August 6, 2013

"I’m polyamorous, which means I believe you can love multiple partners at the same time."

"I’m in a relationship with my husband of nearly 17 years, and my boyfriend, with whom I celebrated my second anniversary in May. (In polyamorous lingo, our relationship is known as a 'V; I’m the 'hinge' of the V and my two partners are the vertices.)" So writes Angi Becker Stevens in Salon, complaining that "the world at large" condemns them.
My boyfriend and I met through our leftist politics...

My daughter, who will be 10 next month, has known that her father and I are non-monogamous for nearly as long as she can remember. She certainly isn’t exposed to sexuality any more than children of monogamous relationships are; she sees child-appropriate displays of affection between me and both of my partners, and she lives in a stable, loving home. I often talk to her about the fact that society frowns on families like ours, and whenever I mention the claims that polyamory is bad for children, she rolls her eyes and says, “Oh no, kids having more people to love them! How horrible!”
Oh, no, kids having more adults showing them how to be sarcastic! How horrible!
When my daughter talks about same-sex marriage or polyamorous relationships, she always looks perplexed and says, “I don’t understand why anyone is angry about people being in love and not hurting anyone.” And I long for a world where everyone is able to see it so simply.
You complicate your own life and then call upon others to be simple as they think about your complications.

58 comments:

Greg Hlatky said...

Slut.

damikesc said...

Whether we love it or not, this is going to be the next big push. And it will become legal, no matter how asinine it may be. That die was cast and the critics who warned against courts getting involved in gay marriage will be proven correct, but that is little benefit.

I do not get the appeal of bigamy (and fuck them and their "polyamorous" bullshit. Why not call it "shared cock/pussy" and be more honest?) at all.

Big family decision with 3 or more people would be nightmarish (what if one of the wives/husbands gets transferred? OH NOES!!), multiple dudes won't be better for a woman (the sex thing? Gonna be some conflict there. Dudes don't like sharing that) and the women cannot love being one in a series for a guy. It demeans the woman horribly, though many seem oblivious to it.

The entertainment industry loves it and will sugar coat as much as they can. Outside of an animus against marriage, I don't get the desire to ruin an institution that worked pretty well for, you know, millenia and all.

The writer thinks she can love two people equally at once? OK. Both are in accidents and are kept at seperate hospitals. Who would she visit first?

...because that is the one who is more important to her.

And it's always nice to see writers so flippantly ignore the issues that their lifestyle has on their kids. God knows this won't cause the daughter problems.

In closing --- she doesn't seem to have a husband and a boyfriend. She has two cuckolds. I'd laugh at them, but I can't even bring myself to pity the poor losers.

SteveR said...

It took less than two sentences to ruin a perfectly good thought.

paul a'barge said...

It's really helpful to use http://images.google.com to bring up photos of these folks (Angi Becker Whateverherlastnameis).

TosaGuy said...

Too much potential drama for me.

I really don't care how she lives her life, but what I find tiresome is that she really, really, really wants to identify as a righteous victim and apparently will tell just about anyone who she thinks might not agree with her behavior about her arrangement.

Renee said...

Adultery with permission, because paying for two rents is too costly. She got an emotional divorce, but retained the marital assent jointly.

We're all poly-amorous, but some of us just work on our marriage and our obligation to our spouse. Instead we add on new siblings for the children to love, that will last their life time.

Adults die off sooner.

Ann Althouse said...

Your mother's ghost stands at your shoulder
Face like ice a little bit colder
Sayin' to you, "You can not do that, it breaks all the rules
You learned in school"
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three?

bpm4532 said...

Core question: what's special about two?

I suppose 3 people can be just as much in love with each other as 2 people can. I think in increases the complexity, but to each his own. Now that we have a movement to eliminate the core reproductive element of marriage, there can be no logical reason to limit marriage to 2 people as it would discriminate against another form of equally loving relationship.

However, if you limit it to 2 people, you must answer the core question.

Old RPM Daddy said...

Don't judge me. Because children.

Graham Powell said...

The main problem I see with this is that it's hard enough for two people to get along, much less three. Tough for me to imagine a situation where jealously wouldn't blossom, zealously.

