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Friday, November 17th, 2006
1:38 pm - From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

This statement is often credited to Marx, and is also frequently attacked because it is seen as an excuse for the lazy to take advantage of the hard working.

Today I thought of it in terms of relationships and how important it applies to the concept of comfort and balance and connection.

This statement speaks to not over-extending or over-asking in relationships.

I think it’s too easy in some situations to overdo it, to try to give more than we can, or to try to drag out of another more than they can reasonably be expected to give. This can lead to incredibly unrealistic expectations on the part of either party, which can head all down the road of resentment and hurt. Been there, on both ends. Burned that t-shirt. Have the scorch marks because I was wearing it.

What’s so stupid is that there is such a simple solution on both ends. Talk about it. Just talk about it.

It’s that simple. Really. In order for this to work in my life:

I need to talk about what I can provide, openly and honestly to others. Not so much to set boundaries (I tend to see boundary setting as a more pro-active measure against those who don’t respect simple wishes – those who don’t listen) as it is to communicate clearly what one can simply do. I need to communicate where I’m at, where people stand in my life, and what I can provide to them, as family, lovers, and friends. To overextend unnecessarily or consistently is unreasonable for me, and it plants and cultivates unreasonable expectations on the part of others.

I need to talk about what I need, communicating it clearly and openly, free of weasel words and passive aggressive behavior. I may not get what I want but I will have communicated what I need. To not communicate what I need is to make this thing come true:

“Unstated expectations are premeditated resentment.”

This is true in both directions.

There is a really good scene in a comedy movie where the woman and man are fighting over lack of communication (the basis of most non-slapstick or sitcom humor). She complains that he didn’t do the dishes. In exasperation, he says he’ll do the dishes. In defense she says, “I don’t want you to do the dishes. I want you to want to do the dishes.”

I look at that dumbfounded and a little bitter sometimes.

While I want someone to want to do the things for/to/with me that meet my needs, contribute to my happiness, bring me joy, feed me to contentment, to expect that is unreasonable. True, if I want something from a lover/friend, specifically from them, and they don’t provide it, I may be disappointed.

But that is a damn sight better than the alternative.

(4 comments | comment on this)

Monday, November 13th, 2006
10:10 am - On Being High Maintenance

How responsible is one person for another person's stuff?

I've read some great examples here and there, of relationships where one partner
seems to make it the life mission of the other to fix their stuff; to
carry it, to maintain it, to make it all better.

We each have to "maintain" our stuff. We made it. Therefore we
should have to be the ones to carry it, store it, play with it,
let it mess with us from time to time or just deal with it.
*We* have to do it. Not our partners. Not our parents. Not our
friends. Not our coworkers. After all, it's *our* stuff.

To expect another to deal with our stuff on a regular and consistent
basis is being "high maintenance". While it's easy to point the
finger at women for being "high maintenance" it's a damn lazy thing to do
and, it relies on the perception that women are more prone to share
emotions (they are trained to by society).

Men aren't immune. Men can be high maintenance too. Big Tony, the
last boss I had in Iraq, was one of the most drama filled, insecure,
petty, whining, "you are responsible for me being angry" high
maintenance little men I have ever met. Tony was one twisted mess of angst
and emotion. He expected, nay demanded, that everyone deal with his
stuff. This was in a camp of Men With Guns too. Think about the
utter selfishness and single-mindedness of "fucking with" a bunch of
Men With Guns on a consistent and regular basis. His brother JJ was
exactly the same. I wrote, in my Iraq notes, about an incident with a
door JJ perceived that I slammed. It was after a 13 hour graveyard
shift. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. I just needed
to get to my room, chat with Denise and Shasta for a bit, and get some
sleep. As I walked out of the office into the morning, the door
banged, just as it always did. JJ followed me out into the courtyard, yelling
at me, sputtering and , demanding I return, that I apologize for slamming
the door. He even called for his big brother Tony to make me do it.
As he screamed at me to and deal with his stuff, I turned slowly, carrying
my loaded M16 in my hand and with an M9 pistol at my hip. I took a step
forward, the rifle hanging in my hand in front of my thighs.

"JJ," I said, "that banging door is your baggage, not mine."

