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"Stealing" people

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Noel Lynne Figart

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Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96
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LionSerpent wrote:
>
> Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?

The short answer is that one can only "steal' property and people are
not property.

>
> I've been thinking about this question recently, and found it to be a
> much trickier question to answer than I initially thought it would be.
>
> For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
> with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
> the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
> the couple?

If I were in a situation in which someone was trying to woo one of my
partners away from me and it was succeeding, I would want the partner to
leave with my blessings. I don't want someone with me who does not want
to be there.

OTOH, I have no objections to any of my partners spending time with any
other person and would prefer that a person interested in one of my
partners just enjoy a relationship without sweating it. We have a long
table and one more place at it is no big deal.

>
> Of course, the question begs for at least a couple definitions:
>
> "ethical" - a tricky word, which could be defined by different people
> anywhere on a range from "respecting polite conventions" to "in line
> with god's law". My ethics state that free choices between informed
> adults are sacrosanct. Therefore, the "stealer" and "stolen" in the
> example are technically behaving ethically, in my view.

Well, is there deceit going on? Is the "stealee" being honest with the
family being joined?

>
> "stealing" - The word implies loss, which is the case here. The
> couple lost a potential partner. If it was a more ideal situation,
> all the people involved might be open to a "poly solution", which
> would then mean no "stealing" could take place. But, since we are
> talking about adults, is it really possible to for someone exercizing
> zir right of free choice to be considered "stolen"?

Again, people are not property.

>
> My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
> is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.
> Although I support someone's right to do a thing, I am still able to
> judge whether the kind of person who does them is someone I want to
> spend time with.

I think that this person should definately discuss the situation
honestly. I shudder to think that a member of my family would not tell
me if she wanted out.

--
Noel, Axe of the BABs, Mum to King of the Babies
and She who truly Groks Coffee.

"Oh, but I like rascals...and I can understand people like that...
But I'm not blind to what they are."
Rhett Butler "Gone with the Wind"

http://www.lordpercy.com The Pendragon Dream Factory Home Page

JennieD-O'C

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Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96
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LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:

>For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
>with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
>the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
>the couple?

Unethical to come in and woo the new person? Of course not. Unethical to
deliberately take steps to make sure the other people can't be involved
with the wooee if he or she consents to being wooed? Yes, though I have
trouble imagining a poly person allowing himself or herself to be
"stolen".

If I were entering into a new relationship with someone, and another
person were making romantic overtures to my new partner, it would most
certainly make me jealous, but I wouldn't consider the behavior
objectionable.

--
Jennie D-O'C <jenn...@intranet.org> http://home.intranet.org/~jenniedo/
<*> Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took both. <*>

Arnold Vance

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Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96
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In article <329d29a0...@news.visi.com>,

LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:
>Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?
>
>I've been thinking about this question recently, and found it to be a
>much trickier question to answer than I initially thought it would be.
>
>For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
>with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
>the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
>the couple?
>
>Of course, the question begs for at least a couple definitions:
>
>"ethical" - a tricky word, which could be defined by different people
>anywhere on a range from "respecting polite conventions" to "in line
>with god's law". My ethics state that free choices between informed
>adults are sacrosanct. Therefore, the "stealer" and "stolen" in the
>example are technically behaving ethically, in my view.
>
>"stealing" - The word implies loss, which is the case here. The
>couple lost a potential partner. If it was a more ideal situation,
>all the people involved might be open to a "poly solution", which
>would then mean no "stealing" could take place. But, since we are
>talking about adults, is it really possible to for someone exercizing
>zir right of free choice to be considered "stolen"?
>
>My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
>is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.
>Although I support someone's right to do a thing, I am still able to
>judge whether the kind of person who does them is someone I want to
>spend time with.

My definitive answer comes from my new work, "The Ethics of Stealing" in
which such questions are dealt with definitively. The key to the whole
theory is to never use the past tense. Thus, nothing ever becomes stolen.
But you don't want to know my theories, so let me borrow your example and
freely analyze it.

The key to the whole example is that one must look at the broader scope.
Who, exactly, are the couple involved and who is stealing? Wait, forget
them for a moment. Consider the following ideals:

1. Altruistic poly ideal. The couple you mention recognize the other person
wanting to "steal" their new love. Not being selfish and also wanting to
save the face of the other person on the verge of a "crime", they make a
gift of the new love to the other person. All parties "get" what they want.

2. Greater good ideal. The new love would be "better off" with the other
person. This could be for many reasons. The couple are bad people; the couple
are good people but would do badly with the new love; the couple are good
people but the other person is "better" (I know this is circular, my
apologies); the outward manifestations of the new love and the other person
would "benefit" mankind more--the products of their relationship causing
a better world; and so on.

3. Needy ideal. The other person needs the new love more. Since need is
recognized as paramount, everyone is satisfied.

I could go on forever. The key to the whole ball o' wax is to know when to
stop.

-arn


Stef Jones

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Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96
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JennieD-O'C <gr...@umcc.umcc.umich.edu> wrote:

>LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:
>>For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
>>with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
>>the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
>>the couple?

>Unethical to come in and woo the new person? Of course not. Unethical to


>deliberately take steps to make sure the other people can't be involved
>with the wooee if he or she consents to being wooed? Yes, though I have
>trouble imagining a poly person allowing himself or herself to be
>"stolen".
>
>If I were entering into a new relationship with someone, and another
>person were making romantic overtures to my new partner, it would most
>certainly make me jealous, but I wouldn't consider the behavior
>objectionable.

My ethic is a little stricter here. I don't like competition. Speaking
of secondary relationships, if I knew some people starting a new
relationship with each other, I would hesitate to get involved with
either of them at that point, if I thought it would disturb the new
relationship.

Also, if someone with whom I starting a relationship gets involved with
a third person shortly thereafter, I tend to back off somewhat.
--
Stef ** rational/scientific/philosophical/mystical/magical/kitty **
** st...@bayarea.net <*> http://www.bayarea.net/~stef **
--------------------------------------------------------
There is no difference between the act of choosing and the act of
renouncing. -- Italo Calvino (translated by William Weaver)

Message has been deleted

Longshot

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Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96
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In article <57fg7n$1...@umcc.umcc.umich.edu>, gr...@umcc.umcc.umich.edu says...
>
>LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:

>Unethical to come in and woo the new person? Of course not. Unethical to
>deliberately take steps to make sure the other people can't be involved
>with the wooee if he or she consents to being wooed? Yes, though I have
>trouble imagining a poly person allowing himself or herself to be
>"stolen".

>If I were entering into a new relationship with someone, and another
>person were making romantic overtures to my new partner, it would most
>certainly make me jealous, but I wouldn't consider the behavior
>objectionable.


I agree. As a personal example, a couple of months ago, Sarah and I were
officially (but gently and kindly) given our walking papers by our
girlfriend, who had recently been dating this other guy. She had more or
less been persuaded to enter into a monogamous relationship with him. I was
of course a bit depressed by this (rejections always do that, go fig), but
it was her choice, and frankly, he was in a better position to devote vast
amounts of attention to her.

My wife and I had no "hold" over her like we have over one another
(marriage), and we were deeply respectful of her freedom. She did what she
felt was the right thing for herself, and I always support such behavior.

Longshot

LionSerpent

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Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96
to

Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?

I've been thinking about this question recently, and found it to be a
much trickier question to answer than I initially thought it would be.

For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds


with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
the couple?

Of course, the question begs for at least a couple definitions:

"ethical" - a tricky word, which could be defined by different people
anywhere on a range from "respecting polite conventions" to "in line
with god's law". My ethics state that free choices between informed
adults are sacrosanct. Therefore, the "stealer" and "stolen" in the
example are technically behaving ethically, in my view.

"stealing" - The word implies loss, which is the case here. The
couple lost a potential partner. If it was a more ideal situation,
all the people involved might be open to a "poly solution", which
would then mean no "stealing" could take place. But, since we are
talking about adults, is it really possible to for someone exercizing
zir right of free choice to be considered "stolen"?

My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.
Although I support someone's right to do a thing, I am still able to
judge whether the kind of person who does them is someone I want to
spend time with.

LionSerpent
--------------
"Laughter does not seem to be a sin, but it leads to sin."
-St John Chrysostom


jenner

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Nov 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/27/96
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inv...@visi.com (LionSerpent) wrote:

: Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?

: I've been thinking about this question recently, and found it to be a
: much trickier question to answer than I initially thought it would be.

: For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
: with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
: the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
: the couple?

: Of course, the question begs for at least a couple definitions:

: "ethical" - a tricky word, which could be defined by different people
: anywhere on a range from "respecting polite conventions" to "in line
: with god's law". My ethics state that free choices between informed
: adults are sacrosanct. Therefore, the "stealer" and "stolen" in the
: example are technically behaving ethically, in my view.

: "stealing" - The word implies loss, which is the case here. The
: couple lost a potential partner. If it was a more ideal situation,
: all the people involved might be open to a "poly solution", which
: would then mean no "stealing" could take place. But, since we are
: talking about adults, is it really possible to for someone exercizing
: zir right of free choice to be considered "stolen"?

: My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
: is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.

I pretty much agree, though the judgement of a "theft"
occuring and therefore it being judged rude and callous is,
of course, subjective.

Basically, I have seen people brag about 'stealing' another
person's interest. I've always considered it very tacky --
the bragging that is.

After all, how can someone steal something from you that you
don't own.

: Although I support someone's right to do a thing, I am still able to


: judge whether the kind of person who does them is someone I want to
: spend time with.

That is *exactly* it. On other newsgroups I have argued
that my judgement of another really carries no weight at
all, until they want to sleep with *me*.

Then, oh then, the POWER! Bwwwaaahahahahahahahhaah.



