I thought you were supposed to be the wife that I didn't like? Now i'm confused? hehehe We're supposed to like one another too? Well, ok - it's back to the drawing board to hammer out a whole new plan i suppose - ha!  More, ...I'm your "husband-wife"? Hmm, i've never been someone's wife before - this could be interesting. Mind if i bring a pen and paper to take notes though, i'd hate to think i'd get anything wrong.

hey!  just because i LOVE you, that doesn't mean i have to LIKE you!  so we're all good!  no worries, put that hammer down!

also, yes... husband wife.  since i only have wives.  but it works for you too since you have wives... so we can be wives for each other.  but you're specifically the only husband-wife.  and take notes!  that's fine!  it shows that you really don't wanna mess up too much.  haha.  or something like that.

Ok! With such logic, you've sold me - hehe. 

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well, duh.  it's because i'm awesome and so are you!

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also, if monogamy is programed or biological, then why wouldn't people be happy with one partner and not cheat/divorce/etc? most people don't practice true monogamy (one sexual partner). they do serial monogamy, which is essentially polyamory separated by time and space.

EXACTLY!  exactly exactly exaclty.

It's way different!  Serial monogamy means devoting your energy to one person at a time.  That's not polyamory at all.  It's the opposite!  That's like saying, "Well, if I eat twenty slices of pie over time, then I might as well eat all of them right now."

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hey, i could totally go for a whole pie right now.

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but what  (i think) bp is saying is that if you practice serial monogamy then you are investing all of your emotions into multiple people so obviously you're capable of that sort of love, you just choose to do it with "time and space" separating it.  and as far as children are concerned, children understand love and they understand pure, unconditional love.  to them, it doesn't matter if mommies and daddies love many people because that makes sense to them.  but it does hurt them if their parents are "monogamous" but end up "cheating", fighting, divorcing, remarrying, "cheating", fighting, divorcing, remarrying, "cheating", fighting, divorcing, remarrying... over and over.  (not saying that all couples have cheating parties... just profiling one type of relationship... you could replace "cheating" with "things don't work out")

i know this from experience.  my dad has been married... four times?  he's married to future ex wife # 4 now.  he is a serial monogamous.
it would not have hurt me for everyone to be together and love each other... but all of the attachments i developed that were later ripped away did hurt.  (and i mean this in the form of i had step relatives who i never got to see again including a sister who died in january and i was never able to see her before she died... NOT the same as people dating someone a few times... i never got attached to girlfriends or boyfriends, but the people who were around long term, yes)

so, i am sorry bp if i'm misrepresenting your view, but what i got from it (also basing it off of my personal experience) is that the serial monogamy situation can be far more harmful to children than a commune type situation or people popping in and out only a few times.

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bp... again... everything you just said.

i was always so against the idea of marriage for that exact reason.  everything we do even in the ceremony is a way of giving the bride (property of the father) over to the husband (to be his now), giving her the husband's last name (since she belongs to him), and even the ring and placement of the ring.  the ring is supposed to show that his power is strong and will never end (i think it was something like that?) and it goes on her left hand which is usually the weaker hand and on the "ring finger" which is a weaker finger in between two fingers meant to symbolize the father and husband, showing that she will ALWAYS belong to a man.

brittney and i didn't even have rings until christmas for this reason.  but then i sorta got envious of the fact that other people had pretty sparkly things so i got over it for the sake of vanity.  haha.  ;)

Um.....Actually the placement of the wedding ring started out because energy wise, it is believed (in several traditions), that the left 'ring' finger is be on a direct channel (vein) to the heart. The ring, as it is unending, completes the cycle/circuit.... I have a few books w/ articles in them on this....unfortunately the only web-based research I just performed is coming up with unsubstantiated/referenced mooshy bullshit.

Also it wasn't until recently that it was discovered/confirmed that the ring finger is the weakest one.... I think my dad may have an old medical text from the turn of the 20'th century that still says the pinky is the weakest.

