That kind of love.

Posts tagged ‘monogamy’

Monogamy is cake

Here’s a blinding flash of the obvious: non-monogamous relationships are beset with difficulties that are magnified by non-monogamy. This is so obvious that most non-monogamous folks try as hard as they can to justify the fact out of existence. Let me be clear like Barack — non-monogamous relationships are complicated in a way that monogamous relationships are not. Non-monogamy is harder. That’s not to downplay the difficulty of any long term monogamous relationships. They’re really freaking hard to maintain. It takes courage, sacrifice, and conflict management skills that no one is born with. It takes a student to be in any kind of relationship. Nonetheless, when you add more than one partner the problems don’t increase in a linear way. Between two people, there’s going to be a certain amount of conflict that’s got to be negotiated. Now add another human being, even the most well adjusted, eloquent, emotionally in-touch human being, and the problems get bigger by three fold.

 

This is why a lot of people don’t choose non-monogamy. Or to put it a different way, this is why a lot of people have non-monogamous relationships without consent of the participants.

 

All that is not to say consensual non-monogamy isn’t possible, but it is to say that it’s really, really hard. Harder than most of us are equipped to handle. So, remind yourself; if you’re going to do this, you’re making an ethical commitment to the folks around you, who you love and who love you, that you’re going to strive to meet the conflicts and obstacles. You realized that what you’re attempting requires above-average diligence, patience, self-control, and respect. You are aware that if you don’t rise to those challenges, the result will be emotional catastrophe.

Because that’s the truth. How many people do you know whose non-monogamy has earned them catastrophe? I know a lot. It scares me. It drives me to ensure that my communication with the people I so deeply care about is explicit. It makes me ensure that I practice the safest kind of sex I can – with everyone. I have additional responsibilities to my partners because I have chosen to have more than one. It’s just the facts.

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I officiated at a gay wedding

The legal stuff took place in Washington DC, but we don’t live there, me and my two very good gay friends. They’ve been together for a long time, and they definitely wanted to have a ceremony that could include a lot of people. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a civil union, but the room will be located in a court, and it will be small, shabby, cramped, and will probably have a fake garland of flowers hanging from an aluminum arch somewhere.

For some reason, the couple in question got it in their heads that I was good with language, and wouldn’t mind writing up a ceremony for them. They said there only request was that they wouldn’t have read vows themselves. I asked them if they wanted me to get ordained for the ceremony, but they said that they would rather me represent their group of friends, than any other power, and I agreed to leave the gods outside.

So I wanted to post the ceremony that I wrote for them. It’s definitely not all mine, I’ve cobbled things together from a few sources, but let me say that it’s not plagiarized either. Most of this stuff is so adapted that you could say with some confidence that it is essentially anonymous. Nothing would please me more than other alternative, LGBTQ marriages had officials use this setup. Please feel free to steal this. You could consider the writer of what follows as “Anonymous” if you like.

 

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<Name1> and <Name2>’s Wedding

Seating Period

Entrance of the groomsmen

Entrance of the Best Men

Entrance of the Grooms


<Name1> and <Name2>, we are gathered here together to witness and affirm the love and respect that you have for each other. <Name1> and <Name2>, are you entering into this marriage freely, voluntarily and without any conditions?

In our lives, happiness is built, not found. Happiness is a product of the relationships we make.
A good marriage must be created. In making our happiness, little things are the big things. It is at no time taking the other for granted; It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is valuing the other’s feelings enough to hear them, honesty enough to communicate, and courage enough to act feel together. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in, and magnifies the relationships of both people.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

One of the purposes of marriage is to make a promise on your honor to stay together. It is a promise to uphold a relationship that last longer than the whims and changing desires of either partner. Upon entering this marriage, you will be committing to the idea that the rings you will wear are a symbol of your promise to walk through hard times with each other, to even carry one another in times of distress, even when it hurts. You commit to hold one another through the winter, as well as the spring.

It must be asked why anyone would make such a commitment to another person? Marriage bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry.  Marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Marriage is an esteemed institution because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity. The decision to participate in this institution, combined with the decision who to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

<Name1> and <Name2>, please face each other and answer me with an “I do”

<Name1>, are you ready to take <Name2> as your husband, to live together with him in a growing relationship? Will you vow with him to be partners who will meet every situation of life together; the peaceful and the chaotic, the routine and the exciting, the sorrowful and the joyful, the threatening and the inviting? Will you love him, affirm him, and commit yourself to him in marriage as long as you both shall live?

<Name2>, are you ready to take <Name2> as your husband, to live together with him in a growing relationship? Will you vow with him to be partners who will meet every situation of life together; the peaceful and the chaotic, the routine and the exciting, the sorrowful and the joyful, the threatening and the inviting? Will you love him, affirm him, and commit yourself to him in marriage as long as you both shall live?

