Friday, April 9, 2010

Look out! It's the poly fuzz!

A continuing conversation that I've had with quite a number of people involves the idea of sticking your nose into other people's relationship choices. One example that seems to come up pretty regularly is a poly person dating someone who is either cheating on another partner, or in a Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Is it ethical, unethical, or just not your business? Are you "policing" someones relationship by opting out because they aren't being honest with another partner?

The justification I fed myself for the six years I was involved in a DADT was that it wasn't my relationship, not my job to legislate what happened in their relationship with each other, and therefore, perfectly okay for me to have a relationship with this man who I love. I still believe that the first portion of the sentence, right up to "therefore" is about on target. It's the second portion, about it being fine for me to be in that relationship, that I no longer buy into, regardless of the love.

So many things that aren't optimal fall through the cracks based on the apathy of, "It's not my business.". In a relationship structure where each and every person's actions potentially impact those surrounding them, it's worse than foolish to stick your head in the sand and hope for the best.

It isn't my job to tell someone else what to do within their relationship(s), but it is my job to understand what kinds of relationships work for me, and be able to screen for that. Honesty and openness work best for me, so I don't choose to become involved emotionally with those who aren't in that space currently.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It's not my job, or right, to tell someone else how to live their life and handle their relationships. It is my responsibility, and right, to live my life and manage my relationships in a manner that suits me.

My ideas and believes may be vastly different than yous. You are allowed the same free will that I am. Each of us must decide what is ethical for us. Ethical for me is complete honesty and openness with a partner about who else I may be in a relationship with. I couldn't have one with someone that is cheating or in an DADT situation. To me, either of those takes the free will and choice away from someone.

Nice post.

Anita Wagner Illig said...

Though it's not my responsibility to interfere with the relationships of others (assuming all are consenting adults), I believe it IS my responsibility not to be a party to deceiving my partner's partner(s). It's an ethics issue. I've experienced cheating from just about every angle. I learned my lesson before my poly days when I had a brief affair in my first marriage, second husband cheated on me, I had an affair with a married man while single, friends & family members had affairs. In every instance the pain and suffering that resulted when the cuckolded person found out about it was horrible, and I vowed I'd never do it or be a part of anyone else's suffering again. That's one reason I'm a poly person today.

I think it's also our responsibility to seek some kind of verification when we are told that there is a don't ask don't tell agreement in place. Scoundrels aren't the only people who lie, i.e. an otherwise good person may well yield to temptation and lie about that in order to get unfulfilled needs met outside an ostensibly monogamous relationship. That's why that unless there's proof, I don't get involved with people in DADT's, either.

Not judging anyone, just saying that this has been the result of my experience. As someone who once cheated herself, I certainly can't point any fingers, but as I like to say, I take a "come to Jesus" approach with people who are in cheating situations. I *can* encourage others not to let personal needs and desires be the justification for entering into a relationship that isn't truly ethical non-monogamy.

Anonymous said...

I agree that you should never stick your nose where it is not welcome, but at the same time it is important to speak your mind when someone asks for help. Personally, I like to go on Yahoo! answers and reach out to people in need. I encourage them to be honest with themselves as well as with others and give them a few links to help them explore their sexuality. These are my default links: