Ask Polyamory Paradigm

Check out my new question and answer blog!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

High Fidelity

"How can you sleep with more than one person? Don't you love them?"

How many times have I heard those words. Which are often followed by the comment, "You are basically cheating on them but they know about it. You just sleep around and don't care?"

Among the responses I use a favorite is, "The relationships I have are fidelitous. Just like monogamous relationships are supposed to be."

The conversation usually degenerates from there, often with the other person expressing disbelief. Those of you who have been poly for a while and are reading this have probably been in the situation, or one similar, I'm sure.

But what surprises me most is the number of people who have a hard time putting Polyamory and Fidelity in the same sentence. Somehow, somewhere, Fidelity got mated with the concept of sexual monogamy.

So are Polyamory and Fidelity concepts that are incompatible?

We know what Polyamory means right? Basically, multiple loves.
And Fidelity? Webster defines it as ". . . The quality or state of being faithful".

Hmm, Faithful eh?

From Webster again, Faithful means ". . . Steadfast in affection or allegiance".

From those definitions it sure appears that Polyamory and Fidelity are compatible concepts, even complimentary some might say.

Some terms used today to express the concept of relationships that incorporate both Polyamory and Fidelity are; Poli-Fi, Poli-Fidelity, Poli-Fidelitous, Polyfidelity, Polycommitted, and probably others I've never heard or can't think of right now.

Interestingly enough while writing this article and doing a bit of reading I found that although Polyfidelity today typically means a group that is sexually exclusive, the term has traditionally had less to do with sexual exclusivity and instead indicated a group marriage type situation. Several articles I found went so far as to say Polifidelity wasn't a term commonly used in the Polyamorous community. A statement with which I would strongly disagree today.

Personally I consider all of my poly relationships to be fidelitous, regardless of the terms used. All of my partners will know about any other partners I may have. They usually involve commitments and/or rules, which we all expect to follow and be followed. I think that fits the concept of fidelity pretty well. At least as well as monogamy, to which polyamory is often compared in the situations mentioned above.

What do you think? Are Polyamory and Fidelity concepts that are complimentary?

Or is it impossible to have a Polyfidelitous relationship?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poly toys for boys!

This article really isn't about Polyamory. It will also probably be full of raunchy humor, sarcasm, and gender generalities. I may even stick my tongue out at you, roll my eyes, and say "whatever" repeatedly.There, you have been warned. Continue reading at your own risk!

Oh, and for those of you still reading but wondering why that paragraph above is even there, it is because this is a Poly blog. And I hate it when I go to a topic specific site or blog and they are talking about something completely unrelated. Hence the disclaimer above. I at least try to save people from reading an entire article before they realize it wasn't on topic.

Now, to the fun and games. Sex toy discrimination! It is rampant, widespread, and shows no signs of stopping. The end of the world could be near. I believe those are the clapping hooves of the four horsemen's' steeds I hear!

We have all heard the jokes; Men think about sex every six seconds or something ridiculous like that whereas women only think about it every 40 seconds. Or jokes about how men are perpetually horny. Men will sleep with anything, anytime, anywhere. Men are a bunch of dirty animals who want nothing more than to stick their . . . . .oops. Sorry, got a bit excited there. I think you get the point. All joking aside, most people believe men (particularly when younger) are hornier than women.

So the $100,000 question of the day is; Why do sex toys for women outnumber sex toys for men 2 to 1?

With my own highly scientific method of statistical examination and extrapolation quantified by blah blah blah I went to a popular unnamed site and looked through their online catalog. Excluding porn flicks, condoms, lubricants, stimulating creams for either sex, and clothing, because honestly I don't know which sex those are targeting, I counted the number of gender specific sex toys. The results. . . . . Toys for women outnumber those for men by 2.3 to 1.

That actually didn't surprise me much. I had realized already that there seemed to be a lot of 'insertables' in toy catalogs. Being a guy who doesn't mind some stiff competition (insert laugh track here) it never bothered me. But I also hadn't thought about it much. But once I did, I thought about things I hear frequently from women, "Men are the ones designing sex toys, just like bra's, and they don't know what women want. They just think bigger is better." or "That thing is huge. It must have been invented by a man."

