Input needed on crowdsourced article about couple privilege & polyamory

AggieSez

New member
Hi folks

A while back several people in this forum offered their ideas and tips on how to treat non-primary partners well in poly/open relationships. That led to my recent crowdsourced article on my blog SoloPoly, which has been attracting a fair amount of discussion in the poly/open community:

Non-primary partners tell: how to treat us well

I'm working on another crowdsourced article and would appreciate input from people in this community.

This time I want to tackle the phenomenon of couple privilege -- what it is, how it affects the poly/open community, whether it's a problem, how people are dealing with it, and how we could deal with it.

See: Couple privilege: Your thoughts?

I realize this is a touchy topic, since poly/open people hold a wide range of divergent and strong views on this topic. So I won't try to digest it into a tip list (as with my previous article), but rather present one or more articles that describe what's going on with couple privilege in polyamory.

In that initial call for input I laid out my thinking so far -- how I'm defining couple privilege, and some core issues and challenges it entails in poly/open relationships. I then raise several questions I'd like feedback on. These are:
  1. Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)
  2. How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships? (Examples)
  3. Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?
  4. How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.
  5. How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
  6. If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?
  7. If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?
  8. If you are a non-primary partner or solo poly/open person, how have you adapted to couple privilege in terms of how you handle relationships and what you’re willing to accommodate?

To respond, please feel free to comment here, or on my blog post, or in a post of your own (send me the link), or e-mail me (aggiesez@hotmail.com)

As with my previous crowdsourcing project, I'm open to input from anyone on this -- but I'm particularly keen on hearing from people who are non-primary partners in ongoing poly/open relationships, since our perspective usually isn't very prominent in discourse about polyamory.

If your respond, I'd appreciate if you’d clarify whether you identify as poly/open (or not), and whether you currently have a primary partner, and whether you currently are in a non-primary relationship. I’m happy to consider input from anyone, but that it crucial context for understanding your perspective.

Once again, I will not identify specific contributors — but as in my prior crowdsourced post on treating non-primary partners well, I will quote from selected responses.

Please feel free to share this request with your networks!

Thanks :)
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Do you believe couple privilege exists?
Absolutely and without question.

How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)
Prioritizing the needs/desires/preferences of the couple over any other partners.

How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships? (Examples)
Creation of boundary agreements that largely impact the ability of other partners to ever have similar depth/privilege/rights in relationship with either partner in the couple. Property ownership, decision making regarding vacations, weekends, finances, etc.

Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?
I think it's unrealistic to expect people to negate it without time to move towards the negation of it-
but I think overall it is harmful.

I think that it's MUCH MORE functional to prioritize privilege earned in terms of responsibility put in; not in terms of who came first.

For example: we (husband and I) have an agreement that specifies the amount of responsibility and privilege we expect from a person who is in any given role in our lives. We created the agreement so that we could communicate with one another more simply in terms of what we can expect from metamours regarding responsibility to the FAMILY SITUATION and to our partner as well as what privileges we agree go along with those levels of responsibility.

My boyfriend (who has lived with us for 10 years) has equal privilege regarding financial decisions (we are actually in process of purchasing an additional property in his name so that we can improve his credit-as he's never had a mortgage, major cc or loan).
He has equal say so in terms of safety boundaries (safer sex for example) that pertain to any "new" partners (of which he is not).
He has equal say in regards to where family vacations are planned and when and daily schedules, kids schedules, activities, chores etc.

By our boundary definitions he is in fact an "OSO" and has all the same privileges as a full member of our family.

There has still been "couple-centric issues" in terms of equality because of the fact that we got to poly via he and I cheating (3 years poly now). That has meant he and I regaining trust. One of the steps in that has been prioritizing Dh's need for date time with me as a first. That need gets met prior to scheduling date time with my bf.
However-this is a concession bf and I discussed and agreed to on account of our breach of trust.

On the other hand-if someone new comes into the picture as a potential-the amount of one-on-one time they get is significantly less than either my DH or bf gets with me-based upon our ability to "sneak in private moments" since we live together (we still only reserve one date night a week due to having kid/work/school obligations).
They are limited to one date a week one-on-one-which is the same as we get, but because they don't live with us-they miss the sneak-peak moments.

Once a relationship is established they earn more opportunity to spend time joining in family/social activities in addition to the date time.

As time passes, they can become more integrated and involved in the family and to the extent that they put in-they can "get out" of it.



How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.
see above


How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
I don't know.


If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?

If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?
It's a work in progress. We started with a disaster. I can't say it was even hierarchical-it was just a big clusterfuck.

But-our goal is to address issues as they arise individually and to respect each person in our family as an individual with rights and needs and preferences to be considered by all.
We work (not as a couple-but as a family unit with four parental like people) to prioritize each persons needs without exclusion of anothers. When it becomes impossible due to complete contradictions-we prioritize the kids needs first, then brainstorm the most equitable possible options.
We haven't gotten it fully on board with what we want yet-but we've come a HELL of a long way from where we started.
 

WhatHappened

Active member
Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)

Yes. I'd define it as putting the preservation of the couple first and foremost.


How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships?

In my situation, as a single woman seeing a married poly man, I see it mainly in the fact that our dates tend to revolve around his wife's plans. I see a lot of ways in which he has put my feelings and what matters to me on an equal or even higher level, which I suspect, reading here, is a little atypical.

However, there's that one major 'couple privilege' of the assumption that the couple will remain together, which tells the secondary from the start that this relationship can only go so far. Yes, a few do eventually move in and become co-primaries, but there are so many reasons why that wouldn't work for most people, that those numbers are very, very small and don't change the likely outcome of this secondary relationship can only go so far.

I have been told repeatedly that "I can't offer you more." (No, I wasn't asking, he says it in apology and in reference to other things.) So right from the start there is the mixed message of, "I really, really like you, I can't wait to see you again, I'd do anything for you...except that...and I can't see you tonight." In short, it can feel like, you're not really all that.

Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?

It's beneficial to the couple for obvious reasons. It's what allows them to believe they have enough security in the marriage to venture out.