Oso Negro said...

Not surprising. As a society, we have gotten in the business of mainstreaming what were formerly known as sexual perversions. I suspect we will find it difficult to stop. All we need is a good TV sitcom that makes adulterers cute and lovable to move things along.

donald said...

Slut, whore, whatever.

PatHMV said...

Often overlooked in these discussions is the implication that normalizing these types of relationships can have on society as a whole, if they were to move out of small niches and become more prevalent.

We can see in other societies the problems caused by polyamorous norms involving one man with multiple women. This leads to a shortage of women and large numbers of young men with no woman at all. Historically, across cultures, lots of young men with no women has equaled war or other significant cultural unrest.

I'm not sure there's ever been a society where there were a lot of polyamorous relationships with multiple males to one female. Robert Heinlein was a fan of the concept in his novels, but whether his predictions of the impact of such relationships on society is accurate, I don't know.

I do doubt that such relationships would ever become prevalent, because men on the whole are, I believe, more jealous in nature, and do not share women as well as women are capable of sharing men.

But you can hardly legitimize multiple-male, single-female polygamy without legitimizing multiple-female, single-male polygamy. And, as I noted, the history of those kinds of relationships do seem to have a significant and generally negative impact on society as a whole.

Any one or small group of such relationships has no real impact on anybody else, and can be chalked up to each his (or her) own. Live and let live. But when the demand is that we normalize this, make it an accepted and "normal" option, we open ourselves up to the potential society-wide impacts that this would have.

Greg said...

Jimmy Carter. Amy Carter. Nuclear War.

Renee said...

This is the 'norm' as in more and more children living with 'step' and other significant others of their parents.

Matthew Sablan said...

I remember when a V was commonly referred to as a love triangle, which was a Bad Thing (TM).

Eric said...

We can see in other societies the problems caused by polyamorous norms involving one man with multiple women. This leads to a shortage of women and large numbers of young men with no woman at all. Historically, across cultures, lots of young men with no women has equaled war or other significant cultural unrest.

That's true, but in that's not what she's describing. In this case we see two men sharing one woman.

A better parallel would be societies in sub-Saharan Africa in which there's no social pressure for anyone to be monogamous. The soil is fertile enough for the women to raise children without help from men, and that's a good thing, because nobody knows who's fathering whom. The men put no effort or money into the children.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I really don't see the problem. I mean, marriage is about love, right? Why shouldn't these triads also receive the heath and tax benefits that people in a dyadic relationship receive?

Anyone who wants to limit marriage to 2 adults is merely bigoted, prudish, or tied down by antiquated religious sentiments.

More seriously-- this is why we need to establish what marriage actually IS FOR in the eyes of the law. If it's just a means for people in love to divide possessions, get tax breaks, and enjoy legal protections, who are we to say that a woman can't have two husbands? Or that 3 men can't have a loving home?

I mean, really, the only decent counterargument is that "Paint Your Wagons" was one of the most painful movie-musicals of all time. And that's really because the leading actors couldn't sing. Maybe if we allowed only MUSICAL triads to marry?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

PatHMV,

I'm not sure there's ever been a society where there were a lot of polyamorous relationships with multiple males to one female.

Of course there has; you're living in one. Of course, usually there is money changing hands, and the various males don't really need or want to know who their fellow-poly-amours are. Did Eliot Spitzer ever meet Clients Nos. 1 through 8?

I realize that most men who frequent whores likely just want to get laid, by anyone, pronto. But from what I understand, there certainly are men who have favorite, er, practitioners. But the practitioners clearly don't confine themselves to one man, unless paid very well indeed.

stellastruck said...

Even in cultures where polygamy is accepted/expected jealousy is a problem--think of Rachel and Leah in Iron-age Israel. I've felt enough sexual jealousy to know it's biological as eating and natural as sin. Some exceptional people may be immune but I'm happy to push them off into their own little subculture.

