Change in all the areas of my life...

icesong

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It was an unusual weekend in that schedules worked out that Artist and I spent two consecutive nights together, one in my house and one in his. I wasn't surprised that Thursday was exceptional, as the... adrenaline relief? from my overactive imagination was totally a thing - so the usual dinner and Half Naked Cinema happened (most evenings he's at my house we go watch TV in bed for a while after my kid goes to bed, in an effort to not be too loud for my house, but the problem / glorious thing about that is that it often gets terribly hard to focus on the tv show at hand...) but the actual *connection* to the sex was amazing. I am actually working on a bit of FetLife erotica based on it, as it was a really fun example of how quote unquote "vanilla" sex can be everything but vanilla, mentally. And that would have been enough... except I was already supposed to go to his house the next night and bring toys, so I spent the day wearing my collar (in bracelet mode) and barely able to do anything but anticipate...

The tension between wanting to write about things so I will remember them and wanting to keep some things just to myself is interesting, sometimes, especially when it comes to kink. I mean, for one, I feel like I keep saying "this was the best ever" and even I roll my eyes at that; and yet there's truth there... truth in that the more we do this the deeper it gets, the farther I submit, the more pain I can take and turn into ecstasy, the more he knows how to... and this is going to sound utterly fucking woo, and yet I will swear on everything anyone holds holy that it is real... play with the energy between us to put me exactly where he wants me to be. And it's a side of him that I know that only I know... the funny thing is that since I've started going over to his house more I end up spending more time with ArtistSpouse and it's both awkward and delicious that they (ArtistSpouse) don't really see the energy between Artist and I, and probably would be surprised at how it plays out. But then I'm utterly sure that I'm the only one that sees that side of him, and anyone else would almost be surprised if they *did* see it. (Subtle dominance is totally a thing...)

I want to hold these moments to myself, because I know no one else would understand no matter how I write of them... and yet I also want to scream them from the rooftops because they're such peak moments of my existence. Maybe it's that I don't know how to believe they were real, they felt too outside the normal flow of the universe, outside the realm of possibility of relationship for me to quite process myself... but the bruise on my ass and the sheer languor I was left in on Saturday say that that happened. And how to reconcile the hand on my throat stealing the breath from my lungs and the sheer sweetness of the kiss on my brow? I said he was caramel - sugar that will burn at the touch - and it's still true...
 
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icesong

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Staff member
So I wrote most of this on another thread that I don't want to pull back up... but it seems to be a question that comes up a lot and I really liked my reply so I wanted to move it here and expand upon it.

@Ostrich (and the other poster, and others, both on and off this site) have asked "how is marriage special if it's not exclusive?" for me that's both a profound question and a beside-the-point one. I don't, actually, assume that marriage is special *because* it's marriage - I've known too many people who were in terrible marriages, for one, and on a lot of levels it's just a word that attempts to describe something as universal that actually means different things to every single person who uses it (including, sometimes to their detriment, people who are married to each other...)

Part of that is religious, of course... but if anything I find the idea of there *being* a mystical aspect to it a really good way to end up in a relationship that's not actually good for anyone, in a "But this person is my soulmate" / "I made a sacred vow" / etc leading to excessive compromise sort of way. ___I am not saying that is always true___ just that it seems an idea that leads to bad outcomes.

All that said, my relationship/marriage with Knight is special because it is _unique_ to us. No one else in the world was _there_ in the same way for all these years, no one else in the world _can_ ever be my first partner again, no one else in the world will I ever share a child with again. It’s impossible for anyone else to know me and relate to me in _quite_ our particular way. No one else’s arms will ever feel exactly the same around me, no one else will ever kiss me in the exact same way or be able to understand my thoughts and feelings from quite the same perspective. How could that not be special?

But here is the thing that will perhaps lose the more mono people reading this... My relationship with Artist is _also_ special because it is unique to the two of us - it has built and continues to add particular feelings and dynamics and understandings that could not exist between any two other people in the world.

As to why it is better to be married than not... philosophically I consider marriage to be more of an formal expression of what a relationship already _is_ than an independent state, regardless of the legalities. Knight and I lived as married and thought of each other as that level of life-long partners long before we signed the paperwork; I watched my parents live in the legal state of marriage my entire life when their actual relationship had died before I was born. So when I say it is better to be married than not, I’m referring to the _relationship state_, not the formalities. (And, I believe it is possible to have the relationship state with more than one person, though I wouldn’t say I do at the moment. Haha, “say I do”...clearly I haven’t had coffee yet.)