-- jenner

Web page peek: http://shell.idt.net/~jenner29


Alex Osinski

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Nov 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/27/96
to

e...@panix.com (Arnold Vance) wrote:
>In article <329d29a0...@news.visi.com>,
>LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:
>>Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?
>>
>>I've been thinking about this question recently, and found it to be a
>>much trickier question to answer than I initially thought it would be.
>>
>>For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
>>with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
>>the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
>>the couple?
>>
>>Of course, the question begs for at least a couple definitions:
>>
>>"ethical" - a tricky word, which could be defined by different people
>>anywhere on a range from "respecting polite conventions" to "in line
>>with god's law". My ethics state that free choices between informed
>>adults are sacrosanct. Therefore, the "stealer" and "stolen" in the
>>example are technically behaving ethically, in my view.
>>
>>"stealing" - The word implies loss, which is the case here. The
>>couple lost a potential partner. If it was a more ideal situation,
>>all the people involved might be open to a "poly solution", which
>>would then mean no "stealing" could take place. But, since we are
>>talking about adults, is it really possible to for someone exercizing
>>zir right of free choice to be considered "stolen"?
>>
>>My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
>>is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.
>>Although I support someone's right to do a thing, I am still able to
>>judge whether the kind of person who does them is someone I want to
>>spend time with.
>
>My definitive answer comes from my new work, "The Ethics of Stealing" in
>which such questions are dealt with definitively. The key to the whole
>theory is to never use the past tense. Thus, nothing ever becomes stolen.
>But you don't want to know my theories, so let me borrow your example and
>freely analyze it.
>
>The key to the whole example is that one must look at the broader scope.
>Who, exactly, are the couple involved and who is stealing? Wait, forget
>them for a moment. Consider the following ideals:
>
>1. Altruistic poly ideal. The couple you mention recognize the other person
>wanting to "steal" their new love. Not being selfish and also wanting to
>save the face of the other person on the verge of a "crime", they make a
>gift of the new love to the other person. All parties "get" what they want.
>
>2. Greater good ideal. The new love would be "better off" with the other
>person. This could be for many reasons. The couple are bad people; the couple
>are good people but would do badly with the new love; the couple are good
>people but the other person is "better" (I know this is circular, my
>apologies); the outward manifestations of the new love and the other person
>would "benefit" mankind more--the products of their relationship causing
>a better world; and so on.
>
>3. Needy ideal. The other person needs the new love more. Since need is
>recognized as paramount, everyone is satisfied.
>
>I could go on forever. The key to the whole ball o' wax is to know when to
>stop.
>
>-arn
>
e...@panix.com (Arnold Vance) wrote:
>In article <329d29a0...@news.visi.com>,

>
>The key to the whole example is that one must look at the broader scope.
>Who, exactly, are the couple involved and who is stealing?
>

>3. Needy ideal. The other person needs the new love more. Since need is
>recognized as paramount, everyone is satisfied.
>
>I could go on forever. The key to the whole ball o' wax is to know when
>to stop.
>
>-arn
>

Yes the question is who is stealing from whom. I would say that the
people who are in genuine need have the greater right to establish
arelationhsip than those who already have several poly-mates. I think
that the issue here is sexual capitalism. People want to keep what they
have and ensure that others have less, therefore they ensure higher
status and power. I understand that this is a common ethical problem
among swingers and single het males. Swing clubs most frequently allow
new single women to join since they are usually wanted by the men and
fairly often wanted by the women. Single males are then left out or
sometimes simply not allowed in. This is a very common issue discussed
in the rec.nude newsgroup. He single het male is often seen as an
unwelcome loser trying to take advantage.


Alex Osinski

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Nov 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/27/96
to

inv...@visi.com (LionSerpent) wrote:
>Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?
>
>I've been thinking about this question recently, and found it to be a
>much trickier question to answer than I initially thought it would be.

>


>My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
>is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.
>Although I support someone's right to do a thing, I am still able to
>judge whether the kind of person who does them is someone I want to
>spend time with.
>

>LionSerpent

Yes, very much the case, in fact I think that has been a problem in
connecting with a lot of people, someone gets jealous and interferes with
the situation, usually a poly mate who comes up and whirls the person
away from me. I feel deprived and get pissed but the other people lay on
me that I am prejudice because this most frequently happens with bisexual
women.


tverify

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Nov 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/27/96
to

I think there are laws in some places that allow a husband to sue his
wife's lover for "alienation of affection" or some such.

Rob Landry
um...@cybercom.net

Bill McCart

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Nov 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/27/96
to

>
> Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?
>
==================================

How can people steal each other? The question doesn't make any sense.
People make choices. If someone is interested in me, but then gets
interested in someone else and loses interest in me, then they chose
someone else over me. The other person didn't steal them. Even if that
other person acted with malicious intent, they still didn't steal, and
the person who left me still made a choice to do so, even if he/she
later regrets the choice.

Of course, in the real world, people do sometimes act maliciously and
disrupt relationships. However, looking at it as theft takes the focus
off the person who made the choice. Perhaps it's easier to do this
because it allows for blame, whereas facing the truth means having to
face rejection.

Bill

'mathochist' Angela Long

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Nov 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/27/96
to

LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:
>Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?

Unless they're slaves, they can't be "stolen."

>For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
>with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
>the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
>the couple?

If the person is poly, why would wooing hir cause hir to go
away from the couple? Poly means sie can be wooed by the
couple *and* the new person, and not be "away" from anyone.

>My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
>is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.

If, say, a person who was involved with a couple also got
involved with me, and then decided sie was more interested
in spending time with me than with the couple, I think it
would be more rude to second-guess hir choices and make
the decision for hir as to who sie can spend time with.
If sie's poly, I don't see what can be rude about starting
another relationship with hir, as long as any existing
agreements are respected.

--
-- Angi


jenner

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Nov 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/28/96
to

Alex Osinski <osin...@concentric.net> wrote:

: Yes the question is who is stealing from whom. I would say that the

: people who are in genuine need have the greater right to establish
: arelationhsip than those who already have several poly-mates. I think
: that the issue here is sexual capitalism.

I disagree with this concept. I wonder at who get's to be
the judge of who 'needs' it more and who doesn't. I can
hear many of the statements now...

"Why do you need another partner? You have me, right?"

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

With that we can now add....

"Why do you need another parther? You already have two!"

Not interested, at all, in someone else judging what others
need.

: People want to keep what they

: have and ensure that others have less, therefore they ensure higher
: status and power.

Someone else can have those kind of people. *I'm* not a
status symbol.

: I understand that this is a common ethical problem

: among swingers and single het males. Swing clubs most frequently allow
: new single women to join since they are usually wanted by the men and
: fairly often wanted by the women. Single males are then left out or
: sometimes simply not allowed in. This is a very common issue discussed
: in the rec.nude newsgroup. He single het male is often seen as an
: unwelcome loser trying to take advantage.

I think that is a different issue. More likely one of
single males ending up harrassing women in such spaces.

piranha

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Nov 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/28/96
to

In article <329d29a0...@news.visi.com>,

LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:
>Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?

it's not possible in my book. one can only steal property,
not people.

>For example, if a couple is forming tenuous new-relationship bonds
>with a new partner, is it "unethical" for another person, who knows of
>the forming relationship, to come in and woo the new person away from
>the couple?

if this newly wooed person is poly, why does a second interest
have to result in being "wooed away"? theoretically, that per-
son could well maintain relationships with both the couple and
the other person.

>"ethical" - a tricky word, which could be defined by different people
>anywhere on a range from "respecting polite conventions" to "in line
>with god's law". My ethics state that free choices between informed
>adults are sacrosanct. Therefore, the "stealer" and "stolen" in the
>example are technically behaving ethically, in my view.

on the level of personal ethics (where it's not possible at all
to steal people), i would not get involved during the forming
of a new relationship; i'd wait with my attentions until later.

in a non-poly world, that means i don't go after folks who are
already romantically involved. i've been in the situation where
two of us were interested in the same third, and poly was not an
option -- if we were friends, i'd ask whether i should withdraw.
i don't like competing for people, and friendship is important
to me.

if we were not friends, then i'd likely not know about the "com-
petition". but if i found out there was considerable interest
in somebody else, i'd still likely withdraw, because i am very
intense during the forming of a relationship, and there is no
room for other new people at that stage.

>"stealing" - The word implies loss, which is the case here.

the word even more implies theft to me, *snicker*. maybe you
should stress the loss aspect by simply calling it that. that
_is_ the problem really, isn't it?

>My tentative answer to this opening question is that while the action
>is not technically "unethical", it is still rude and callous.

i know a lot of people who consider competition during dating to
be perfectly ethical. heck, etiquette books talk about "dating
around".

as to whether it's rude and callous -- as i said above, i am
not likely to do it (i'd not like to have it done to me either).
but i can see circumstances under which i might -- what if this
was a person i consider to be a lifemate, while you folks were
just looking for somebody to have sex with? i would then not
automatically withdraw, and i would see nothing wrong with point-
ing this out to the person in question.

it's rude and callous if lies are used to pull the person away.
but even then, the responsibility is on that person (unless we
are talking about thriller scenarios where zie is drugged. :-).

>Although I support someone's right to do a thing, I am still able to
>judge whether the kind of person who does them is someone I want to
>spend time with.

and don't forget whether the person who lets it be done to them
is someone you want to spend time with.

-piranha

Mean Green Dancing Machine

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Dec 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/2/96
to

In article <329d29a0...@news.visi.com>,
LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:
>Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?

My basic belief is that it is impossible to "steal" someone, but it is
definitely possible (and rude) to disrupt other people's relationships
(not everyone has the relationship skills to rebuff such disruptions).
--
--- Aahz (@netcom.com)

Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6 http://www.bayarea.net/~aahz
Androgynous poly kinky vanilla queer het

Fifth Virtual Anniversary: 29 days and counting

Jenner

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Dec 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/4/96
to

aa...@netcom.com (Mean Green Dancing Machine) wrote:

# In article <329d29a0...@news.visi.com>,
# LionSerpent <inv...@visi.com> wrote:
# >Is it ethical to "steal" other peoples' poly-mates?

# My basic belief is that it is impossible to "steal" someone, but it
is
# definitely possible (and rude) to disrupt other people's
relationships
# (not everyone has the relationship skills to rebuff such
disruptions).

With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal
what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
forming, or existing relationship.

Another way of saying this is not showing respect for a relationship
that came before you. <----this is an important issue to me.

Oh, and I'm all ready to hear, "but if I can disrupt it how strong was
it and, if I can disrupt it, what about *MY* *MY* *MY* needs!!!!"

Please...


-- jenner

http://shell.idt.net/~jenner29


SwiftRain

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Dec 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/4/96
to

Jenner wrote:
>
> With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal
> what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
> forming, or existing relationship.

it is my ethic to never intentionally harm another.
so if it is a question of disrupting a relationship intentionally, for
some personal gain, then i would find it unethical.

i find it unfortunate that in our monogomous society, sharing and
growing closer with someone can be considered "disruptive" even if it
does not have an direct adverse effect on that person's other
relationships.
but unfortunately that is how it is, and we cannot use our ideals of
polyamory as a lever to harm others, by blaming their ideology instead
of our disrespect for it.

(apologies for any lack of clarity in this post -- but it *is* a
discussion of ethics, after all.)