I've always been annoyed by any argument that boils down to "because LOVE." Love is not all you need. If it does conquer all, it shouldn't. There are all kinds of bad love, and things like truth and honor and justice should take precedence even over the good kind. I realized the other day that I'm basically a cartoon villain, badmouthing love. Well, so be it.

Peter said...

I can't really think of a more unstable group number than three. Because inevitably it will split into 2-against-1 factions.

Somehow we think we're so liberated that we can just repeal eons of natural evolution and declare sexual jealousy dead, and it shall be so. Until it isn't, and terrible things happen.

And after it does somehow everyone is (or pretends to be) clueless as to how, how could terrible things happen when we'd already declared that all was peace and love?

Seeing Red said...

Why would the boyfriend be jealous?

He gets laid for free when he wants, no responsibility.

Seeing Red said...

The tricky part may be in a few years if the boyfriend prefers the daughter when she's legal.

James Pawlak said...

She and the community would be better off and safer if she just bought a variety of dildos

Seeing Red said...

And there it is:

..."I married my husband and remained in a monogamous relationship with him for many years. I knew I wanted to be with him for the long haul. But I was never entirely fulfilled. I couldn’t shake the feeling that some part of me was repressed...."


Smilin' Jack said...

(In polyamorous lingo, our relationship is known as a 'V; I’m the 'hinge' of the V and my two partners are the vertices.)

The only thing I see wrong with polyamorosity is that apparently polyamorites don't know the meaning of the word "vertex":

The vertex of an angle is the point where two rays begin or meet, where two line segments join or meet, where two lines intersect (cross), or any appropriate combination of rays, segments and lines that result in two straight "sides" meeting at one place.

She is the vertex; her two partners are end points.

madAsHell said...

There's a health issue here as well. It's only a matter of time before the transmission vector comes home.

I googled for pictures of the author. Pink hair, tattoos and I'll guess genital piercings. She wasn't very appealing.

Paul said...

So she has sex with two men, and the child is the child of one of them.

So what happens if the other guy gets her pregnant? Who supports that child?

And divorce? And legal spousal benefits (like health care, retirement, etc..)

And if one of them gives her herpes, or worse? Or one of the abuses her (or she him?)

And then there is the possibility of later in life jealousy or envy or worse.

And when they get old.. do they take care of each other?

The polyamorous concept works fine if everything goes smoothly. No money worries, no health worries, no emotional worries. But if just one thing goes wrong.

And then we have to look at the little girl. What will that do to her later in life. How will it confuse her. How will she relate to others.

Just wait, I have no doubt the great law of unintended consequences will raise their head.

Carl said...

The "world at large" condemns them because we've already done 40,000 years of experimentation and we know based on that that her situation is (1) extremely undesirable, when generalized broadly, and (2) tempting enough to the ignorant that, like cough medicine, it should be labeled in large black letters DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE HEAVY MACHINERY UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THIS SHIT.

The clear diagnostic of this is that she's a narcissist idiot. It does not occur to her to wonder whether that disapprobation might, in fact, come from some good reason of which she is ignorant, and not from some dumbass pointless prejudice. (I mean, why would the world at large expend energy disapproving of her if it served no purpose whatsoever? Does she imagine other people enjoy being cross and concerned?)

One assumes she's one of those people who are incapable of learning from the experience of others, and has to personally make every tragic mistake from Mother Eve on down before she gains the associated wisdom. Fair enough, but one hopes she is not surprised that those with the wisdom to watch someone else get burned and then never touch the hot stove live longer and prosper more.

William said...

If you play the probabilities,a monogamous marriage has the best chance of success. It certainly has the best chance of producing happy, healthy children. That said, it's a big world with lots of ecological niches. Even as giraffes are possible, I suppose it's possible for such an arrangement to work out. Bill Clinton had a more lasting marriage than Al Gore.

n.n said...

It will get interesting when the men declare intentions to also be polyamorous. Surely one woman cannot fulfill their daily sexual requirement.

Henry said...

Better watch out for the W, Ms. V.

Presley Bennett said...

These are not physically attractive people so I think it's good they've found each other. That's unkind I know but it was my first thought looking at the picture.

I'm kind of hoping the two men fall for each other. That would be interesting. What does she do then?