For the secondary, it depends on many things: the situation and desires of the particular (secondary) person, and just how much couple privilege we're talking about (only the one rule that they won't break up, or an extensive list of rules and regulations?)

If the secondary has no desire to have this person full time, it's beneficial to know she's 'safe' from this guy suddenly wanting to move in with her.

In most cases, I'd say it's neutral at best, and usually harmful, to the secondary person. I think the reasons are obvious. You've got a third person dictating the terms of your so-called relationship.


How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.
  • Being told we can't get together because he's going out with her.
  • Knowing, always, at the back of my mind, that she does ultimately have veto power. In their case, it's more veto over being open at all than over a particular person. But that doesn't change the outcome for me, should she suddenly decide she doesn't want an open marriage any more.
  • Knowing from the start that I must keep my feelings in check because this relationship (mine and his) has an end point because he's married and intends to stay that way. I have no problem with this and in fact don't want to be the cause of breaking up a marriage, but I also have no intention of falling desperately in love with someone who will ultimately choose to be with me only on his terms.
  • Keeping my feelings in check means our relationship will never be all it could be.


How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
I don't feel I'm deep enough into the poly/open community to really know how it's viewed over all, or what needs addressing. But perhaps among other things what is needed is the honesty you mention. Honesty requires, in part, admitting that the egalitarian ideal works better as a theory than as a reality.

People need to believe that they can rely on their spouse. I won't even say know because I've seen too many examples, even here, of primary couples breaking up and one person re-marrying their secondary. But in relationships, any relationship, we have a need to believe we can count on someone else to continue being there and playing their role in our lives. We are not islands. We weren't made to be islands.

But it is this very promise to continue being there for one person that limits and often ultimately harms the second person who becomes very emotionally involved.

This is one of the fatal, inherent flaws I see in polyamory.


If you are part of a primary couple[/B] that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?

I'm not part of a primary couple, but my guess is that the ultimate reason is security: feeling they can each trust that the other will ultimately come back home to them.

If you are a non-primary partner or solo poly/open person, how have you adapted to couple privilege in terms of how you handle relationships and what you’re willing to accommodate?

I am less emotionally invested in the relationship than my BF is, for my own emotional protection. I enjoy his company very much, but I remind myself not to 'take it too seriously,' not to let myself become emotionally dependent on him, not to start expecting anything from him.

The longer into it I go, however, I find I'm less willing to accept, "Oh, sorry, Baby, I'm married" as an excuse for anything that would smack of telling me her wants and needs would always come ahead of mine.

I have reminded myself often enough that I can walk away from this anytime I don't feel I'm being treated with respect and concern, and I'm quite willing to.
 

nycindie

Active member
This time I want to tackle the phenomenon of couple privilege -- what it is, how it affects the poly/open community, whether it's a problem, how people are dealing with it, and how we could deal with it.
Hmm, I think your premise is a bit flawed. What or which "poly community" is being affected by this concept of "couple privilege?" I mean, all people who are polyamorous aren't paying for membership in a worldwide club nor confronting the same issues everywhere. Poly is just a structure for managing relationships, not a galvanized movement or community. Sure, there are local groups all over the place, but they are made up of people who all do their own things - can a concept such as "couple privilege" actually influence a diverse bunch of people who make their own choices about their relationships?

. . . I laid out my thinking so far -- how I'm defining couple privilege, and some core issues and challenges it entails in poly/open relationships. I then raise several questions I'd like feedback on.
I practice solo polyamory, and although I won't answer all your questions, I will answer the questions I feel moved to or able to answer.

Do you believe couple privilege exists?
Nope. There is no polyamorous authority that grants privilege to any particular poly group from on high, so where would such a privilege come from? Certainly there is such an attitude that many couples do have, but... actual privilege? No. It is imaginary. If couples act in a way that indicates a they have a certain privilege over individuals, it is basically because they think that's what they should do, and for whatever reason, they feel it is necessary for their "survival" as a couple. Or it is based on a misguided arrogance which leads them to think that anyone else they get involved with is only there to supplant and enhance what they have, while the individuals' needs are far less important. But the carrying out of such a privilege only happens if the individuals they get involved with also go along with it.

I personally call this attitude "revering The Holy Dyad," and I do find it distasteful. I would not get involved with anyone who operates that way, as I do not recognize the idea that there is any sort of privilege a couple should have. I feel that if people in a couple want additional relationships, they just need to embrace and accept the idea that everything is going to change, and holding onto this kernel of having the couple at the center of their poly universe makes absolutely no sense. Even if you are raising children, I see no reason to keep them in the dark about special people in your lives -- and there are all sort of alternative ways to parent/co-parent. Of course, children must be protected and nurtured, but if you are having multiple relationships for the relating and not just the sex, then why not start thinking of parenting differently (communally) and having your partners be co-parents? Perhaps the notion that a couple in a poly configuration is of utmost importance and must be protected at all costs comes from the swinging community, or springs out of society's preference for the traditions of monogamy. But such privilege only exists if we pay credence to it. I don't, and won't, so I am unaffected by such nonsense.

How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
Again, I ask, what poly/open community??? :confused:

If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?

If you are a non-primary partner or solo poly/open person, how have you adapted to couple privilege in terms of how you handle relationships and what you’re willing to accommodate?
I can answer both these questions with the same response, because I am solo and do not engage in hierarchies myself. Basically, couple privilege, as I stated earlier, is a non-issue for me because I refuse to engage with anyone who believes in such poppycock. And so I don't feel the need to get defensive about my position, either. I have come across partnered poly guys who were interested in me and did have some sort of rules with their primary partner that seemed to invoke a privilege over individuals, but I walk away from that!