--
SwiftRain <swi...@elision.com> -- http://www.elision.com/sr/

'mathochist' Angela Long

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Dec 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/5/96
to

Jenner <jenn...@mail.idt.net> wrote:
>aa...@netcom.com (Mean Green Dancing Machine) wrote:
># My basic belief is that it is impossible to "steal" someone, but it
>is
># definitely possible (and rude) to disrupt other people's
>relationships

>With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal


>what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
>forming, or existing relationship.

>Another way of saying this is not showing respect for a relationship
>that came before you. <----this is an important issue to me.

Does "came before you" *always* mean "more important than you?"
I think I remember you (Jenner) saying that you had the ideal of
non-hierarchical (non-primary/secondary) polyamory. But if some-
thing is to be non-hierarchical, that means that at some point,
it has to stop being relevant which relationship came first.

In the beginning of a relationship "B" where there was already
a relationship "A," though, this is always an important question;
there's no way a new relationship can be expected to be as im-
portant as a longstanding one right from the beginning, even if
all the parties agree on the non-hierarchical ideal.

But then, the issue of "disruptions" is not at all cut and dried.
Are all disruptions necessarily bad? I don't think so; some
are good for people. Is the new person always responsible for
disruptions that happen after sie enters the picture? Not in my
experience. And what, exactly, constitutes "respecting a rela-
tionship," anyway? Part of it is abiding by preexisting agree-
ments, that much is pretty clear; but what about the realm
where there are no previous agreements?

Relationships exist for the people in them, not the other way
around. It makes more sense to me to respect *people* than
*relationships*. Sometimes, there are conflicts between two
people in a relationship, and a third person may be in a posi-
tion where no matter what sie does, sie's going to be "disrup-
tive" to one person and "supportive" to the other. It's not
always possible to do 100% right by everyone at the same time.

>Oh, and I'm all ready to hear, "but if I can disrupt it how strong was
>it and, if I can disrupt it, what about *MY* *MY* *MY* needs!!!!"

I wouldn't put it that way, but under the bitchy wording there,
I think there are some points. For one thing, it doesn't make
much sense to me to value a relationship *more* than the people
in it do. As an extreme example, say I meet somebody who tells
me he is separated from his wife and filing for divorce; may-
be he even shows me the divorce papers. If the wife is still
hoping for a reconciliation, am I in the wrong if I date him?
Maybe if the breakup was just last week, I should encourage
him to give it enough time to make absolutely certain it was
what he wanted (and probably would). But if he's been out of
the house for six months, I'm not "disrupting" anything if I
date him; his decision about it didn't even have anything to
do with me.

For another thing, *what about* the needs of the partner in
relationship "B?" Secondaries *do* have needs and rights of
their own within their relationships, and if the secondary
is expected to compromise some of hir own needs and wants
for the primary, that should be reciprocal to at least some
degree. Respect just can't flow only one way. Also, any-
body in any relationship, secondary, primary, whatever-ary,
has the right to set boundaries on what sie will and won't
accept in the relationship, and if a relationship with a
secondary is begun with certain agreements made for the
sake of *hir* needs and boundaries, then those agreements
should be respected later by the primary just as agree-
ments with the primary would be respected by the secondary.
--
-- Angi


Jenner

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Dec 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/5/96
to

angi...@u.washington.edu ('mathochist' Angela Long) wrote:

: Jenner <jenn...@mail.idt.net> wrote:
: >aa...@netcom.com (Mean Green Dancing Machine) wrote:
: ># My basic belief is that it is impossible to "steal" someone, but it
: >is
: ># definitely possible (and rude) to disrupt other people's
: >relationships

: >With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal
: >what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
: >forming, or existing relationship.
: >Another way of saying this is not showing respect for a relationship
: >that came before you. <----this is an important issue to me.

: Does "came before you" *always* mean "more important than you?"

Of course not.

: I think I remember you (Jenner) saying that you had the ideal of
: non-hierarchical (non-primary/secondary) polyamory.

I never said I had the ideal of whatever. I did say we have something that
works for us, and is working as well as it can for me.

It's really annoying when you do this, argue about what I didn't say, or
say things about me that misrepresent things. Did you know that?

: But if some-


: thing is to be non-hierarchical, that means that at some point,
: it has to stop being relevant which relationship came first.

*When forming* a new relationship, where other relationships *already
exist*, expecially if it is me, I consider it paramount importance that
the new person demonstrate respect for what came before them.
Failure to do so, could result in hurt feelings, disrespect coming from all

corners, and the eventual possible destruction of some or all of the
relationships.

That doesn't say, in any way, that they end up taking a back seat.
It doesn't say that at all.

: But then, the issue of "disruptions" is not at all cut and dried.


: Are all disruptions necessarily bad? I don't think so; some
: are good for people.

I guess that depends on which end of the disruption you are on, doesn't it?

: Is the new person always responsible for


: disruptions that happen after sie enters the picture?

No, of course not.

: Not in my


: experience. And what, exactly, constitutes "respecting a rela-
: tionship," anyway?

That is a damn good question, isn't it?

And, yes, I'm being cagey. Someone sue me.

: Relationships exist for the people in them, not the other way


: around. It makes more sense to me to respect *people* than
: *relationships*.

If that works for you and yours, more power to you. To me, the
relationships and the people are interconnected, intertwined,
synergistic.

Also, none of my statements devalue the new partner in the slightest.



-- jenner

http://shell.idt.net/~jenner29


piranha

unread,
Dec 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/5/96
to

In article <58494f$b...@nnrp3.farm.idt.net>,

Jenner <jenn...@mail.idt.net> wrote:
>
>With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal
>what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
>forming, or existing relationship.

i don't like it. ie. i try my damndest not to do it -- i
ask _before_ getting involved whether there is somebody
else in the picture, and if there is, then the involvement
goes on hold until we've talked a lot more. i prefer very
much to meet the other people involved, so i can get a
first hand impression of who they are -- and they can see
that i am not a threat.

this doesn't always work, especially not in mono relation-
ships, *sigh*. sometimes people see any forming friendship
with a certain degree of intimacy as disruptive.

>Another way of saying this is not showing respect for a relationship
>that came before you. <----this is an important issue to me.

me too. but while i've found that i am usually bending over
backwards to show respect, the opposite isn't true as often,
no matter how hard i try. yeah, i know, i should try this
more with poly people, but since i don't select my friends
by lifestyle, that's not always an option. i have pretty
high standards, since i've been in a poly relationship that
worked very well, with loads of respect and consideration on
all sides.

interestingly, having respect for relationships that came be-
fore me has been very useful in mono relationships as well --
i have respect for previous partners, and do no want to era-
dicate them from my current partner's life. that came in very
handy in my first poly relationship -- the person my partner
wanted to add was zir ex, and so we were both "before" the
other, *grin*, and i think mutual respect helped that along.

i'm sure it'd be harder with a total stranger. but since the
agreement is that we tell each other at the very onset of in-
terest, the person will presumably not stay a stranger until
some shocking denouement (*shudder* -- hate those).

what i am not prepared for, and wonder sometimes how i would
deal with, is the addition of a new partner whom i do not at
all like and/or respect. i can see the disruption factor be-
come considerably more important then.



>Oh, and I'm all ready to hear, "but if I can disrupt it how strong was
>it and, if I can disrupt it, what about *MY* *MY* *MY* needs!!!!"

naw. well, yeah, what _about_ my needs? i do think that if
i am the new partner i deserve consideration as well, and i do
not want to have to grovel, or to defer politely to the senior
relationship partner. but i do think that one can disrupt a
relationship that was not previously in trouble.

i would probably avoid any relationship with somebody who does
not want me to meet zir other partners. it's all good and well
to trust, but i trust my own insights a lot better than anyone
else's. i most definitely would not decide major issues (such
as less safe sex, buying a home together, having children, or
moving elsewhere) without the other partner(s) at the table; it
is too risky to trust the words "oh, sure, my partner is ok with
that"; too much is at stake.

-piranha


'mathochist' Angela Long

unread,
Dec 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/6/96
to

Jenner <jenn...@mail.idt.net> wrote:
>: >With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal
>: >what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
>: >forming, or existing relationship.
>: >Another way of saying this is not showing respect for a relationship

>: >that came before you. <----this is an important issue to me.

>angi...@u.washington.edu ('mathochist' Angela Long) wrote:
>: I think I remember you (Jenner) saying that you had the ideal of
>: non-hierarchical (non-primary/secondary) polyamory.

>I never said I had the ideal of whatever. I did say we have something that
>works for us, and is working as well as it can for me.
>It's really annoying when you do this, argue about what I didn't say, or
>say things about me that misrepresent things. Did you know that?

I'm sorry, I thought that's what I remembered you saying; I'm
sure you said something about not all your relationships neces-
sarily being primary/secondary. It was only a comment; why do
you take this as "arguing?"

>: But if some-
>: thing is to be non-hierarchical, that means that at some point,
>: it has to stop being relevant which relationship came first.

>*When forming* a new relationship, where other relationships *already
>exist*, expecially if it is me, I consider it paramount importance that
>the new person demonstrate respect for what came before them.

Which I said, in the next paragraph.

>: But then, the issue of "disruptions" is not at all cut and dried.
>: Are all disruptions necessarily bad? I don't think so; some
>: are good for people.

>I guess that depends on which end of the disruption you are on, doesn't it?

Not necessarily. Example: A and B have a monogamous relation-
ship. A meets somebody sie would like to form another relation-
ship with. A begins a discussion and negotiation with B about
polyamory. This disrupts their relationship. But later, both
are glad, finding that the rewards of poly are worth the dis-
ruption.

Disruption is often necessary for growth.

>: Relationships exist for the people in them, not the other way
>: around. It makes more sense to me to respect *people* than
>: *relationships*.

>If that works for you and yours, more power to you. To me, the
>relationships and the people are interconnected, intertwined,
>synergistic.

I just don't see a relationship *per se* as a sacred thing to
be protected at all costs. As an extreme example, if I saw
an extremely abusive relationship, wherein one of the partners
was in danger, maybe even of death, I wouldn't "respect" that
relationship; in fact, I'd probably do what I could to get
that person *out* of it. The relationship only has as much
value as it is providing to *all* the people in it; if it's
destructive of a person in it, it has negative value.

Another example: say I am dating C. C and I have no agree-
ments regarding other relationships whatsoever, and I do not
intend my relationship with C to limit my other relationships
in any way. I start seeing B as well. How does B need to
act toward my relationship with C? Suppose C gets uncomfor-
table with my seeing B. C has always known that my freedom
in other relationships was a condition of our relationship
and, in fact, I would rather break up with C than give up
that freedom, if it turn out that C can't be comfortable.
Should B back away from me to avoid causing further disrup-
tions between C and me, knowing that that's not what I want?