Lighting the Unity Candle
The lighting of the unity candle symbolizes the joining together of two families. It represents the union of individuals into one united family, and also of the commitment of the larger group of friends and family to help keep the flame of their love burning.

May I Please Have the Rings

What you have to give to each other  is:he promise to take each other as your only love from this day forward, to stand by one another’s side, to listen to one another to give comfort when when there are tears,  and to join your laughter together. Take these rings, and be part of each other’s lives forever.If you wish to seal this marriage with a kiss, you may now do so.

Presentation of the married couple to their friends and family

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.

Polyamory and Meaningful Platonic Relationships – by Littlemoon

  • This is a piece by Littlemoon, who will be an occasional guest contributor.

I’m not a practicing polyamorist, nor necessarily a monogamist at heart.

I’ve been familiar with polyamory for years, as an outsider looking in. My observances of poly in my early twenties left me with warnings of dramatic processing of emotions, promiscuity, and tons of hurt feelings. I decided on monogamy, though at that point, there really was no decision to be made… Monogamy was the acceptable way to create a family. And I wanted one.

I remember being awestruck in hearing of a triad, who were expecting a baby, and no one knew which male was the father. And they were perfectly blissful about it. This blew my small-town-fundmentalist-christian-raised mind out of the water. Nope, not for me.  Plus, in reality, it seemed like a lot of work to juggle more than one love.

Fifteen years later, a failing marriage, evolving into a mother and a woman, I found myself reconsidering polyamory. I read a few book, made a few poly friends and set about figuring out which side of the fence I wanted be on.

I’m still on that fence. What I do know is that poly has opened my eyes wide to the possibilities of meaningful relationships that I never allowed myself to enjoy before. I’ve always been the girl who wouldn’t dare get too close to another man, or even a bisexual female, for fear of ‘appearing’ to have ill intentions. Recently, though, poly has allowed me to break down the religious and societal barriers I possessed, to open myself to mature, loving, deeply emotional and wonderfully fulfilling relationships. All without climbing into bed with anyone.

Poly folk tend to be just fine with non-sexual connections. They seem to accept and respect whatever my deal is, whatever boundaries I need to have in place, whatever makes me feel comfortable. Poly is not just about sex. Poly, to me, is about the freedom to connect with anyone on whatever level feels right.  It’s about not having to define or label what someone is to me.  It’s about being open to sharing parts of myself with people who genuinely want to know and accept me.  It’s about honesty, which leads to a higher level of respect and compassion for each person I come in contact with.  Polyamory, for me, is the freedom to create something meaningful, whatever that may be.

One day, I may jump off this fence, and see what other parts poly has to offer.  But for now, I’m just going to sit back and relax and enjoy my new perspective on relationships and be open to whatever feels right.

New Category: Open Friends

Linza Feldman

Artwork by Linza Feldmen. Click to see more. SFW.

One of the immediately apparent results from the mutual decision to open our marriage was that we got to have friends.

Your friends become important when you accept the concept that your primary partner doesn’t have to fulfill every need you have. There are relationships that will fulfill some of the aspects of your personality better than your primary partner does. And that is so amazing.

This is an event of real beauty in my life. Before poly, I personally put little value on my friendships because the primary relationship was of the highest priority. Now the friendships that I cherish are of the same priority, or at least they aren’t inferior, to the primary relationship. They have so much more value because everyone is acknowledging that those friendships fulfill necessary roles, not only in my life, but in my partner’s life as well.

When we were monogamous, the only friendships that survived were the ones that were the strongest, and even those that survived were weak examples of their former importance. When I made these friendships, I had not assumed that I would accept their total replacement with a primary relationship, and yet when I accepted a closed relationship, I didn’t even think twice about letting those friendships starve.

I could not have guessed how vital the non-sexual relationships could be. My life is enormously enriched by the change in status. I need my friends to be happy.

Most of the time old friendships aren’t the best ones to attempt to open up. There’s tremendous difficulty in decided who to come out to about polyamory, or bisexuality, or both. But the temptation is enormous to contact people with whom you previously had a strong connection. Because it’s not like you’ve changed, rather it’s a lot more like you’ve become more of yourself. They accepted you for who you were then, so it makes some kinda sense that the two of you might have connection now.

I’d say I’m about fifty percent acceptance rate with former friends who knew me before I opened my marriage. But after ten years of monogamy, its like I went totally radio silent for a decade, and then now, I’m coming back from Siberia with all this new energy, and a new vision, and some people can’t accept even that alone. What are the chances that my old friends will have ever even heard the word polyamory?  Well, for a lot of people, the basis of polyamory doesn’t come from a book, or a blog, or even a notion, but rather what they are evolved to want, and where their feelings have lead them.

So I make a lot of friends from people who were potential lovers. We engage from the get-go knowing the other persons tastes and identities, by and large, and work from there. So the new category: Open Friends are about those folks who know that you are poly, and embrace that whether they share the same semantics or not. I’ll be talking about subjects in that category often in the future.