My approach to handling it is simple. I have established my own personal boundaries surrounding how I want to be treated in relationships. One of my boundaries is that no metamour will make rules for or dictate how I conduct my relationships. Another boundary I have is that I will not tolerate being treated with disrespect. Both of those boundaries of mine mean that, if I meet and am interested in getting involved with someone who is poly and partnered with someone they consider primary, I ask what rules they have that will affect me. If they tell me things that do not sit right with me and indicate that they see their primary relationship as The Holy Dyad -- such as, for example, their spouse has veto power -- I say, "Thanks but no thanks. Buh-bye!" No matter how attracted I may be to a guy, if a relationship isn't starting out on a level playing field, why would I even want to go there? To struggle for the equanimity that is my right in any relationship? It isn't worth it to me to try and change his views, or to put myself in a position like that hoping it will someday get better. Perhaps that is why I am very cautious about getting into something with someone who is already partnered.

I am not saying that I would not respect a lover's other relationships, nor that I would never accept certain limitations or be able to negotiate on some things, such as amount or frequency of time we can spend together or other such things that naturally make sense when someone is juggling multiple relationships. For example, I had no problem with not contacting with one lover of mine on Sundays because I knew that he and his wife had set aside that day as "their time" -- but he never forbade me from contacting him on Sundays, and sometimes initiated contact with me on those days. I would not contact him because I knew he needed that day to be with her. But if he had set down a decree that I am never allowed to contact him on Sundays, I would have thought, "What the hell? Who do you think you are?" So, because I felt respected and not talked down to, I respected him, and his other relationship, and willingly accommodated what he needed.

I think that, probably, the biggest mistake solo poly folks make is not to establish their own personal set of boundaries for any potential partners/lovers to abide by. It doesn't make sense that a couple's rules or boundaries are the only ones that matter. Whether a solo poly person is considering a romantic liaison with a couple or someone who is part of a couple, instead of thinking that the couple's rules or considerations should take precedence over the solo's, the solo needs to be clear about what they need to feel valued and important to someone, and they should make it plain and clear to the partnered potential(s) what their own boundaries are and that the couple's will not take precedence for them.
 
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ThatGirlInGray

New member
Well written blog post. I'll do my best.

[*]Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)
I think your definition works well. I think the "presumption" and "default" parts are particularly important. For myself, I do not see my relationship with my husband as more valid or more important than my relationship with my partner. But I'm well aware of the protections I'm afforded because MC and I chose to get the piece of paper: medical insurance, tax benefits, legalities of property ownership and child custody, etc. That's exactly why we chose to get the piece of paper, since we didn't need it for our own recognition of the commitment we'd made to each other. It saddens and angers me that even when TGIB joins our household he will not be able to be included in the protections the rest of our family will automatically enjoy.
[*]How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships? (Examples)
The only other poly person I know in person is pretty much doing the solo poly thing, dating two men who are each dating only her, so except for my own experiences I don't have any examples of couple privilege or lack thereof in poly relationships.
[*]Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?
Overall I would say harmful due to the lack of thoughtful examination and deliberateness inherent in the proposed definition of couple privilege. If communication is the key to successful poly, assumptions are the downfall of it. Introspection is also part of this, as you can't know where your boundaries are if you don't know what you do and don't want from a relationship.
[*]How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.
I'm quite strong-willed and usually argue logically, so from the beginning MC and I discussed not only our boundaries but the reasons behind them. Some boundaries had to do with respecting my husband and the time I spent with him, because I wanted to, not because I was afraid he would leave me if I didn't. And for years I was perfectly okay with the boundary of not sleeping with other people, because I did not want to risk getting pregnant with someone else's child (and I'm really fricking picky anyway. I can only think of 3 people I wanted to sleep with but didn't due to pregnancy risk, and 2 of those I'm just as glad now, looking back, that I didn't!). Once I was done having kids and my pregnancy risk dropped significantly, AND I developed a relationship with TGIB where sleeping together was something we wanted to incorporate into our relationship, the boundary changed. It took some time for MC to get used to the idea, being a new thing and all, so we didn't rush anything, but ultimately we got to a place where everyone was content with the outcome. Because, to me, IF couple privilege exists in my relationships (and I can't prevent all of it), I want it affecting BOTH couples that I'm a part of equally. Of course, even if it were to apply to ALL couples equally, then you get into inequalities with people who are single or in triads or what have you, so it's worth working towards a society where one is not defined by one's relationship status.
[*]If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?
TGIB is currently long distance so that affects a lot of our choices at the moment. Also, MC and I have two children while TGIB has three children with his ex. We have all made the choice not to co-parent each other's children beyond what a platonic housemate would do. Our parenting styles are different enough that trying to coordinate the way MC and I want to raise our children with the way TGIB and his ex have agreed to raise their children is not worth the headaches and stress. IF we are ever in a situation where all the kids are living in the same household long-term, then of course compromises will have to be reached, but we aren't there yet. In some ways I see it much like trying to coordinate parenting styles and duties in regards to a step-parent, particularly based on how much time the child spends living with said step-parent.
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
Now, another post I'd like to respond to-
I'd define it as putting the preservation of the couple first and foremost.
I was talking to TGIB about this bit, and his response was, "Aren't there two couples in our relationship?" and he's right. I know you meant preserving the primary couple first and foremost, but frankly if my relationship has to be "preserved" or "protected" then it's probably time to exit anyway. I'm not going to run out and start doing things to intentionally damage my relationship with my husband, of course, but nor am I going to tiptoe on eggshells and treat it like a fragile piece of glass. If my relationship can't stand up to my choices, it's fucked anyway.

In my situation, as a single woman seeing a married poly man, I see it mainly in the fact that our dates tend to revolve around his wife's plans. I see a lot of ways in which he has put my feelings and what matters to me on an equal or even higher level, which I suspect, reading here, is a little atypical.
Does he tend to change plans with you based on plans she makes? Or does she just get on the calendar first since she lives with him? MC has a friend that he meets up with to work on writing, and a lot of times she tries to schedule something only a few days in advance, which doesn't really work for our family schedule. And when he tries to schedule something further in advance, she often doesn't know her schedule well enough to commit. I wonder if, in your case, is that less "couple privilege" and more "live-in partner privilege".