To go further, who defines what a relationship is, and what
needs to be respected? What if C is somebody I've been out
with a few times but who I don't consider a serious rela-
tionship, and sie suddenly starts telling B to "back off my
girlfriend," while I'm telling B "I'm *not* hir 'girlfriend?'"
I can easily see this relating to the situation that was first
presented, which was a new person getting involved with a
couple's new poly partner. What if the couple's partner sees
that relationship as just one among many sie might have, and
doesn't want the fact that it might have come before others
to have any significance at all?

I would absolutely hate it if every single relationship I
might form was going to be seen by others as something to
be "respected/not disrupted," whether *I* wanted the rela-
tionship seen that way or not. It should be up to *me* to
define how I want my potential partners to act toward ex-
isting relationships.
--
-- Angi


Stef Jones

unread,
Dec 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/6/96
to

'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

>Not necessarily. Example: A and B have a monogamous relation-
>ship. A meets somebody sie would like to form another relation-
>ship with. A begins a discussion and negotiation with B about
>polyamory. This disrupts their relationship. But later, both
>are glad, finding that the rewards of poly are worth the dis-
>ruption.
>
>Disruption is often necessary for growth.

That kind of disruption seems ethically more acceptable to me than, for
example:
A and B have a monogamous relationship and a friend C. C decides zie
wants a sexual relationship with A. C constantly pesters B about
this. A is not very good at handling it, and the result is that B
gets upset and B's relationship with A is disrupted.

>Another example: say I am dating C. C and I have no agree-
>ments regarding other relationships whatsoever, and I do not
>intend my relationship with C to limit my other relationships
>in any way. I start seeing B as well. How does B need to
>act toward my relationship with C? Suppose C gets uncomfor-
>table with my seeing B. C has always known that my freedom
>in other relationships was a condition of our relationship
>and, in fact, I would rather break up with C than give up
>that freedom, if it turn out that C can't be comfortable.
>Should B back away from me to avoid causing further disrup-
>tions between C and me, knowing that that's not what I want?

Interesting. Above, you say disruption is often necessary for growth.
Here, you say that you would rather break up with C rather than endure
the disruption of re-negotiating your relationship with C. But what if
re-negotiating would be a growth experience for you and C? You seem to
be taking contradictory positions on the value of disruption.

Anyway, I am in a situation vaguely like this, as B. I am letting A
decide how to approach it, whether to re-negotiate with C or to say
"screw it, I won't agree to any restrictions." I haven't backed away
completely; I'm still friends with A and zie knows my preferences. But I
will not push beyond that; that would be unethical by my standards.

--
Stef ** rational/scientific/philosophical/mystical/magical/kitty **

** st...@cat-and-dragon.com <*> http://www.bayarea.net/~stef **
--------------------------------------------------------
Sometimes I go around feeing sorry for myself, and all the while a great
wind is carrying me across the sky. -- Anishinabe

'mathochist' Angela Long

unread,
Dec 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/6/96
to

Stef Jones <st...@baygate.bayarea.net> wrote:
>'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>>Not necessarily. Example: A and B have a monogamous relation-
>>ship. A meets somebody sie would like to form another relation-
>>ship with. A begins a discussion and negotiation with B about
>>polyamory. This disrupts their relationship. But later, both
>>are glad, finding that the rewards of poly are worth the dis-
>>ruption.

>>Disruption is often necessary for growth.

>That kind of disruption seems ethically more acceptable to me than, for
>example:
> A and B have a monogamous relationship and a friend C. C decides zie
> wants a sexual relationship with A. C constantly pesters B about
> this. A is not very good at handling it, and the result is that B
> gets upset and B's relationship with A is disrupted.

Yes, there's a difference between disrupting something just by
being involved at all, and going out of your way to cause a dis-
ruption. I don't think just getting involved with somebody who
wants to be involved with you, when that involvement doesn't
violate any existing agreements, is usually unethical. Nor is
being involved in starting a negotiation for a change in rules.
Pestering, harassing, pushing, though, fall into another class.

>>Another example: say I am dating C. C and I have no agree-
>>ments regarding other relationships whatsoever, and I do not
>>intend my relationship with C to limit my other relationships
>>in any way. I start seeing B as well. How does B need to
>>act toward my relationship with C? Suppose C gets uncomfor-
>>table with my seeing B. C has always known that my freedom
>>in other relationships was a condition of our relationship
>>and, in fact, I would rather break up with C than give up
>>that freedom, if it turn out that C can't be comfortable.
>>Should B back away from me to avoid causing further disrup-
>>tions between C and me, knowing that that's not what I want?

>Interesting. Above, you say disruption is often necessary for growth.
>Here, you say that you would rather break up with C rather than endure
>the disruption of re-negotiating your relationship with C. But what if
>re-negotiating would be a growth experience for you and C? You seem to
>be taking contradictory positions on the value of disruption.

I don't see any contradiction. Personal growth sometimes leads
*away* from relationships, and I'm concerned with growth of
people, not of the abstract entities that are relationships.
In the above example, I don't see anything wrong with freedom
in other relationships being outright, simply, a bottom-line
issue, something more important to me than my relationship
with a particular person. It might not be *exactly* how I ac-
tually do feel -- it's simplified for the sake of example --
but it's perfectly reasonable to prefer the disruption of
breaking up with C to the disruption of bending in a way I
know I can't be happy with.

C could be a very serious lifepartner here, and the issue of
freedom could just be even more important to me than C is.
Or C could be a "tertiary-level" partner, just a fuckbuddy or
somebody I "occasionally date," a relationship that is under-
stood to be relatively low in priority as relationships go.
In the first case, I can see somebody objecting, "but your
serious partner 'should' be more important than your freedom,"
although I don't agree with that objection; there are *al-
ways* personal issues more important than any partner, if
you have an identity at all, and I don't think anybody else
can define what they 'should' be for me. In the second case,
it seems pretty clear that C would be out of line to even ex-
pect me to act on hir jealous feelings (not out of line to
feel them, but out of line to expect a change in the under-
stood conditions based on them).

And the latter case strikes me as closer to the originally
posted example, which was somebody "wooing" a couple's rela-
tively new poly partner. If the partner is new to the
couple, it seems likely to me that at this point sie sees
that relationship as on the "dating" level, not very high on
the priority list, and I don't think B should presume that
that relationship 'should' be very important to A; that's
up to A.

>Anyway, I am in a situation vaguely like this, as B. I am letting A
>decide how to approach it, whether to re-negotiate with C or to say
>"screw it, I won't agree to any restrictions." I haven't backed away
>completely; I'm still friends with A and zie knows my preferences. But I
>will not push beyond that; that would be unethical by my standards.

I've been in a similar situation, too, and that's pretty
much how I handled it. I was blamed a lot by C for being
the source of, or at least catalyst for, disruption, but I
still think letting A decide how to handle the situation
was the right thing to do.
--
-- Angi


Stef Jones

unread,
Dec 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/6/96
to

'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

>Stef Jones <st...@baygate.bayarea.net> wrote:
>>That kind of disruption seems ethically more acceptable to me than, for
>>example:
>> A and B have a monogamous relationship and a friend C. C decides zie
>> wants a sexual relationship with A. C constantly pesters B about
>> this. A is not very good at handling it, and the result is that B
>> gets upset and B's relationship with A is disrupted.

>Yes, there's a difference between disrupting something just by
>being involved at all, and going out of your way to cause a dis-
>ruption. I don't think just getting involved with somebody who
>wants to be involved with you, when that involvement doesn't
>violate any existing agreements, is usually unethical. Nor is
>being involved in starting a negotiation for a change in rules.

I agree in theory, but my ethical standards for my own behavior tend to
be stricter. I don't go strictly by whether agreements already exist; I
also take what I can figure out of the other person's feelings and
desires into account. I usually don't start negotiations for changes in
rules, either.

>>Interesting. Above, you say disruption is often necessary for growth.
>>Here, you say that you would rather break up with C rather than endure
>>the disruption of re-negotiating your relationship with C. But what if
>>re-negotiating would be a growth experience for you and C? You seem to
>>be taking contradictory positions on the value of disruption.

>I don't see any contradiction. Personal growth sometimes leads
>*away* from relationships, and I'm concerned with growth of
>people, not of the abstract entities that are relationships.
>In the above example, I don't see anything wrong with freedom
>in other relationships being outright, simply, a bottom-line
>issue, something more important to me than my relationship

It's not that I'm trying to claim relationships are more important than
people, but it seems to me that if one is committed to personal growth,
then one also needs to avoid laying down rigid rules of any variety
other than "I must be open to growth opportunities." Laying down a rule
of "my freedom is sacrosanct" prevents one from taking advantage of
growth opportunities in the realm of commitment and compromise. There's
nothing wrong with either position, particularly, but you can't really
be committed to both at the same time, IMO.

>And the latter case strikes me as closer to the originally
>posted example, which was somebody "wooing" a couple's rela-
>tively new poly partner. If the partner is new to the
>couple, it seems likely to me that at this point sie sees
>that relationship as on the "dating" level, not very high on
>the priority list, and I don't think B should presume that
>that relationship 'should' be very important to A; that's
>up to A.

I see your point, but as B, I might choose not to woo that person for
personal reasons, too. New relationships can be stressful. Starting
several at once might cause a lot of stress in that person's life. I
might not want in my life someone going through that much stress.

>>Anyway, I am in a situation vaguely like this, as B. I am letting A
>>decide how to approach it, whether to re-negotiate with C or to say
>>"screw it, I won't agree to any restrictions." I haven't backed away
>>completely; I'm still friends with A and zie knows my preferences. But I
>>will not push beyond that; that would be unethical by my standards.

>I've been in a similar situation, too, and that's pretty
>much how I handled it. I was blamed a lot by C for being
>the source of, or at least catalyst for, disruption, but I
>still think letting A decide how to handle the situation
>was the right thing to do.

I don't have enough communication with C to know whether zie blames me.
Part of the problem here was that A was used to categorizing zir
relationships, and while C and I knew of each other's existence as
friends of A, neither of us knew the other was A's lover until fairly
late in the game. C has been friends with A for longer than I have, but
I've been lovers with A for longer than zie has. So there's no clear
priority/ranking.

And my "read" on the other person has a lot to do with it, too. In a
couple of situations, a lover of mine found another partner and decided
to became monogamous with zir. I was disappointed but didn't put up a
huge fuss, because I thought the new partner was good for zir. In the
situation I mention above, I am resisting a bit more because, based on
what I know about C and A, I am not convinced a monogamous relationship
with C would be good for A.