Anyway, I think the thing that that _relationship_ of marriage gives me is _trust_. Knight has always talked about it as “who do you want there on your worst day?” I would say it’s not just who do I _want_ there, it’s who do I _know_ will be there, in the same way I _know_ the sky is blue and gravity makes things fall down. I _know_ that even if we hurt each other - and we do! we’re only human! - we will do whatever it takes to _fix_ that hurt. I mean, really it’s the essence of the better/worse/richer/poorer/sickness/health thing; just without the “forsaking all others” part.
 

Ostrich

Member
icesong, thank you for posting this up.

This going to be random, so fasten your seat belt.

Anyway, I think the thing that that _relationship_ of marriage gives me is _trust_. Knight has always talked about it as “who do you want there on your worst day?” I would say it’s not just who do I _want_ there, it’s who do I _know_ will be there, in the same way I _know_ the sky is blue and gravity makes things fall down. I _know_ that even if we hurt each other - and we do! we’re only human! - we will do whatever it takes to _fix_ that hurt. I mean, really it’s the essence of the better/worse/richer/poorer/sickness/health thing; just without the “forsaking all others” part.
I have thought about this and here's what I've come up with for me. I trust DAG and I_know_DAG will always be there for me. That being said, I_know_Geyser will be there for me as well. Same way with Bama (if he only lived closer). To that point, I feel the trust and knowing DAG will be there for is kinda diminished in knowing Geyser and Bama would be there for me too. Love doesn't really scream 'special' to me, because I love DAG, Bama, Geyser, Onyx, Broadway, NYC and NC (the people behind these nicks, not the locations) the same. So in those two markers, the playing field is level.

To me, marriage is a legal construct, so two people who have (or think they have) some special relationship, can gain legal access to each others lives, literally. If DAG is on his deathbed, who gets to make the decision to pull the plug? Me. Beyond that, then what?

All that for this. I think it depends on ones definition of 'special' and what one considers to be special about a relationship and how best to preserve that specialty. Trust is a great marker. If you don't have it in a relationship, then to me, it's dead. Sex is not an end-all be-all for some folks, but it is very important to me, so it's one thing I use as marker.

But here is the thing that will perhaps lose the more mono people reading this... My relationship with Artist is _also_ special because it is unique to the two of us - it has built and continues to add particular feelings and dynamics and understandings that could not exist between any two other people in the world.
I really can relate to this. There are things that Geyser can do for me that DAG cannot. The same for Bama and NYC. However, I don't have sex with them. I think this is true with any relationship. There will be those who affect you in ways others cannot or will not. Basic friendships can have a lasting impact. The intimacy is there, but the sex is not. (this part of my argument may need a little work, so bear with me). I am looking at this from a high level. There are probably intimate details which will differentiate the commoners from the nobility, but from my POV, I'm not seeing much which could significantly differentiate one special relationship from another. So yeah, sex would be a huge differentiator for me.

OK, I think I've established myself as a cynic. At least I accomplished something for today. lol
 

icesong

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Staff member
I'm not seeing much which could significantly differentiate one special relationship from another.
I guess the thing I don't really understand about this question (whether yours or from others, not trying to put you on the spot) is what does that differentiation do for you? Like, what is gained by having one relationship that is set aside like that? I mean, I never really got having a "best" friend either, so trying to set aside one relationship as "special" doesn't entirely make sense to me. Like, there are circumstances where I might promise that same level of commitment I have to Knight to someone else, whether that's Artist or not, and I can see Knight doing the same... from what he's said, Artist doesn't necessarily feel that Artist and ArtistSpouse's marriage is "more special" than our relationship just because there are financial/practical entanglements there, nor do any of the people I speak of *want* it to be.
 

PinkPig

Active member
I read this when you posted it on the other thread, icesong. It really resonated with me. I was in a monogamous relationship for 25 years that very much turned into a prison for me. The legal piece of paper kept us together way past the expiration date of the relationship. It kept us together through his addictions, my affair, his abuse, and the codependency/ toxicity that was our relationship. I won't do that again, the legal paper or staying when I should leave.