However, there's that one major 'couple privilege' of the assumption that the couple will remain together, which tells the secondary from the start that this relationship can only go so far. Yes, a few do eventually move in and become co-primaries, but there are so many reasons why that wouldn't work for most people, that those numbers are very, very small and don't change the likely outcome of this secondary relationship can only go so far.
While I agree that this does happen a lot, I think your assumption that a co-primary must move in to be considered such speaks again to the "live-in partner privilege" rather than "couple privilege". TGIB and I didn't start this relationship with any sort of "this can only go so far" message, though there was definitely a message of "I have no interest in leaving my husband" which TGIB was perfectly okay with (again, MY choice and decision, not anyone else's assumption). It was more of "we don't know what this is, let's let it play out and figure it out." Originally he had NO desire to live with a partner again, or even be in a committed relationship again. As those desires changed, though, the expectation of what will happen once we all live in the same area changed, from "living nearby" to "living next door" to "living with us".

I have been told repeatedly that "I can't offer you more." (No, I wasn't asking, he says it in apology and in reference to other things.) So right from the start there is the mixed message of, "I really, really like you, I can't wait to see you again, I'd do anything for you...except that...and I can't see you tonight." In short, it can feel like, you're not really all that.
I understand that feeling, and it SUCKS, but again I wonder if it really goes back to couple privilege or something more general like family responsibilities. TGIB is not seeing anyone else at the moment, but he still has tons of responsibilities and commitments to his kids and other family members. He would LIKE to be able to give me more, but it's just not possible given the situation at the moment. Perhaps there's a "family privilege" for those with kids that is similar to "couple privilege". In fact, thinking about it, I can already think of privileges for those with kids AND privileges for those without kids, so I guess it can go either way and the key is to be aware of whichever one applies to you/your loved ones.
It's beneficial to the couple for obvious reasons. It's what allows them to believe they have enough security in the marriage to venture out.
Ouch. That last sentence feels a little derogatory. Hopefully you were speaking to the un-examined assumptions of couple privilege? Because I would venture to say that BECAUSE MC and I have discussed so thoroughly the ways in which we don't desire to adhere to the expectations of couple privilege, but rather do what we feel is best for each of us separately, as well as best for us as a couple (and that applies to me and TGIB as well), THAT is what tells me we're strong enough to navigate whatever comes to pass, whether we're referring to my relationship with TGIB or not.
For the secondary, it depends on many things: the situation and desires of the particular (secondary) person, and just how much couple privilege we're talking about (only the one rule that they won't break up, or an extensive list of rules and regulations?)
Very true.
But perhaps among other things what is needed is the honesty you mention. Honesty requires, in part, admitting that the egalitarian ideal works better as a theory than as a reality.

People need to believe that they can rely on their spouse. I won't even say know because I've seen too many examples, even here, of primary couples breaking up and one person re-marrying their secondary. But in relationships, any relationship, we have a need to believe we can count on someone else to continue being there and playing their role in our lives. We are not islands. We weren't made to be islands.

But it is this very promise to continue being there for one person that limits and often ultimately harms the second person who becomes very emotionally involved.

This is one of the fatal, inherent flaws I see in polyamory.
I wonder if this is part of the difference between choosing to be poly because it makes sense and being wired for poly. Is it easier for those "wired" for poly to continue being there for more than one person? I feel I'm there for TGIB as much as I am for MC (except for the long distance thing, but again, that goes back to family responsibilities on both our parts, not romantic entanglements). And I would sure hope that TGIB is very emotionally involved because I sure am, even though I'm also married to and very emotionally involved with MC. This may be the key to "successful" (by whatever definition you choose) poly relationships- are you, as an individual REALLY capable of putting the time, energy, and effort into multiple relationships? Or are you already pretty stretched just trying to handle one? I wonder how many people try to be poly because they like the idea in theory, rather than are cognizant of the real consequences of it, and if those aren't the ones that tend to blow up badly.
 

nycindie

Active member
I'm not going to run out and start doing things to intentionally damage my relationship with my husband, of course, but nor am I going to tiptoe on eggshells and treat it like a fragile piece of glass. If my relationship can't stand up to my choices, it's fucked anyway.
Amen! I like how you worded that.
 

AggieSez

New member
Thanks so much for your thoughtful response, @nycindie.

I've got quite a diverse array of responses on this issue of couple privilege, so I'll have to tackle it in several posts -- including the perspective that it doesn't exist. Thanks for your eloquent thoughts on that perspective!

You wrote:

I think that, probably, the biggest mistake solo poly folks make is not to establish their own personal set of boundaries for any potential partners/lovers to abide by. It doesn't make sense that a couple's rules or boundaries are the only ones that matter. Whether a solo poly person is considering a romantic liaison with a couple or someone who is part of a couple, instead of thinking that the couple's rules or considerations should take precedence over the solo's, the solo needs to be clear about what they need to feel valued and important to someone, and they should make it plain and clear to the partnered potential(s) what their own boundaries are and that the couple's will not take precedence for them.

Wow, that is fodder for an entirely separate crowdsourced post. Thanks for the idea! I'll start a separate thread on that later!
 

AggieSez

New member
Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply, @thatgirlingray. You made a lot of good points, and I like your approach!
 

AggieSez

New member
I think that it's MUCH MORE functional to prioritize privilege earned in terms of responsibility put in; not in terms of who came first.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One of my closest friends (married and poly) also takes the view that privilege/prioritization can be earned over time by any partner in a poly network of relationships.
 

Daysleeper

New member
1). I think that when you enter into a new relationship with someone, there are generally going to be things more important to them than you are. It could be a career, a relative, a friend, a hobby, or a lover. They may be open to prioritizing you over these things eventually, or they may not. When speaking to me, if someone says, "I can't be do x with or for you because of y," I don't think it's different if y is a career, a marriage or a hobby. I think there is a tendency to focus on other relationships because of some (to me unrealistic) idea that all relationships should be equal and a tendency to view metamours as competition. Sometimes one relationship gets priority over others for a number of reasons.

For my purposes, let's say couple privilege is prioritizing one relationship over another.

I think society gives couples privileges triads, quads etc do not have as thatgirlingray already mentioned


2. The way I have most often seen it unfold is this. Single person x starts dating partnered person y. Y says they are always going to prioritize primary partner c. Even though x is uncomfortable with this and understands the potential consequences, they choose to date y anyway. At some point, y has both c and x asking for some of the same resources. Y usually gives them to c. For some reason, x is surprised by this and expects y to change. I don't understand why this is so common.

