Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We Mean It, Cheating in Not Polyamory

I wonder if these articles will keep up after today? Will we still get polyamory articles, but with a focus on Mormon-style polygyny or plural marriage? The biggest Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (of which Mitt Romney is an active member), long ago officially renounced plural marriages, but many other groups that consider Joseph Smith a prophet have not. Romney’s ancestors did have plural marriages, and he’s looking like the likely Republican candidate for US President. Here’s an article by Leonora LaPeter Anton at “Polyamorists Say They're Not Like Newt.”

Shara Smith has three boyfriends, two in Tampa, one in Portland. Her Portland boyfriend has half a dozen "partners," including Shara. Her Tampa boyfriends are dating not only her but each others' wives.

It's complicated, to be sure. But Smith, 35, believes that some people, like herself, are not meant to be monogamous.

It should be apparent to everyone that some people are simply not monogamous, and nothing will change that. Trying to force such people to be makes everyone unhappy. Some people are polyamorous.

Far from embracing Gingrich as a celebrity adherent, some in the polyamory community were quick to distance themselves, saying his alleged actions gave their lifestyle a bad name.

What Gingrich was doing was cheating. He wasn’t doing polyamory. He claims to be monogamous now. So, he’s not polyamorous by orientation or by function.

"The thing about polyamory is that everyone has to agree to it and so as long as you have any partners who didn't agree to it, it's not polyamory — it's cheating," Shara Smith said.

Smith is right.

Polygamy is morally wrong, according to 91 percent of Americans polled by Gallup in 2009. That's almost exactly the same number of people who say it's morally wrong for married men and women to have an affair.

Polls can be tricky. Most news about polygamy is about isolated communities being raided by law enforcement, or about women completely hidden inside burkas who do not have equal rights under the laws in their country. So most of the people being polled probably think of an old man forcing himself on multiple underage girls, who have no real option and no recourse. Shows like “Big Love” and “Sister Wives” are changing this, and if the polls were conducted differently, I’m sure we’d see that more people would support the rights of three or more consenting adults to marry if they all have equal rights under the law. If people know we’re talking about their friends and neighbors, rather than some group of “others” living under oppression, they will be more likely to support adult relationship freedoms. Regardless, fundamental rights such as marriage equality are not based on popular opinion.

Following the article was a “Polyamory Society Glossary” listing from the Polyamory Society…

Polyamorist Braided Commitment Band: is a symbol of a poly partner's commitment to the poly relationship and family, the band is braided annually on a day set aside to celebrate the poly union.

Bright-eyed Novice: a person who has just discovered polyamory. Handle at your own risk as they tend to date as if eating at a buffet, they are still unaware of the amount of energy and work they will need to make their relationships work and have not yet refined their communication skills.

Closed group marriage: A group of individuals who describe themselves as married but may not be all primaries and who are closed to outside sexual relationships. 2: A marriage in which fidelity is not equated with monogamy.

Compersion: the feeling of taking joy in the joy that others you love share among themselves, especially taking joy in the knowledge that your beloveds are expressing their love for one another. The term was coined by a commune in San Francisco which practiced polyfidelity.

Polyfidelity: a group in which all partners are primary to all other partners and sexual fidelity is to the group; shared intent of a lifelong run together. More primary partners can be added with everyone's consent.

Terriaminute wrote what I was thinking…

It is refreshing to see calm, sane articles in such beautiful contrast to what so many seem to think is "normal". Cheating is not normal, it is dishonest. Open loving relationships are better and healthier every time. The details are less important than the honesty!

Thank you for publishing such a great story!

Equating cheating to polygamy or polyamory in general is like equating practiced, refereed motorsports on a closed course to reckless driving on open public roads.

For more polyamory coverage in the news, I recommend the well-titled Polyamory in the News blog.
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