That doesn't mean I'm not committed to my partners. Nor does it mean that each relationship isn't special and unique. Because they are! I don't consider any of the people in my life replaceable regardless of the title I give them.

Each and every day, I choose my partner/s. I renew that commitment to each of them, every.single.day. To me, that is what true marriage is... not a piece of paper that legally binds me to someone, or declares one relationship more special than another, but choosing each day to commit to my partner and to my relationship... choosing to commit with no safety net.
 

Ostrich

Member
icesong,

I guess the thing I don't really understand about this question (whether yours or from others, not trying to put you on the spot) is what does that differentiation do for you? Like, what is gained by having one relationship that is set aside like that?
It gives me a sense of 'place' and a sense of knowing I have some type of 'special' relationship. I almost said 'security', but realized I am working on my insecurities, so at some point, 'security' would be addressed in the future. Of course, it depends on ones definition of 'security'.

As far as sense of 'place', if I feel like I am one of a dozen, two dozen, one hundred, then there is no specialty to it, therefore, no 'place'. Because I see most other aspects of my relationship with DAG as open to others, sex fulfills the sense of 'place'.

Or maybe a more finer point on it: I feel left out when DAG has sex with others without me. Since I feel left out, then why am I in this marriage? What's so special about it now? I've probably gotten anvilicious on this point, but sometimes I don't think I say it enough. I can't say this enough either: sex is not anything like playing squash.
 

icesong

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Staff member
I suppose I can understand that, on some levels, but it's so foreign to my (current) experience/understanding of relationships that I have to stretch pretty hard to empathize. Maybe it's because I came to poly partially to *detangle* myself from my relationship a bit, without losing it - the idea of Knight having things that were his that I wasn't part of, and vice versa, was very very attractive. If you're not coming to this from that sort of place I could see other people having different-but-objectively-similar relationships that include markers of "special" with "your special person" being very destabilizing.

(There was some unstability about the first few years of this for us, too, but honestly at this point that's, like, 95% gone. It's wonderful.)
 

Vicki82

Member
I don't know. I think relationships are special and unique for just the way you said it, icesong. People aren't replaceable for the simple reason that there is no one out there who is just like you. That is special in and of itself.

A year or so ago I wrote a post about what marriage means within the context of a nonmonogamous relationship, and it still feels true for me.
To me, marriage isn't just about a legal agreement. It's not just about who you have sex with. And it's not just about children, or security, or couple's privilege. It may be about all those things, but to me, it's something more. It says to me, I want to share this journey with you. I love you and accept you for who you are now, knowing that we will both grow and change over the years. It says to me, I will make sacrifices for you as you make them for me, because our relationship has intrinsic value and we want to invest in it and each other. The point is that we want to grow old together and be life partners. We not only love each other, but we choose each other every single day. We share love and passion, tears, anger, and everything on the spectrum. He's my best friend, and I'm his.

That is special. Who we have sex with means very little beside the commitment of actually sharing our lives.

Not to mention... whatever markers you use to decide something is special only have as much meaning as you actually put into it. Special in a relationship, to me, isn't something that is a label. Special is a choice that we make to invest in that relationship. If you sit back on your laurels in your "special" relationship, it could very easily end up in the 50% of marriages that wind up in divorce. Special only goes as far as you create it.

Just my thoughts anyway.
 

Inaniel

Active member
Marriage... I have read a lot of beautiful personal philosophies about the word. Everyone has a way of redefining the term for themself.. It is a ubiquitous misconception that marriage is self-defined. Marriage is an institutional word. A way for societies to define and enforce a standard on sex and relationships. Marriage IS defined, legally defined...

After the butterflies flutter away and we comedown from the highs of beautifully romantic fanfaronade. We are left with the institution (ink on paper); it doesn’t give a damn what we feel or think.. We do not have the privilege or the right to define marriage for ourselves..

Not that I am jaded or anything...
 
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HaloOnFire

Active member
We do not have the privilege or the right to define marriage for ourselves..


Respectfully, I disagree. I think marriage can be defined by those in it, however, they must do the work in order to make that happen.

ETA the following: Marriage as a legal entity is defined per the state. But that certainly is not all that is marriage, and boiling down to nothing more than "the institution" just shows they don't get it. Fortunately they have neither the privilege nor the right to limit how we choose to define marriage for ourselves.
 