Wait a minute. Men are the hornier of the two sexes. Men are the ones inventing sex toys. And they are inventing women's toys instead of men's at the rate of 2.3 to 1? Nope. Something doesn't compute. For the first two statements to be true; men are hornier and are the ones inventing the toys, then my highly scientific results are flawed.

So I randomly picked two more websites that sell toys and once again counted. The results. . . . . Toys for women outnumbered those for men 3 to 1!!

Further quantifying the findings is that if men were designing sex toys why would they design so many for women? Seriously, who knows what a guy wants better than a guy? And if he has the ability to design a toy for a woman wouldn't he also be capable of designing one for himself? Why would they be spending so much time on toys for women when they could be making toys for themselves?!

That calls into question the two statements; Men are the hornier of the two sexes, and men are the ones designing sex toys.

Well, the actual number of toys I can somewhat quantify because I can count them. But I can't positively state men are the hornier of the sexes. And though I could probably prove or disprove men are the ones designing sex toys, I'm not going to. I'm busy writing, and now that I'm thinking about sex toys once this article is done I am going to. . . . . . . Take a cold shower.

Further complicating things was something I noticed a lot on the toy ads: ". . . small enough to fit in your purse" and some even disguised as lipstick.

That doesn't make any sense either. If guys were designing toys they might be small but they would come in a carrying case with the logo emblazed on the side. Maybe a picture too. Think about it; golf clubs have big bags, guns have big cases, big sports duffel bags, briefcases, etc, etc. When guys have something cool they put it in a big bag or case and carry it around proudly so everyone else will know what they have. And if the thing won't fit in a bag they buy a pickup truck, put the thing in the back and drive it around so everyone can see it.Ladies, if guys had their way your vibe would come in a hard sided case the size of a steamer trunk on golf bag type wheels with lights, a stereo system, a beer tap on the side, and the logo in flashing neon.

And if you don't buy that, then believe this; there isn't a guy out there who wants you to hide your vibe discreetly in your purse so you can take it to the ladies room with you at break time. We want to know you are using that sucker in the hopes we can listen, watch, help, or the batteries will die while we are standing there.
Remember, we are horny all the time.

Ok, I could go on and on but my sides are hurting from laughing so hard so I'll wrap this up. Despite all the humor here, crass and more refined (if there is any), I seriously wonder why toys for women outnumber those for men. Maybe women like to masturbate more than men? Hmm.

Any ideas? Is there a piece of data I'm missing here, or something I overlooked? What do you think, why the disparity in the numbers? Should I be institutionalized for wondering about such things? Tell me your thoughts. The good, the bad, the sarcastic, the discount coupon codes for great shopping sites. Comment and be heard!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm poly, lets have sex!

If you are Polyamorous you have probably had a conversation with someone who thought Poly meant you slept around with whomever you wanted. Maybe they confused Polygamy or Swing with Polyamory. After talking a bit the two of you were probably able to clear up the confusion, no harm done.

But have you ever had someone who knew you were Poly approach you for sex? Someone who maybe had the same confusion as the person mentioned above? Interestingly conversations with those people seem to take a different direction, sometimes ending with hostility. I'm reminded of the saying: I'm Bi-sexual, Poly, horny, and I'm still not having sex with you! (Or something close to that).Although I doubt that saying is used, when a poly person in that situation rejects the proposal the aggressor usually responds something like "What's wrong with me? I'm not good enough for you?!"

Let's take it to a different level. How about the person who knows you are Poly and approaches you in the interest of starting a relationship. Again, let's pretend you aren't interested.This is an interesting variation of the original scenario I mentioned. This person knows you are Poly and able to start a new relationship basically anytime you like. But like the second example above, they don't understand why someone who is completely available to having a relationship wouldn't be interested in having one with them. Again the result is often some form of hostility.

The common thread is the misconception that because you are Poly you will entertain any reasonable offer from just about anyone. I have a hard time understanding why people think that way.

Thinking about it from a different perspective; Do monogamous people who are single think that any other single monogamous person will entertain the idea of a relationship or sexual encounter? And if so, why are there so many people who spend hours at the bar Friday night only to end up going home alone?

In many ways Poly people are no different from anyone else. They aren't going to be attracted to anyone and everyone. And despite the fact they are very possibly available for a relationship that doesn't mean they will have one with anyone and everyone.