Foobarista said...

At the end of the day, the problem for such people is they want to be thought of as fundamentally moral people. The idea that society should simply leave them alone is offensive - they want to be celebrated, not just tolerated.

The problem with society celebrating complex sexual geometry is it's extremely expensive, both financially and emotionally. If you've got a Hollywood bankroll, great, go for it. If you're of more modest means, this sort of sexual experimentation can break you, and more dangerously, your children.

jr565 said...

When my daughter talks about same-sex marriage or polyamorous relationships, she always looks perplexed and says, “I don’t understand why anyone is angry about people being in love and not hurting anyone.” And I long for a world where everyone is able to see it so simply.

There appears to be a lack of capacity in lefties and their daughters to distinguish between people loving each other bad people marrying each other.
Who's saying she can't be the V in a relationship?
That doesn't mean society must make a poly amorous marriage the equivalent of a traditional marriage.
Or that if you are saying that society should legalize polyamorous marriages that you are also saying you can't be in a polyamorous trio.

jr565 said...

You can find these types of pairings on adult friend finder all the time. "Woman looking to act as V in polyamorous relationship. Seeking a second willing male."

tim maguire said...

“I don’t understand why anyone is angry about people being in love and not hurting anyone.” And I long for a world where everyone is able to see it so simply.

I long for a world where everybody is too busy minding their own business to give a crap. Love who you want, don't who you don't, and if they love you back then great for you. But don't write articles about how wonderful you are for being different.

And the religious nuts undermining traditional marriage with their Johnny-come-lately notions of monogamy and one man one woman can go pound salt.

Mark Trade said...

When people complicate their lives without being negligent, reckless, or harmful, there is a simple reaction for someone who's not involved--"none of my business."

jr565 said...

"Ann althouse wrote:
"Your mother's ghost stands at your shoulder
Face like ice a little bit colder
Sayin' to you, "You can not do that, it breaks all the rules
You learned in school"
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three?
"
Of course David Crosby would write something like that while taking his nose out of the bowl of coke and while getting blown by groupies.
And I bet he forgot her name after she gave it up too.

jr565 said...

What if the mother got the daughter involved a s she became the second V? You could have a lot more permutations with a second vagina.
Oh, don't be so judgement all you prudes!

elkh1 said...

Depends whether the partners agree, no?

As long as only one of the partners can claim whatever benefits a partner can claim, it's nobody else's business.

ALP said...

TosaGuy:

"I really don't care how she lives her life, but what I find tiresome is that she really, really, really wants to identify as a righteous victim and apparently will tell just about anyone who she thinks might not agree with her behavior about her arrangement."
**********************
This! She's nothing more than Donna Reed with leftist politics - fretting over "what the neighbors think" just like millions of women before her. For all the feminist "empowerment" that is supposed to have taken place over the last few decades, we still have women pining for the approval of others. Pathetic.

John Lynch said...

I've seen the future, and it's convenience.

Jane said...

OK, couple thoughts:

After she decided to be polyamorous, her first "extra" relationship lasted 10 months. The new guy's been around for 2 years. Does she view him as permanently a part of the family, on the same footing as guy #1, or is he there temporarily, until he decides to settle down in a more conventional way, at which point she acquires another "second guy"? What DOES happen if she gets pregnant? Do both men consider themselves as fathers, or do they do a paternity test, and the "real dad" builds a father-child relationship, and the other is the "uncle"? How is this possibly good, or even not-harmful for children?

And she says she'd marry guy #2 if she could. Why? To get societal approval? Or to get the so-called 1,000-odd benefits of marriage? (List -- and commentary -- here: http://www.janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2013/07/there-are-1138-statutory-provisions.html)

mtrobertsattorney said...

Here's an idea for a research project: Do most people who get into these "V" relationships look like these three?

MikeB said...

Don't be a polyphobe.

who-knew said...

So David Crosby tried it years ago and immortalized it in one of the songs that got him kicked out of the Byrds. At least this song shows off his voice (the best in classic rock). I read one of his autobiographies and as I recall he outgrew the threesome nonsense.

Freeman Hunt said...

