Saturday, February 11, 2012
Thanks for sharing!
No really. When was the last time you said "Thanks for being so open and sharing me with others"?
You do thank your primary partner, don't you?
I got to thinking about this the other day and while I appreciate the sentiment, I'm not sure I agree with it. I've seen thanking your partner recommended in some poly related books, and heard it from other poly people I know. I've even said it, paraphrased in one form or another, to more than one of the partners I've had in my life.
When I got to thinking about it though I wondered. . . doesn't thanking your primary for sharing imply that they have rights over you? That maybe they don't have to share you with others and it is a choice they have made? That's when I began to think maybe I don't agree with the concept.
At first this sounded like a very Poly thing to do. My partner is being open. They are sharing me with others. It is a beautiful thing that we can enjoy this type of relationship. Many people wouldn't be open to living this way so yes, I probably should thank my partner. Maybe even get some flowers.
Wait, hold on a second, we have a belief violation here.
See, I believe that being poly is inherent in my being. It isn't so much that I'm poly as Poly is what I am. Not being open to the relationship possibilities I can have with anyone just doesn't compute well for me. But that is a part of me, not my partner. I should thank them for letting me be who I am?
After pondering the idea a bit I have come to think that the concept comes from a monogamous mindset of ownership in a committed relationship. It sounds as if it is based in the tradition of believing there is some form of physical ownership in a romantic relationship. Sorry, but it really isn't something I believe in.
At this point I tried flipping things around a bit. How do I feel if my partner thanks me for letting them go on a date? In the past my response has been that they are welcome but don't need to thank me. I'm not the boss of them, they didn't need my permission, nor my approval. I respect them as a person, with all of their particular and peculiar needs, wants, and desires.
Where does this leave me? Honestly, with the same mixed feelings I had when I first started writing this article. I've had no epiphanies or change of heart. Although I don't think it necessary to thank your partner for allowing you to date someone else, I also don't think it is a bad idea. The next time I thank my partner, instead of simply saying "Thanks for letting me go on a date" maybe I'll say something like, "Thank you for letting me be who I am without trying to change me". In that way I can show appreciation without implying control or ownership. And I do think it is important to let your partner know that their participation in your lifestyle is recognized and appreciated.
Where are you at with this one? Do you thank your partner for letting you date others? And if so, do you feel there is implied permission with the gratitude?