The funniest thing is that I've overheard men (obviously ones who haven't had sex in quite a while) saying things like "Poly chicks are easy" or "Poly chicks will 'do' anyone". I find that funny because anyone who has had a relationship with a Poly person (regardless of gender) will probably be happy to let you know that poly relationships are a lot of work. Sometimes more than monogamous relationships!

So what about you? Have you ever had people approach you from the perspectives mentioned in the examples above? If you turned them down, what was their reaction?Or, am I wrong? Will you entertain an offer from anyone?

Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I want what I want and I want it now!!

Do you know what you want from Polyamory? Maybe a nice poly household with another couple and a few kids? Maybe a regular set of relationships but not a community household?
And if you know what you want, how are you going to get it?

I talk to quite a few folks who have an idea of what they want but often they can't be specific. They know they want a poly family, but not exactly the components of that family. Or they want multiple relationships, but aren't sure how it would look when completed. I'm used to those answers. So I was caught a bit off-guard by a couple I was talking to recently who know exactly what they want.

They have an idea how to achieve it. A plan for exploring relationships and determining if they have potential. A guide to how and when they will discuss rules, sexual relationship design, household integration, etc. When meeting a couple, which they are trying very hard to do, they quickly assess the situation and try to determine potential fit. They are hard pressed to let the relationship develop slowly and prefer to start having conversations right away. They also feel a need to have regular communication with a potential couple so they know there is progression of the relationship.

The problem here seems to be, they know what they want and they go after it. That intensity to find what they want and go after it aggressively is apparently to much for a lot of people. Many of their attempts have resulted in failure for a variety of reasons. Maybe because things are moving to fast, maybe the other couple doesn't feel as if they are in a 'dating' situation yet, maybe the energy just doesn't develop. Pick a reason, they have probably seen it. The result is that they continually feel as if they have 'failed' finding what they want because the relationships never develop or dissolve quickly.

I found this very interesting because most of the relationship failures I hear about are the result of someone not knowing what they want, their inability to be clear about what they want, or making mistakes trying to attain what they want. And failures I do hear about are often not considered 'failures' by those involved. Forgetting poly for a moment, even monogamous people can search for years to find a mate and experience a succession of failures.

So I'm curious now how people out there feel. Would you rather spontaneously click with someone and figure it out as it develops? Or would you prefer someone (or a couple if that is what you are looking for) who knows exactly what they want and will actively pursue it?

Does mild aggressiveness scare you off or do you enjoy someone (or a couple) who is a bit more aggressive?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Date night and holding hands.

The other night I got to hang out with a group of polyfolk that I know fairly well. Of about 25-30 folks I would say I know about 15-20. Being a social setting but also a known poly gathering, there is quite a bit of poly talk along with just casual socializing.

This particular evening I noticed something interesting. A woman I know that we'll call Lucy was there with her boyfriend we'll call Rickie. Lucy's girlfriend Ethel was also there with her boyfriend Fred. Now, I've been around Lucy and Ethel a few times so I know how they usually act in public. But I've never seen them with Rickie and Fred around. What I noticed was that Lucy and Ethel really didn't interact with each other much which I can only attribute to the guys being there. I found that interesting because everyone there was openly poly.

Why would the girls feel the need to step back from each other with the guys around?

Unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to ask and really it is none of my business.

What it did do was make me think once again about how I want to act in a social setting where more than one of my partners is in attendance. I really don't want anyone to feel left out or neglected and I don't see any reason they should. Of course, if I'm attending with a particular person and expecting to go home with that same person I will show them respect. I won't be snogging in the corner with someone else all evening. At the same time, if one of my other partners is there I'm not going to ignore them. I'll most definitely talk to them, give them a hug and a kiss, and may spend some time with them. And I would expect if any of my partners SO's are there, they would do the same.

I think for me a part of Poly is being able to openly display affection for my loves when they are around. To deny my feelings just because more than one of my loves is around, or because we are in a social setting just doesn't seem right.

What I'm curious about is how you react in a social situation where more than one of your partners is present. Do you change your behavior at all? And when multiple members of your poly family are attending an event do you designate one person as your official date for the event?

Maybe even a better question would be; How do you (or would you) react in a situation like I've described if one of your loves wasn't paying you much attention or obviously withholding affection?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Poly pickings at the skin show.

