Philisophical Musings

of an agnostic polyamorous heterosexual artistic soul

Archive for the ‘Polyamory’ Category

Pendulums and Fountains – Poly vs Mono

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I have spent the last year learning the hard way…the only way(?)…that people who are ‘wired’ for monogamy really do see love in a different light. In the last year, my Butterfly and I have tried to establish a relationship 4 times. Each time, our efforts, as hard as we tried, were frustrated by some difference in the way we envisioned that a loving relationship should be. Our expectations, which somehow are very deeply grounded within us, were simply too different. Today I was reading a discussion on one of my Yahoo lists, and I came across this description of the different approaches between Poly and Mono outlooks on love:

I think I made the “pendulum” analogy in another post, so I’ll just summarize it
here. For me, the amount of romantic love that I am able to give is limited.
Like a pendulum swinging, if I devote all I can give in one direction, it’s not
going in any other direction. If I try to balance that pendulum in multiple
directions, it moves more toward the center, never really becoming too close to
either direction.

This is what romantic love for me feels like – that I have to dilute it if I
want multiple partners.

We all see things through the filters of our own experience. For someone who
feels this way, it stands to reason that when you are seen dividing your
romantic attention among multiple partners, no partner is getting a high level
of devotion and intimacy.

I realize now that for Poly folks like my partner, he doesn’t have a pendulum,
he has a fountain. And just like I can’t take the amount of romantic love I have
available and “turn it up” to a level where I could share it with multiple
people, he can’t “turn it down” without feeling like someone’s thrown a bucket
on top of the fountain to try to turn it off.

I realize pendulums and fountains are apples and oranges, but that’s the point.
We love SO differently, that it’s not even the same type of animal, and that is
a very hard thing to come to understand. It means understanding that what you’ve
been taught about love your entire life isn’t always correct, which then means
that any assumptions you ever had about loving relationships get turned on their
heads. You have a road map in hand because that’s what “happens”. Except now,
for the person you’re with, it doesn’t. Now what? You’re in unfamiliar territory
with a map not worth a darn, and it’s frightening. It takes a lot of will to
grab that machete and make your own path forward, rather than turn around for
the comfort of the familiar.

Sometimes, I am not really completely sure if I love like a pendulum or a fountain. I would expect that I, in my most ideal state, would at least want to be a very large fountain. At this point, I can still often be a ‘selfish little fountain’. But then I just think of myself as the ‘selfish little fountain that could’…could become very large and selfless. Makes me think of the song by James Taylor: Shower the people you love with love.

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Written by Philoman

October 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Primary & Secondary SO’s? Why?

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Reading through a message on the PolyMono Yahoo group, and this paragraph struck something in me. I know we are human, and we will always have jealousy…we will always compare ourselves to one another. But, being a person who tends to deal ‘well’ with jealousy, I wonder why it has to be so difficult. I am always trying to find the right words to use to explain the way I think, but I am new to this whole world of loving-more-than-one-person-at-the-same-time and I have not yet built up a large enough vocabulary for myself. I still rely a lot on what others have to say.

As far as your hurt in feeling that you are losing your primary status and becoming more equals with L, unfortunately, I can not be much help. I personally, prefer thinking of T as my equal in my Angel’s heart. I never want to be ‘primary’ and have an OSO be ‘secondary’. For me, that would be too painful. I would never want to feel that I am less than someone else. That would be heartbreaking to me. Because I would never want to feel that way, I never want another to feel that way either. I can accept and be content in knowing that my needs are important enough to my Angel that he will always consider them and to his best to fulfill them, just as he does with T. That way I know that he will always continue to do so. If he were to place me above her (who he has been with longer), then I would also know that the day could come when he might place another above me. For me, it is better to know that he will always try his best to make sure that all of his loves are as loved he as he is capable of loving them.

This is the kind of thinking I can appreciate. This is putting yourself in the other persons shoes, which, in relationships, can be a tough job. But it makes so much sense. And it goes for all of us…of course. If I feel I should be more important to my lover than someone else, that I should take some sort of priority over another, then I must also accept the possibility of ending up at the other end of the bargain…namely that the ‘other’ becomes a higher priority over me. And if I then say “well, then I don’t need to be with this person”, what does that say about the type of love you have for your lover? What it really comes down to then is a selfish love: I am not getting what I want out of this relationship.

It is OK to ask yourself if you are getting out of a relationship what you want out of it, and it is good to walk away from it if what you are getting is not enough. But then, you also need to really ask yourself “why was I in this relationship in the first place?”

Personally, I do not like the idea of Primary/Secondary SO’s. No one is above another, and no one is really more important. Certainly, a relationship should not balance on the answer to the question: “Am I as important as the other?” I long to be in relationships where I can assure my SO’s of my love for them, even though they might not, at every moment be sure of it. I wish for partners who choose to be in a relationship with me because…they like being with me.

Written by Philoman

September 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Triangle Theory of Love: Poly Style

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In my continuing search for the meaning behind words like ‘I love you’, I came across this article which I feel sheds some light on the meaning of love especially within Polyamorous relationships. To read the entire articel, which I would recommend, go here.

Here are some quotes out of the article which I like:

…unfortunately, we live in a society that over-values and over-idealizes the consummate love… or what I think people would classify as ‘true’ love. Anything else just is lacking and not worthwhile. I personally think that Consummate Love is rather rare, and likely not sustainable over the long term for most pairings. 

