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The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love
Smart Girl's Guide > Reading Set 5: Chapters 8 & 9

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Zyriel | 31 comments Target reading for Set 5 is pages 146 - 193, which is Chapter 8. The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between & Chapter 9. Say Good-bye to the Closet

Zyriel | 31 comments * Pg 147 The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between - "I learned that it was okay to carry the flag, but I didn't have to wave it in my friends' faces" Dedeker speaks on being out and proud, but not assuming that you know better than people who practice a different relationship style than you do, whether that be monogamy or a different form of non-monogamy. She learned she had been arrogant and righteous, and how obnoxious that was to others. "When it comes to relationships, there are few hard and fast rules, there are virtually no absolutes, and everything is relative."

* Pg 148 Abundance - "In monogamous relationships, we are expected to be everything, and we expect our partners to be everything. Your spouse or significant other needs to be your romance-novel beloved your best friend, your kinky play partner, your co-parent, your therapist, your caretaker, your policeman your personal trainer, your support group facilitator, and maybe even your parent at times. It's a lot of expectation to put on one person, [sic]. Finding someone who is enough to fill all those roles simultaneously is a tall order."
*"when the pressure is off, it creates space to discover what each person can bring to the table even if they can't bring everything to the table."
* Dedeker goes on to point out that even so, no one (friends, lovers, parents) are actually ever enough due to our definition of "enough" because "Human needs are infinite, and our capacity to be fulfilled is infinite. In the same way that you are incapable of getting enough breath at one time or enough food at one time to sustain you for the rest of your life." Which seems to me she's pointing out not so much that we can't get enough for now, but that we can't get enough now for always. She points out that, yes, non-monogamy helps distribute those needs across multiple people and relationships, but that regardless of whether a relationship is non-monogamous, needs change and fluctuate and the best relationships bend and fluctuate with the needs of the people who are in it.

* Pg 153 Compersion - I'm amused that Dedeker thought compersion was just "tolerating your partners having other partners without flying into a jealous rage." But then experienced it and understood.

* Pg 155 Breakups - Dedeker asks you to consider the following if you are wondering whether to end a relationship, "If nothing changed about my partner from here on out, would I still want to be in the relationship?" This is interesting in the face of also not expecting your partner's to change, at least not to change how you think they should or want them to.

* Pg 156 Transitioning and De-escalating - "Non-monogamy forces you to be brutally honest when you are facing the end of a relationship. One can no longer hide behind the usual maxims: I found someone else. I want to focus on my career." True, and yet I have witnessed people try to use them, and (in my estimate) look like heartless buffoons after they tell a person they don't want to be doing any dating right now, or don't think they're poly anymore, and then continue right on doing it with other people.

* Pg 157 Transitioning and De-escalating - "In a traditional monogamous context, a breakup or divorce is a kind of transition: from husband and wife to co-parents, from boyfriend and girlfriend to just friends." I really like the co-parent one of these, it's a perspective I haven't seen others bring up a lot.

* I took a lot of notes on the abuse section but I don't have much to say. I have not personally experienced much abuse, or much that I would define that way at this juncture. But I values this section and learned a lot.

* Pg 162 - 163 Unicorn Hunting - Dedeker discusses how many people seeking a triad are actually seeking a T, and advises that if they can envision themself or their partner having alone time with the other member of the triad, then they are probably on the right track, but if not then they aren't /really/ seeking a triad and are probably not ready to engage in one.

* Pg 163 Balancing the Scales - "Forcing equilibrium to happen in a relationship is disastrous, and yet the actual experience of equilibrium can be invaluable." "I've coached numerous people who struggled to come to terms with their partner's other emotionally intense relationships. But when they themselves fell in love and wound up in an emotionally intense relationship of their own, it served as the key "a-ha!" moment that made everything easier." - I have had this exact experience. It was amazing how quickly and drastically my perspective and emotions changed when I had my own dancing shoes.

