Kind hearts, cruel results?
Love shouldn't make you self-centered, should it? "Love is the great clarifier of values," right? In this week's Savage Love, alt-columnist Dan Savage smacks around (his term) a nice-sounding couple who seem not to share themselves with others in a considerate manner.
...My boyfriend and I have had a wonderful relationship for six years. We have had "girlfriends" in the past who were involved with both of us simultaneously. He recently met a girl and they instantly clicked... and she seems infatuated with him. She is aware that he lives with me/ we are together, but I've yet to meet her. I am fine with them dating, but I have a few questions:
1. My guy and I share everything. He's shown me her texts and told me about her life. We both feel slightly uncomfortable with me knowing such personal things about her without meeting her, but we don't want to limit the intensely open communication we have earned with each other.... How much am I entitled to know about her/them, and how can he tell me about her without being disrespectful?
2. Can I meet her? Under what circumstances?
3. Can this end well for her? Every girl we've dated has ended up hurt because our relationship with each other is always more important than she is. I worry this girl will be devastated when he doesn't leave me for her.... Things always end badly for the other girl, and I don't want to hurt her.
Curious And Respectful
...1. Your guy needs to tell this girl that he shares absofuckinlutely everything with you. He needs to tell her that he's in a successful open relationship — successful for you two, anyway — and that he has no intention of limiting the "intensely open communication" that has made your relationship work. She needs to know that you're hearing about their dates and the details of her life, reading every text, etc.
2. Sure, you can meet her — you absofuckinlutely should meet her.... How about under coffee circumstances? Or drinks circumstances? Or dinner circumstances?
3. Um... gee. If every girl you two have ever "dated" has wound up hurt, CAR, then a reasonable person might conclude that YOU'RE DOING THIS OPEN-RELATIONSHIP SHIT ALL WRONG. Your "wonderful" open relationship may be working for you, but if it's not working for them, CAR, then it's not working.
So... Dan Savage is ordering you to refrain from inviting anyone else into your "wonderful" relationship until you get a handle on what's so un-fucking-wonderful about it for your thirds....
Read the whole column (Jan. 13, 2011).
Too harsh? Here's a favorite Heinlein quote of mine for the last 43 years, always relevant for polys: "Goodness is not enough, goodness alone is never enough. A hard, cold wisdom is required for goodness to accomplish good."
Elsewhere in advice columns, a local sex therapist has good things to say in Colorado's Boulder Weekly:
Beyond the margins of monogamy
By Dr. Jenni Skyler
Dear Dr. Jenni,
I’ve tried monogamous relationships my entire life, and try as I may, I just don’t find monogamy to be spiritually fulfilling. In fact, I find it boring. I’d like to try polyamory, but I’m not sure how to introduce the subject to my girlfriend, or any girl in the future for that matter. How can one discuss polyamory with a significant other without coming off like a complete jerk?
—Perplexed by Procedure
Polyamory is one of society’s top taboos. There is an old adage that says, “Nature loves diversity, society hates it.” However, polyamory is about love, commitment, transparency and trust … with more than one person. Unlike swinging, where interactions are based more on recreational sex, polyamory is a lifestyle of intimate relationships practiced with or without sex. Also called responsible non-monogamy, the lifestyle requires the consent of all who are involved.
...That said, polyamory is not necessarily the answer to the monotony of monogamy....
...Making the switch mid-relationship to a polyamorous lifestyle can be a difficult process. The relationship must have enough trust and honesty that letting your partner be with another person doesn’t feel threatening.... It’s normal to bump up against boundaries where you feel threatened in any relationship, exclusive or not. In polyamory, though, you must be fully willing to continuously process how all parties are feeling.
Before you suggest polyamory to your future partner, it’s wise for you to first get acquainted with the lifestyle. Keep in mind, casually dating numerous people is not considered polyamory. Do your research, read some books, go to some meet-up groups, and get involved with the community. Most likely, it will be easier to date those with similar values in the community.
If you are in an exclusive, monogamous relationship, and you don’t want your partner to consider you a “complete jerk,” start by having conversations that are less taboo.... Build up your ability to share sexual content together. Once you feel comfortable vocalizing all your needs, wants and desires, then you know the relationship can withstand a deeper level of authenticity, and broaching the topic of opening the relationship will feel safer.
For all you know, your radical honesty with one another may make you fall in love with your partner in a new way.
Read the whole article (Jan. 6, 2011).
Labels: advice columns