Posted in Verbose Redactions

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, beautiful people and econuts, is my twenty-fourth birthday.

Yay?

In honor of the day I was born into a world that often seems so cruel and devoid of humanity I am reflecting on my personal goals, professional ambitions, and all the choices I’ve made that have lead me to who I am today.

I am embracing my growth and my mistakes. I am analyzing how much I have changed and why those changes occurred.

I know that for certain,one of the best decisions I have made was to move away from home and give my family and I some distance. As bad as that may sound, for me it was a much-needed requirement.

I needed to find myself. I needed a chance to understand why the beliefs I had were so different and deemed wrong by my parent’s world. Was it morally wrong and corrupt of simply a different way of viewing the world?

One of the major things I have learned in my personal reflections and musings is that at my core I have not changed. I’m still the same sweet and good little girl. I’ve just grown up some and figured out how to express myself rather than be a model of what other’s expected.

Honestly, I’m still learning that, but I feel a lot better about where I am with my expression of self.

 

I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and while I don’t feel my experience was extremely oppressive because my parents at least believe in allowing me to live my life as long as I don’t force it on them, in some ways it was still limiting in the terms of experience.

By the time I finished college, I realized that:

  • I was an activist that believed heavily in the idea that ALL men and women are truly created equal and deserve their basic human rights because basic rights are not a violation of someone else’s.
  • That the earth is alive and we have much to be thankful for. We have a symbiotic relationship with this planet and we take for granted that our mistreated and callousness towards the environment affects us all.
  • I believe that there is a basic societal order of Dominant individuals, submissive individuals, people who present both, and people who present neither. No one is necessary on top of the other, but agreements of interactions are quite crucial. I feel that we have ignored that.
  • I don’t believe that any social construction of how people work is binary.
  • I don’t believe people are inherently monogamous, but that people have become used to it. Our social and family structures do not support the idea of monogamy to me.
  • I don’t believe that men are head of households. I believe it should be equal or that the person most capable should lead.
  • I believe in the old religions’ ( plural) interpretation of the world as being healthier than modern religion.
  • I believe that religion is harmful, but that spirituality is something everyone should embrace.
  • I do not believe that non-human animals are lesser beings.
  • I realized that the political systems everywhere are essentially fucked.
  • I realized that I was queer as all get out.
  • I realized that I was still a confused child, and from then on out I considered myself a half adult like human.

That is not everything I had figured out over 4 years of community involvement, social experimentation, and professional development, but that is the gist.

Now after about 2 more years of self-reflection, getting married, having one of my significant others die, being introduced to a family cultural that I don’t understand ( the things that apparently come with marriage), and a quarter-life crisis, I think I am starting to really get down to where I am headed.

Ok I know what you are thinking. Quater-life crisis. Yeah, but it is a thing and for me it was actually triggered by a guy. *giggles* What a cliché. UGH.

You see one of the major parts of my life was when my husband and I reconnected and then it changed so many of plans. I never wanted to be married, have kids, keep house, or really deal with family.

I wanted to be and international business liaison. I wanted to travel, be freelance, and have my dates ( guys or gals) for all the places I traveled. I just wanted fun.

And honestly without my hubs that is still the life I want, but he is in my life, so plans change. I want a stable job, with minimal travel. I want to be able to take care of my family. Like with the kids and all ( but in like 5 – 10 years).

Hell, I’ve even manipulated my goals to help make this work.

In the last year, I’ve begun my journey to taking Design and Scheme from portfolio turned blog, to a website and business. I also established other goals that I will not divulge as they are only relevant to the parties involved, but I am super excited to get all of this going. It is my hope that by this time next year the beginning steps will be completed and we will be on the way to phase 2. I’m super excited!

Oops! I said that.

I took some time off. I was a housewife this year to facilitate my husband’s growth, our move, and to give myself time to figure out the next direction for my plans. I wasn’t as productive as my original 5-year plan I created in 2014 had me being, but I am happy that I actually used that time for D&S. It made me so sure that this is what I want and that I am grateful for all the people that have helped me.

I’m so ready for this next year of activism and professional/ personal development.

 

So peace out babes.

This blogging pagan, asexual , polyamorous, activist and lover of all the pretties is off to do accomplish more this year.

xox,
Shalyse

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Posted in Verbose Redactions

Me, the SOCIAL Introvert

Now we aren’t talking about social introversion.  We are talking about being a social person who is also an introvert. Well really there is a bit of both in this post… but, rambling.

I find it quite amusing when in a passing discussion someone says, ” You’re an introvert?”

Why yes dear, I am. I’m pretty talkative or at least opinionated so it seems people often misconstrue that for extroversion.

As an introvert, I have my circle that I love to spend time with, sometimes. Hell being around any of my romantic partners for too long is sometimes too much. I still have the ability to get exceptionally passionate  about a subject at hand. Passionate may actually be an understatement.

Veggie. Animal rights. Feminism. Social woes. Poverty. Access to healthy food. The ability to live and love your way. Religious tolerance. Ring any bells.

As an introvert, I have my circle that I love to spend time with. I still have the ability to get exceptionally passionate  about a subject. I love a good debate. I like going out occasionally.

Trust, I love going out and meeting new people.  I’m curious by nature and love to explore.

