Knowing Intellectually vs. Really Feeling

CTF

Member
That makes me the fire.

I view monogamy as a perfectly respectable relationship model, having practiced it myself for many years.

I do believe non-monogamy is more natural to humans as a species, however I don't view "unnatural" as a bad thing. I think at this point in our evolution the lines between innate and learned behaviors are blurred.

If you look at poly arguments with a non-prejudiced eye you will find that those arguments are against people who are prejudiced against us. For instance, the old "marriage is one man one woman" argument is a religious based argument trotted out against homosexuality, bisexuality, and polyamory. Because of the prevalence of christianity in western society, that view is considered by some to be natural, whether they are devout christians or not.

At this point I could go on and on. I understand that you want to be a champion of monogamy. I understand that you think you are validating the monogamist experience. I would like you to understand that many of us had to overcome many of the hurdles of a monogamist society to get to where we could be comfortable practicing poly without guilt, etc. I would like you to respect that it is up to an individual to decide for themselves if they should move forward or not.

As for your argument against love being infinite...you are unable to acknowledge the possibility simply because you don't feel it or understand it. I can acknowledge that you don't feel it, but you are denying that I can. If you were to say, "Not everybody believes in infinite love, but that's okay and it's up to you to decide if you believe it is or not", I would agree 100%.


Well, I'd say fire is a bit of a stretch. And while I hope that comparing the poly struggle, to what homosexuals have had to endure was more of a tongue and cheek reference on your part, I'm sure they could do a much better job highlighting their true hurdles for a proper perspective. So I won't bother getting into deep discussion about it, but I will point out that no one has been drug behind a car to their death for being poly.

That being said, I've never claimed that poly wasn't a valid relationship model. Granted, there's much about it that I don't understand, but not once have I claimed it to be wrong, unnatural, etc... so this notion of me being "anti-poly" is wildly inaccurate.

And no, I don't dismiss infinite love because I am unable to feel it. Sure, it's part of how I come to that conclusion, but simply put, it does not make sense. All of the analogies/examples are rife with holes in my opinion. But I dismiss it for the same reason I dismiss the existence of god. It's not subjective. It either exists or it doesn't. And until the evidence shows otherwise, I have no choice but to go with what my logic leads me to. I don't care about being a champion for monogamy. I have no interest in interfering with happy poly relationships. But these stories where one drops the bomb, and the mono partner torments him/herself to save the marriage, clinging onto the "you're enough" "love is infinite" mantras that are next to impossible for some to believe. And they get painted as the bad guy, or an unloving partner for feeling jealousy.
 

Voyager

New member
No, I didn't get the impression that you were denying my experience. So no worries there.

What happens when you tell someone that "love is infinite" who, at their core, doesn't understand it and can never feel it? He/she ends up feeling guilty and defective for not being able to reconcile it. And before you know it, the newly indentified poly partner, and support structure treats him/her like a monster, despite the tremendous pain they suffer.

These people need to know that their feelings and perceptions are every bit as valid.

Yes, they are. If their love is not infinite or expandable to include new people, that is their reality and they need to be comfortable with it. That should probably not involve taking more than one partner. Or having children.

But what I usually hear from monogamous people who insist that love is NOT infinite -- not, not, NOT!!! -- is that they are the ones denying other people's feelings and perceptions. And that isn't okay either. What's more, I don't hear you criticizing it... it sounds as if you only oppose denying someone else's reality when that reality is monogamous. If that isn't what you meant, I'd appreciate some clarification here.

Me, I try to regard everyone's perceptions as their own, and equally valid for them, even though they may not be valid about the world as a whole. So if person A tells me that their love is limited and they cannot possibly love more than one person at a time, that's entirely reasonable and I take it as true... about them. I do not take it as true about anybody else, necessarily; and I do not see any reason why they should feel free to insist that it is true about everyone else, any more than it's okay for me to insist that my own perception is true about everyone else. It's just rude.
 