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Um.....Actually the placement of the wedding ring started out because energy wise, it is believed (in several traditions), that the left 'ring' finger is be on a direct channel (vein) to the heart. The ring, as it is unending, completes the cycle/circuit.... I have a few books w/ articles in them on this....unfortunately the only web-based research I just performed is coming up with unsubstantiated/referenced mooshy bullshit.

Also it wasn't until recently that it was discovered/confirmed that the ring finger is the weakest one.... I think my dad may have an old medical text from the turn of the 20'th century that still says the pinky is the weakest.

i have seen in several documentaries about the history of marriage that the placement of the ring was because the woman is thought to be weak and so it is on her weak hand.  and the ring finger was a weak finger, i didn't say "weakest".  it's not on the thumb, for example, which is a pretty strong finger.  i didn't know it was officially declared the weakest.

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but the current idea of "marriage" we have today (at least in the usa) is based more off of anglo-saxon beliefs.  what you're describing sounds more pagan.

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My general perception of it is that monogamy IS natural, evolutionarily speaking, in that it provides the greatest benefits toward raising offspring and securing a home.  I think polyamory is fine for single people who don't want kids, but if we extended that to the population at large, it would be chaos--children need secure attachment figures.  I think there is a natural propensity toward monogamy as long as there is the propensity to have families and pro-create.  

This is really funny, because P and I were discussing this whole topic this morning, and that ^ is basically exactly what he said re: the fact that he thinks humans are inherently monogamous. We have a longer gestation period, our babies need someone to be in their life at all times, and transient figures coming in and out would not be secure, and multiple people staying in would just be confusing.

I don't know. I mean, I'm still confused. Well, not confused, but I still don't understand, really. Like, I get what everyone is saying, but I'm not really feeling like my question is answered. BUT, I also must confess that I didn't read every word in all the replies. Are people disagreeing about the fact that polyamory is like wanting, and therefore taking, different things from different people? I feel like this could potentially be fine, if all parties were always in agreement about the open situation, and I feel like this is very, very, very rare. I tend to think that lots of people love the IDEA of polyamory (love the idea of lots of love!), but are not so comfortable with it once it occurs. Hm.

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ac,

i love the idea, but you are right... it definitely isn't for everyone.  heidi was the only person i was able to do it perfectly with.  our relationship flowed so smoothly.  we never fought.  we had this level of trust that was just so much deeper than i think i could get otherwise (unless you do it in the ideal situation, i don't know if you could know what i'm talking about).

i give everyone the option, but everyone else decided that instead of having an open and honest relationship, they just wanted to cheat on me.

*shrugs*  to me it's only cheating if they lie.  they lied their asses off, which never made sense to me since i would have just said, "oh, that's great!  make sure you're safe and remember that date we have next week so you don't break it!".  i guess they preferred the idea of my monogamy.

i don't see how being raised by multiple people would be confusing.  that sounds like a poor argument... like one that he was just trying to pull out of his head.  i, personally, was raised by my mom, my parents (dad and step mom), my aunt (mom's side), and grand parents (mom's side).  it wasn't confusing.  i had a lot of people to go to for whatever sort of emotional support i needed.  my grandma was good at late night talks, for example, but wasn't very nice or compassionate.  my papa was such a sweet man and always whistled when i dressed up and told me i was pretty.  my aunt was who i went to when i had something deep or troubling to discuss.  my mom is the brains... if i had intelligent conversations or questions that the others wouldn't understand, i'd go to her.  my dad is funny.  talking to him is light and refreshing.  my stepmom is not far from my age, she "gets" me and the things i do.

i guess maybe that could be what developed a polyamorous keri?  haha, i'm joking... but since ac and kmk keep saying they think it's like, "abc" in this person and "xyz" in that one, it sorta sounds like the situation i grew up in.

i would say that i only agree with that abc/xyz thing to a point.  EVERYONE has something different to offer, but that doesn't mean that the others were lacking.  just because i have an emotional connection to someone, that will never say that my wife is lacking in that sense.  maybe they touch that same emotional part but in a unique way?  maybe i like our time together?  that doesn't mean i don't equally enjoy the time i spend with brittney.  everyone is unique.  so, yes, someone might offer something different... but not in a superficial way (for me, at least).  i don't say, "she has the eyes and that one has the brains and this girl over here is good in bed".  i can appreciate people as whole individuals instead of just little bits and pieces of many people that fit together into one perfect human.