…Well.. of course, it’s not quite that easy…[ ]…Yes, indeed .. it can happen. But it can also cause envy in an existing companionate relationship to see you off having a fatuous, passion filled relationship with a new love. It takes a few extra tools than just understanding that these different types of relationships exist, and a lot of those tools come from having a lot of self-confidence in all parties involved, as well as good communication. 

 …I think there’s an innate drive in us… probably programmed in from society, that is always wanting to hold up our relationships to be complete and balanced. Even in polyamory

Written by Philoman

August 3, 2011 at 8:40 am

Polyamory is …

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“To me, being poly is not about having more than one lover, it’s about loving more
than one person. There’s a difference. I want more love in my life, and I
suspect that if this has happened twice for me, it will likely happen again. My
husband is not jealous… he knows that I love him deeply and will not leave
him. In the meantime, allowing life to proceed with enthusiasm and
anticipation, free to believe, free to create our own relationship structures as
individuals, couples, triads, and more, is very profound.”

– User, YahooGroup livingpolymono

Written by Philoman

March 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Couples in Conflict

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Love without limits by Dr. Deborah Taj Anapol

Written by Philoman

March 9, 2011 at 10:09 am

Drawing the short straw

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Relationships are not easy. We all know this. Just making things work out with one other significant person in your life can be a challenge enough. Bring another person into the equation and your challenges more than double. And what is the most discussed challenge of relating to multiple partners? That would have to be jealousy.

I can only truly say that I am still in the learning stages of how to relate to more than one person intimately. Even when one is very open to alternative ideas, the challenges remain. I can find it relatively easy to adjust my thinking in a certain direction to accommodate certain realities, but it is sometimes hard to judge how other partners will react. Each decision involves multiple opinions, as many as their are partners.

A common assumption made concerning PolyAmory is this idea that someone in the relationship will be coming up short. Someone will pick the ‘shorter straw’. But is this really true? Is it really always a case of one getting less, while the other gets more? Is it even possible to build a healthy relationship on the idea that there is always someone getting a raw deal? My instinct says ‘no’.

I believe that to really practice PolyAmory, partners must build an understanding amongst themselves that there actually is (or should be) no ‘short straw’. Every person involved in the relationship, unless specifically agreed upon, has a straw of the of the same length. Or, alternatively, you could say that everyone gets the short end of the straw. Let’s just say there are different types of straws: ‘daily’ straws, ‘special’ straws and ‘lifetime’ straws. I know, this may be taking an allegory too far, but bear with me… I think it will make sense.

Let’s start with the ‘lifetime’ straw. If one chooses to be in relationship with another person, let’s say a monogamous relationship, there is a certain amount of risk involved. It might be a perfect match, but more often than not, relationships run into barriers and potholes which make relating difficult. But, let’s say that this monogamous relationship is working. In terms of the possible risks taken, you might say that both partners have ‘drawn the long straw’. They have both chosen for a situation where they can both be happy. They both have a long ‘lifetime straw’.

Now, say partner One begins feeling trapped, or feels a need to make changes to the relationship, but doesn’t know how. This partner starts feeling inadequate, or unhappy. In this sense, you could say that partner One’s straw has gotten shorter. After all, if one person is happy in the relationship while the other is unhappy, there is a sense of imbalance or unfairness. This feeling of unfairness is what I refer to when I describe someone as having ‘drawn the short straw’. Interestingly enough, if one partner starts to feel unhappy in a relationship, it doesn’t take long until the other also is affected and becomes restless…in effect, partner Two’s straw also starts feeling ‘shorter’. It is probably impossible to say, at any given moment, which partner feels that their own straw is the shortest.

Now, we move on to the part of the relationship where partner One meets another (unhappy) person, partner Three, and finds other needs met in that new relationship. Clearly, partner Two is not going to feel that their straw is any longer… if anything, it just got shorter…again. On the other hand, partner Two, in the new relationship, has found more happiness in life. One may assume that partner Three is also happier in the new relationship, so in effect, yet another longer straw. Now we are left with partner Two, wondering how short the straw can still get. Eventually, it is conceivable that, if partner One feels happier and more complete moving between two relationships, partner Two can also regain some of her happiness in the relationship. After all, what point is there to being in relationship unless everyone is happy? As I said, it is conceivable, maybe not probable.

Conventional wisdom tells us that, in order to be happy, someone will have to leave this relational equation (better known as a ‘triad’). But who is to say that conventional wisdom is always right? This same wisdom would potentially mean that one of these three partners will remain unhappy while the remaining two, whichever they be, supposedly become even happier. Granted this is certainly very possible, and maybe the only practical way to solve the dilemma, I believe there is another possibility, which might not always be possible, but definitely is viable: PolyAmory.

to be cont…

Written by Philoman

February 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

Security in relationship

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“Security for me comes not from being #1, whatever that means; but rather from trusting that I do care about my partner’s happiness, I am committed to seeing those relationships grow in ways that enrich everyone’s lives, and I am not going to pursue new partnerships that are destructive to my existing partners.” – Franklin Veaux in a dialog which offers insight into both polyamorous and monogamous world views.

Written by Philoman

August 31, 2010 at 9:01 pm