Voyager

New member
And no, I don't dismiss infinite love because I am unable to feel it. Sure, it's part of how I come to that conclusion, but simply put, it does not make sense. All of the analogies/examples are rife with holes in my opinion. But I dismiss it for the same reason I dismiss the existence of god. It's not subjective. It either exists or it doesn't. And until the evidence shows otherwise, I have no choice but to go with what my logic leads me to.

Actually, it's simply not true that "it's not subjective." Love is a feeling, and feelings are subjective by their nature. It's not like a deity, which is an external object which may or may not exist, but if it does, exists independently of any given individual. And from someone who just claimed that "all of the analogies... are rife with holes," I find the equation of an external object with an internal feeling to be laughable.

"Feeling" isn't even a true noun at all; it's a gerund. It's the noun form of the verb 'to feel'. All 'feeling' means is the experience via which somebody feels something... making feelings exist every time someone feels. Love exists every time someone loves. That's about as subjective as it gets.

Because of that, every person's experience of love is going to be different, and all are equally real. The person who experiences romantic love as limited to one individual throughout a lifetime, even if that person dies or rejects them, and the person who falls in love reliably with everybody they have sex with, are both right about what love is and how expansive it can be... for them. I'm not sure where you're getting the bizarre notion that love has to be some kind of objective feature which operates the same way in every human, but since there's no other feeling we have which does that, why on earth should this one be expected to?

No two people grieve exactly the same way, though there are some broad categories of likelihood. No two people get angry the same way. No two people laugh at exactly the same things. And no two people love the same way, or the same amount, or with the same degree of elasticity.
 

CTF

Member
Yes, they are. If their love is not infinite or expandable to include new people, that is their reality and they need to be comfortable with it. That should probably not involve taking more than one partner. Or having children.

But what I usually hear from monogamous people who insist that love is NOT infinite -- not, not, NOT!!! -- is that they are the ones denying other people's feelings and perceptions. And that isn't okay either. What's more, I don't hear you criticizing it... it sounds as if you only oppose denying someone else's reality when that reality is monogamous. If that isn't what you meant, I'd appreciate some clarification here.

Me, I try to regard everyone's perceptions as their own, and equally valid for them, even though they may not be valid about the world as a whole. So if person A tells me that their love is limited and they cannot possibly love more than one person at a time, that's entirely reasonable and I take it as true... about them. I do not take it as true about anybody else, necessarily; and I do not see any reason why they should feel free to insist that it is true about everyone else, any more than it's okay for me to insist that my own perception is true about everyone else. It's just rude.

While I won't speak for all monos in that regard, I will say that when I deny that love is infinite, it's in regards to those who claim it is, is IS. Not once have I seen someone say "love is infinite FOR ME", poly of otherwise. It's always been expressed as though it were a fact that those of us who disagree are simply wrong, and then attempt to prove it by bringing up kids & friends.

But we could go back and forth forever on that one with no result, so it's not really worth the chicken/egg debate.

Criticize what? She me an example.

Of course everyone has the right to their own feelings. I've never denied that. Doesn't mean I have to agree with what those feelings are.
 

Voyager

New member
While I won't speak for all monos in that regard, I will say that when I deny that love is infinite, it's in regards to those who claim it is, is IS. Not once have I seen someone say "love is infinite FOR ME", poly of otherwise. It's always been expressed as though it were a fact that those of us who disagree are simply wrong, and then attempt to prove it by bringing up kids & friends.

But we could go back and forth forever on that one with no result, so it's not really worth the chicken/egg debate.

Criticize what? She me an example.

Of course everyone has the right to their own feelings. I've never denied that. Doesn't mean I have to agree with what those feelings are.

What do you mean by "agree with what those feelings are?"

If, by "agree with what those feelings are," you mean "believe that their feelings are what they say they are," then yes, I'm afraid you do have to, or else be a confirmed jerk. Everybody is the sole judge of what their own feelings are, and saying "You don't feel what you say you feel" is simply bad behavior.