--
Stef ** rational/scientific/philosophical/mystical/magical/kitty **
** st...@cat-and-dragon.com <*> http://www.bayarea.net/~stef **
--------------------------------------------------------

Amendment One. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
-- U.S. Constitution

'mathochist' Angela Long

unread,
Dec 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/7/96
to

Stef Jones <st...@baygate.bayarea.net> wrote:
>'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>>(...) I don't think just getting involved with somebody who

>>wants to be involved with you, when that involvement doesn't
>>violate any existing agreements, is usually unethical. Nor is
>>being involved in starting a negotiation for a change in rules.

>I agree in theory, but my ethical standards for my own behavior tend to
>be stricter. I don't go strictly by whether agreements already exist; I
>also take what I can figure out of the other person's feelings and
>desires into account.

But the feelings of all the people involved need to be taken
into account, not just of your (potential) partner's other.
Suppose I have a partner who really wants me to be monogamous,
but since I know I wouldn't be happy monogamous, I have not
made any monogamy agreement; rather, I have told hir that any
relationship with me must be poly, and sie accepts that. Is
it unethical to get involved with me? Is it unethical to do
anything that makes one person in a relationship uncomfortable,
when that person has consented to accepting that kind of dis-
comfort because it was so important to hir partner?

>I usually don't start negotiations for changes in rules, either.

Then what do you do when the current rules aren't meeting your
needs?

>>I don't see any contradiction. Personal growth sometimes leads
>>*away* from relationships, and I'm concerned with growth of
>>people, not of the abstract entities that are relationships.
>>In the above example, I don't see anything wrong with freedom
>>in other relationships being outright, simply, a bottom-line
>>issue, something more important to me than my relationship

>It's not that I'm trying to claim relationships are more important than
>people, but it seems to me that if one is committed to personal growth,
>then one also needs to avoid laying down rigid rules of any variety
>other than "I must be open to growth opportunities." Laying down a rule
>of "my freedom is sacrosanct" prevents one from taking advantage of
>growth opportunities in the realm of commitment and compromise. There's
>nothing wrong with either position, particularly, but you can't really
>be committed to both at the same time, IMO.

I don't agree. I don't think anybody needs to be willing to
"grow" in directions sie already knows are bad for hir. Or
to sacrifice things sie considers more important than a given
relationship.

Should I be willing to give up my children in order to "grow"
with a partner who doesn't want children? To change my reli-
gion? To become a criminal? To try sexual acts I consider
abhorrent? To give up my career? To break promises to other
people? To move from my home? I don't think so. If I know
these things are more important to me than a given relation-
ship, I don't need to be willing to compromise on them.

I said that disruption is sometimes necessary for growth, not
that *all* kinds of growth are necessarily good things.

>>And the latter case strikes me as closer to the originally
>>posted example, which was somebody "wooing" a couple's rela-
>>tively new poly partner. If the partner is new to the
>>couple, it seems likely to me that at this point sie sees
>>that relationship as on the "dating" level, not very high on
>>the priority list, and I don't think B should presume that
>>that relationship 'should' be very important to A; that's
>>up to A.

>I see your point, but as B, I might choose not to woo that person for
>personal reasons, too. New relationships can be stressful. Starting
>several at once might cause a lot of stress in that person's life. I
>might not want in my life someone going through that much stress.

That would be your choice. It doesn't relate to whether
it would be rude or unethical to woo the person, though.

>>>Anyway, I am in a situation vaguely like this, as B. I am letting A
>>>decide how to approach it, whether to re-negotiate with C or to say
>>>"screw it, I won't agree to any restrictions." I haven't backed away
>>>completely; I'm still friends with A and zie knows my preferences. But I
>>>will not push beyond that; that would be unethical by my standards.

>I don't have enough communication with C to know whether zie blames me.


>Part of the problem here was that A was used to categorizing zir
>relationships, and while C and I knew of each other's existence as
>friends of A, neither of us knew the other was A's lover until fairly
>late in the game. C has been friends with A for longer than I have, but
>I've been lovers with A for longer than zie has. So there's no clear
>priority/ranking.

Even if one relationship had definitely started before the
other, there would not necessarily be a clear "ranking." The
fact of having started first does not necessarily make some-
thing more important. What if C believed (maybe even rightly)
that hir relationship had started first, and that this implied
some sort of obligation from A to make their relationship more
important than yours, even though A had never intended or
agreed to that?

I had something along those lines happen. If A had really
made an agreement to give C highest priority, or meant to imply
one, I would not have considered it ethical to assist hir in
breaking it (to sit back while sie renegotiated it, maybe, but
not to break it). But I also did not consider it right to act
as if A had actually made an agreement which sie never had.
Some obligations are rightly "implied" by a situation without
explicit agreement, but in this case, A said sie had specific-
ally negotiated the opposite of what C was claiming was implied.

>And my "read" on the other person has a lot to do with it, too. In a
>couple of situations, a lover of mine found another partner and decided
>to became monogamous with zir. I was disappointed but didn't put up a
>huge fuss, because I thought the new partner was good for zir. In the
>situation I mention above, I am resisting a bit more because, based on
>what I know about C and A, I am not convinced a monogamous relationship
>with C would be good for A.

My judgment of another relationship tends to affect how I
act toward it to some extent, too, although I know the judg-
ment of the people in that relationship should have more
validity than my own judgment. The more abuse/bad stuff I
see in another relationship, the less inclined I am to make
the preservation of that relationship a very high priority.
--
-- Angi


'mathochist' Angela Long

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Dec 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/7/96
to

piranha <pir...@pobox.com> wrote:
> i don't like it. ie. i try my damndest not to do it -- i
> ask _before_ getting involved whether there is somebody
> else in the picture, and if there is, then the involvement
> goes on hold until we've talked a lot more. i prefer very
> much to meet the other people involved, so i can get a
> first hand impression of who they are -- and they can see
> that i am not a threat.

<snip>

> i would probably avoid any relationship with somebody who does
> not want me to meet zir other partners. it's all good and well
> to trust, but i trust my own insights a lot better than anyone
> else's. i most definitely would not decide major issues (such
> as less safe sex, buying a home together, having children, or
> moving elsewhere) without the other partner(s) at the table; it
> is too risky to trust the words "oh, sure, my partner is ok with
> that"; too much is at stake.

Do the above hold no matter what the nature of the other relation-
ship(s)? What if all the other relationships are secondary-level,
or "occasionally dating," or fuckbuddies? Does the insistence on
having other partner(s) present to decide major issues hold even
if you are the primary, and the other partner(s) are secondary?
If your potential partner has a handful of other people sie has
dated a few times each, is it important to you to show each of
those people that you are not a threat?

<slightly out of order>

> naw. well, yeah, what _about_ my needs? i do think that if
> i am the new partner i deserve consideration as well, and i do
> not want to have to grovel, or to defer politely to the senior
> relationship partner.

Well-said (applause). Respect must go both ways. I can't stand
situations where "secondary" feels like "submissive" or "slave."

> but i do think that one can disrupt a
> relationship that was not previously in trouble.

I think it may be more accurate to say that one can disrupt a
relationship that didn't previously *know* it was in trouble.
The potential, at least, usually had to have been there to
begin with, and in fact "disruptions" are often actually dis-
coveries of underlying disagreements which a new person may
have provided the opportunity for discovering. But the new
person doesn't usually *create* those disagreements; they
were there all along, just waiting to be uncovered.

I got involved a few years back with a couple who had always
talked about the husband taking another wife. The disruption
came about because the wife had never expected that her hus-
band would actually be in *love* with this other wife. I'm
not sure what she thought this other woman's motivation for
joining them would be, if it wasn't love, but she had assumed
that even if her husband had another wife, he would love only
her. Did I *cause* that disruption? I don't think so. I
don't even think I was out of line for assuming "love" was
okay when "wife" was negotiated; it's still beyond me how
anyone could expect "wife" to *not* include "love." That
problem was already there, just waiting to be uncovered.
--
-- Angi


Stef Jones

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Dec 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/7/96
to

'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

>Stef Jones <st...@baygate.bayarea.net> wrote:
>>I agree in theory, but my ethical standards for my own behavior tend to
>>be stricter. I don't go strictly by whether agreements already exist; I
>>also take what I can figure out of the other person's feelings and
>>desires into account.

>But the feelings of all the people involved need to be taken
>into account, not just of your (potential) partner's other.
>Suppose I have a partner who really wants me to be monogamous,
>but since I know I wouldn't be happy monogamous, I have not
>made any monogamy agreement; rather, I have told hir that any
>relationship with me must be poly, and sie accepts that. Is
>it unethical to get involved with me? Is it unethical to do
>anything that makes one person in a relationship uncomfortable,
>when that person has consented to accepting that kind of dis-
>comfort because it was so important to hir partner?

It's not necessarily unethical with a capital letter. However, in many
such cases it would goes against my personal ethics (behavior standards
I hold for myself but don't think are The One True Way and don't think
everyone should hold them). The personal ethics that would come into
play here are "avoiding competitive situations" and "seeking
simplicity."

If someone actively consents to accept discomfort, it's more clearly OK
than if someone does not consent but is involved in an uncomfortable
situation anyway. For an example of the latter, I knew a couple that had
a standoff about poly. She said "If you sleep with anyone else, we're
through" and he said "I won't promise never to sleep with anyone else."
I would not have slept with him under those conditions. But I've also
known relationships where one person was not comfortable with poly but
said "Go ahead anyway." I've behaved differently under those conditions.

>>I usually don't start negotiations for changes in rules, either.

>Then what do you do when the current rules aren't meeting your
>needs?

I say so (but that's different from starting a negotiation, which is
asking that things be changed for my sake), and/or I try to get used to
it, and/or I leave.

>>It's not that I'm trying to claim relationships are more important than
>>people, but it seems to me that if one is committed to personal growth,
>>then one also needs to avoid laying down rigid rules of any variety
>>other than "I must be open to growth opportunities." Laying down a rule
>>of "my freedom is sacrosanct" prevents one from taking advantage of
>>growth opportunities in the realm of commitment and compromise. There's
>>nothing wrong with either position, particularly, but you can't really
>>be committed to both at the same time, IMO.

>I don't agree. I don't think anybody needs to be willing to
>"grow" in directions sie already knows are bad for hir.

I agree, but that person isn't really committed completely to personal
growth. If you think you "know" something and are rigid about it, you've
cut off a lot of growth opportunities in that area. That's OK, of
course. I'm not really big on being completely committed to personal
growth anyway.

