That kind of love.

Archive for May, 2011

The hard part is the risk

Risky Love

This Japanese woman attempted suicide after being jilted by the would be groom. Love is risky.

I’ve heard people say that if you’re not keenly aware of the risk, you are striving hard enough for your happiness. That’s one of the odd things about my path, living polyamorously. The closer I get to the path of living my life the way it ought to be lived, the more aware I am of the dangers. It’s not easy to be responsible. It’s even harder to trust your constellation mates. But you must do both things to make it work, to not fall off the path.

I want to be happy, and I want to minimize the risk.

Yet, I read things about what people regret, like this link about top five things people say they regret on their deathbeds, and it makes me a little proud of myself. I will not say anything like any of those things when my time comes because I really am being myself, and I am living my life to the absolute fullest.

It’s good to remember that when it gets hard, and the risks seem to loom like dark trees over this path, that the reason I’m walking it in the first place is because it is the path of practical love in my life.

Monogamy battles and time ownership

Ownership of time

There is this thing that happens when you start a monogamous relationship, where both partners lay claim to the other person’s time. This is part of the function of Bachelor’s and Bachelorette parties, where it’s you’re last real hurrah with your friends because you’re giving up all your time to the person that you are marrying, and you’ll never taste real freedom ever again.

It’s not just marriage. You’ve seen this happen with people in nonmarried monogamous relationships do this. People meet the right partner, and then they each lay claims to all the other persons time. They don’t act as if they want to do that, but they do it anyway. I’m not sure what the motivations are exactly for this, but fear, social order, expectations, words like those come to mind.

Many a friendship have perished because of this reality. Sometimes even family relationships suffer, and become relationships in name only, with very little time invested in them anymore, when there is clear desire to do so.

Separate Kingdoms

Over the course of time, the partners in the monogamous relationship start to feel the need to claim some of their own time back. Since it’s a huge burden on one partner to “go out” or do anything with former friends, former family, and any relations outside of the primary monogamous relationship, the partners react, and try to seek relief from the crushing burden inside their own marriage.

In my marriage before we opened it, the way it worked was that we built walled off areas that we protected from our spouse. The best way to do this without open defiance is to do things you know the other partner wouldn’t want to do. In my case, I played an MMO all the time. I knew it was safe, safer than locking myself in the bathroom just to reclaim some of my time. My partner watched constant trashy television. I don’t think either of us realized that we were lobbying for freedom, simply because we didn’t realize the possibility of being free.

In fact, we didn’t even realize this was going to be one of the awesome things we’d get from opening our relationship until well afterwards, but knocking down these separate kingdoms has been pretty spectacularly awesome.

How poly changes this

I have to give her time for her other relationships. It started out as time that I was giving her to date a guy she got interested in, but it quickly unfolded into something entirely different. We realized at some point that our time is actually ours. It’s kinda like this, our time, well that is our love. The time that we have is what we’re giving. There’s almost no difference whatsoever in love and time when your time is free.

Well, I never stopped wanting her love. I just didn’t or couldn’t realize that her love is her time. I thought I had to own her time, and that she was supposed to own mine. Well it’s clear that I don’t own her love, especially now. In the same exact way, I have no ownership whatsoever over her time. Any attempt to do so is false in any relationship. Even your employer doesn’t own your time. You are trading it at best, but they can’t own your ability to give it to someone else. It’s truly yours, and any relationship that attempts to build from the concept that your time can be owned by someone else is a terrible relationship you should avoid.

But that’s all a little beside the point. As soon as I realized that her time was hers, I wanted some of it. I wanted to earn some of her love. Not all of her time, but some. My separate kingdoms that I’d painstaking built over years vanished so suddenly, that it was like they’d never been there. The event made so much sudden sense to me that I saw this sort of necessary folly of what I’d been doing with extreme clarity. Polyamory has been more about excising unreasonable parts of my world-view, rather than adopting an alien one.

She lets me do whatever I want with my time. I want to give lots of it to her. She wants to ensure that I give her some of my time, and I want to ensure that she gives me some of hers. I let her do whatever she really wants. What we really want to do serves us both as an excellent compass for which way we want to go. It works out so simply and beautifully.

What is the relationship between survival and finding your happiness?

What happens when someone in your tribe dies?

In my life, I’ve lived through a lot of death. It affected the way I lived my life for a long time. Looking back, proximity to death looks a lot like proximity to celibacy. I mean that for a long time after tragedy in my life, I was sex-negative. I wonder if that’s the case for a lot of people. For me it was particularly fucked up because I was young, and I was a blooming moron to boot.

Just something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. There was such a long time that I was deeply unmotivated to go out and get what I want. I wonder if that’s an ingredient in lots of people’s lives. It’s easy to forget all the nuances as to why people don’t go out and find there happiness. The world can be a hard place to stay alive in.

What do you think the correlation between survivalism and polyamory is?

Staring Sex-Positivity right in the eye

So here’s the deal boys and girls, sex-positive theory is super simple: sex is a potentially positive force in our lives. That one concept causes a cascade of consequences. It changes assumptions. It frees people.