If you mean "approve of those feelings in them," then the answer is much the same. It's not the act of a decent human being to declare someone else's feelings are Bad any more than it is the act of a decent human being to declare someone else's feelings Not Real.

If you mean "have the same feelings they do," then of course you don't, and I'm mystified as to where you're getting the theory that anyone thinks you do. I know of nobody poly who thinks monogamous people don't or shouldn't exist, and the only person on this thread who has been claiming that anyone else's feelings are either not real or not okay is you. You keep insisting that lots of poly people all over declare that monogamous people's feelings are either not real or not okay... but I don't see them and you aren't showing me where they say those things; you're merely insisting that they do say them. Proof by Blatant Assertion is rarely compelling evidence of anything.

It is certainly true that, if and to whatever extent anybody tries to claim that monogamous people's feelings of only being able to feel romantic love for one person at a time are Bad or Not Real, then those people are being jerks. It is also true that, if and to whatever extent anybody tries to claim that polyamorous people's feelings of being able to feel romantic love for as many people as they can feel love for multiple children or multiple friends are either Bad or Not Real, then those people are also and equally jerks.

I'm not one of the former. Neither is, from the evidence of their words, anyone else I see on this thread. Only you can tell whether you're one of the latter or not.

P.S. You say, "Not once have I seen someone say "love is infinite FOR ME", poly or otherwise." But you actually just saw me say precisely that. In case you missed it, I'll say it again: Love is infinite FOR ME. Some other people seem to feel that it is also infinite for them. Some do not. All of those people are right about what they feel, and all of those feelings are okay.
 
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CTF

Member
Actually, it's simply not true that "it's not subjective." Love is a feeling, and feelings are subjective by their nature. It's not like a deity, which is an external object which may or may not exist, but if it does, exists independently of any given individual. And from someone who just claimed that "all of the analogies... are rife with holes," I find the equation of an external object with an internal feeling to be laughable.

"Feeling" isn't even a true noun at all; it's a gerund. It's the noun form of the verb 'to feel'. All 'feeling' means is the experience via which somebody feels something... making feelings exist every time someone feels. Love exists every time someone loves. That's about as subjective as it gets.

Because of that, every person's experience of love is going to be different, and all are equally real. The person who experiences romantic love as limited to one individual throughout a lifetime, even if that person dies or rejects them, and the person who falls in love reliably with everybody they have sex with, are both right about what love is and how expansive it can be... for them. I'm not sure where you're getting the bizarre notion that love has to be some kind of objective feature which operates the same way in every human, but since there's no other feeling we have which does that, why on earth should this one be expected to?

No two people grieve exactly the same way, though there are some broad categories of likelihood. No two people get angry the same way. No two people laugh at exactly the same things. And no two people love the same way, or the same amount, or with the same degree of elasticity.

Actually, a feeling is a noun (person, place, thing or idea). But you're confusing the issue. How we experience something does not define what it is, or what "quantity" (for lack of a better word) it exists in. Who you love is probably not who I love, what makes you happy isn't necessarily what makes me happy, etc... so the experience is subjective, but what defines love and happiness exists regardless of our perception.

Same goes with your last 2 examples. Grief and anger. Sure, no 2 people grieve the same, no 2 people experience anger the same way... but with all, there are objective constants that allow us to even know what we're feeling.
 

Voyager

New member
Actually, a feeling is a noun (person, place, thing or idea). But you're confusing the issue. How we experience something does not define what it is, or what "quantity" (for lack of a better word) it exists in. Who you love is probably not who I love, what makes you happy isn't necessarily what makes me happy, etc... so the experience is subjective, but what defines love and happiness exists regardless of our perception.

Same goes with your last 2 examples. Grief and anger. Sure, no 2 people grieve the same, no 2 people experience anger the same way... but with all, there are objective constants that allow us to even know what we're feeling.

You're objectively incorrect about the grammar. A gerund is an -ing word made from a verb and functioning like a noun. When you say "There was a mugging on 34th street last night," the word mugging is a gerund made from the verb to mug, and functioning in the role of a noun in the sentence.