>>I don't have enough communication with C to know whether zie blames me.
>>Part of the problem here was that A was used to categorizing zir
>>relationships, and while C and I knew of each other's existence as
>>friends of A, neither of us knew the other was A's lover until fairly
>>late in the game. C has been friends with A for longer than I have, but
>>I've been lovers with A for longer than zie has. So there's no clear
>>priority/ranking.

>Even if one relationship had definitely started before the
>other, there would not necessarily be a clear "ranking." The
>fact of having started first does not necessarily make some-
>thing more important.

Sure. In this case, that would be the primary basis I'd use for trying
to rank the relationships, but that's not always true. As I've said, in
other relationships, a person my lover got involved with after me became
primary and assumed more importance.

>What if C believed (maybe even rightly)
>that hir relationship had started first, and that this implied
>some sort of obligation from A to make their relationship more
>important than yours, even though A had never intended or
>agreed to that?

C would be SOL unless C could get A to agree to zir point of view.

>But I also did not consider it right to act
>as if A had actually made an agreement which sie never had.
>Some obligations are rightly "implied" by a situation without
>explicit agreement, but in this case, A said sie had specific-
>ally negotiated the opposite of what C was claiming was implied.

Sounds like a mess; if I could manage it, I'd stay out of such a
situation for personal safety/sanity reasons. If I were in it, I'd just
have to muddle through based on intuition.


--
Stef ** rational/scientific/philosophical/mystical/magical/kitty **
** st...@cat-and-dragon.com <*> http://www.bayarea.net/~stef **
--------------------------------------------------------

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a
chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but
also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such
a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken's
dominion maintained.

Arnold Vance

unread,
Dec 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/7/96
to

In article <32A5CE...@elision.com>, SwiftRain <swi...@elision.com> wrote:

>Jenner wrote:
>>
>> With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal
>> what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
>> forming, or existing relationship.
>
>it is my ethic to never intentionally harm another.
>so if it is a question of disrupting a relationship intentionally, for
>some personal gain, then i would find it unethical.
>
>i find it unfortunate that in our monogomous society, sharing and
>growing closer with someone can be considered "disruptive" even if it
>does not have an direct adverse effect on that person's other
>relationships.
>but unfortunately that is how it is, and we cannot use our ideals of
>polyamory as a lever to harm others, by blaming their ideology instead
>of our disrespect for it.
>
>(apologies for any lack of clarity in this post -- but it *is* a
>discussion of ethics, after all.)

Clarity is not by definition or nature absent from discussion of ethics.
It's the clear expression of those ethics that generally is. In fact, like
morals, aesthetics, and, uh, lovers, things are very clear. It's just that
articulating them is hard. And actually, what's hard is articulating them
to those who have no palate for...I was going to say truth but it stuck
in my craw.

The question, as I want to understand it, is not pitching itself against
the monogoloidal atmosphere, rather, it's trying to get at the tricky
bit of politics involved in potentially competitive startup situations.
(The endgame also has it's logics--so called "rebound" times.) To tell the
"truth" I don't know how I'd answer this in general. If everyone could "see"
everything equally well, then it'd be a fair free-for-all and to the victor
go the spoils. Not the case.

And while I'm in an objectionable frame of mind I also want to say that
almost all is done for personal gain. It's just that my notion of personal
is so ununique--if you know what I mean.

-arn


Stef Jones

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Dec 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/8/96
to

'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

>Jenner <jenn...@mail.idt.net> wrote:
>>With that said, and it being recognized that we really can't steal
>>what isn't owned, what about the ethics of "disrupting" a newly
>>forming, or existing relationship.

>>Another way of saying this is not showing respect for a relationship
>>that came before you. <----this is an important issue to me.

>Does "came before you" *always* mean "more important than you?"

Do you only show respect for things that are more important than you?

>I think I remember you (Jenner) saying that you had the ideal of

>non-hierarchical (non-primary/secondary) polyamory. But if some-


>thing is to be non-hierarchical, that means that at some point,
>it has to stop being relevant which relationship came first.

Even if it's *not* relevant which relationship came first, I still think
it's relevant to respect the other parts of someone's life, including
zir other relationships.

Now, what one *does* to show respect is the real question.

If I'm interested in someone who has just started a new relationship,
one way I show respect is by not coming on too strong until I have a
good idea of what's going on with that relationship and in what ways the
person's life might be open to include me. If it turns out to be a
casual relationship that doesn't affect zir life much, then I would
probably go ahead and express interest more strongly. Once the other
relationship is settled down some, I might go ahead if there's room.

>But then, the issue of "disruptions" is not at all cut and dried.
>Are all disruptions necessarily bad? I don't think so; some
>are good for people.

But that's for the people who are facing disruption to decide. It's not
for a third person to look in and say "Hmm, those folks need some
disruption; it'd be good for them; I think I'll give it to them."

>Is the new person always responsible for

>disruptions that happen after sie enters the picture?

No, but if the new person can guess that a disruption is likely to
occur if zie acts in certain ways, then it is more respectful, IMO, to
act to avoid the disruption.

>but what about the realm where there are no previous agreements?

You can go by intuition and/or ask. My tendency is to be cautious until
I know where the people stand with each other (previous agreements or
not).

>As an extreme example, say I meet somebody who tells
>me he is separated from his wife and filing for divorce; may-
>be he even shows me the divorce papers. If the wife is still
>hoping for a reconciliation, am I in the wrong if I date him?

No, but you might be *stupid* to date him, assuming you don't want flak
and angst from the divorce process.

>Maybe if the breakup was just last week, I should encourage
>him to give it enough time to make absolutely certain it was
>what he wanted (and probably would). But if he's been out of
>the house for six months, I'm not "disrupting" anything if I
>date him; his decision about it didn't even have anything to
>do with me.

Yep. More to the point, if he and his wife have been separated for six
months and are divorced, they don't really have a romantic/sexual
relationship to disrupt any more.

>For another thing, *what about* the needs of the partner in
>relationship "B?" Secondaries *do* have needs and rights of
>their own within their relationships,

Sure, but I thought we were talking about the decision whether to
*start* a relationship, not what to do if we've already started one.

Someone does not have needs and rights vis a vis another person (beyond
the right not to be harmed) before zie has started a relationship with
that person (or someone associated with zir).

>and if the secondary
>is expected to compromise some of hir own needs and wants
>for the primary, that should be reciprocal to at least some
>degree. Respect just can't flow only one way.

That's one of the big reasons why I am cautious about starting new
relationships with people who are just starting other new relationships.
How can the other partner be expected to compromise zir needs and wants
for me if zie hardly even knows what's going on with zir partner, let
alone how I fit into the picture?

>Also, any-
>body in any relationship, secondary, primary, whatever-ary,
>has the right to set boundaries on what sie will and won't
>accept in the relationship, and if a relationship with a
>secondary is begun with certain agreements made for the
>sake of *hir* needs and boundaries, then those agreements
>should be respected later by the primary just as agree-
>ments with the primary would be respected by the secondary.

Agreements should be kept if possible, but realistically should be
flexible to a degree because people's needs change.


--
Stef ** rational/scientific/philosophical/mystical/magical/kitty **
** st...@cat-and-dragon.com <*> http://www.bayarea.net/~stef **
--------------------------------------------------------

I've found a supplement that's _guaranteed_ to help you have super
high-powered workouts and it's also guaranteed to help your muscles grow.
It's strong enough to dissolve the strongest rocks but gentle enough for a
baby's skin. It actually gets absorbed by your stomach lining and is then
incorporated into every single muscle cell. It's an ancient supplement
used secretly by Roman Olympiad athletes and now is used by the most elite
of the elite of professional bodybuilders.
It's called water. Get it now before the FDA makes it illegal!
--pec...@aol.com

'mathochist' Angela Long

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Dec 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/8/96
to

Stef Jones <st...@baygate.bayarea.net> wrote:
>'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>>Jenner <jenn...@mail.idt.net> wrote:
>>>Another way of saying this is not showing respect for a relationship
>>>that came before you. <----this is an important issue to me.

>>Does "came before you" *always* mean "more important than you?"

>Do you only show respect for things that are more important than you?

Of course not. But "showing respect for a relationship which
came before you" seems to me to usually include "operating
one's own relationship only within the boundaries of the other
relationship (both agreements and things that are not agreed
to but are potential disruptions)." It often seems to mean
"defer to whatever one's partner's first partner wants." But
if what I want differs from what the first partner wants, and
if there is no agreement in place saying that the first part-
ner's wants will always come first, then there isn't any de
facto reason I should be the one to give up my own wants.

Example: A has a secondary-type partner, B; A meets C; A
and C want to form a primary relationship; B doesn't like it.
Should C defer to B's wants, just because B came first? I
don't think so; even if A's relationship with C threatens to
break up hir relationship with B, it's up to A, not to C, to
decide whether that's acceptable. It doesn't make sense for
C to place *more* value on A's and B's relationship than A
hirself does.

>Even if it's *not* relevant which relationship came first, I still think
>it's relevant to respect the other parts of someone's life, including
>zir other relationships.

Of course. But "respect" means different things, then.

>>But then, the issue of "disruptions" is not at all cut and dried.
>>Are all disruptions necessarily bad? I don't think so; some
>>are good for people.

>But that's for the people who are facing disruption to decide. It's not
>for a third person to look in and say "Hmm, those folks need some
>disruption; it'd be good for them; I think I'll give it to them."

I don't think a third person *can* decide this on hir own.
(Sie can make a bitch of hirself by pushing, and that would
be wrong, but it's not going to cause much of a disruption
if both partners ignore/reject hir attempts.) I think it
has to be up to the person in the middle to decide whether
what sie wants in one relationship is worth disrupting ano-
ther over. Sie should definitely decide that with the feel-
ings of the to-be-disrupted partner, and hir obligations to
that person, in mind, but it has to be up to the hinge per-
son to make the judgment call as to whether hir own wants
and needs are strong enough to outweigh any negative effect
on hir partner. As it is with anything else sie does with
hir life.

>>Is the new person always responsible for
>>disruptions that happen after sie enters the picture?

>No, but if the new person can guess that a disruption is likely to
>occur if zie acts in certain ways, then it is more respectful, IMO, to
>act to avoid the disruption.

What if the alternative is a disruption to hirself (and/or
to someone else, such as the hinge partner)? Putting others
ahead of oneself may be a nice Christian ethic, but doing
that 100% of the time results in one's own needs never being
met.

>>but what about the realm where there are no previous agreements?

>You can go by intuition and/or ask. My tendency is to be cautious until
>I know where the people stand with each other (previous agreements or

I don't put much stock in "intuition." Ask, definitely,
but people don't always give you honest answers; when you
get answers, though, I don't see what you can do but take
people at their word, since it's not feasible, and strikes
me as very disrespectful, to treat everyone as if they
were not being honest.