* Pg 164 Balancing the Scales - Dedeker indicates she does think people should seek equilibrium in their relationships, but not at the expense of agency. She suggests seeking organic equilibrium. I disagree and think this is bad advice. I think I agree with her intent, but the way she's put it, I don't. I think it will be too easily misunderstood and misapplied.

* Pg 164 Mono/Poly - Dedeker uses "committed relationship" wrong again. She suggests that people with different life goals might find it difficult or be unlikely to engage in a committed relationship. I think she means certain forms of entwinement would be difficult or unlikely, not that commitment is.

* Pg 165 Mono/Poly - "It is difficult to find a compromise between two vastly different relationship approaches that will not leave one or both sides feeling resentful. In spite of this, people still power through, trying to make an incompatible relationship work, mostly due to the belief that if their love is strong enough, they can handle anything." She seriously just called Mono/Poly relationships incompatible. She's saying this isn't possible. And based on her earlier comment using a quote from Miss Poly Manners about there being no right poly, but plenty of wrong poly, I'm hearing her suggest that Mono/Poly is wrong poly. Yikes and I do not agree.

* Pg 166 The One Penis Policy - I don't like that she uses the phrase "descriptive OPP". That's not a thing and we shouldn't imply that it is. You don't have a descriptive policy, a policy is prescriptive by nature. You might have a situation where someone is only currently involved with folks of a certain gender or a certain genital disposition, that's not OPP if it's not prescriptive.

* Pg 166 The One Penis Policy - I don't like that Dedeker lists out a circumstance where she thinks OPP is ever ok. She's completely missing the point about what this says about only men or only penises being legitimate and threatening, women or vaginas being a non-threat because they aren't legitimate. She does go on to give the advice I would hope for, face this issue head on. She should have lead with this, and proposed her list as only a last resort because you're going to do it anyway. It's my opinion that OPP is problematic in many ways, it isn't /just/ about an insecurity, and that partners should not coddle one another on this. This one isn't about moving at the pace of the slowest person. It is about control and patriarchy.

* Pg 168 Primary/Secondary Hierarchy - I liked seeing her take on the origination of this style, I hadn't recognized it but what she says makes sense.

* Pg 170 Primary/Secondary Hierarchy- "The problem with being granted primary status was that I knew it would be just as easy for Brad to take it away from me and give it to someone else." This is a really good demonstration that being primary in order to control your partner's other relationships doesn't actually prevent jealousy nor reduce your own risk. I am really amused by the list of things she considered "Primary" activities. I like the phrase "I furiously meditated"

* Pg 170 Primary/Secondary Hierarchy - "We didn't realize that it was impossible to have a quality romantic relationship with a new partner, where you can give yourself deeply and vulnerably and receive the same from them, but still maintain that at the end of the day, someone else will always come first, will always be more important, will always hold the throne as the primary partner." I think this revelation is of great value to share here and is very well put.

* Pg 172 Primary/Secondary Hierarchy - "Brad and I had sought security in the format of the relationship, rather than in each other and within ourselves." This is also really well put, the format of the relationship can never provide certainty of security. Ultimately nothing can, but we're better off trusting and believing our partners than in demanding promises about their emotions that they can't keep.

* Pg 173 Priority Versus Primary - Dedeker speaks to everyone having their own set of priorities, in life and in any given relationship. That we might seek support from certain relationships under certain circumstances, and other relationships under other circumstances. For example, we're unlikely to consult our boss on how best to parent our children.

* Pg 174 Priority Versus Primary - Blarg, she demonstrates here that she doesn't actually understand Relationship Anarchy, even though her section on it was spot on. "Unless you are a staunch relationship anarchist, it's unlikely that you'll ever be able to keep all of your relationships truly equal" That's not what RA's are even trying to do. The point of RA is that each relationship is individual and unique and that you don't give them hierarchy based on whether they are romantic or not, sexual or not, etc. You give them value and importance based on what they warrant, perhaps in any given moment.

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