The word feeling has been used so often by now that it's become commonly treated as a noun, sometimes even by dictionaries because dictionaries are descriptive rather than proscriptive. But it is grammatically a gerund, made from the verb to feel and the gerundic ending -ing, and functioning in the place of a noun in the sentence.

The rest of what you say falls, once again, into the Proof by Blatant Assertion category. You insist that there exist some kind of external objective items called Love and Grief, but offer no evidence that these things exist, let alone where they are or how one could locate, measure, observe and quantify them. They're articles of faith for you.

I see zero evidence that any such things exist. Instead, there are actions of feel-ing -- experiences in which people feel things. When they feel, they describe their experience of feel-ing (there's that gerund again) as "love" or "grief" or "anger" or whatever, because that allows them to talk about the experience that is happening within them to other people. But it remains an experience, a happening. A verb. Feeling, of whatever type, does not exist objectively; it exists only in the experiences of individual people.

If you can find and point to a feeling that exists without a person to feel (the verb from which the gerund is made) it, then please go ahead and show it to me, by all means. But I've never seen one or heard of one being successfully observed and measured; and by your own standards described about deities above, I therefore have absolutely no reason to believe that any such things exist.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
In some ways you're both right and both wrong - current research argues that the feelings we feel are shaped by the words we put on them.

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2017/08/emotionally-intelligent/

Just like unless you have a word for compersion, you might not realize that you were feeling it (or attempt to force yourself to feel it as the case may be...)
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Well, I'd say fire is a bit of a stretch. And while I hope that comparing the poly struggle, to what homosexuals have had to endure was more of a tongue and cheek reference on your part, I'm sure they could do a much better job highlighting their true hurdles for a proper perspective. So I won't bother getting into deep discussion about it, but I will point out that no one has been drug behind a car to their death for being poly.

And I hope that was just a clumsy attempt at a strawman argument.

While I never compared the homosexual struggle to the poly struggle (whatever that is), I'm not convinced christians make a distinction between the two. It is well known that the conservative right often uses polygamy in their argument against gay marriage.

That being said, I've never claimed that poly wasn't a valid relationship model. Granted, there's much about it that I don't understand, but not once have I claimed it to be wrong, unnatural, etc... so this notion of me being "anti-poly" is wildly inaccurate.

IIRC, you have never sought to learn about poly. You came here to knock it because your wife had an emotional affair and claimed to be poly. You literally have no experience with poly whatsoever. By your own admission you have stuck around to tell us how wrong we are.

And no, I don't dismiss infinite love because I am unable to feel it. Sure, it's part of how I come to that conclusion, but simply put, it does not make sense. All of the analogies/examples are rife with holes in my opinion. But I dismiss it for the same reason I dismiss the existence of god. It's not subjective. It either exists or it doesn't. And until the evidence shows otherwise, I have no choice but to go with what my logic leads me to. I don't care about being a champion for monogamy. I have no interest in interfering with happy poly relationships. But these stories where one drops the bomb, and the mono partner torments him/herself to save the marriage, clinging onto the "you're enough" "love is infinite" mantras that are next to impossible for some to believe. And they get painted as the bad guy, or an unloving partner for feeling jealousy.

I've never seen that happen.

So people telling you they feel infinite love is not enough evidence for you? Are we just delusional?

The more I think about it, the more I see it as a spectrum. Some people cannot feel love at all. Some people feel love for anyone and anything. Most of us are somewhere between those two extremes. There is no "it exists or it doesn't" beyond each individual. I'm just glad I'm one of those for whom it does exist.
 

CTF

Member
What do you mean by "agree with what those feelings are?"

If, by "agree with what those feelings are," you mean "believe that their feelings are what they say they are," then yes, I'm afraid you do have to, or else be a confirmed jerk. Everybody is the sole judge of what their own feelings are, and saying "You don't feel what you say you feel" is simply bad behavior.

