Thursday, November 5, 2009

Deprogramming




As I entered the world of non-standard relationships, one of the first things that I noticed was that I had a LOT of thinking to do. So many of the things that I just sort of accepted and went along with in life needed to be looked at. This is one of the topics that we'll be looking at during the next discussion group, so I'm very interested to see what types of de/re-programming people feel they've needed to accomplish to make the shift into poly work for them.


For me, questions like: Does it matter what gender the person my partner is interested in is? Does sexual exclusivity equate to love? What about the whole "my other half", "The One", my "soul mate" concept? What is kinky? What is too kinky? Where does personal responsibility start and end in a relationship? Can I really love more than one person at a time? Do my partner's feelings for another person diminish our relationship? Do children need a two parent family to have an optimum childhood? Is seeking pleasure selfish? all came into play.
Examining the vast majority of the positions I was brought up with took some significant bandwidth. Even with being a pretty open-minded sort of person, there is/was plenty of self-examination to do.


Going through this process has been one of the most valuable things I've ever done. Lifetime. It isn't something that will ever be completed, but is a constant re-evaluation. Many of the hard and fast rules have gone to the wayside. There is situational context to be considered in determining the relative morality of a given action or belief. This is squarely at odds with the majority position of right and wrong, yes and no, black and white. Many of the questions that have come up wouldn't have been put in my way outside of polyamory, so I am thankful for this opportunity to learn more about myself and the world around me.


Shoot me a note! What have been your most interesting discoveries in deprogramming your worldview? How has poly shifted your perspectives on life, love, relationships and who you can become?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog and look forward to seeing new posts. I notice that you talk about your poly group having discussions. We are trying to help get a local poly group up and going strong. I wonder if you could share with me how your group manages things. How you decide what you will discuss. Do you have one person that facilitates every meeting or does that differ from meeting to meeting? I really appreciate any help you feel you can give.

I wasn't sure how else to reach you. If you would like, feel free to email me at ourquad@gmail.com.

Jena said...

I think the most profound deprogramming I've been engaged in is working through the stubborn "I am an island" sort of thinking. I'm a single mom and in my LD poly relationship I'm (technically) a secondary. So it's been a real challenge to get over the independence issue and accept 1) that I'm no longer alone, even though we're geographically apart and 2) that I'm a valid part of our poly family with my own rights and responsibilities. Pre-poly I've been so used to, essentially, calling all the shots that it's been a real education to learn to act cooperatively.

Christy in Seattle said...

I don't know. In my open loving lifestyle, I don't feel that I had to go thru deprogramming as such. Maybe just because I was raised Jehovah's Witness and got all the guilt bs over sex out of my system really early. I did marry my first lover, and before the end of the marriage, I was pushing him to open it up, for all the wrong reasons.

Through the years my partner and I have (mostly) successfully managed our open relationship, the thing I've found the hardest to deal with was the other people, not only my lovers, but my friends who try to support me, who try to be okay with my decision, but whose judgments about my lifestyle become clear when the shit hits the fan, as it did this past year.

Lots of people came out and said that the rough patch my husband and I went through this year was a direct result of our poly lifestyle ... with the rationale being that if we REALLY loved each other, we'd be monogamous. NEVER MIND how many of those same friends cheat on others or have been cheated on and heartbroken. NEVER MIND all the other ways in which a monogamous relationship can fall apart.

There seems to be a great misapprehension -- that I am poly (or open as I prefer it) because I'm either afraid of being left for another woman or because I'm confusing friendship for love with my husband.

How arrogant, really.

When the rough time hit (he left me for his lover 6 weeks after we got married) I had no one to rely on but myself. No one who understood. No one to talk to really. I tried to explain to my parents, but they just didn't want to hear it. I swear they became selectively deaf.

We made it through this storm, that was about so much more than him loving another woman. He went to a really good kink-aware professional, mourned his loss (which I actively helped him to do), and we're doing our best to grow from the near miss as individuals and as a couple.

I plan on writing about it in my blog sometime. I'm more committed to living openly than before being blindsided by my hubby.

And we're closer than ever!

ColourWheel said...

Christy, I can totally relate to so much of what you say. The idea that problems in a relationship are a direct result of loving someone else is SO very pervasive, and, I think, prevents us from facing the truth about our relationships so often. For me, falling in love a second time has been The Ultimate Test of my love for my husband. If I believed the programming of my lifetime, I would have left him. But no, I am far too stubborn, and I love him way too much, to do that. So I had to find another way. I'm glad to hear you and yours are stronger for the bumps, too. xo

As far as deprogramming goes, even if we get beyond our ingrained ideas about sex and relationships, like you did early on, I think we also have to get beyond the programming of others that causes them to respond to our way of being with such fear and negativity. Rejection hurts, whether we get used to the pain or not. At least, that's been my experience.

Polyf, I really enjoy your blog too. Please forgive me for using it as a chat room. :) My own blog can be found at madhouseantics.blogspot.com, in case you don't already have enough to read. lol

polyfulcrum said...

Jena: I'm curious as to how things play out with your situation. What types of rights and responsibilities do you have in your relationship as a non-cohabiting partner? I love seeing how everyone is doing these things!

Minkia Jetset said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, even though the poly relationship I'm in has a different dynamic than yours (FFM). One of the things that I seem to struggle with constantly is finding my place within the relationship. The married couple I'm with have such a strong foundation with having known each other for a number of years that at times I feel like I don't have much to bring to the table when it comes to being affectionate, etc. I know that if I had nothing to offer physically and emotionally that the three of us wouldn't be happening, but it's hard to know where I fit in, being the secondary person.