3. I think it's beneficial for everyone to set the priorities in their own lives and be clear about them. Though I sometimes wish people's priorities were different, I think it is best that everyone decide how to divvy up his or her resources based on his or her priorities. I don't think there is any "correct" set of priorities.

4. I may have been affected negatively by couple privilege when someone i dated for years dumped all of his partners (including me) because he met a monogamous person he could see himself marrying one day. My understanding was that we were working toward a primary relationship. He said that his relationship with this person was more important than all of his other relationships. It was painful for me, but I think he had to invest himself in what he thought was most important. In the end, I'm not sure if it is really a case of couple privilege or simply a case of being disappointed that he had not been honest with me about the importance of our relationship.

In another case though, I have been equally affected by a partner prioritizing a career over me. That was just as painful, though it was more difficult for me to (temporarily, in the heat of my frustration) see a bank account or title as being responsible for the pain in my relationship, while on the above case it was easy to use the new partner as a scape goat to avoid my disappointment in my partner.

5. Consenting adults should enter relationships under any condition they like. I have had plenty of people proposition me with arrangements I had no interest in, but I told them why that wasn't compatible with my desire and moved on. I think it's a bad idea to try to tell everyone which agreements they should make en mass, though I think it can be helpful to give your opinion to people who are interested in it.

6. I am part of a partnered couple. I tell people it is unrealistic to expect the same commitment from me that I give my husband before years and years together. My husband got to where he is by years of trustworthy, caring, compassionate and reliable behavior. He earned his prominent role in my life. I think it would be wonderful to develop something that deep with someone else, but I'd expect it would take years.

If my husband told me it was monogamy or divorce, and we could not find any other way to resolve the issue, I would be monogamous. I made specific commitments to him first, and I will not consciously break those. If someone one day reaches that level of commitment, they will be entitled to the same promises from me, and my husband has agreed to promise the new person equal rights in every way should that time come. Until then, he does have priority. My other partners know this, and they have consented to pursue a relationship with me under those terms. I don't believe the terms are "right" or "wrong". We're all consenting adults making informed choices.

7. My approach to poly is different than some in that I am only willing to date people who understand that most of our time together will be spent in groups. They can bring one or more partners or friends with them. Affection between any combination of people is acceptable in these groups. Most of the time, in these groups, my husband doesn't get a very large portion of my attention because I am more focused on people I see less. At bedtime, it's usual for people to split up in unplanned ways. If a partner wants more sex or wants a private conversation, they are absolutely free to ask for it, and I will accommodate them to the best of my ability. Anyone who doesn't want this is free to pursue a relationship that fits their desires.


I have never been in a situation where my husband didn't want me to date someone I was interested in or vice versa, so that issue has been nonexistent. Our plan in such a case is to identify the reasons for the desire and work on those issues.

The issues my husband had with my other relationships and vice versa were easy to solve by everyone involved talking it out in the same room or over a conference call.
 

northhome

New member
Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it?
When one has been together for a while a reservoir of shared experience is created that a third party joining the relationship has not been a part of. If (when) decisions are made based on that shared history and the third party is affected by that reference then, yes, couple privilege is invoked.

I do find the word privilege a bit loaded however.

How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships?
Yes.

Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?
I've not personally seen any existence of a 'poly-community' so can't answer that. In poly-relationships it can be something that provides a glue that keeps the original relationship going through tough times (positive) or something that disempowers the third person (negative). It's all down to how conscious everyone involved is.

How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships?
It is simply a reality, we've been together longer.

How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?
What community?

If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?
We've been together longer. We can't do anything about that, it's simply part of the picture. If you don't like that, then we're not good people to connect with. The ones who like it see it as an asset and a sign that we have skills in creating a long-term relationship that can weather stormy waters.
 

PolyLinguist

New member
I like surveys of this kind. Let me try to answer the questions, as honestly and clearly as I can:

[*]Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)

Most certainly. Anyone part of a couple who wants to take on a poly relationship without believing that such privileges exist will be un-coupled in short order.

As for defining it, it is easy: when you are part of a long-term relationship, you cannot take decisions affecting the couple without consulting your partner, and taking his/her views into consideration. Couple privilege consists of taking decisions with your partner's view/opinions/feelings in mind.

How have you seen couple privilege manifest in poly/open relationships? (Examples)

Yes. A V situation, with a man married to a long-term partner and a female unmarried friend. His wife has made some conditions, the other two seem to go along with them. He is a charming guy, he is worth the candle for both of them, it seems to me.

Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?

Harmful or beneficial to whom? No couple (as I understand the term) can survive as a couple unless the partners consult each other and care about the other's opinions and feelings. As for the third party, he or she simply should not enter such a relationship unless (s)he is willing to accept, cheerfully, couple privilege. Reluctance and resentment do not a relationship make. In any case, wouldn't a third party have conditions of his/her own?

How has couple privilege affected your personal experience of poly/open relationships? Specific examples or personal stories are welcome.

No experience yet, sorry. But I and my wife are intelligent and flexible people, I am sure we could work any reasonable problems out, after discussions with any reasonable third party.

How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?

More practical examples, less ideologizing.

If you are part of a primary couple that chooses to handle relationships with additional intimate partners in hierarchical ways that may seem to reinforce couple privilege, what is your rationale or intent for those choices?

Aside from explaining the obvious significance of having shared my life with someone on a long-term basis, I wouldn't feel the need for giving a "rationale". Here is the situation, here are the obvious implications. If you can't live with them, too bad, but this won't work. There is always some room for negotiations, though.

If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?

I don't normally eschew hierarchy. I am not against what would traditionally be called a bigamous household with complete equality between my two wives, but this is not likely to happen. As for myself, I wouldn't become a "co-husband" in a million years.

If you are a non-primary partner or solo poly/open person, how have you adapted to couple privilege in terms of how you handle relationships and what you’re willing to accommodate?