If you mean "approve of those feelings in them," then the answer is much the same. It's not the act of a decent human being to declare someone else's feelings are Bad any more than it is the act of a decent human being to declare someone else's feelings Not Real.

If you mean "have the same feelings they do," then of course you don't, and I'm mystified as to where you're getting the theory that anyone thinks you do. I know of nobody poly who thinks monogamous people don't or shouldn't exist, and the only person on this thread who has been claiming that anyone else's feelings are either not real or not okay is you. You keep insisting that lots of poly people all over declare that monogamous people's feelings are either not real or not okay... but I don't see them and you aren't showing me where they say those things; you're merely insisting that they do say them. Proof by Blatant Assertion is rarely compelling evidence of anything.

It is certainly true that, if and to whatever extent anybody tries to claim that monogamous people's feelings of only being able to feel romantic love for one person at a time are Bad or Not Real, then those people are being jerks. It is also true that, if and to whatever extent anybody tries to claim that polyamorous people's feelings of being able to feel romantic love for as many people as they can feel love for multiple children or multiple friends are either Bad or Not Real, then those people are also and equally jerks.

I'm not one of the former. Neither is, from the evidence of their words, anyone else I see on this thread. Only you can tell whether you're one of the latter or not.

P.S. You say, "Not once have I seen someone say "love is infinite FOR ME", poly or otherwise." But you actually just saw me say precisely that. In case you missed it, I'll say it again: Love is infinite FOR ME. Some other people seem to feel that it is also infinite for them. Some do not. All of those people are right about what they feel, and all of those feelings are okay.

What I mean is, that even if I believe their sincerity (in this case, loving infinitely), I am not compelled to believe that what they're feeling is accurate. Now, if that makes me a jerk, then so be it. I'm not out to convince anyone that my way is the only true way, and I certainly don't expect others to change their views based on my opinion if it doesn't make sense to them... but I'm not going to pretend that infinite love is possible just because someone claims to experience it.

Personally, I'm not concerned with whether they're jerks. Unless someone is actively trying to influence my relationship, then my opinion of them, or their opinions doesn't matter.
 

CTF

Member
And I hope that was just a clumsy attempt at a strawman argument.

While I never compared the homosexual struggle to the poly struggle (whatever that is), I'm not convinced christians make a distinction between the two. It is well known that the conservative right often uses polygamy in their argument against gay marriage.



IIRC, you have never sought to learn about poly. You came here to knock it because your wife had an emotional affair and claimed to be poly. You literally have no experience with poly whatsoever. By your own admission you have stuck around to tell us how wrong we are.



I've never seen that happen.

So people telling you they feel infinite love is not enough evidence for you? Are we just delusional?

The more I think about it, the more I see it as a spectrum. Some people cannot feel love at all. Some people feel love for anyone and anything. Most of us are somewhere between those two extremes. There is no "it exists or it doesn't" beyond each individual. I'm just glad I'm one of those for whom it does exist.

Not at all. As crude as it may seem, there's no denying that the discrimination that poly folks claim to receive, is often compared to the discrimination that homosexuals face. And while it's true that the conservative right likes to lump a lot of groups they oppose together, they really don't see polygamy as nearly the threat.

(Not sure what IIRC is), but in any case... it depends on what you mean by "learn". It might surprise you to know that I actually know a great deal about poly, I just don't get the appeal. And I probably never will. Doesn't mean I don't know how it works. I came here not to knock it, but rather, to reconcile if what my wife was telling me was common, or possible among the poly community. I stay, because there are threads reminiscent of my own experience, would like to think that sharing what it felt like to be poly bombed can hold some value.

Oh please, it happens all the time. Every time you see a post about the mono partner agreeing to open up for the poly partner's sake... other than a scant few, nearly every one of those circumstances ends badly.

I wouldn't say delusional, but no, it's not enough evidence. Words are one thing, but put into practice, I've never seen it as being viable.

