Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

September 17, 2014

Eve and Franklin's response to "Jealous of What?"

Salon / Peopleimages via iStock
Remember "Jealous of What? Solving polyamory’s jealousy problem" in Salon a couple months ago? A social-science researcher in a successful, long-term MFM triad argued that we need to shed the "individualism" of mainstream culture for poly to be secure and jealousy-free. It was controversial — a lot of people criticized her for an attitude of superiority and the howler that jealousy came into the human condition only with capitalism. I noted that Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert were preparing a response article for Salon and we could "expect a humdinger." Individual autonomy is at the core of their book More Than Two.

Now Eve just wrote, "So, Salon sat on our response for two months before we finally pulled it from their consideration and ran it on our own blog. You can read it here.


Emotional outsourcing: Why structural approaches to jealousy management fail

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?
—Proverbs 27:4

Elizabeth Stern has hit the polyamory jackpot. She has two loving, secure partners who are highly compatible not just with her, but with each other. The two loves of her life like each other, share interests, and are actively supportive of each other’s relationship with her. And none of the trio has ever felt jealous.

...Like someone who’s never suffered depression giving advice to someone who has, or someone who’s never encountered economic hardship critiquing the moral shortcomings of the poor, Stern looks to her own happiness and tries to decide what she’s doing right and others are doing wrong — because obviously, if everyone else would just do what she’s doing, they’d be as happy as she is. Like many people with unchecked privilege, she scoffs at those who must actually work at the things that come to her naturally....

...Jealousy is often the fear of being replaced. It starts in us so young because it is, arguably, the first and purest expression of the ego. We cannot outsource the taming of our own egos; we cannot export the job of facing our own insecurity. Jealousy is not a one-size-fits-all problem, so a mass-produced, one-size-fits-all solution won’t succeed.

Stern’s conclusions about the roots of jealousy are naive, because she believes that since she and her partners have never experienced jealousy, it means they never will. They’re arrogant, because she believes that her single four-year polyfidelitous relationship with two men can serve as a model for all poly relationships.

But her assertions are also dangerous... because often people feel jealous when no one is doing anything wrong. Treating jealousy as a purely social issue (and we’ve seen it done) can lead to an endless circle of judgment, recrimination and accusation. It’s the ultimate in outsourcing: the outsourcing of emotional responsibility. True jealousy management involves listening to the jealousy to find out what it’s trying to tell you, and communicating with your partners (and metamours) to discover whether there is truth behind your fears — and if not, to get the reassurance you need....

But Stern’s conclusion is dangerous for another, more insidious reason....

Read their whole piece (Sept. 16, 2014).




Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great response piece.


September 17, 2014 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's concurrently disheartening and dull to see so much of this blog become a marketing tool for "More Than Two."

Please consider returning to the theme of "Polyamory in the News" or renaming the blog "Alan and Friends."

September 18, 2014 6:13 AM  
Anonymous literaterose said...

Decided to check the facts re: anon's concerns about Alan, "More than Two", etc., and here's what I found:

Sept: 6 posts so far, one is by Franklin & Eve (though not about MtT). Anyone could have written a response to the original Salon article & if it were public, Alan would post about it. The longest post is about the poly contestant on the FOX show "Utopia", (the embarrassing mess that I sincerely hope no one's watching), but I don't really suspect Alan of being in the producers' pocket(s).

Anon, if you wrote quality essays, articles, blogs, books, etc about poly, you might find your work popular, too...once you got a name. So we'd all know who to complain about when you started popping up everywhere as a result of your prodigious talent.

August: 13 posts, only one solely about MtT (reviews by others). Another is about 2 forthcoming books, divided between Elizabeth Sheff and Franklin & Eve. (Incidentally, Sheff gets a *lot* of press, which Alan then reports. Why not a snit about her?) The last (& largest) post lists FORTY books on poly, with descriptions (thank you, Alan, btw!!). I know, I know: "but "MtT was listed first! See? It's EVERYWHERE!" I'm sure the list being in publication date order is a conspiracy too. The 10 remaining posts don't even brush up against Franklin, Eve, or MtT.

July: 15 posts (including the Salon article that set off this little debacle!). One at the beginning & a short one in the middle are about reviews of MtT. Again, *other* writers, who want attention for their own work, in public venues, writing about a newly published book that has--entirely outside of Alan's little realm--gotten lots of attention. Not all of them have undiluted praise for the book; there's no evidence that Alan is cherry-picking only positive reviews.

A search of the entire site using keyword "Franklin Veaux" turns up (gasp! shudder!)...eleven posts. Wait, what? Yup, eleven whole posts that feature or mention him, including all the MtT posts. About 6 are MtT-specific posts. A lot of the posts involving Franklin were from back around 2007, and several only mention him briefly, so he's not the focus.

Alan began this blog in 2005. Out of the hundreds of posts over it's life so far, maybe a dozen directly connect to Franklin and/or MtT. The active, out, in-the-media poly folk (writers, activists, etc) are not--even now--a huge community (within the larger poly "community" of all the folks who don't do any of that. Like me. And probably you, anon.) Chances are, at least some of these folk are going to know/be friendly with each other. Are you suggesting a blog which only reports media exposures by/about those who are strangers to the blogger? Now *that* would get limited.

Bottom line, your complaint is specious. I guess it's obvious that it's more about some beef you have with MtT and/or Eve & Franklin (or Alan?), which makes all my indignant outrage kind of... silly, I suppose. And overkill. But your whiny, mean-spirited tone just irritated the heck out of me. And I haven't had any coffee yet.

Still, is it only me, or does anyone else find it a wry twist that this nasty remark just happens to be made in the comments to ongoing reflections about...*jealousy*? Cuz, just sayin'...

For what it's worth, More than Two has been a revelatory book for me (long-time non-monogamous), especially because of its emphasis on ethics. I'm sending it on to my son & daughters (none poly, though one is fluid regarding relationship styles) because I truly believe that the concepts can improve any relationship.

And Alan, I'm deeply grateful for the work you do. Yours is one of the few sites I check near-daily.

WAY more than enough said, long since. Apologies for the novel, folks. [sheepish : ) ]

September 18, 2014 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, to a completely unconnected reader on here, that knows none of the applicable people in real life, anon's post just came across as sour grapes.

Lol that it's on a jealousy topic.


September 19, 2014 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Literaterose doth protest to much.

I find that comments that go on ad nauseum spewing accusations and spinning irrelevant theories only reflect that the commenter was triggered. Yet the validity of the critique still stands.

To Alan's credit, I assumed from his persistent unnecessary inclusion of himself in his posts (e.g. "Some semi-poly-celebrity mentioned me!") that he'd be too insecure to leave up negative feedback...but I sit corrected.

September 19, 2014 7:35 AM  

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