No experience, sorry. But I would adopt quite easily to being a non-primary partner (traditionally called a lover) of someone with a husband and family. And if I couldn't call her on Sunday, tant pis, I will think of something else to do.

--------------

To respond, please feel free to comment here, or on my blog post, or in a post of your own (send me the link), or e-mail me (aggiesez@hotmail.com)

As with my previous crowdsourcing project, I'm open to input from anyone on this -- but I'm particularly keen on hearing from people who are non-primary partners in ongoing poly/open relationships, since our perspective usually isn't very prominent in discourse about polyamory.

If your respond, I'd appreciate if you’d clarify whether you identify as poly/open (or not), and whether you currently have a primary partner, and whether you currently are in a non-primary relationship. I’m happy to consider input from anyone, but that it crucial context for understanding your perspective.

I am a married man, and agree wholeheartedly with most of the principles of the polyamory movement, as does my wife. Whether I can actually find a poly partner for myself is another matter - maybe yes, maybe no.
 

rory

New member
Despite this being a thread intended for thoughts and experiences more than a discussion, I'd like to address this

Honesty requires, in part, admitting that the egalitarian ideal works better as a theory than as a reality.

the reason I disagree with this is not because there aren't people who claim to live by that ideal and fail to do so (whether intentionally or not). The reason is that this line of thought lets them off the hook way too easy. It is not the ideal that is at fault, it is the person who isn't able/willing to put the work into what they say they will. I.e. being honest about hierarchy doesn't mean saying "it's probably impossible to reach an egalitarian situation", it means saying "I am not willing/able to prioritise my relationship with you, or your feelings, to have those difficult talks with my other partner, or to go through the challenges of making changes that would make things more fair towards you". It's not because the ideal can't work, it's because making it work requires hard work.

----

Do you believe couple privilege exists? How would you define it? (Or how would you adjust my proposed definition?)

I do think couple privilege exists. However, I am unsure how much to include within the concept. I definitely see it encompassing societal and cultural support, recognition, and financial benefits to individuals in a specific kind of relationship. I am more on the fence about specific activities those individuals choose in relating to other people.

An example from mainstream culture: a married woman cheats on her husband with a friend. Circle of friends find out, and the affair ends. The husband forgives the wife, and both stop talking with the lover, as do all the people of the friend circle. I would say the reason why the lover is ostracised and the wife is not, is definitely couple priviledge. However, I am unsure about the other aspects, the choices made by the people in the original couple. They do exist within a context of couple privilege, which also influences the likelihood of certain decisions over others. However, I am not sure if the definition of privilege allows defining individual's decisions as privilege, isn't it more that individual decisions are made in the context of privilege..?

That is, I am not sure the word can bend to all uses without the concept loosing its usefulness/clarity. I am not familiar with the concept of "invoking privilege", is that used by writing that has to do with privilege in other context (gender, race, etc.)?

Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?

I think it is useful to approach privilege as something that simply is. Pretty much everybody has some kind of privilege, and mostly you can't really get rid of it even if you wanted to. I, for example, cannot wish myself to be non-white. I guess I could end my marriage in order to no longer have couple privilege, but don't really see that as a valid reason... ;) I do consider it an ethical responsibility to be aware of privilege so that one doesn't harm others. Privilege is not always necessary for causing harm, rather, it makes specific kind of harm hard to notice because it's culturally sanctioned.

To use a poly example, a married man starts dating a woman. His wife is initially fine with this, and the V is in existence for some time. However, at some point the wife starts to feel threatened and demands the husband breaks up with his girlfriend. The shared partner chooses to preserve his marriage by dumping the gf. Now, he might do it for whatever reasons, but couple privilege affects the situation in many ways. Firstly, the choise of divorce is less likely than breaking up with the new partner, since the former carries more social consequences. Secondly, in the ultimatum situation there's this narrative which makes that "the right thing to do". He can feel like he has to do it. Even the girlfriend may support it, because she doesn't want to "break up the marriage". This is the way in which the harm done to the non-primary partner becomes invisible. The whole belief system rests on couple privilege: the issuing of ultimatums to prove own position as most important, the obscuring of the husband's responsibility in the choices he makes and shifting it onto the "third" who came to disrupt the couple, the preservance of marriage at all costs, the perception of "the third" as less important...

(Btw, sorry about the hereronormative examples, it's just that I didn't wish to make things more complicated with straight privilege and using same gender for all makes it confusing which he/she I'm talking about :p )

How would you like to see couple privilege addressed in the poly/open community at large?

I would say there is a need for a deeper challenging of couple-based assumptions and practices. More awareness of couple privilege as it is in poly, and even more as a cultural phenomenon. And avoiding support for couple privilege in our own personal life as well as privileging couples over solos in poly spaces. Not imposing couple-centric or hierarchical relationship models on other people's relationships.

If you eschew hierarchy and/or labels in your poly/open relationships, how do you “walk that talk” regarding couple privilege?

This is an incredibly broad question. I will share some of my experience. I met Mya about 1,5 years ago. Both of us had a long-term partner, both original couples were open but not poly. With the consent of all, Mya and I started a relationship, and so we became an N. Later, the situation evolved into a V with me in the middle (non-poly-related reasons). Throughout the poly relationship, I have lived with Alec. Mya and I were first in an LDR, and she lived with her partner. She now lives alone, and the three of us live in the same city.

Being in two relationships, I started with the aim of equality, which I largely (subconsciously) equated with sameness. Not maybe as "everything has to be the same right now" but as "the eventual aim is symmetry". I think this was valuable at the beginning of poly in terms of being open to changes. However, at some point it started to become increasingly clear that the aim of symmetry was not always something that aligned with what the people involved actually wanted. Also, it seemed that the aversion towards hierarchy (plus some internalised relationship-escalator-as-measure-of-serious-relationship assumptions) was something that caused pressure towards equality. So, the aim of equality as symmetry moved aside, and was replaced by more flexible decision making based on what all want.

I think there are some aspects that have been incredibly helpful. Firstly, I don't view my poly life as something separate from other aspects of my life. Secondly, I used to have an autonomous relationship when monogamous, and I have not changed this since becoming poly. These tie in together, and I will try to illustrate.