And I agree on your last point. The spectrum does make sense. I still disagree with infinity, and I'm certainly on the lower end of it, but I'm personally quite happy with where I sit.
 

Tinwen

Active member
What I mean is, that even if I believe their sincerity (in this case, loving infinitely), I am not compelled to believe that what they're feeling is accurate.
CTF, as long as you try to classify and measure and lump into boxes subjective experience, you'll be at odds with people forever, and I dare say, with reality. In this case, although I hate it after making a case for tolerance, I'll say that you are simply wrong. The value we (including you, allegedly) all claim to advocate here, that everyone's perspective is equally valid, is derived from the deep belief that there is no right and wrong when it comes to the subjective experience (aka feelings). Feelings are not thought or beliefs or actions -- we can argue endlessly if those are right or wrong (although there's probably no point there either), but you simply can't do the same with emotions. If you're gonna deny that you're dismissing everyone else on earth besides you. Seriously.
 

anamikanon

New member
Love may be infinite, attention is not. It is okay to feel the loss of exclusive attention. It is also okay to need and ask more attention so that you don't suddenly feel abandoned. At the same time, it is important to understand that the loss of attention is not deliberate and more likely a result of NRE, so cutting some slack, rolling your eyes at the love birds and being an affectionate martyr can work emotionally for the non-severe episodes. Making the most of the time you DO have can also leave you with a high that makes you feel less like you're losing out.

Hobbies can really help. If you have something you can immerse yourself in, the time she spends elsewhere can seem like a boon that allows you to do things you always wanted to, but didn't have time for. For me, this is plants. Feeling neglected is a good time to bring out all the ones that need repotting and care and pamper the hell out of them. Giving nurture also sort of fills that "love deficiency" feeling sometimes.
 

Voyager

New member
What I mean is, that even if I believe their sincerity (in this case, loving infinitely), I am not compelled to believe that what they're feeling is accurate. Now, if that makes me a jerk, then so be it. I'm not out to convince anyone that my way is the only true way, and I certainly don't expect others to change their views based on my opinion if it doesn't make sense to them... but I'm not going to pretend that infinite love is possible just because someone claims to experience it.

Personally, I'm not concerned with whether they're jerks. Unless someone is actively trying to influence my relationship, then my opinion of them, or their opinions doesn't matter.

You persist in the arbitrary declaration that there exists some objective substance entitled Love, which exists or does not exist independently of whether or not someone feels loving. You've given no definition of this substance, let alone any evidence to support your claim that its existence is objectively identifiable, separate from a given person's experience of emotion.

I'm not sure I'd quite say this makes you a jerk, but it definitely makes your claims pointless and valueless.
 

BonzaiBlitz

New member
WHOA THIS THREAD BLEW UP.

Thanks for the input, everyone.

UPDATE:
I'm doing much better now, overall.
I struggled with the idea of competing for my wife's attention, and realized that we hadn't really needed to actively work on our relationship in years.
Not that either of us have been neglectful, but that we've just been relying on what we know works for each other.

We had some genuine quality time (an evening at home watching an old favorite movie, eating pizza and holding hands), and agreed that home would be considered a "primary relationship only" space, at least until I'm more comfortable around her boyfriend.

By bouncing thoughts off her and friends and our local poly group, I realized (for real, rather than just intellectually) that it ISN'T a competition between me and him.
Nothing about their relationship keeps me from being an awesome husband.

In fact, the real struggle is for HER, balancing between two committed relationships.

It also helps that I've basically become platonic best friends with my wife's meta (her boyfriend's girlfriend), who has been in and out of poly relationships for years. :D

I still haven't found anyone to date, but we're gradually developing a polycule identity with my wife's boyfriend, his girlfriend, and her boyfriend.
 
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vinsanity0

Active member
LOL...sorry it got a little sidetracked. That's great that things are working out. I think a lot of us had to get over that feeling of competition. At least I did. It's quite a revelation when it happens.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Good to hear you are getting things sorted.
 
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