All those guys in that camp wanted was to be "not fucked with".
That's what many men (for better or worse in their relationships)
want. They want to go to work, have some distractions, be happy at
home and, most importantly, they don't want to *feel* "fucked with."
This goes deep into the roots of how we are trained as men in this
society. Men aren't practiced in dealing with emotional issues
(sometimes becoming drama) on a day to day basis and, it is my
understanding and experience that women more frequently are.

So, we end up with many men try to avoid what they see as unnecessary
drama, in order to reasonably protect themselves from the partners who
can't own their own stuff. Those men build a bunch of walls around
themselves and their relationships. This can make them appear selfish
and self-centered -- which they very well may be. However, they also
may be trying to protect themselves from being "fucked with."

It's all about our stuff. It's *our* stuff. We cannot avoid being
effected by our stuff, having to deal with it, or having to work
through it. That's *human* and that is what relationships (with
ourselves and others) are for - to help us deal with our stuff,
whether we acknowledge it openly or not. It's our stuff. We have to
deal with it.

It's when we expect and demand that *someone else* deal with it, we
become "high maintenance".

It's at that point that we cease to become growing human beings, fragile and
fault ridden though we may be, and become victims waiting to be saved
by the next person who will foolishly agree to carry my stuff.

Apologies to those whom I asked to carry my stuff in the past and
thanks to those who did the right thing; they held it for just a
moment to give me a rest so I could take it back on again.

(5 comments | comment on this)

12:38 am - Poly Project

I have mentioned my polyamory project on my personal LJ a few times but instead of being able to meet with all the people who have volunteered to be interviewed, I have created an online survey. This means strangers can fill it out, too! It eases the process for me, since it will track the data anonymously, and I think it will be easier on those who wish to participate because it is anonymous and doesn't have to be done in person. I hope that my questions are useful and inoffensive. Please do not answer any that cross your boundaries, of course. Also, feel free to hand this around to anyone who is poly friendly- or not, I suppose, as their input is also valuable when painting a picture of the discrimination that polyamorous people face.

Just to make the purpose of this clear: I am going to be doing a presentation in my Culture and Identity class on 12/12 to a room full of future psychotherapists, and I am hoping that I can increase their awareness and support for the poly community in receiving services and advocacy.

Click here to take the survey. Thank you!

Note: there are 2 pages, the next button is at the bottom. the second section is really the more important one (meant for non-poly people too), but does take more time and is more personal. many thanks!

I'm noticing that many people are skipping the essay questions. is it just too much? should i try and make them multiple choice somehow? any ideas?

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2006
2:18 pm - Florida Poly Retreat 2007 - March 15 - 18, 2007

We're pleased to announce that registration for Florida Poly Retreat 2007 is now open! This fantastic event is back again for another year, and we hope that you'll come join us for all the fun.

Florida Poly Retreat 2007
March 15 - 28, 2007
Brooksville, FL - UU in the Pines (1 hr north of Tampa)

Details withinCollapse )

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Friday, September 15th, 2006
8:38 pm - what gives?

Apparently this whole deal can work, for other folx, but me?

What follows is probably gonna be a lot of me whining about being "hard done by". Or, as Iggy Pop once said, nuthin comes my way...Collapse )

current mood: frustrated

(11 comments | comment on this)

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
11:43 pm - A Poly Conundrum
minofsin06 I recently came across this site -- http://www.saveourpolyfamily.org/sopf/. Now let me state, I am not posting this link as solicitation of support for the family or anything like that, but for the larger issues at play here. Please read the information on the site.

Now, let's assume, because we can't know for sure but for the sake of argument, let's assume that this story as related on the website is more than partially accurate.

If so, what rights should the father actually have, if he has not been involved until this point?

Is this a case about what is in the best interests of the children, or about the morality of polyamory?

Since there have been no studies (that I am aware of) that have shown that poly households are inherently damaging to children. With that being the case, on what basis would the courts have to rule against the mother?

Now obviously, we have only one side of the story in this case, which may or may not be accurate. But to me, this case speaks to much larger issues.

current mood: curious

(1 comment | comment on this)

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
12:18 pm - Words we use

Was having a conversation with my LDR the other day, and it occurred to me later how powerful the choice of words can be, and how much mine have evolved in the course of learning how to deal with myself and others (regardless of poly or not):

For example:
What I actually said: "We haven't had many chances to really talk lately, and I'm feeling a bit disconnected."
What I would have said a few years ago: "You have been busy and I'm feeling a little neglected."
What I would have said (or maybe only thought) a few years before that: "You don't care enough about me to spend time with me."

