I cannot explain to her yet that perhaps the reason she withdraws is because she thinks it is the best way to get our attention.
You asked… I read your response on anxiety with interest and foreboding. I am in an open relationship with my partner. I suffer hugely from anxiety, and although I try to take full responsibility for it, I fear that my initial – uncontrollable – reactions of fear and anxiety impact my partner’s decisions on how or even whether to move … Read More
You asked… My wife and I married young and lived a monogamous lifestyle for 15 years. Over the last few years we’ve had several polyamorous experiences, initially due to her interest in it. But in this process we’ve discovered that she harbors crippling – and I mean crippling – jealousy and anxiety that for all practical purposes prevents me from … Read More
You asked… I’ve identified as polyamorous for many years, and do indeed love many. But even if I love many – you know, the soul thrilling, intimate, vulnerable kind – I have recognised that sexually, I (eventually) prefer exclusivity. I’ve noticed that my multiple relationships are often a transition from one sexually exclusive one to another (with an overlap of up … Read More
Designer Relationships is a gentle, compassionate read which presents the subject in a most decorous and acceptable light, yet this also means it is not dramatic or compelling enough to encourage a dubious reader to finish it. This is not a book which will persuade those without an already open and curious mind.
You asked… I’ve met someone who hasn’t heard of poly before. What’s a good way to introduce them? What red flags are there that they’re not accepting it really, but just going along? Thanks. Assuming your ‘someone’ has heard – however vaguely – of open relationships before, I’m going to give you some unconventional advice. Consider – unless it’s too … Read More
You asked… I think I’m running into a situation where I think I need to break up a relationship, because the living situation of my love and her partner isn’t poly-friendly. I’m minimized when he’s around, not allowed into their home, and having to hide the relationship when she and I are in her neighbourhood. I’ve tried to deal with this for … Read More
I knew that my father had tried to divorce my mother a year before they adopted me. I knew that I was ‘her project’. I knew that he was never around.
Consequently, success in British cringe comedy is more often to be found in dry, dark verbal humour where jokes preferred in the US might be perceived by Brits as too obvious and schmaltzy. The British are more likely expect you to do the work and join the ironic dots if you want to laugh. America delivers humour to your door in superbly constructed sets of punchlines.
If anything, the construct of monogamy has over some centuries, proven its worth. It’s helped us to grow into the society we are today.
I’d like Britain to be a part of that, I’d like Eurovision to become less of a guilty pleasure and more a resounding celebration of popular music for all countries. I’d like to see even more countries became involved in it (Australia please stay, you were great), for Eurovision to become a concept rather than a ‘club’ where certain member states are allowed to participate.
But for the most strident of relationship anarchists, the ‘no rules’ philosophy apparently ‘permits’ cheating. So what about the children?
We are programmed as human beings with a biological reaction called ‘disgust’ and as a society, have reinforced this through any number of mechanisms to be able to live together. It’s part of the reason why so many stories of abuse remain untold and why many abusers can go on abusing, sometimes over decades. Abusees become disgusting by their association to abuse. Their stories are often doubted, shunned or dismissed as inconsequential.
A reader wrote to me and described polyamory might be ‘best thought of only as a transitionary relationship to another.’ A stepping stone.
But it wasn’t about love, it was about power. About how far I would be willing to go. About how much abuse I might be prepared to accept.
So a friend of mine has been looking for an assistant. A sign of the times we are living in, he posts a job description on Facebook and receives 15 applications within 2 days. He tells me about the interviews and how he has an excellent woman in mind for the job. I joke saying ‘don’t pick someone based on how hot they are.’ His dry response is ‘well that’s why I picked to work with you.’
Take my daughter’s education. We have a coffee table book of the artwork Great Wall of Vagina showcasing over four hundred different vaginas.
At least I thought, I can as much work as possible in the time I have left to prepare myself mentally to lie, as I felt I would have to… for their entire lives.
Did I choose to suffer when I was beaten by a man who said he loved me? I would have told you no. Never. And anyone who told me otherwise I would have deemed cruel. Privileged. But now it seems I am a person who embraces that truth. And admitting that maybe, just maybe, I am both cruel and privileged (the latter is certainly true).
The hard part is when those people who’ve been your loyal supporters, even friends over many years come across a showstopper in your thinking. Something which they decide personally offends them. Many of my articles are controversial and have been notable both in a number of new followers and in those who abruptly stopped following.
Agency was conspicuous by its absence in my upbringing. My adoptive mother neither trusted in me, nor in my agency and this might be regarded by many as wise. After all what can a child know about the consequences of their decisions?
Whilst biological predisposition might make a strong case for some human rights, fighting for polyamory on this basis makes it more easily dismissed.
Great power comes, with the internet, sometimes completely unexpectedly. You cannot know power before you have it, so you cannot know whether you are ready for it. If you suddenly find yourself in a position of great power, then you can try to wield that power with responsibility and become the hero, or fail (by accident or design) and become the villain. And so, I am afraid. I am afraid that I have invited the mantle of power on my heretofore unproven and potentially irresponsible shoulders.
As a crusader for this system, abuse was not my mother’s intent. She was an agent in an abusive system, whilst believing that it was the best thing for me.
Because the non-violent lessons I have taught her meant that I neglected the most important one. The one about respecting your own boundaries and protecting your own body. Instead I apparently encouraged my daughter to be a good cog in the kindergarten system, to report it to an adult and in doing so taught her to go against her instincts and passively accept violence on her body. She became a victim, because I taught her it was the right thing to do.
But for those who are monogamous – especially as explored in Twice – the paradigm of a monogamous male with a polyamorous female – the struggle is wholly different. Society emasculates their stance as they struggle with opinions which may define them as cuckolds, whilst shame and guilt compound the difficulties.
Was ‘The Breakfast Club’ ever shouted down from every corner of the internet as romanticizing abuse? No, on the contrary it was effusively hailed as a testament to the human condition. How is it different to ‘Fifty Shades’? Well for one, Anastasia leaves after the beating she actively demanded, she calls him on the unacceptable nature of his actions but Claire goes out with her abuser.
Twenty years later those two people are now strangers and our story is one of the human condition, of love and tragedy. It was inevitable. And so I simply sigh, close the book and move on.
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