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gotta go to work, guys.  i'll be back in about 8-10 hours (depends on if we get slammed like last wednesday... and in that case it might be even longer!)

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This is really funny, because P and I were discussing this whole topic this morning, and that ^ is basically exactly what he said re: the fact that he thinks humans are inherently monogamous. We have a longer gestation period, our babies need someone to be in their life at all times, and transient figures coming in and out would not be secure, and multiple people staying in would just be confusing.

Yes, that's the type of thing I meant.  Like, species who are polygamous have way different traits and requirements.  Which isn't to say that a three-parent, one-parent, twenty-parent, etc., house can't raise children properly.  Of course not.  As long as there is a committed, defined role for the attachment figure.  I do think a child can get confused if there are too many/transient attachment figures, and that's based in science.  The type of attachments you form as an infant (secure vs. insecure) shape your behavior and personality for the rest of your life, and children with secure attachments are generally higher functioning.  

Also, I still echo AC's second paragraph.  That's pretty much where I am right now.  

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I'm talking about the history of the placement of and the ring itself....which does pre-date Christianity. The quick web search I did linked it to ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece.

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that sounds like a poor argument... like one that he was just trying to pull out of his head.  i, personally, was raised by my mom, my parents (dad and step mom), my aunt (mom's side), and grand parents (mom's side).  it wasn't confusing.  i had a lot of people to go to for whatever sort of emotional support i needed.  my grandma was good at late night talks, for example, but wasn't very nice or compassionate.  my papa was such a sweet man and always whistled when i dressed up and told me i was pretty.  my aunt was who i went to when i had something deep or troubling to discuss.  my mom is the brains... if i had intelligent conversations or questions that the others wouldn't understand, i'd go to her.  my dad is funny.  talking to him is light and refreshing.  my stepmom is not far from my age, she "gets" me and the things i do.

Well, I disagree that it's a poor argument. 1. It's not really an argument, but his opinion. 2. There's sound logic behind it.
I do, however, agree that it came out of his head. ;)

I also think that several lovers (lots of moms and dads, or mom and moms, or what?) is somewhat different from a close knit, healthy family.

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I'm talking about the history of the placement of and the ring itself....which does pre-date Christianity. The quick web search I did linked it to ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece.

that's true. but the meaning of the ring has also shifted over time and different cultures to mean different things. it wasn't until more recently that men in the US started wearing rings as a norm. and rings (esp diamond) got big because of debeers marketing efforts and their 'diamond is forever love blah blah" campaign.

i get lost in all the posts that happen and as i read them i think "oh i need to comment" but then i get lost and confused. i hung some shelves up this evening. so let's see.

first, there are a couple issues going on here: first, the definition of what we are talking about when we say "polyamory" is changing. Some people talk about having open relationships, multi-partner relationships, and others multiple wives/marital partners. these are all different things in terms of ideologies. for example, i believe that a lot of the situations where a man has more than one wife is likely reflective of the devalued nature of women in that culture. this is a MUCH different situation than, say, me and my LF having a relationship where we might see others in sexy ways. its comparing apples and oranges.