Interestingly, using different words forms not just a better basis for interaction with others, it also changes the way I look at things and therefore the way I feel about them and therefore the way I react.

The most recent incarnation translates to this: "Let's reconnect."
The prior incarnation translates to: "You hurt my feelings; make it better."
The first incarnation translates to: "You suck."

I bet a bunch of the rest of you have made changes to the way you talk and therefore the way you think over the years. Care to share?

Cross-posted to my journal.

(1 comment | comment on this)

Monday, July 31st, 2006
12:12 pm - Help!: Sensitive Serious Problems with Jealousy
a_fragile_angel First and foremost, I am especially interested in receiving advice from anyone who is polyamorous and has had these kind of serious issues with jealousy in the past and managed to overcome them. I will be especially grateful for any loving/supportive advice I receive and, if I ever manage to conquer jealousy, I will use everything I learned to overcome it to help others with similar problems with it.

please help me...Collapse )

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Tuesday, July 4th, 2006
11:05 am

This was modified from something a friend wrote. I changed it little.

1. Just because I feel bad doesn't mean somebody else did something wrong.
2. Just because I feel good doesn't mean I'm doing the right thing.
3. New relationship energy is icing. Love is bread. Both are tasty.
4. Play with my food; eat my toys.
5. There are few things I can do on this planet more worthwhile, more wholesome, more important to my needs as a human being, my country's needs, and my planet's needs, than loving other people. As many of 'em as possible.
6. The essence of integrity is setting other peoples' expectations correctly -- aka making commitments -- and then living up to those expectations.
7. There are those who will claim that failing to be forthright and proactive about setting expectations excuses me from the duty of keeping commitments; that it's not at all my fault if the other person assumed commitments I didn't intend to make but didn't disabuse them of. I won't be That Guy.

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Sunday, May 21st, 2006
11:12 am

My sweetie's kids are nearly grown. His older daughter had joined the marines the year we started dating. I've met her a few times, and she's always been friendly.

His younger daughter, at 16, was always polite when I visited, but she's got her own life, and I'm her father's girlfriend. I've never been entirely sure of her reaction to me, though she was always friendly. I didn't expect anything more than that.

I just got an invitation to her graduation next month.

This is especially nice given my sweetie has a new job that means a lot of changes to our routine, and less time all around. It's been a bit intimidating, knowing things are going to be shifting, and then I saw the invitation and the word that came to mind was "family".


(1 comment | comment on this)

Thursday, May 18th, 2006
2:26 pm - Taught to be poly?
minofsin06 cross posted a bit

I saw a posting on another forum where someone asked the question can a person be taught to be poly. I think it begs an interesting question, but for me, the answer is not that simple.

I would actually say both yes AND no.

I think, like with other things, there has to be a spark, an inkling of it. For instance, I could never be bisexual because I have no sexual interest in men. So for me, that would not be a possibility. I could probably be taught the mechanics of being with men, but because it does not appeal to me on any level, being taught to embrace bisexuality wouldn't work. At least not for me.

Likewise, I think when it comes to being poly, I think there has to be a core of a person who is open to it, at least on a subconscious level. A pre-existing tilt towards different relationship styles would have to be present. As I look back on my relationships, I realize I always had the poly mindset, just not the practice. However several of my partners were the exact opposite. I always explored possibilities that were unthinkable to them. In the case with my ex-wife, despite my mothers ramblings, there is no way I could have convinced or taught her to be poly. Monogamy is far too ingrained in her, and for her, it was and probably still is the only relationship model she could exist in.

I think there are a lot of things in life that while it may seem that we are resistant to that we actually have an unspoken desire or ability to explore the issues, but the right elements have not been introduced to us. I think had I not been exposed to the concept of poly a few years ago, and not met people who were willing to explore that with me, I would probably be the same monogamous cheater I was years ago.

But if a person is a hardwired monogamist, if the very thought of having multiple partners goes against their very nature, if they have never had the desire to explore such things, I am not sure they can be taught to be otherwise.

While I do not think we are born monogamist or poly, I do think that there are certain aspects of our core personality which can lend to one or the other. If those personality traits are not present, if even in a self-denial mode we don't find the possibilities appealing in the slightest, then I do not think anything could change a person's willingness to explore the lifestyle.

