Jun. 2nd, 2015

joreth: (Purple Mobius)

Atlanta Poly Weekend 2015 is coming up soon! Make sure to get there early, because Sterling and I are giving our Breaking Up workshop first thing Friday afternoon and you don't want to miss it! We've added new content for how the metamours can handle a breakup. Last year, we received rave reviews, including the comment:

"If More Than Two is the General Theory of Don't Be A Dick, then your breakup workshop is the Special Theory of Don't Be A Dick!"

We give practical advice for how to handle a breakup with compassion and grace even in the face of an uncooperative ex, and how to deal with your partners' breakups as the metamour. Given how common breakups are, we believe that we need to shuck the notion that discussing breakups isn't "romantic", and instead, we need to develop relationship skills that will help us to handle the inevitable.

Our culture tells us that we should find our One True Love the first time we try dating and that the relationship will last until we both die. Statistics suggest that this is FAR from true. So, as a culture, we need to take the blinders off and put on the big boy pants and learn how to deal with a situation that we are almost guaranteed to go through at least once in our lives.

Come to our panel at 1 PM on Friday to learn how!

On Saturday at 5:30 pm, come and hear me talk about Polyamory & Skepticism - What's Love Got To Do With It? I'll be revising an updated version of my keynote speech on the intersection between ‪skepticism‬ and ‪polyamory‬, and why they are so important to go together.

And finally, a brand new, hands-on workshop (yes, you can just observe) just for APW 2015 - Using Lead & Follow Techniques To Improve Your Relationship Communication!

Right before the Masquerade, come hear Sterling and me show you how to apply the partner dance techniques of Lead & Follow to your romantic relationships to improve your relationship communication. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO DANCE! Seriously, you can totally have 2 left feet and still get some important tips for your relationship! We will not be teaching how to dance at this workshop.

Lead & Follow are dance terms for who gives the signals in a dance and who receives the signals in a dance. They are not dance steps and they are not specific to any style of dancing. You do not need a partner to participate in this workshop and you do not need any dance experience or even any interest in dancing. This is a communication workshop that applies certain skills from partner dancing to relationships.

We will tackle issues like consent, invitations, acceptance and rejections, non-verbal signals, trust, and more. This is a fun and interactive workshop that will take place conveniently right before the Mardi Gras party, the Drag Show, and the big Masquerade ball! We'll have a few exercises and play some fun music, plus a couple of dance demonstrations with some fun and sexy dances! We'll get you up and moving and ready to party the rest of Saturday night!

Everyone is welcome - extroverts, introverts, dancers, non-dancers, singles, couples, any relationship configuration and any relationship style, and even lurkers! If "interactive" isn't your thing, you can still come in and observe, take notes, and practice at home using our helpful handout. In fact, the tips we teach in this workshop are intended to be continuously practiced, so *everyone* can take what they learn here and bring it back home with them to keep improving their relationship communication!

You won't want to miss this!

If you can't attend Atlanta Poly Weekend, then share this post to spread the word to those who can!

joreth: (Bad Computer!)
No patience anymore. "But what if my husband and his new girlfriend make a decision that takes time or money away from me, the mono partner? Don't I get a say in what they do?"

No, you don't. You never did, even if you made a rule that says you do. That's an illusion. They'll do what they want to do. The only thing you get a say in is how he treats YOU, not how he treats someone else.  It's harsh, but reality doesn't really care about our feelings. And the reality is that he is his own individual with his own agency, and so is she, and your opinion of what they do in their relationship ultimately doesn't matter. It only matters for as long as they let it matter, which means, ultimately, it doesn't matter.

If he wants to spend money on her, you could technically get into legalities with common property laws. But, ultimately, if it's something he really wants, he can divorce you and spend his money on her anyway.  If he wants to spend time on her that doesn't include you, you don't get a say in that. You don't get a say in how he spends his time that isn't with you. You *do* get request an amount of time that would make you happy, but it's up to him to decide what he has to cut out in order to make that time for you. You also get to request what kind of time he gives you (i.e. if you want some fun date time mixed in with the household duties, etc.), and then the negotiation between the two of you can begin. But he will spend whatever time on her that he wants to spend, and if he doesn't have enough time left over between his girlfriend and his job and his friends and his hobbies to suit you, then the only thing you have any real control over is whether to accept the time he gives you or to leave.

Now, in a caring, healthy relationship, he won't be a dick about it and he'll try to work with you to give you enough of his resources to keep the relationship flourishing. But the bottom line is that, regardless of how caring and loving he is, his resources (his body, his time, his emotions, his intimacy, his money with certain legal exceptions) are his to allocate and his relationship with his girlfriend belongs to the two of them and you get no say in it.  If you've chosen wisely and married a caring, considerate man, then he will take your feelings into consideration and try to make decisions regarding his resources and his other relationship(s) that don't tax you too much, but that's not the question. If I were talking to him, I'd be advising him on how to treat *you* compassionately and considerately as he begins new relationships, but I'm not addressing him right now, I'm addressing hypothetical you. And your question is, do you get a say? The answer is no, you don't.

I'm tired of mincing words, which is why I'm vaguebooking instead of addressing anyone directly, because this response would not be well-received as written and I'm out of patience for addressing this question constructively because I've seen this question for the last 18 years and I'm tired of it. At some point we all need to just take a deep breath, be an adult about it, and jump. We do not get a say in our partners' other relationships - romantic, familial, friendship, or work-related. We can advise and we can indicate consequences if their other relationships *directly* negatively impact our relationship. That's it. Those relationships are not our relationships and we do not have any right to hold power over them. The people in those relationships will do as they will anyway. If they want to be considerate towards us, then a rule making them considerate is unnecessary. If they don't, then a rule won't stop them.

I think the entire poly community would fare much better if they all had the horrible opportunity to experience what it feels like to pull a veto and have their partner just blink at them and say "no". It hurts.  But it's like ripping off a bandage.  I think that some people will not be able to accept that vetoes and hierarchy and other methods of control are illusions until they experience first-hand that it doesn't matter how much you love someone or they love you, it doesn't matter what rules you set in place in the beginning, that Game Changers happen and there is nothing we can do or say to make someone do what we want when they no longer want to do what we want them to do.

Much like spoiled, entitled children, it would probably do the entire community a world of good to have someone tell them "no" once in a while.  I get that it's borne out of fear, but the only way past fear is to face it.  The world still turns, the seasons still change, and we continue to march towards the inevitable heat death of the universe.  There is much we can't control, so we need to give up trying to control that which we can't, and focus on that which we can.

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