Recently, and those who read my blog regularly will recognize the theme here, I found myself in a conversation with a couple about their Polyamorous lifestyle. Without going into a lot of detail this couple is struggling a bit with Poly and as also seems to happen sometimes I found myself in a counseling type of role.

So here we were just chatting away. . .

She: We go to strip clubs sometimes.

Me: Oh?

She: Yeah, we find partners that way.

Me: Really?

Him: We have a hard time finding people we both like. And finding Poly people.

She: So we go to the strip clubs and look until we find someone we both like.

Me: Uh-huh

She: So then I go to them and give them a business card with our information. I tell them we might like to have massages or something. Or give them a massage.

Me: Okay. . .

She: I let them know we might like to hire them, for massages or whatever.

Me: So these are the strippers you are approaching?

She: Yeah, dancers. I tell them we would like to hire them or maybe party with them. Well, but, if we party with them we will give them some money if they need it.

Me: Um, okay.

Him: We have met some nice people that way.

She: And we let them know we want to have a relationship with them. So like, this one woman we had a relationship with, it went pretty well but she got demanding.

Me: Demanding? What do you mean?

She: Well, she wanted more and more from us.

Me: I don't understand what you mean.

Him: She wanted more money.

Me: So you were paying her while you were in a relationship?

She: No, not paying her. Just giving her money if she needed it. And we gave her lots of gifts. Stuff she needed.

At that point the conversation refocused on why my mouth was hanging open for so long.

My brain was screaming at me: "They are hiring prostitutes, having an ongoing arrangement with them, and calling it Polyamory!!"

I honestly didn't know what to say at that point. Even worse, it really turned me off to the point I wasn't even that interested in continuing our meeting. I did so as nicely as possible and have been social the few times I've seen them since then. Sadly I liked and felt somewhat attracted to them both but after that conversation there is no way I would enter into a relationship, particularly a physical one, with either of them. In my mind they just aren't safe anymore.

Disclaimer: I'm not at all saying prostitutes are bad people or that there isn't cause for their services. Nor am I saying all strippers or exotic dancers are prostitutes. And 'safety' is a personal decision which used in the context above refers to the safety of the couple in question, not the prostitutes or strippers.

But I digress. What really stuck in my mind was the thought; if you are paying someone to have a physical or emotional relationship with you that isn't Polyamory. It is prostitution. As much as I tried to comprehend the idea I just couldn't come up with a way to call what this couple was doing Polyamory.

It got me to thinking what my limits might be when it comes to finding loves. Would I pay someone to have a relationship with me? Jokes about a guy "paying for it anyway" aside, the answer is no. Never. Nuh-uh.

What about someone in the Swing lifestyle? I wouldn't cross them off the list just because they were a Swinger but it would require some serious conversations. I would need to know our relationship was more than sex, at a minimum.

What about fishing in the Monogamy pond? I have but when I do I'm pretty up-front about being Poly. Before the first date actually. I've had mixed results doing that and it definitely isn't my favorite place to find a love.

Fortunately I socialize in a fairly liberal crowd where folks are not only comfortable talking about their lifestyle but very accepting of all lifestyles. I also try to remain active in the Poly groups near me. Though some have an incestuous feel, some don't and make for a nice place to meet other Polyfolk for potential dating.

So what do you think? Was the above couple engaging in prostitution or was what they were doing okay? Would you ever try to start relationships in that way?

And what limits do you have? Do you completely stay away from the Mono pond or another group? Have you ever made the mistake of fishing in the wrong pond?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jealousy vs. control

Recently I've had a few conversations and written a bit about the topic of jealousy. I'm pretty confident in saying that most people experience jealousy at least once in a while. I can also confidently say that while most people don't enjoy the feeling, many believe it is a natural part of human psychology.

What I want to try and do here is explore a fine distinction between jealousy and control. And yes, this is the disclaimer where I let you know I'm not a psychologist although I play one in my mind. I enjoy casually reading and studying psychology and social behavior. In actuality this probably makes me the worst person to talk about psychology, someone who knows just enough to be dangerous. Wanna come lay on my couch?

Ok, back on point please. As I said, I want to "try" to explore a distinction. I'm not sure I can pull it off in a blog post but, let's find out.