So for me, I guess it would depend on how the person is oriented at their core as to whether or not they could be taught to be poly.

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Sunday, April 16th, 2006
11:40 pm - Best Calendar?

This article is discussing the merits of various available Calendar programs. It looks like it's well worth a gander!


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Friday, April 14th, 2006
10:03 am - Funny what happens when you communicate

I went to a seminar this past weekend and during the seminar I decided I wanted to sign up for the full series offered by the organization. I'd been having an ongoing concern with my beloved Mustafa about how seminars (that he had gone to) had obliterated 5 out of our last 7 dates (we live three hours' drive apart so dates are carefully scheduled). So before handing over my credit card to sign up for this series, I called Mustafa to get his buy-in that personal growth was worth missing a few more dates, since that is what I would have wanted him to do for me. He called me back with a proposal: he had also signed up for the series and was able to bring a guest. I should sign up for the seminars that he's already taken from the series (the topics rotate) and then join him for the remainder since his wife isn't interested in these classes and she's in favor of me going. Joy! Rapture! Instead of our individual quests for personal growth pushing us apart, we're using them to bring us closer together. Picture me grinning from ear to ear and dancing in the parking lot with the phone.

(2 comments | comment on this)

Thursday, April 13th, 2006
11:46 am - New Scheduling Options...

Google just released beta of their calendaring tool and it addresses some things I've long wanted for scheduling in my LDR/poly relationship.

- you can share calendars with other folks, and turn them on and off your view with a click.
- you can add comments to events (to discuss schedules, for example.)
- you can easily add someone else' event to your calendar.
- interface seems quite good after a few experiments
- you can invite folks to events, and track participation.

Could be useful for others with one or both situations, so thought I'd share.

(1 comment | comment on this)

Thursday, April 6th, 2006
11:27 am - Followup...

So, I've come up with several possible ways to discuss various plans of action and their potential impacts, and unearth places where we might see things differently and not even realize it. I thought I'd post them in case they were useful to anyone else.

Building on current monthly schedule negotiations...Collapse )

I'm very interested in how other people do negotiations. If you're completely informal about it (just talk when talking seems good), is there anything that facilitates that? If not, what approaches do you use? Do you have regular "check-ins"? Or? Most folks in poly talk about how important communication and negotiation are, but I, for one, feel like I was ill prepared for implementing it when I entered poly, and I've still got tons to learn.

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Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
12:57 pm - Musing at a crossroads.

It's been a bit over two years now of learning about poly, and I think I've learned a lot about myself, relationships, and negotiation.

But I keep running into one main irritant : my own thought processes and how to get outside them, even to the point of awareness. This weekend I realized (again) that I often forget the golden rule, "do unto others as they would have you do unto them." Yes, I know that's not the traditional form.

an exampleCollapse )

Anybody have any creative ideas for helping people (especially the folks not directly involved with each other) express, explain, and explore this issue? I'm not even sure how to realize which parts of *my* preferences are unusual, or simply different and should be explicitly mentioned, and not all the principles involved are fond of processing. I'm looking for concrete communication "tricks" or techniques that would help us all make such assumptions more overt so we *can* communicate about them.

one idea as an example...Collapse )

(3 comments | comment on this)

Friday, March 31st, 2006
12:34 pm - NCSF Entertainment Media Update/'Big Love' (xposted)

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Entertainment Media Update - 'Big Love'
March 31, 2006

[EDIT - A compiliation of media responses to the show and where we can direct our feedback is listed below the cut.]

Read more...Collapse )

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Monday, March 27th, 2006
3:13 am - common practice

Is it the practice of all polyamorous men to sleep with the babysitter?

Despite our arrangements, my boyfriend has done it twice. I mean seriously, I'm afraid to get a baysitter under the age of 50!

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Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
9:13 pm - Hellooo? Anybody home?

Hi, just arrived. Is this community alive? Anyone listening?

(7 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
6:47 pm - FPR: Only one week left to register!

Been considering coming to the Florida Poly Retreat? Time is running out to register, as our deadline is just a week away on February 28, 2006 for many onsite options.

Registration closes on Feb 28 for:
* Staying Onsite
* Eating Onsite
* Reduced $25 Day Passes

Register now at http://www.floridapolyretreat.com - PayPal & Check/Mo accepted

Florida Poly Retreat 2006 Coordinator
UU in the Pines; Brooksville, FL
March 23 - 26, 2006

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