There’s a tremendous amount of sex-negativity. People generally find sex to be disruptive, difficult, potentially dangerous. A lot of people come to the conclusion that sex has to be controlled so that it won’t be so damaging. Christianity, and other religions tend to push the concept that morality and sexuality are essentially mutually exclusive.  That makes it even harder for people to see the positive power of sexuality in their lives.

Sex positivity is “an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation.” In other words, once you start thinking that sex could actually be pretty awesome, then you start to think that maybe many different kinds of sex could possibly be awesome. It’s not real far from that point, that maybe sex is nice, and pleasure is good, to real paradigm shift towards people who identify themselves with certain groups sexually speaking. Basically, if you think that sex is positive, it’s real hard to be a fucking homophobe. You know why? Because those fags, they’re enjoying themselves. They’re doing something positive, see? Cause they’re having sex, right, and sex… well, it’s good.

See? Not that hard. Try it yourself tonight. What if sex doesn’t hurt you in the end? What would that mean in your life? What kind of changes would you have to make if you really believed that?

This is a pretty good wikipedia article about sex-positivity. The history part is pretty interesting.

Having more than one girlfriend in high school

It recently occured to me that I had two essentially poly relationships in High School. Both of them were situations where liberated females were dating other men and then brought me on board. I wasn’t precisely aware that they were dating other men, but they both hinted at the fact that they were.

Both of them were highly intelligent, well read, and had major ties to social circles I was entirely not privy to. I am not certain that has anything do to with it. One of them, who for all intents and purposes, we’ll call Seaborne, was from Sweden, and was an exchange student. I’m not sure what’s stereotype there and what’s not so I won’t try to speculate on the assumptions she maintained that allowed her to date multiple people, and also retain a sense of self worth, but she did it.

I would go more into the similarities between the two and the role the other partner played in my education, because it’s very interesting, but I have a point I need to stick to,

This picture doens't even have abstract relation to this story, but it's pretty aweosome nonetheless.

and that is this: If everyone else had behaved with the intelligence and maturity that the two of them displayed, the competitive dynamic in High School could have been completely different.

Bear with my while I give one more example to illustrate my point. I had my eye on dating a young woman who we’ll call Lilystem for several years. She became available, and myself and another young man asked to date her. She accepted his hand, but not mine, although she made it clear that it was merely a superior match on his part, rather than lack of connection between her and I. Had she been operating under similar assumption as Seaborne, she would have agreed to date us both, and none of us would have had to cope with feelings of competition, and catastrophic lack of worth. Plus she would have gotten to date me, and I’m a pretty hawt date.

It is easy to see expressed homophobia as an index of sex-identity confusion

Your family is awesome

Your family is awesome!

Let me break that title down a little bit. There’s lots of homophobia in the world. (For clarity’s sake, I’m defining homosexual here to only include men, for the simple reason that there is a distinct difference in American culture between male-male homophobia, and female-female homophobia.)

Homophobia is a complex fear, with several layers, several contributing factors. First off, and most generally, there’s the fear of other, kinda like a xenophobia situation: the hate is as simple as “they’re not my tribe”. Then there’s moral fear, wherein the homophobe thinks something along the lines of ‘the purpose of sex is reproduction. therefore, homosexuals are morally perverse.” (I’m not saying it’s this clear at all. There are many branches and variants of this thought, and most of the time it’s not exactly put in words, more like a tone in the brain.) Then there’s the fear of one’s own feelings and desires. The homophobe recognizes at best there’s not a lot of clarity of what they do not desire. The evidence of history seems to indicate that people are not born closed to new experiences, and if all of these sex polls are right, then many men have actually experimented with homosexual activity of some variety. But let me cut to the chase here. Most of this stuff remains implicit. But when this kind of mind-numbing, unenlightened, self-loathing, horse shit gets expressed,  it gets nasty quickly.

Usually there’s a lot of psychological force behind homophobic expression for a variety of easy to understand reasons. It is very tempting for the target of those expressions to think that the homophobe who is moved to express their fears is so moved because they are actually part of the LGBT community, and are in the closet, or in denial. That’s probably right maybe say, 20% of the time if we’re all being generous.

Not all the reasons people rant about teh gheys are because they are in fact, interested in the dick. It just ain’t the case. It’s likely that more people are not closed to the experience than say so, and it’s possible that the pressures in our society to forcefully deny homosexuality cause people to go the extra mile to do so. But it’s as likely that the majority of folks out there really aren’t gay. It’s not that they aren’t correctly sex-indentifying themselves. It may be more like the reasons for homophobia are so nuanced that there’s bound to be a lot of psychological force behind expression. Think about it in terms of a metaphor. There’s lots of steams and creeks flowing into Homophobic Lake. When the dam bursts, theys gonna be some floodin’ going on. Just because the force of the leak is strong doesn’t indicate something about the nature of the lake itself.

Which is good to remember when the hot guy at work cracks gay jokes all the time. 😦

Hope and Polyamory

Pablo Neruda composed all his poems in green ink, because it was the color of hope.

If the human capacity to love fills the full boundaries of a person’s time, then we must be driven to hope. It no longer becomes something we can fail to do. We know that something good is coming. Perhaps that knowing is not precisely the same thing as hope, but it is an element that runs through many polyamorists writing, thinking and dreaming. We shall be filled up with love. And love is the thing that we most desire.