A simple conversation about jealousy probably won't reveal the detail I'm talking about. We need to look a bit deeper. As a start lets say you have a problem with your SO's OSO. Not something simple like their hair color or direction they stir their tea. Maybe jealousy of them physically since they are hot looking. Or maybe jealousy of them mentally since they are a rocket scientist and you're not. Something with a bit of depth.

Is it really jealousy?

Have you ever questioned your jealousy? By that I mean, you know you shouldn't be jealous. You aren't even sure why you are jealous. But you know, without a doubt, you are ripping your hair out setting the dog on fire tornado in a trailer park jealous.

Are you really jealous? What if it isn't jealousy. What if you are experiencing a lack of control in your life and/or relationship and don't know how to get things back under control. And because you can't have control you exhibit jealousy instead. Is this making sense? Think of it this way; Should you reward the child for good behavior, or punish the child for bad behavior? You can choose only one or the other.

Are jealousy and control like the example with the child? In other words; I will try to control you and our relationship positively to a specific outcome and if I can't, I will try to obtain that same outcome negatively with jealousy.

Now, I'm not saying this is always a conscious choice. I honestly think it is a subconscious thing at times. But how can you tell the difference? How can you tell when you are being "jealous" for the wrong reasons.

Sometimes I can't. I admit it. Sometimes I need my partner to look me in the eye and say, "You are being ridiculous". For me that is a big red flag that I need to take a look at my feelings.
When I really think about things, and drill down deep, trying to get past the superficial feelings to what is driving them I sometimes realize there is something else going on. Maybe I'm afraid of something, or maybe it is just some twisted moral value or norm I had forgotten about. But once in a while I can see it isn't jealousy I'm feeling, it is the lack of control. Or stated differently, the inability to govern all aspects of a relationship. That's the time when I try and take a step back and realize differences are what make partners interesting to each other. The thought that one of my loves may not do the same thing I would do in a given situation is what challenges me and keeps them interesting in my mind.

The result of the introspection is usually some intense conversation with my love that includes me admitting I'm not jealous, I just don't like something that is happening. If I can I will explain why, and what I might do differently. It also includes me letting them know that I support them doing what they need to do for themselves and I have no right to expect anything less.

So what are your thoughts? Is there really a difference between jealousy and control as I've described here? Is it possible one is naturally a component of the other? Have you ever been in a situation where you realized your feelings weren't jealousy but something else?

And a bigger question that I haven't even attempted to discuss here is; How do you deal with a partner when you believe their jealousy is actually an attempt at control?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Are you interested?

For this article I thought I would change things up a bit. So instead of Polyamory let’s talk about something else. After all keeping you, dear reader, interested is what it is all about. Right?

So let’s talk about keeping people interested. Specifically, keeping your loves interested. For ease of writing this article I’m going to take a male perspective for a while. I’ll save the tips for the ladies for another article. (Did that generate interest?)

These days’ guys, it is sometimes easy to forget your woman is a woman. Sometimes opening the door for a woman is met with a less than appreciative look. Women strive for equal pay and employment. We hear constantly about discrimination and harassment forcing men to treat women more often and in more ways differently. Even our households have changed. The days of a woman staying home to care for the kids while the man works are mostly gone. It is more common for both people to be working and the kids in daycare. Or even for the man to be staying at home while the woman works. I could go on and on but I hope you are seeing my point. I don’t begrudge the advances made in equalizing the sexes in the least but I do think it has slightly changed the landscape between them in unintended ways.

It is easy these days to look at your partner as an equal. To see them as someone who you expect to contribute equally to the household finances, household chores. Someone to accept equal responsibility. Once that happens maybe it becomes easier to expect that same equality in other areas. Maybe the woman can mow the lawn or change the oil on the car while the man washes dishes or mops the floor. So what happens when the happy couple we have been discussing crawls into bed at night? Should the man who was possibly the intimacy initiator in the past now expect that due to equality the woman should initiate? In the past maybe there was the thought that the man had worked all day and deserved comfort and attention from his wife but now with equality, should she expect the same? Or maybe, if they have both worked hard during the day, neither is more deserving?

Guys, this is where I want you to take a deep breath and stop thinking for just a minute.