>>As an extreme example, say I meet somebody who tells
>>me he is separated from his wife and filing for divorce; may-
>>be he even shows me the divorce papers. If the wife is still
>>hoping for a reconciliation, am I in the wrong if I date him?

>No, but you might be *stupid* to date him, assuming you don't want flak
>and angst from the divorce process.

It would feel wrong to me to reject a partner who could be
very good for me, and I for hir, just because of a bratty
ex or other. It would be punishing *us* for the other's
brattiness. If nobody wanted to be subject to angst from
a former relationship, then most divorced people (myself
included) wouldn't ever get to form new relationships.

>>For another thing, *what about* the needs of the partner in
>>relationship "B?" Secondaries *do* have needs and rights of
>>their own within their relationships,

>Sure, but I thought we were talking about the decision whether to
>*start* a relationship, not what to do if we've already started one.

I don't see how the two can really be separated. As soon
as you start talking to someone, once you get to the point
where you even know the person well enough to know you'd
*want* a relationship with hir, you *have* a relationship
of some sort. The decision then is always whether to al-
low that relationship to *change* in certain ways, not
really whether to *start* a relationship at all.

>>and if the secondary
>>is expected to compromise some of hir own needs and wants
>>for the primary, that should be reciprocal to at least some
>>degree. Respect just can't flow only one way.

>That's one of the big reasons why I am cautious about starting new
>relationships with people who are just starting other new relationships.
>How can the other partner be expected to compromise zir needs and wants
>for me if zie hardly even knows what's going on with zir partner, let
>alone how I fit into the picture?

It seems to me it would be *easier* to figure out how
things will work if both relationships start at the same
time, so all the rules and routines are being established
at once, than if a set of routines is already established
and a new person comes in and the routines must be re-
worked. If B and C both want A to spend a holiday alone
with them, there's going to be less resentment and upset
if A and B didn't already have an established routine of
spending holidays alone together.

--
-- Angi


Stef Jones

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Dec 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/9/96
to

'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

>Stef Jones <st...@baygate.bayarea.net> wrote:
>>Do you only show respect for things that are more important than you?

>Of course not. But "showing respect for a relationship which
>came before you" seems to me to usually include "operating
>one's own relationship only within the boundaries of the other
>relationship (both agreements and things that are not agreed
>to but are potential disruptions)."

I don't agree that's what "showing respect for a previous relationship"
has to mean, or even what it usually means.

>Example: A has a secondary-type partner, B; A meets C; A
>and C want to form a primary relationship; B doesn't like it.
>Should C defer to B's wants, just because B came first?

It depends. Showing respect does not always involve deferring to someone
else's wants. It means acknowledging that person, communicating with
zir, finding out what you can about zir and zir wants/needs and doing
what you can to take them into account.

>It doesn't make sense for
>C to place *more* value on A's and B's relationship than A
>hirself does.

It is respectful for C to assume the relationship is valuable until zie
has sufficient evidence to the contrary.

>>But that's for the people who are facing disruption to decide. It's not
>>for a third person to look in and say "Hmm, those folks need some
>>disruption; it'd be good for them; I think I'll give it to them."
>
>I don't think a third person *can* decide this on hir own.
>(Sie can make a bitch of hirself by pushing, and that would
>be wrong, but it's not going to cause much of a disruption
>if both partners ignore/reject hir attempts.)

I disagree. Harrassment/pushing/manipulation can be very disrupting even
if you see it for what it is and attempt to ignore/reject it.

>>No, but if the new person can guess that a disruption is likely to
>>occur if zie acts in certain ways, then it is more respectful, IMO, to
>>act to avoid the disruption.

>What if the alternative is a disruption to hirself (and/or
>to someone else, such as the hinge partner)?

I don't see how it could be, if we're talking about deciding whether to
get into a new relationship, rather than talking about an ongoing,
existing relationship.

>>>but what about the realm where there are no previous agreements?
>
>>You can go by intuition and/or ask. My tendency is to be cautious until
>>I know where the people stand with each other (previous agreements or
>
>I don't put much stock in "intuition." Ask, definitely,
>but people don't always give you honest answers

If you reject both of those methods, then there *is* no way for you to
ascertain what to do.

>>>As an extreme example, say I meet somebody who tells
>>>me he is separated from his wife and filing for divorce; may-
>>>be he even shows me the divorce papers. If the wife is still
>>>hoping for a reconciliation, am I in the wrong if I date him?
>
>>No, but you might be *stupid* to date him, assuming you don't want flak
>>and angst from the divorce process.
>
>It would feel wrong to me to reject a partner who could be
>very good for me, and I for hir, just because of a bratty
>ex or other.

It depends on whether you think the partner's potential goodness-for-you
outweighs the real flak and angst. I certainly wouldn't make a choice to
pursue a partner who's got a lot of real shit going on just because I
can imagine some fantasy situation where we'd be really good for each
other. If I am going to get involved in a relationship, it's got to be
good *now* and have a reasonable chance of staying that way.
Relationships are difficult enough without choosing the ones that
involve a lot of flak with other people.

>>>For another thing, *what about* the needs of the partner in
>>>relationship "B?" Secondaries *do* have needs and rights of
>>>their own within their relationships,
>
>>Sure, but I thought we were talking about the decision whether to
>>*start* a relationship, not what to do if we've already started one.
>
>I don't see how the two can really be separated. As soon
>as you start talking to someone, once you get to the point
>where you even know the person well enough to know you'd
>*want* a relationship with hir, you *have* a relationship
>of some sort.

Of *some* sort, yes, but not yet the kind I thought we were talking
about (an actual sexual/romantic relationship). A potential such
relationship is not the same as an actual one. E.g., just because you've
talked to someone and y'all have determined you wouldn't kick each other
out of bed, it doesn't mean you automatically have "secondary's rights"
with zir.

>>That's one of the big reasons why I am cautious about starting new
>>relationships with people who are just starting other new relationships.
>>How can the other partner be expected to compromise zir needs and wants
>>for me if zie hardly even knows what's going on with zir partner, let
>>alone how I fit into the picture?

>It seems to me it would be *easier* to figure out how
>things will work if both relationships start at the same
>time, so all the rules and routines are being established
>at once,

In some cases, perhaps. But I prefer adjusting structures to building
them.


--
Stef ** rational/scientific/philosophical/mystical/magical/kitty **
** st...@cat-and-dragon.com <*> http://www.bayarea.net/~stef **
--------------------------------------------------------

Are you deliberately setting out to act like an Ayn Rand character, or
did it just happen? -- bru...@teleport.com

piranha

unread,
Dec 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/9/96
to

In article <58ckf7$9...@nntp4.u.washington.edu>,

'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>piranha <pir...@pobox.com> wrote:
>
>> i would probably avoid any relationship with somebody who does
>> not want me to meet zir other partners. it's all good and well
>> to trust, but i trust my own insights a lot better than anyone
>> else's. [...]

>
>Do the above hold no matter what the nature of the other relation-
>ship(s)? What if all the other relationships are secondary-level,
>or "occasionally dating," or fuckbuddies?

if the other relationships are secondary, yes, i want to meet/
talk to those people. i've seen too many secondaries hurt by
being truly secondary when it came to consideration, and i am
not inclined to contribute to something like that.

occasional dates don't effect me, if we limit dates to non-
sexual events. as soon as sex is part of the equation i get
antsy to know the people, because sex can have such far-reach-
ing consequences.

>Does the insistence on
>having other partner(s) present to decide major issues hold even
>if you are the primary, and the other partner(s) are secondary?

yes. our actions have repercussions for them -- if we had a
child, if we moved, if we stopped having safe sex with each
other. i am not saying i'd give them equal say, but i would
want to know how they feel about it, and whether there are
bad feelings that maybe i can do something about. ie. when
my primary G and i moved, zir secondary M ended up moving in
with us, which changed the equation quite a bit. had i not
considered M that might never have come up (it was a good
thing that it did, it improved the entire relationship).

as i said before, i don't do the primary/secondary model very
well; i am much more non-hierarchically inclined.

>If your potential partner has a handful of other people sie has
>dated a few times each, is it important to you to show each of
>those people that you are not a threat?

not particularly; but when their relationships get to the point
where it's no longer casual dating, then i want to meet if it
is at all possible.

>> but i do think that one can disrupt a
>> relationship that was not previously in trouble.
>
>I think it may be more accurate to say that one can disrupt a

>relationship that didn't previously *know* it was in trouble. [...]

that too. however, i still see a possibility to disrupt a rel-
ationship that wasn't in trouble at all. i can see NRE dis-
rupting what previously was a very comfortable relationship for
both partners, in which neither had disagreements that were
covered up for the time being. especially NRE, i'd say, cause
some people really get consumed by that, and suddenly the entire
old relationship gets shunted aside, even tho there was nothing
wrong with it.

>But the new
>person doesn't usually *create* those disagreements; they
>were there all along, just waiting to be uncovered.

sure, that can happen. but if NRE is the culprit, the new per-
son does bear responsibility (i distinguish between responsi-
bility and blame quite clearly). i've seen this handled both
well and not so well by the new person, so zir behaviour does
very clearly have a bearing on what happens in the established
relationship.

-piranha


'mathochist' Angela Long

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Dec 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/10/96
to

piranha <pir...@pobox.com> wrote:
>'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>>Do the above hold no matter what the nature of the other relation-
>>ship(s)? What if all the other relationships are secondary-level,
>>or "occasionally dating," or fuckbuddies?

> if the other relationships are secondary, yes, i want to meet/
> talk to those people. i've seen too many secondaries hurt by
> being truly secondary when it came to consideration, and i am
> not inclined to contribute to something like that.

That's a good attitude. But it doesn't seem to me to apply to
*all* secondary relationships. I'm thinking, for example, of
a guy I had dated (and slept with) a few times when I met my
last partner. I think I would have been rather put off if my
new/potential partner had insisted on meeting this guy. (And
any other person I had in the "relationship within which sex
may be happening" list.) That just wasn't the nature of that
relationship.

>>Does the insistence on
>>having other partner(s) present to decide major issues hold even
>>if you are the primary, and the other partner(s) are secondary?

> yes. our actions have repercussions for them -- if we had a
> child, if we moved, if we stopped having safe sex with each
> other. i am not saying i'd give them equal say, but i would
> want to know how they feel about it, and whether there are
> bad feelings that maybe i can do something about. ie. when

I wish my last partner's other had been that considerate. I
would like to think I would be, in a primary-like role, but
I have not had the impression that most primaries considered
secondaries important to include in major decisions.

