Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Freelance or Agency Polyamory

Yes, yes – I’m glad you joined me today to discuss this terrible affliction.

One lump or two? Cream? Good.

I believe I’ve heard it described before as “freelance” or "agency" polyamory.

Yes, now, insofar as I can tell, freelance polyamory is a condition where a person who identifies as polyamorous – somebody who supposedly espouses the values of polyamorous relationships ( - and suffers from temporary bouts of amnesia.



And believe it or not, the abrupt memory loss often coincides with situations where the afflicted polyamorous person can grossly indulge in their desires without having to assume accountability for their actions to anyone, let alone their other partners.

Yes, I know, it’s terrible.

Indulge me only to provide an example.

Let’s say your husband informs you that he’s about to go out on a date with another partner.  Not a problem and perfectly reasonable, you might believe, but then let’s say you were to dig a little deeper and ask some clarifying questions of your life partner:

·      Where will you be going?
·      When will you be back?
·      How much money are you likely to spend?
·      Can I set some expectations on what kind of sexual contact you may be engaging in?
·      Is there a place I can reach you?
·      When you come home, can I expect we’ll have some fun together?
·      I’m a little uncertain about this – can we talk before you go?
·      I’m your wife – can I get a little priority in your decision-making?
·      So how was your time together? Tell me about what you shared.

Whereas the poor inflicted freelancer would likely respond:

·      “That’s none of your concern. You don’t need to know anything about my other relationships.”
·      “I don’t know. Whenever I want to be or when my other partner is done with me.”
·      “Uncertain, but enough for the two of us to have fun tonight.”
·      “I’m not going to discuss that with you. What my other partner and I do sexually doesn’t concern you.”
·      “You can reach me on my cell phone. If I don’t answer, I’ll see you when I get back.”
·      “No, I want to focus on the moment that I’m spending with my other partner and not with you, and if I’m totally exhausted and drained afterwards when I come home, so be it.”
·      “Listen, your emotional responses are your own. You really need to deal.”
·      “I so hate hierarchical language. Can I just refer to you as Skippy?”
·      “Are you kidding? I’m telling you nothing of the great, amazing time we had.”

Yes, it’s simply incredulous, I know, and I realize this may come as an awful surprise. After all, as you and I have discussed these many years, if polyamory is a community that champions honesty, communication, dignity, respect, loyalty and fidelity … the freelance polyamorist is an aberration.

The way I see it, the freelance polyamorist:

1.     Disregards emotional appeals as a personal weakness;
2.     Deflects responsibility for their own actions in favor of short-run fulfillment;
3.     Finds accountability in any form constraining on their other relationships;
4.     Are intentionally secretive and obscure concerning their other dealings finding such questions intrusive – transparency is a weakness;
5.     Somehow believes that – just because you step away from your wife or husband for an evening – all of those sticky emotional, financial, spousal, or parental obligations that relationship entails just evaporates or is non-existent … because it’s convenient to push that aside to get what they want;

Yes, perplexing isn’t it?

More tea?

And apparently, the condition is transmissible! If one partner selfishly believes as the freelancer, then they’re apt to assume the same belief system and impose that upon others as to, again, fulfill their desires.

Yes, truly beyond my understanding. This condition seems to run contrary to the very values polyamory wishes one to aspire. It’s simply selfish to the core, and not selfless, or compassionate, or communicative, or trusting, or …

Well! I think I’ve stirred this pot well-enough, dear. Would you care for some stew?



Adam said...

"...all of those sticky emotional, financial, spousal, or parental obligations that relationship entails..."

One problem is that, normatively, most or all relationship obligations and expectations go unspoken. We aren't used to thinking of itemizing all the behavioral expectations as we might in a contract, we just assume everyone's on the same page in terms of what a "relationship" entails.

That said, hear hear! Whatever expectations or obligations are agreed upon by all participants in relating should be honored wherever and whatever the partners are doing, including when relating to other partners.

Unknown said...

May I ask if you have been affected by a "free-lancing" partner? Polyamory isn't a socially reinforced norm with built-in expectations (unless you socialize with other polyamorous groups). I have experienced lapses from the original agreement. It is sometimes hard to keep to the plan.