I have led you down the wrong path to make a point. If you agreed with me up to this point you are in trouble. You are on your way to forgetting that the woman in your life is just that, a woman. Yes, she desires equality and respect. Even more, she deserves it. But most likely she also likes to be held and comforted. She may enjoy bubble baths and silky soft sheets. She probably likes the toilet seat down and the house to smell good. She may enjoy or even crave chocolate and wants to have a good meal once in a while that she doesn’t have to cook herself. Sometimes, maybe not all the time, she wants to feel like a woman. Not an equal.

Now let’s get to the meat of the thing. When a woman wants to feel like a woman, her man needs to act like a man. Forget about the equality guys. Forget about equal responsibility. Forget the last time she snipped at you and said “I can do that myself!” Treat her like the beautiful, sexy woman you desire.

You know those flowers in your yard? Yeah, the ones that look like weeds to you and you have no idea where they came from. Take 5 minutes out of your busy life, a pair of scissors, and go snip some off. Not all of them, just a few. Wrap them in newspaper and take them to your girl when you go see her.

Next time you stop in the convenience store for that 6-pack of Bud Light stop by the candy section and grab some chocolate. (No, not the cheap stuff, something decent). When you get home hide it in the pantry. Next time your sweetie makes a comment about how she is craving chocolate, give her the candy you bought. You will be her hero. Or even just give her a big kiss and the candy and let her know you were thinking about her.

Want something bigger, then use your brain and figure it out.

Here is something I tried recently. Tell your sweetie to go take a long hot shower and enjoy herself. While she is in there, grab the mattress off that single bed in the spare bedroom and drag it down in front of the fireplace. Get a nice fire going, nothing big just comfy. Take some of the votive candles lying around the house (you do have candles, right?) light them and set a few around the fireplace area. Maybe open a bottle of wine and have it nearby with some glasses. Don’t forget to toss the softest blanket (or two) you can find on the mattress. Setup should only take a few minutes. Now turn off the lights and go get your girl from the shower. Lead her down to the romantic spot you have created. Now this is important, get sex out of your head right now! You didn’t do this to ‘get some’ (though if that happens, yay for you!) you did it to pamper your girl and show her you want to spend time with her. Maybe all you will do is watch the fire and talk, maybe more will happen. Either way she is going to remember it, and so will you. And when you are done, clean up your mess! Do not let her do it! This was your idea, you clean up. Let her help if she offers but don’t just leave it for her, trust me on that one.

Want something crazier? Got a secluded spot in your backyard? Wait for a nice warm night and stay up a bit late with your girl. Flirt with her a bit; maybe have a drink to get relaxed. Then grab a blanket and take her out to that secluded spot. If she is a bit shy, take two blankets. One for underneath and one for cover. Enjoy the night air and have fun!

Those are just a few ideas and things I have tried. They may or may not work for you because every woman is different and has different ideas about romance and how her man can show he cares. My point is, treat her like a woman once in a while. You don’t have to go crazy, and you don’t have to try and be Mr. Romantic with a new idea every Saturday night. Maybe once a month, or every couple of months try to come up with something. And keep it simple. Don’t try to create results with a specific outcome, just try to create a nice setting. And don’t try to shower her with gifts like buying her chocolates or a gift every single time you stop at a store. That will get old real fast. Just once in a while, something thoughtful to let her know you think about her AS A WOMAN.

What you are doing gentlemen is keeping your sweetie interested.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Alone in the crowded poly world.

As a sort of continuation of a previous article I'm focusing on being a poly-single today. Or another description for those who like tags, being a Secondary.

What I heard recently were some mild complaints that being a single poly is extremely frustrating. It means you aren't prioritized in relationships at all. You will be cast aside, stood-up, and all but forgotten when your love needs to spend time with their SO or Primary. You are the last to be invited to a party or out on a date because your love does those things with their SO, not you. And even if your love had plans with you, when their SO squeaks they go running and you are left to fend for yourself.

I haven't really encountered this much myself though I have had partners who made it clear it was a huge concern for them. Once I explain I don't believe much in labels (such as Primary, Secondary, etc.) they relax a bit. When I further explain I prefer everyone involved to be equals, they relax a little more. Usually things calm completely when they see my actions and that I won't tolerate my loves competing or using time with me to compete with each other.