These pro polyamory editorials seem most often penned by the partner who has multiple partners.

Let's read some from the others. Surely there is one who could tell us how wonderful it is that his spouse is boning another dude in his house. He could tell us how loving and open and honest and fulfilling it is to share one's wife.

Mark Trade said...

John Lynch said...
"I've seen the future, and it's convenience."

My favorite book about a libertarian society is "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein, about a future where human inhabitants of the moon develop laws that permit polygamy out of necessity, not convenience. In this future most of the lunar inhabitants are male technicians and laborers, while women are very rare, something like 1 out of 10. If women were not permitted to have several husbands, there would be chaos. Families formed where there was usually, but not always, one woman as the head of the family, and that became a natural part of lunar culture.

So I am more likely to see monogamy as a law of convenience in a society like ours, where the number of men largely equal the number of women. Legally it's much simpler that way. Or is it?

Utterly fascinating book. I recommend it for people interested in libertarians much higher than I would Atlas Shrugged.

Clyde said...

So it's like "Heather Has Two Daddies," only without the gay part?

Hazy Dave said...

You say, you want to take a lover
Although you’re satisfied with me
We have to open our horizons, my love
We can, but you’ll do it without me

You can call me old-fashioned
You can call me straight laced
I’m not going to sit here and let another man take my place

So go and see him, what will be will be
Every man for the rest of your life will be less than me
I want you to stay
You search for a worthwhile need
But why not do the searching around here and try to involve me?

You say there’s nothing wrong with us
That what we have here is good
But you have more needs and the fire cannot burn on the same old wood

So excuse me if I look tired
So excuse me if I just look at the sun
You see I wanted to be blinded
And I wanted to be your only one

The yellow time of autumn comes
The dying sound of distant drums
The old me that sit on doorsteps know I am an unfortunate man

And on a road that’s made of stones
The road that’s made of Baby Stones
There’s an arrow made of stones
That points away from this home

C Stanley said...

People choose difficult, complicated marriages all of the time, so I don't think that can be the argument against the legitimization of this particular type of arrangement.

For instance, choosing a spouse with whom to start a family, who lacks the biological capacity to bear children, is pretty complicated in my book.

As for polyamory as a sexual orientation (assuming that is where these people are going with this), it would inherently produce less stable unions. Jealousy has a function in that it compels us to deepen a relationship with the one person to whom we've committed ourselves. That's the ideal, of course, and it doesn't always work out that way. Excessive jealousy, which happens when intimacy and trust are lacking, can destabilize. But the monogamous ideal itself at least provides the right structure for the most stable type of union.

Renee said...

Lyrics from the Dandy Warhols 'Bohemian Like You"

"Wait
Whose that guy
Just hanging at your pad
He's looking kinda bummed
Yeah, you broke up, thats too bad.
I guess it's fair if he always pays the rent
And he doesn't get bent
about sleeping on the couch when I'm there."

DanTheMan said...

>>.."I married my husband and remained in a monogamous relationship with him for many years. I knew I wanted to be with him for the long haul. But I was never entirely fulfilled. I couldn’t shake the feeling that some part of me was repressed...."

I...my...I...I...I..I..me

She's cleary in love with somebody...

MadisonMan said...

What I notice about that article is that it is written entirely from the women's point of view.

If it works for them, I don't really care. If it doesn't, I don't care either. I just don't want to be involved in any collateral damage. And I agree with Tosa: Exactly how is she a victim here?

cubanbob said...

Summer Lovers is so eighties. And Doctor Strangelove wasn't men't to be taken literally. Some people take movies to seriously. Besides who wants sloppy seconds?

Foobarista said...

The problem with it being "none of my business" is the people in these situations actually want my approval, or at least "non-judgment". Unfortunately, my reaction to this sort of thing will always be "hope it works out for you and your kid, but it's generally a Really Bad Idea".

I won't mention this out of politeness, but I'm not particularly interested in making people in these situations part of my inner circle of friends, as they produce far too much drama.

donald said...

Wow, I didn't really look at the picture until just now.

Now I just wanna bleach my eyes.