When monogamous, I would make decisions concerning the ways in which I spend my time autonomously. Obviously, I want to spend some time with my partner, so that fact will be factored into the decision-making, along with any preferences he has expressed in the past. But if I want to see a friend, I will make plans with my friend and let my partner know about it. If he has any wishes, he is free to express them - e.g. "I have Sundays off and would like to see you then" - and I am happy to consider them in the future, but I will not cancel plans with other people once I've made them. When opening up, there is no reason to change this method - i.e. when making plans with another partner, I will not start asking for his permission, or even checking with him in advance, any more than I do when I'm making plans with a friend. He is as free to express his wishes as he's always been, and I am happy to take them into account in the future.

Poly is not separate from life. Romantic relationships are relationships. I will make my own decisions autonomously as I've always done. If my partner expresses wishes, I will consider them based on their reasonability, validity, and my own judgement; not based on some hierarchical status. I would not cancel plans with a friend simply because my partner asked me to, and I will not cancel plans with a newer partner because older partner asked me to. I would not give up a friendship simply because my partner wants me to or doesn't like my friend, nor would I break up with a person for those kind of reasons. You get the picture. None of these situations have ever happened. I doubt any of them will ever happen, because there is a mutual respect for each other's autonomy, which recognises that unreasonable demands don't become any more reasonable in romantic relationships. That is not to say that we are above that - more that we all know ultimatums etc. would not be met with compliance, because, eventually, none of us want the kinds of relationships where they are used.

Egalitarian relationships are a process. We have established a relationship life and routines that work for us. However, there is a need to remain open to change in order to take into consideration potentially changing wishes. That is the key; consideration. Doesn't mean you need to change everything, or accommodate everything your partners want, or compromise everything. It means to take seriously the wants and wishes of all people involved, whatever they are and become.
 

PolyLinguist

New member
Interesting discussion. Thanks to AggieSez for starting it. I learned more about peoples’ attitudes to married people getting into polyamory than from any other source I have seen.

Still, I have questions and comments about some concepts raised:
The concept of harm, as in:
Is couple privilege harmful, neutral or beneficial in poly/open relationships, or in the poly/open community? Why or why not?

I think it's unrealistic to expect people to negate it without time to move towards the negation of it - but I think overall it is harmful.

Harmful to whom? How do you define harm?

Arguably, an extramarital relationship is ipso facto harmful, possibly to all three of the people involved, and should never have been entered. Your grandmother could have told you that.

Times have changed, however, and polyamory assumes that such relationships may work out to the benefit of everyone concerned. If this was not thought to be likely (or even possible), relationships involving married people would have been specifically excluded from the writings of the people advocating polyamory, and this is not the case.

I therefore question the use of the word “harmful”. If you enter an informal relationship of any kind, there is always the danger that the other party may wish to end it one day. This may well be hurtful, but it should not be damaging. If you are healthy in spirit, you will get over it. How else do you propose dealing with relationships that have run their course? It really does not matter why the other person has ended it – it could be because of “couple privilege”, but it could also be because (s)he has become bored with you, or feels that you have not lived up to some image (s)he has of a long-term partner, or because you said something that you shouldn’t have, or did not do something that (s)he expected of you (without ever saying so). None of this matters much – no-one can be expected to live up to imagined commitments (s)he has not formally made or to qualities that (s)he does not have.

(I am clearly not talking of psychotic behaviour. If I abuse someone physically or psychologically, or burn her house down Alan Harper-style, she is not going to break up with me because of couple privilege, but because I committed a deep wrong towards her.)

The concept of a happy marriage, or “Holy Dyad”, as in:
I personally call this attitude "revering The Holy Dyad," and I do find it distasteful. I would not get involved with anyone who operates that way, as I do not recognize the idea that there is any sort of privilege a couple should have. I feel that if people in a couple want additional relationships, they just need to embrace and accept the idea that everything is going to change, and holding onto this kernel of having the couple at the center of their poly universe makes absolutely no sense.

Oh, so you find distasteful relationships such as mine or that of any number of couples I know, married for 30 or 40 years or even longer?

If it’s not that, what you find distasteful is the fact that a participant in such a Holy Dyad would try to enter other relationships? How is that different from mainstream attitudes? Oh you cheating bastard, how could you do this to your darling spouse, or to the innocent third party who has no idea what (s)he is getting into?

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to get the approval or understanding of most people. I am extremely open about my circumstances in life, and if someone doesn’t like Holy Dyads, go and take up with someone not in one. And, fortunately for the naive young innocents out there, I am not so hot and sexy (or young, more is the pity) that someone would take up with me in a moment of passion, to be let down later by the need for submission to a Holy Dyad.

Sorry to be sarcastic, but really! Intelligent people know how to evaluate social possibilities, and know what to expect from specific kinds of situations. One of my first romantic interests, whom I pursued with extreme ardour, turned to me with some exasperation at one point, and asked me: “You know that I have a boyfriend, don’t you?”. The subtext being: “You know how far this can go, don’t you?”. My excuse was my youth and inexperience.

Finally, the concepts of “off the hook” and “hard work” (in the context of relationships), as in:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened
Honesty requires, in part, admitting that the egalitarian ideal works better as a theory than as a reality.


The reason I disagree with this is not because there aren't people who claim to live by that ideal and fail to do so (whether intentionally or not). The reason is that this line of thought lets them off the hook way too easy. It is not the ideal that is at fault, it is the person who isn't able/willing to put the work into what they say they will. I.e. being honest about hierarchy doesn't mean saying "it's probably impossible to reach an egalitarian situation", it means saying "I am not willing/able to prioritise my relationship with you, or your feelings, to have those difficult talks with my other partner, or to go through the challenges of making changes that would make things more fair towards you". It's not because the ideal can't work, it's because making it work requires hard work.

What is the hook one should not be left off? Who is the hooker and the hooked (and I mean no puns) here? In my view, it is the person who has more to gain is the one who should do more work.