But is that really the problem referenced in the second paragraph above? I don't think so. I think the problem there is the person allowing someone else to control them resulting in feelings of being something of a second class citizen. If the person you love isn't making you a priority why are you with them? Of course we are talking polyamory here so there have to be reasonable exceptions. The SO is in a car accident; of course they should go be with their SO! But is it okay to break dates with you just because an SO is feeling needy? Hell no! And if that is happening, and you are staying in the relationship, then YOU are allowing it to happen. In my opinion if they are allowing their relationship to exist in that way they have no room to complain. Don't like it? Change it or get out!

I mentioned how I don't believe in labels and prefer equality. That is one way that I ensure all my loves are a priority. Yes, it puts the responsibility on my shoulders but I don't mind that. And in a relationship where I am functionally a Secondary if I don't feel my love is making an effort at equality and fair prioritization then I will exit the relationship. Why? Because even as a Secondary I have control over my relationships. Even if that control is the simple question of whether or not to have a relationship.

So what do you think? Have you ever been in this situation? If so, what did you do?

Or, am I completely off the reservation with this one? Should love be enough for us to overcome the frustrations mentioned?

Monday, May 3, 2010

What a cute white elephant in the corner!

I hope the title of the article made you smile, but also that you understand the idea of a white elephant in the corner. I would explain it here but I would much rather beat around the bush a while. ::laugh::

My writings are usually based on something that has actually happened. A conversation or action by someone around me. Sometimes a small, innocent comment by someone can get my brain spinning and considering unusual possibilities so I will write about those as well.

Recently I had the opportunity for the white elephant in the corner, whom I usually see coming out of the corner of my eye, to walk right up and smack me to the floor with its trunk.
Of course, as is usually the case, I deserved it completely. I had been ignoring him/her so it came over and got my attention. And as is usual when that happens, it causes a paradigm shift. (Maybe a good new term would be a Paradigm Slap?).

Enough fun. What I'm talking about is ignoring the obvious problem.

For example let's say your SO doesn't quite seem to be treating you right lately. They aren't paying attention to you like they have in the past. Maybe they don't thank you for the little things anymore like cooking dinner or mowing the lawn. When you notice this you start paying closer attention and see even more things that just don't feel right. Feeling a bit depressed you call your best friend and lean on their shoulder a bit. As time goes by maybe you feel your relationship is faltering and start to feel like you can't communicate with your SO anymore. Maybe you even start feeling a bit resentful that things aren't going well.


Look over in the corner. See the white elephant sitting there? It represents something you have ignored in this situation. Direct communication. Instead of letting your imagination start to run your relationship why not directly approach your SO and ask for a serious conversation to talk about what is going on? Instead of avoiding part of the perceived problem, your SO, approach them and the problem directly.

Not everyone avoids the white elephant. And not everyone avoids it in the same way. Even the above example isn't absolute. White elephants are everywhere. Cleaning up after our kids instead of teaching them to be neater, doing the work of a co-worker instead of confronting them, turning up the TV instead of knocking on the noisy neighbors door and telling them to quiet down.

The point I'm trying to get across here is that there is rarely only one way to approach a problem. And in relationships our avoidance and imagination often make the problem seem much worse. As simple as that sounds, seeing the white elephant in the corner is often quite difficult but in my experience once seen it shows me the path I need to take, or at least alternatives. And sometimes you know the elephant is there, you just can't see it clearly. Here are a few suggestions that may help;

-Talk to that friend whose shoulder I mentioned earlier. But instead tell them you have a situation you would like to resolve and can't seem to find your way. Ask them for alternative approaches to the problem rather than just sympathy.
-If the problem is with another person, approach them and ask for their help solving a problem. Let them know you are open to the possibility that you are the problem, or it isn't even a real problem just a perception.
-If the problem is with yourself, such as avoiding a difficult task, find your motivation. Maybe attach a reward to completion of the task. Something simple like giving yourself 30 minutes of reading a good book after cleaning the kitchen for example.
-Try writing down your feelings. Often if I write about a difficult problem or feeling I'm having I realize the root of the problem isn't where I thought it was at all.
-Ask for help here! Why not? Remain as anonymous as you like and ask for help here or on another forum. Just because you get advice doesn't mean you have to use it. And there are a lot of people online in many different places that have probably been in a situation similar to yours.

Sometimes ignoring the white elephant is a lot less fun than petting it and feeding it peanuts. And trust me, getting smacked by its trunk is never fun.