another issue is that how we (as Americans, i might also stretch it to "the west") view love has DRAMATICALLY changed. giddens "the transformation of intimacy" and cherlin's "the institutionalization of american marriage" are both good starting points to look at how in the past 40 or so years we have really flipped how we understand romantic/sexual relationship, partnering practices, etc. for example, cohabitation was rare in the middle class until it came around in the 60s-70s and EXPLODED in the 80s-90s (we are talking of a 1000% increase in the number of people cohabiting during this time - fucking UNHEARD OF). we can also see laws reflecting this change (the shift to no fault divorce being common occurred around this time). we moved from a companionate model of marriage/relationships to an individualized model. things are very different with how we want/desire/understand what it means to love someone now, and the general position of society is "do what you want while it is good for you" (this is gidden's pure relationship oversimplified)

Re: humans being monogamous on their own. i believe the evolutionary bio stuff says this of women, not men, since women have less "shots" whereas men are at an "advantage" to go out and knock up as many women as they can. so under this theory, women are monogamous, men are not. but, whenever this idea comes up in class, i say that these are theories based on the little information we can guestimate about the lives of people who lived a long time ago. we can't interview them. we can only guess how they went about their lives. i also think these theories are too "sweeping" in terms of erasing cultural variation and class distinctions (if/when they existed). there is anthropological research that suggests that gender relationships and sexual practices vary a lot. in some societies, the genders live apart. in others, they don't. in some, they have same sex sexual relations at some points in their life but not in others. some partner with one, others with many. using the evo theory, how do we account for such diversity in gendered sexual relations?

and RD is correct about my comments about serial monogamy being poly just separated by time and space. that statement might have been a little too out there. its a concept i picked up some some more of the theoretical stuff i've read.

Anyways, i agree a lot with AC's comment about how its a good idea but people can't do it in practice. i've seen only a few and i've even had one poly relationship in the past that fell apart due to secrets and shit (not on my side, though, baby).

I also think that several lovers (lots of moms and dads, or mom and moms, or what?) is somewhat different from a close knit, healthy family.

what is a "close knit healthy family" here? are you talking about the normative understanding of a family? i can see there being different KINDS of families and as long as they are healthy in their relating, i don't see how there is a difference. except for the social values/expectations.

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This is really funny, because P and I were discussing this whole topic this morning, and that ^ is basically exactly what he said re: the fact that he thinks humans are inherently monogamous. We have a longer gestation period, our babies need someone to be in their life at all times, and transient figures coming in and out would not be secure, and multiple people staying in would just be confusing.

Yes, that's the type of thing I meant.  Like, species who are polygamous have way different traits and requirements.  Which isn't to say that a three-parent, one-parent, twenty-parent, etc., house can't raise children properly.  Of course not.  As long as there is a committed, defined role for the attachment figure.  I do think a child can get confused if there are too many/transient attachment figures, and that's based in science.  The type of attachments you form as an infant (secure vs. insecure) shape your behavior and personality for the rest of your life, and children with secure attachments are generally higher functioning. 

Also, I still echo AC's second paragraph.  That's pretty much where I am right now. 

vegan:  "of course humanity was meant not to eat flesh.  look at ...(insert anecdotal evidence here)"
meateater: "that's crazy.  anyone can see that humans are made to eat flesh, simply look at (insert anecdotal evidence here)"

the Christian:  "of course Christ is the savior and the one true way...(insert anecdotal evidence here)"
atheist: "that's crazy.  it's obvious that life is just a random occurence (insert anecdotal evidence here)"

my point being in that before engaging in these conversations - we tend to already have our pre-defined beliefs.  We'll then introduce facts/theory/etc to validate the foundation on which our belief systems rests.  Further, we might try to find reasons to explain away why perhaps someone does not follow a methodology that we see as "a given".

maybe we weren't predisposed to be anything, meat eaters, vegans, Christians, Hindus, atheists, monogamous, polyamourous (i'm sure i said that wrong).... maybe we simply are what we are, simply - the culimination of our thoughts/actions/deeds/

almost seems like that whatever the topic is, the words change, but the arguments (used loosely, for lack of a better word) never really do.

interesting at that.

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:now!:
well, duh.  it's because i'm awesome and so are you!

Oh my dear RD, testify.... :P

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