HaloOnFire

Active member
Tell it to the judge..


Well, in all inherent fairness to the judge, they have to go by what the law says. And while judges in the past have gone off script, they pay a heavy, heavy price for doing so.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Marriage... I have read a lot of beautiful personal philosophies about the word. Everyone has a way of redefining the term for themself.. It is a ubiquitous misconception that marriage is self-defined. Marriage is an institutional word. A way for societies to define and enforce a standard on sex and relationships. Marriage IS defined, legally defined...

After the butterflies flutter away and we comedown from the highs of beautifully romantic fanfaronades. We are left with the institution (ink on paper); it doesn’t give a damn what we feel or think.. We do not have the privilege or the right to define marriage for ourselves..

Not that I am jaded or anything...
Eh, if the word or the legalities are the problem - which obviously they are on some level, I don’t disagree and occasionally have qualms _about_ the legal side of things (I live in one of those “lovely” states that still occasionally has a judge award an “alienation of affection” judgement, for instance…) I still think one needs a word for the “intentional commitment” portion of the experience that’s laid on top of the legalities. Or substitutes for them, along with some extra paperwork, in situations where people want that bond with more than one spouse. Still, if it makes it resonate more, feel free to substitute “handfasting” or “commitment” anywhere in my writing, if you wish.
 

Inaniel

Active member
I live in a common-law State... If I walk hand in hand with each of my partners; and presented each as my wife. I would likely be prosecuted for bigamy, a felony in my State...

I don’t have the right to use the word. Those who align with the institution already, or at least closely enough, they can play around and have fun with the word. When you are in the club it can be hard to see the disenfranchised.
 

PinkPig

Active member
Count me in the jaded category, too. I spent years married. Won't happen again. I see the value of a legal commitment when raising children. Though that can be done at least as well, in my opinion, with just a legal contract. I do really enjoy reading how others define their marriages, especially yours, Vicki :)
 
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Ostrich

Member
Vicki, I'm taking a completely different view of marriage. First, I am very happy for you about your relationship (I am assuming you are married, based on your post above).
A year or so ago I wrote a post about what marriage means within the context of a nonmonogamous relationship, and it still feels true for me.
To me, marriage isn't just about a legal agreement. It's not just about who you have sex with. And it's not just about children, or security, or couple's privilege. It may be about all those things, but to me, it's something more. It says to me, I want to share this journey with you. I love you and accept you for who you are now, knowing that we will both grow and change over the years. It says to me, I will make sacrifices for you as you make them for me, because our relationship has intrinsic value and we want to invest in it and each other. The point is that we want to grow old together and be life partners. We not only love each other, but we choose each other every single day. We share love and passion, tears, anger, and everything on the spectrum. He's my best friend, and I'm his.
I'll argue that I can have all the things you listed without being married. The only difference for me being a gay man, is having kids. I think (it may depend on the jurisdiction) marriage makes it easier for same sex couples to adopt kids, but other than that, I can have the same things you listed without being married. So again, my differentiation is sex. If I can have sex with others outside of our marriage, then why be married at all. From a legal standpoint, I'll refer back to the adoption portion. I think the legal aspect of marriage makes it easier to adopt kids and I have some authority to be executor of my spouses estate, should they be incapacitated to make decisions on their own, but that doesn't answer the emotional side of marriage and what makes it special for me.

Again, this is what I see for myself. It's great to read others POV. I'm trying to sort things out for myself, and I'm not really seeing anything major which makes a marriage special over non-marriage, other than sex. Again, if sex is not exclusive between two people, then what?
 

icesong

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Staff member
Sex is a _lot_ less of a commitment than building a life together. I mean, I’ve had sex with people the day I met them, soooooo…
 

HaloOnFire

Active member
I live in a common-law State... If I walk hand in hand with each of my partners; and presented each as my wife. I would likely be prosecuted for bigamy, a felony in my State...

I don’t have the right to use the word. Those who align with the institution already, or at least closely enough, they can play around and have fun with the word. When you are in the club it can be hard to see the disenfranchised.


While I think you probably have a legitimate beef about the criminalization of bigamy/polygamy, however using that to take the piss out of how people celebrate their marriage is nothing but sour grapes, imo.