I am trying to envision the situation. V is at the centre of a vee (very suitably named), he is married to A and has girlfriend B. (V could also be a woman, with A and B men, or they could all be gay – I am simply using this configuration for simplicity).

V’s relationship to A could be almost anything, as long as A and V run a common home together. Talk of hard work – this is hard work. B may not get as much out of the relationship as A does, but then she does not have to invest the same amount of resources (time, money, effort) in it either.

Anyway, when B and V are together, they are having a great time. If they don’t, why are they together at all? If it’s not enjoyable for B, she can just say goodbye.

OK, so it’s enjoyable. But, after a while, she wants some certainty, some stability, some sense that she matters to V. Unfortunately, our V is a bit dense, for he does not realize that B needs reassurance and act on this realization. Alternatively, V does not care that much for B as a person, but he likes the good times. Who doesn’t like good times? He is a bastard in this case.

Now, B doesn’t know whether V is just dense or is being a bastard. She can test the waters. Ask for some sign of commitment, for example. If V is dense, he may now do something to reassure B, or he may give up and crawl back to A, who has known for a long time how dense her husband is, but what the hell, at least he is good in the sack or with power tools (or both). If V is a bastard, why, he will continue being a bastard, for example promise to talk to A and ask for more time off, then not even do this.

It’s not clear to me why B wants to be someone who is either dense or a bastard, but there is no accounting for tastes.

But what I don’t get above all is what this has to do with being off (or not off) the hook, or hard work? What’s so hard about talking over time- and money-management issues with intelligent people? Or about being honest – from the very beginning – about what you are prepared and what you are not prepared to do? What happens at Christmas, who pays for holidays, I feel lonely at times, can you do something about this? Simple issues, possible solutions. And yes, sometimes we all feel alone and neglected, deal with it. What did you do when you were unattached?
 

nycindie

Active member
Oh, so you find distasteful relationships such as mine or that of any number of couples I know, married for 30 or 40 years or even longer?

If it’s not that, what you find distasteful is the fact that a participant in such a Holy Dyad would try to enter other relationships? How is that different from mainstream attitudes? Oh you cheating bastard, how could you do this to your darling spouse, or to the innocent third party who has no idea what (s)he is getting into?

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to get the approval or understanding of most people. I am extremely open about my circumstances in life, and if someone doesn’t like Holy Dyads, go and take up with someone not in one.

Wow, you really misinterpreted what I wrote!

First of all, I never said I find long-term relationships distasteful. That makes no sense. Why would I? You only quoted the part where I said I find the revering of a Holy Dyad (my own term for it) distasteful, but you didn't quote what I was referring to, which is this:

If couples act in a way that indicates a they have a certain privilege over individuals, it is basically because they think that's what they should do, and for whatever reason, they feel it is necessary for their "survival" as a couple. Or it is based on a misguided arrogance which leads them to think that anyone else they get involved with is only there to supplant and enhance what they have, while the individuals' needs are far less important. But the carrying out of such a privilege only happens if the individuals they get involved with also go along with it.

I personally call this attitude "revering The Holy Dyad," and I do find it distasteful.​

I don't find it distasteful that a married or long-term partnered couple practices polyamory. What I find distasteful is when they lord their status as a committed couple over the other people they are involved with and supposedly love. That they cling on and attempt to protect the dynamic of their relationship so that it will never change, and treat additional love partners as threats and expendable. I know lots of swingerish couples do this, and it has carried over into poly, with all sorts of clingy and possessive rules and behaviors. People can do whatever they want, but I don't have to like it or agree, and I actively choose not to get involved with couple-centric people like that. This is not to say I wouldn't respect a previously established relationship of a lover of mine, but I would not stand for not having the respect I deserve as well. I'm just sharing my viewpoint, not asking others to join me in seeing it that way,so you don't have to get so huffy.
 

PolyLinguist

New member
Wow, you really misinterpreted what I wrote!

First of all, I never said I find long-term relationships distasteful. That makes no sense. Why would I? You only quoted the part where I said I find the revering of a Holy Dyad (my own term for it) distasteful, but you didn't quote what I was referring to, which is this:

If couples act in a way that indicates a they have a certain privilege over individuals, it is basically because they think that's what they should do, and for whatever reason, they feel it is necessary for their "survival" as a couple. Or it is based on a misguided arrogance which leads them to think that anyone else they get involved with is only there to supplant and enhance what they have, while the individuals' needs are far less important. But the carrying out of such a privilege only happens if the individuals they get involved with also go along with it.

I personally call this attitude "revering The Holy Dyad," and I do find it distasteful.​

I don't find it distasteful that a married or long-term partnered couple practices polyamory. What I find distasteful is when they lord their status as a committed couple over the other people they are involved with and supposedly love. That they cling on and attempt to protect the dynamic of their relationship so that it will never change, and treat additional love partners as threats and expendable. I know lots of swingerish couples do this, and it has carried over into poly, with all sorts of clingy and possessive rules and behaviors. People can do whatever they want, but I don't have to like it or agree, and I actively choose not to get involved with couple-centric people like that. This is not to say I wouldn't respect a previously established relationship of a lover of mine, but I would not stand for not having the respect I deserve as well. I'm just sharing my viewpoint, not asking others to join me in seeing it that way,so you don't have to get so huffy.

Thank you, nycindie, and I am sorry if I misinterpreted you. It can happen to the best of us... (Not that I am among the best, I am sure).

In fact, I can see another aspect of why this attitude can be irritating. Suppose I was interested in someone (in the poly world, obviously), and that person went on and on about her wonderful husband/lover/whatever. It just wouldn't be all that sexy, would it now? :)

And I'll have to find just the right tone to express my attitude to my wife, not too little, not too much (the Goldilocks Zone, so to speak), otherwise I'll just turn everyone off.
 

nycindie

Active member
Suppose I was interested in someone (in the poly world, obviously), and that person went on and on about her wonderful husband/lover/whatever. It just wouldn't be all that sexy, would it now? :)

Ah, well, sometimes it is downright sexy. You'd be surprised. I had a lover who enjoyed me telling him story after story about the other men I've been with. He thought it was super sexy.
 
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