joreth: (Purple Mobius)
http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/how-i-got-burned-my-polyamorous-relationship

I really wanted to open this link and blast the author for their monoprivilege, their insecurity, or their discrimination.  Then I read the tagline "Those you pursue are humans who have feelings and needs and desires and don't cease to exist when you go home to your primary partner." and I wanted to herald this as more ammunition in my fight against couple privilege.

But by the time I got to the end, I wanted to smack them both.

This whole situation is filled with wrong.  Both sides are wrong, both sides are doing harm.  First, the couple *is* exactly what's wrong with couple privilege.  The author is completely right that "I told her I didn't like a man telling me what I could and couldn't do in my bedroom."  This is absolutely unethical.  It is ethically wrong and un-compassionate for people to decide what someone else can and can't do with their own bodies.  When the husband and wife decide, before ever meeting the author, that the wife will never spend the night and will never use dildos in her sex play with others, this is WRONG.  I have the utmost sympathy for the author being treated like a second-class citizen, like a need fulfillment machine, and for having her agency dismissed.

But the author isn't exactly on a moral high horse herself.  And no, it's not because "the fault is mostly [hers]" for failing to have seen the red flags.  She is right that the media portrays this couple privilege enshrinement as Just How Things Are Done and the media fails to explore how this affects everyone who isn't part of the primary couple.  So, much like people exploring kink and BDSM for the first time, she shouldn't be blamed for being thrust into a relationship style she had no knowledge of with shitty tour guides and then failing to know how to navigate it well.

No, her fault is that she didn't want to be poly in the first place.  She went into the relationship under false pretenses herself and now she's blaming all of polyamory for failing to consider her monogamous needs under our poly banner.  If this couple didn't have these kinds of rules, if they were truly egalitarian, truly open to others, not hiding behind their insecurity, the *author* still would have seen her relationship as being "loved by half of one".

"Sharing the person I loved most in the world with someone else was the most painful experience I've had as an adult. This is the nature of Polyamory, however. "  This is *not* the nature of polyamory.  This is a flawed premise.  In order for polyamory to work well, the participants have to drop the idea that people are things that can be "shared" in the first place.  Our partners are not toys that we share with others.  Our partners are human beings who share *their* time with us.

"The irony is that Poly people believe that they are somehow more evolved than their monogamous counterparts when in fact, they are quite often driven by selfish desires, a fear of true intimacy, and a need to feel validated by more than one lover at a time."  This is her mindset.  No matter how the couple handled their relationship, she was never going to feel valued or loved in a poly relationship because she is starting with the assumption that polyamory is selfish and for people who are afraid.  She is starting with the assumption that monogamy is the only path to "true intimacy".  With that assumption, everything else follows that her experience with polyamory is going to suck.

This article pisses me off because she's not wrong about how couples often treat their secondaries.  This is why I'm opposed to hierarchical structures.  But it pisses me off because I can't use it show couples how they're hurting others because she is exactly what those couples are trying to protect themselves from.  She is merely validating and justifying their use of unethical, selfish tactics because she is the exact thing that they are afraid of - someone who is really monogamous, coming into an existing relationship, developing feelings, and then wanting to destroy the preexisting relationship so she can have one of the partners all to herself.  And calling them "selfish" in the process.

There can be two "bad guys" in any relationship.  Both sides here are wrong.  Even if both sides are making valid points, both sides were still in the wrong.  Couples:  you can't make up rules that affect the new people without the new people's input.  You can't decide what they can and can't do with their own bodies.  You can't decide ahead of time the course a relationship will take.  New people:  you can't bring in your Monogamous Mindset into a poly relationship and expect it to work.  You can't expect to have your monogamy catered to in a poly relationship - that defeats the purpose of having a poly relationship.  You can't treat your partners like objects or possessions.  You can't hold onto your monogamous values about intimacy, sexuality, jealousy, time, and agency.  If you view everything through a monogamous filter, you will never find satisfaction or security in a poly relationship.

Both sides are actually doing the same thing.  Both sides are viewing the Couple as the pinnacle of relationship intimacy.  It's just that both sides think that their side is the one who ought to get the highest ranking.  The couple and the author are both viewing the wife as a piece of pie that they have to cut into pieces and share with each other.  The husband doesn't want the women to use dildos because there is something magical that happens when you put a penis in a vagina that erases all the specialness of any other relationships.  The author gets jealous when she thinks about her girlfriend going home and having sex with her husband because there is something magical that happens when you put a penis in a vagina that erases all the specialness of any other relationships.  The couple wants to protect their relationship from losing the ability to post camping photos or having to explain to others who is having sex with whom, so they keep the author hidden from public view.  The author wants the right to post camping photos or to have others know who is having sex with whom so she resents the couple's public identity.

Couple privilege & hierarchy in polyamory and the "cowboy" mono coming to "steal our wimmen" are two faces of the exact same coin.  This is why neither should be accepted in the poly community.
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