> as i said before, i don't do the primary/secondary model very
> well; i am much more non-hierarchically inclined.

Me, too.

>>If your potential partner has a handful of other people sie has
>>dated a few times each, is it important to you to show each of
>>those people that you are not a threat?

> not particularly; but when their relationships get to the point
> where it's no longer casual dating, then i want to meet if it
> is at all possible.

But that line between "casual dating" and "more" is so hard
to draw.

>>> but i do think that one can disrupt a
>>> relationship that was not previously in trouble.

>>I think it may be more accurate to say that one can disrupt a
>>relationship that didn't previously *know* it was in trouble. [...]

> that too. however, i still see a possibility to disrupt a rel-
> ationship that wasn't in trouble at all. i can see NRE dis-
> rupting what previously was a very comfortable relationship for
> both partners, in which neither had disagreements that were
> covered up for the time being. especially NRE, i'd say, cause
> some people really get consumed by that, and suddenly the entire
> old relationship gets shunted aside, even tho there was nothing
> wrong with it.

I would say it was the shunting aside that caused the disrup-
tion, not the NRE.

>>But the new
>>person doesn't usually *create* those disagreements; they
>>were there all along, just waiting to be uncovered.

> sure, that can happen. but if NRE is the culprit, the new per-
> son does bear responsibility (i distinguish between responsi-
> bility and blame quite clearly). i've seen this handled both
> well and not so well by the new person, so zir behaviour does
> very clearly have a bearing on what happens in the established
> relationship.

I think the hinge person has much more responsibility; the
main responsibility of the new person is to keep the hinge
person reminded of hirs, it seems to me. It's that shunting
aside that can cause real problems, and that's the action of
the hinge person; the new person can try to prevent it, but
may not be able to.
--
-- Angi


'mathochist' Angela Long

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Dec 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/10/96
to

Stef Jones <st...@baygate.bayarea.net> wrote:
>'mathochist' Angela Long <angi...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>>>Do you only show respect for things that are more important than you?

>>Of course not. But "showing respect for a relationship which
>>came before you" seems to me to usually include "operating
>>one's own relationship only within the boundaries of the other
>>relationship (both agreements and things that are not agreed
>>to but are potential disruptions)."

>I don't agree that's what "showing respect for a previous relationship"
>has to mean, or even what it usually means.

Then we're back to the question: what, exactly, *does* it mean?

>>Example: A has a secondary-type partner, B; A meets C; A
>>and C want to form a primary relationship; B doesn't like it.
>>Should C defer to B's wants, just because B came first?

>It depends. Showing respect does not always involve deferring to someone
>else's wants. It means acknowledging that person, communicating with
>zir, finding out what you can about zir and zir wants/needs and doing
>what you can to take them into account.

If C already knows B's wants (that sie "doesn't like it"),
it seems to me all that must have been done already.

>>It doesn't make sense for
>>C to place *more* value on A's and B's relationship than A
>>hirself does.

>It is respectful for C to assume the relationship is valuable until zie
>has sufficient evidence to the contrary.

"Valuable" is not black and white. It makes no sense for C
to assume the relationship is more valuable than anything
else, if sie has no reason to believe it is.

>>>But that's for the people who are facing disruption to decide. It's not
>>>for a third person to look in and say "Hmm, those folks need some
>>>disruption; it'd be good for them; I think I'll give it to them."

>>I don't think a third person *can* decide this on hir own.
>>(Sie can make a bitch of hirself by pushing, and that would
>>be wrong, but it's not going to cause much of a disruption
>>if both partners ignore/reject hir attempts.)

>I disagree. Harrassment/pushing/manipulation can be very disrupting even
>if you see it for what it is and attempt to ignore/reject it.

Harassment and pushing can be disruptive to the people, but
I don't see how it can disrupt their *relationship* if they
don't let it, unless maybe the added stress in general just
makes them more prone to fight.

"Manipulation," I don't believe in. Except for threats or
outright deception, people do what they want to do, and every
time I've seen the word "manipulation" applied to a situation,
it's been by somebody who was trying to excuse somebody from
responsibility for hir own choices. ("It's not hir fault, sie
was manipulated." IOW "The devil made hir do it" -- yeahright.)

>>>No, but if the new person can guess that a disruption is likely to
>>>occur if zie acts in certain ways, then it is more respectful, IMO, to
>>>act to avoid the disruption.

>>What if the alternative is a disruption to hirself (and/or
>>to someone else, such as the hinge partner)?

>I don't see how it could be, if we're talking about deciding whether to
>get into a new relationship, rather than talking about an ongoing,
>existing relationship.

"Getting into" a relationship isn't a discrete event in time.
By the time you know you want a relationship with someone, you
must have some want invested in that, and it would be at least
a small "disruption" to you to lose out on what you want. It
may be a very large disruption for both you and the hinge part-
ner, if you already have strong feelings for each other (and
feelings don't wait for permission to "start a relationship"
to be given). And there can be other kinds of disruptions.

I was once "vetoed" a couple months into a relationship and
at the same time told not to go anywhere near the person, in-
cluding not entering any room sie was in, not using the com-
puter lab at school if sie was using it, not using the irc
channel if sie was there, not walking to class until sie had
cleared the hallway... apparently my doing any of those
things would, in the other's opinion, cause a "disruption"
to their relationship. I tried going along with it for a
while, just to show respect by humoring them, and it was a
major disruption to me.

>>>>but what about the realm where there are no previous agreements?

>>>You can go by intuition and/or ask. My tendency is to be cautious until
>>>I know where the people stand with each other (previous agreements or

>>I don't put much stock in "intuition." Ask, definitely,
>>but people don't always give you honest answers

>If you reject both of those methods, then there *is* no way for you to
>ascertain what to do.

I don't reject those methods. I have no "intuition," and
have never found others' "intuitions" about me to be *at
all* accurate, so "intuition" doesn't impress me much.
And asking, I *do*, and I take people at their words...
only to find out later, too often, that they were not
honest. But what's the point of asking, if I have to
follow it up by acting as if the person was lying?

>>It would feel wrong to me to reject a partner who could be
>>very good for me, and I for hir, just because of a bratty
>>ex or other.

>It depends on whether you think the partner's potential goodness-for-you
>outweighs the real flak and angst. I certainly wouldn't make a choice to
>pursue a partner who's got a lot of real shit going on just because I
>can imagine some fantasy situation where we'd be really good for each
>other. If I am going to get involved in a relationship, it's got to be
>good *now* and have a reasonable chance of staying that way.

If it wasn't "good now," how would I know it "could be
very good" in the future?

>Relationships are difficult enough without choosing the ones that
>involve a lot of flak with other people.

Anybody who chooses a relationship with me will have to
deal with flak from my ex-husband, forever (or at least
for twelve or fifteen more years, until my youngest child
with him is grown). If everyone is reluctant to "choose
the relationships that involve a lot of flak from other
people," I'll never have another relationship.

>>>>For another thing, *what about* the needs of the partner in
>>>>relationship "B?" Secondaries *do* have needs and rights of
>>>>their own within their relationships,

>>>Sure, but I thought we were talking about the decision whether to
>>>*start* a relationship, not what to do if we've already started one.

>>I don't see how the two can really be separated. As soon
>>as you start talking to someone, once you get to the point
>>where you even know the person well enough to know you'd
>>*want* a relationship with hir, you *have* a relationship
>>of some sort.

>Of *some* sort, yes, but not yet the kind I thought we were talking
>about (an actual sexual/romantic relationship). A potential such
>relationship is not the same as an actual one. E.g., just because you've
>talked to someone and y'all have determined you wouldn't kick each other
>out of bed, it doesn't mean you automatically have "secondary's rights"
>with zir.

Whoa, suddenly I'm not sure I can identify with what you're
talking about at all. For one thing, my relationships have
always *started* with sex, although I can't see the mere
fact of sex as changing the whole nature of the process.
For me, it's 1. be attracted, 2. make sure a sexual rela-
tionship is okay, 3. while the sexual relationship is go-
ing on, if mutual desires for other things develop, nego-
tiate those things (more time / living together / levels of
commitment / etc.). Without the sex coming first, it would
be "friendship" rather than "sexual relationship." There
are still needs and rights within what is called "friendship."
At least, there are for me. For example, as a friend, I need
to be talked to about problems my friend has with me, I need
honesty and dependability from my friend, basic respectful
treatment, caring and consideration, inclusion, etc. In many
ways, "friendship" and "relationship" really do not differ.

--
-- Angi


Jill Lundquist

unread,
Dec 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/10/96
to

In article <32A5CE...@elision.com>, SwiftRain <swi...@elision.com> wrote:
>it is my ethic to never intentionally harm another.
>so if it is a question of disrupting a relationship intentionally, for
>some personal gain, then i would find it unethical.

IMO, it is possible (and common) to do a great deal of harm
unintentionally. There is to a certain extent an obligation
not to be negligent, to put in a reasonable effort to discover
when harm is likely to occur in a given situation and avoid it,
even if the action you are doing may not cause harm in some other
situations.

Naturally, the burning ethical question is how extensive that
obligation is. As a trivial example, I don't get into sexual
situations with married or otherwise attached people unless I talk
to the spouse first or in some way open a line of communication with
that person. (this dates back to when I was seventeen and dated
someone who told me very believably that his primary girlfriend knew
and accepted what was going on, while telling her he was "monogamous
by nature.") Yet a friend of mine believes that this is not her
obligation, that it is between her lover and his or her partner.

--
Jill Lundquist ji...@qualcomm.com DoD #882

"They say travel broadens the mind,
so I went over the falls in a barrel." (Thomas Dolby)

jenner

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Dec 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/10/96
to

angi...@u.washington.edu ('mathochist' Angela Long) wrote:


: Yes, there's a difference between disrupting something just by


: being involved at all, and going out of your way to cause a dis-
: ruption.

Or, not being all that concerned about it if you (generic
you) do...

: >Interesting. Above, you say disruption is often necessary for growth.


: >Here, you say that you would rather break up with C rather than endure
: >the disruption of re-negotiating your relationship with C. But what if
: >re-negotiating would be a growth experience for you and C? You seem to
: >be taking contradictory positions on the value of disruption.

: I don't see any contradiction. Personal growth sometimes leads
: *away* from relationships, and I'm concerned with growth of
: people, not of the abstract entities that are relationships.

This concept bothers me.

All I can say is that anyone who told me they weren't at all
concerned about the abstract entities that are my
relationships.... well, as they say, "that kink is OK -- way
the hell