Also, the person bringing up charges of bigamy would have to actually prove that in a court of law. Anyone overhearing you say that could not use that statement as "evidence" because that is heresay. Additionally, anyone who has ever dealt with that will tell you that is an extraordinarily expensive and heinously tedious route to take. And while there are those who are willing to die on such a hill, whether or not they have the funds to do so is another matter entirely.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Again, this is what I see for myself. It's great to read others POV. I'm trying to sort things out for myself, and I'm not really seeing anything major which makes a marriage special over non-marriage, other than sex. Again, if sex is not exclusive between two people, then what?
Also, I may be misremembering but I thought you said you were open to group play or shared partners, so it sounds like even the sex part is more negotiable than what you're saying here?
 

Inaniel

Active member
While I think you probably have a legitimate beef about the criminalization of bigamy/polygamy, however using that to take the piss out of how people celebrate their marriage is nothing but sour grapes, imo.


Also, the person bringing up charges of bigamy would have to actually prove that in a court of law. Anyone overhearing you say that could not use that statement as "evidence" because that is heresay. Additionally, anyone who has ever dealt with that will tell you that is an extraordinarily expensive and heinously tedious route to take. And while there are those who are willing to die on such a hill, whether or not they have the funds to do so is another matter entirely.

I think you and I are coming at the argument from different angles.. Perhaps, I have served to somewhat deflate your emotional sail, which you find offensive. I cannot think of any other reason you assume my purpose here is to deflate people. This is a platform for idea sharing and I do not slander, so it must be my ideas you find offensive?? You need not gaslight with accusations of ill-will in order to dismiss my perspectives. You can simply block my username and you wont be inconvenienced any further.

I cannot speak intelligently about legal matters as I am not a lawyer; however I have been advised by one. The way my State defines common law marriage includes “how people hold themselves out to the community”. Hearsay is quite literally incorporated into the legal definition of common law marriage here, as crazy as it sounds. Additionally, the State can take up bigamy charges, it is not always a salty ex. Admittedly a rare action, although so is my relationship style… While it may be rare over the entire population, it may not be so rare for people in my position…

I think people who align with the marriage institution can find freedom in it. But what about the people who the institution rejects? Can an institution that rejects people ever be considered free? Would a University that rejects blacks, browns, and queers be free? In the country where I live, interracial and same-sex marriage has been illegal longer than it has been legal...

What I observe on this forum are a lot of people with multiple loves trying to rationalize the idea of marriage in their own lives. I ask myself how those opinions would be different if we were not collectively programmed and legally bound by the institutional definitions of marriage as it is today; how would our perspectives change if freedom in marriage were real?

For example, marriage is the legal enforcement of couples privledge. And as a community, we typically try to do away with couple’s privilege. From my perspective, I see people struggle to navigate around marriage/couples privledge issues and it feels a bit like ignoring the elephant in the room… I am not calling anyone out by the way, it is more of a macro-community observation.

The only personal perspective I have shared is that we are not free to define marriage in our own terms... If I were to develop a case for this argument, I could find examples in both poly and mono relationships:
Prosecuted Bigamists
Prosecuted Polyamorists (who have had children stripped from their lives)
Prenup agreements that failed in divorce court
Postnup agreements that failed in divorce court

Ask people who the system has already chewed up and spit out if they were free to define marriage for themselves in the end… I am speaking less from an emotional standpoint here and more from a practical standpoint. Practically speaking, when someone tries to define marriage for themselves in a literal or legal sense they find out that one cannot subvert marriage law with a personal contract. It is a common misconception..

I acknowledge that if you align with the institution to a high degree, it probably feels like you have the freedom to define it for yourself, and technically speaking if someone aligns with a groupthink, they are in fact “free” to have those perspectives because society protects the group think. If I were to revise my position maybe I would say marriage is freely defined by some, and others are excluded. Those who are excluded and trying to share a life with multiple loves are left trying to explain away the elephant in the room…

Of course, I do not want to be excluded from the club. So jaded, I am. But not ill-willed… I am sharing my truth, as I see the world. I do not know what it means to “take the piss out people”, but I can say that I do not have ill-will for anyone here. I appreciate the exchange of ideas here. You can file my opinions away as “nothing” as you already have. Admittedly, I do the same for some of the perspectives I read on this website, too…
 
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