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Old 11-01-2015, 03:23 AM
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Default Poly What?

Those of us who have been on a years long poly journey of some kind know full well that there is quite a learning curve involved.

But one of the most astounding and amazing things many of us will learn along the way is that, depending perhaps on where we live, there's a very good chance our friends, acquaintances and family members haven't even BEGUN to learn about what we're learning about -- including even the five syllable word -- and what it refers to.

I had this experience this evening, in which I told a friend visiting my home that I was having a difficult day because one of the people I've been involved with has sprung it on me that he may not be around much longer. And that's why I'm choosing to stay home while the rest of y'all go out and have Halloween fun. He is and was an understanding friend, but he is and was also a typical person where I live -- a person who knows almost nothing about polyamory -- including even the word.

It seems to me that the notion of polyamory has grown in great strides in recent history, but still most people have little or no recognition of the word and it's meaning. Likewise, too many people treat our feelings as if they are trivial or uninteresting. "Why would you be sad? You have someone in your life who loves you and whom you love." -- as if our pain or losses in relationship are unimportant and irrelevant because, well, we have somebody already.

Such a thought seems reasonable and plausible until one has experienced another perspective -- a poly perspective.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:42 AM
CheckedShirtMatt CheckedShirtMatt is offline
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Sorry to learn you've received this bad news, River. You have my sympathy.

I remember a few years back my straight brother being amazed that there was such a thing as an open marriage and that a couple he knew had one. As a gay man, where open relationships are nothing unusual, I was amazed at his amazement.

I guess if you're not poly yourself (or ever thought you might have been) and you don't know any people you know to be poly, it's not something that's going to cross your mind, hence the lack of understanding.

As with the gay rights movement, I think visibility is the key tool - once people know people with different relationship/sexual orientations to their own, that's when empathy and understanding grows.

One way to make people understand the emotions involved is to liken it to love for family members - no-one would think of trivialising someone's feelings for the loss of a sibling, because they had other siblings who were still alive.
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Old 11-01-2015, 01:50 PM
Norwegianpoly Norwegianpoly is offline
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I like to explain polyamory, or my way of it anyway, as monogamy plus. I have all of the feelings from monogamy, for two people. That makes my life richer and also a little bit harder.

Sometimes I explain that it is like having two best friends. You love them both dearly and if something happens to one of them, or in your relation to them, you are nok "ok" just because you have that other close friend.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheckedShirtMatt View Post
One way to make people understand the emotions involved is to liken it to love for family members - no-one would think of trivialising someone's feelings for the loss of a sibling, because they had other siblings who were still alive.
I'll nit pick a moment on the word "make" here, but it's not that important, I suppose. I'll just say that we never "make" others understand things, though we can invite and encourage them to.

The comparison to siblings is apt. One could also compare with very close loving friends. Most people can relate to such. In my view, a loving "romantic" partnership is very much like a very close friendship, only slightly different (and probably including more sex). In both cases there is a bond.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:41 PM
Norwegianpoly Norwegianpoly is offline
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I will very much advice against likening polyamory to having love for two or more siblings, children, parents etc. While it may make sense that you "love more", it also easily gives off a vibe of incest which is not an association you want people to make.
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Old 11-02-2015, 02:51 PM
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I will very much advice against likening polyamory to having love for two or more siblings, children, parents etc. While it may make sense that you "love more", it also easily gives off a vibe of incest which is not an association you want people to make.
I've heard the comparison to family and friends for a long time, and it never occurred to me to associate this analogy with incest, because it's just a rough analogy and the emphasis is on our ability to love multiple people. But maybe we should only mention friends, just so nobody twists things around in a weird way having to do with sex?Of course, I think of polyamory as something to do with love, not sex.

Will some people think, then, that we want to muddle up platonic friendship and sex? >sigh<
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:31 PM
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I think most people will associate it with sex because people usually have sex with people with whom they are romantically involved.

The title of this thread reminded me of a friend when he found out. He thought I was cheating on my wife. I explained to him that we were in an open marriage. He didn't get it because he is the possessive type in his relationship. Then, when I started dating Sprite he said I should move in with her because she lived close to the office. He uses women like that, I don't. I explained that it wasn't that kind of relationship; that she had a couple other boyfriends and a girlfriend. He still didn't get how everyone could be okay with this. I gave him an example: Sprite was going on a date with one of her BF's. They were double dating with BF's wife and the wife's BF. No jealousy, just two couples having fun. All he could think to ask was if they would then all go home and have one big orgy. Doh!
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:35 PM
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I've had people ask "Why did you bother to get married if you were going to have sex with other people?" Because apparently sex is the only component of a marriage, or of polyamory... I also had a friend tell me that she couldn't understand why Hubby "allows" me to do this, because she wouldn't even let her husband be friends with a woman he dated before they met. (And she thinks I'm the one who's messed up...)

I don't bother trying to explain polyamory, because at this point I generally only "come out" to people who I know already have an understanding of it or who will be tolerant enough not to ask ridiculous questions. I don't always use the word, though. I just say I'm married and occasionally have relationships with other men, where Hubby and my other partner know about each other and are accepting of the situation. Seems easier than trying to play dictionary.
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC43 View Post
I've had people ask "Why did you bother to get married if you were going to have sex with other people?" Because apparently sex is the only component of a marriage, or of polyamory... I also had a friend tell me that she couldn't understand why Hubby "allows" me to do this, because she wouldn't even let her husband be friends with a woman he dated before they met. (And she thinks I'm the one who's messed up...)

I don't bother trying to explain polyamory, because at this point I generally only "come out" to people who I know already have an understanding of it or who will be tolerant enough not to ask ridiculous questions. I don't always use the word, though. I just say I'm married and occasionally have relationships with other men, where Hubby and my other partner know about each other and are accepting of the situation. Seems easier than trying to play dictionary.
I read in your blog that you were upset with Hubby because he wants to keep it on the DL at work. I think this is exactly why. People act like idiots. That doesn't mean he's ashamed. It means he doesn't want to have to explain himself to people who don't understand.

My friend above kept going on and on about me "letting" Cat sleep with other guys. I finally told to him to shut up about it if he didn't get it.
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:25 PM
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It wasn't about Hubby keeping it on the DL at work. It was about him telling me to lower my voice when I was speaking in a normal conversational tone, outside, on a day when only two other people were even in the same area of the shipyard as us, one of them using a power tool and the other working on a dock several hundred yards away, meaning they wouldn't have been able to hear me in any case. No one who works with Hubby was there at all; he and I were the only ones.

It was also about his hesitating when I asked whether he was embarrassed, as if he had to convince himself that he wasn't. He says it isn't about whether *he* has to explain it; he claims he's worried about what people would think of *me*, and he refuses to listen when I tell him that first of all, what people think of me is my problem not his, and second of all, I really don't give a shit what anyone thinks other than him and my kids.

I agreed long ago not to talk about polyamory or my other partners to anyone in his family or any of his coworkers, so that wasn't his issue. He was worried about total strangers hearing me talk about one of my partners.
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