But at some point, I need to go home and recharge with a book, a movie, and a kitty.

And this, my beautiful friends and eco-nuts, is where I realize how horribly we have fallen in our understanding of introversion vs extroversion.

This is about our energy.

Many of my personal pursuits involve A LOT of direct interaction with people and groups. I’ve often considered giving up on my career aspiration simply because I’m shy on top of the fact that by the end of my day I feel increasingly drained by the interactions with so many people who don’t realize how much they take.

The reality is that it is not every other person’s responsibility to know how much they drain me. They can’t help it.

What ultimately makes it easier to be around others is that I try to make most of my social interaction based on things I like and remind myself that the things I “have” to do are temporary inconveniences. I mean it also helps to know that the person I’m talking to may also feel the same way I do.

As a social introvert, by choice and necessity, I try to plan my major interactions – e.g. parties, networking events, large gatherings, and come to an understanding of who I am and what helps me recharge.

I try to gauge my energy output so that I can conserve as much of my personal resources as I can, using only what is necessary.

Alright, enough of my digression. Off to make potato and pea curry.

xox,

shalyse

More on Introversion…

There’s More to Introversion than You Might Think
So Apparently There Are 4 Kinds of Introversion
What Kind of Introvert Are You?
The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance

 

 

 

Posted in Verbose Redactions

What is Polyamory?

A transfer from let’s talk about poly which is now one of my deleted sites.

Some parts of this writing are from my personal writing on my blogs and other accounts. There may be repeat info, but I feel this more concise.
Most people believe that monogamy is the only way to structure a relationship when in fact it’s not. Monogamy became a norm because it had advantages that are seen beneficial to individuals. These benefits fall into the categories of social, economic, and power. It essentially guaranteed you had a partner to share resources, produce and raise offspring, and in some cases, it gave you a boost in status.

But monogamy has never been the only way to structure relationships. What humans do is called serial monogamy. It’s essentially the idea that you be with one person at a time, so we aren’t truly monogamous. It helps to avoid some nasty emotions, like jealousy, sometimes. We choose a structure that was easier to use during human evolution and assigned our meaning to sex and relationships which even today you can tell that people have varying beliefs when it comes to those, whether culturally or religiously defined.

Relationships structures, like most things, are a spectrum. You have download (13)monogamy to non-monogamy and then even non-monogamy is broken down further. There are essentially 7 basic types of non-monogamy

  1. Cheating which is unethical and non-consensual.
  2. Polygamy which is multiple spouses. The common form of this we here about is Polygyny a male have more than one wife, but polyandry, a woman having more than one husband exist.
  3. Open relationships. Open relationships just mean you are open to a relationship of same nature forming outside of the primary grouping (more commonly dyadic groupings or couple). I will re-clarify here that open is not the umbrella term for non-monogamous relationships. Many are in fact closed aside from the people in them and have various structures for how and if new partners may be added.
  4. Swinging which is more of a sex-based interaction that can produce friendships or more.
  5. Monogamish, a term coined by Dan Savage and the couple, emphasis on the couple, is open to an extent determined by them.
  6. Polyamory and polyfidelity. Polyamory is simply engaging in multiple relationships with consent to all involved or affected. Polyfidelity is the same but closed, meaning emotional and sexual fidelity is required from all its members.
  7. And relationship anarchy which breaks down distinctions between relationships of all types. No one relationship, even friendship, and marriage, are of higher value.

Please note that type 2 – 7 are all types of ethical non-monogamy where cheating is still looked down on, though those who engage in the activity are not necessarily condemned because it violates the consent of the other individuals involved.

Polyamory is the type of non-monogamy that people hear about more often and what people assume they are when they find out they aren’t monogamous. I just want to point out that you might not be Polyamorous. It’s not the only way to do this.

There are a few working definitions of polyamory, because everyone expresses love and structures their dynamics differently. The one I like is saying that poly is multiple relationships in which all parties have INITIALLY consented to their existence. In other words, no secret relationships. Let’s note that secret and “I don’t want to know anything other than you have a partner”, “I don’t want to know if you have a partner” and such are technically quite different.

There are so many dynamics and configurations; so many types of people that are poly. All of these people come with varying backgrounds and beliefs systems, so trying to find a definition and guidelines that are all encompassing aside from multiple consensual relationships would be near impossible. It would pretty much be the opposite of the nature of non-monogamous relationships and poly in general which the freedom to be our authentic selves.

But the big question is how do you make these relationships work?

It doesn’t hurt to start with open communication (which includes active listening and being truthful about what is affecting you), trust, support, and respect.  All of these things can be learned over time and become easier, not easy, as members take proactive approaches to have more effective communication.

One of the great ideas I discovered in the Poly community is processing. In the terms of poly dynamics, this occurs when groupings, whether the entire group or parts of it sits down (physically or figuratively) and process about the relationship and talk about what is going on. During this process, people should be able to respectfully express how they feel, what problems they are struggling with and how they can move forward.

There are many ways to do this including a sit-down talk and journaling.
You should not feel that you can’t voice your opinion in a relationship or say that something isn’t working for you. Relationships are based on consent.

I do caution you, though, if you are a couple going into poly or experimenting, you are dealing with another human being. Make sure you are involving them in the processing, even if you choose to engage in hierarchal poly rather than egalitarian (i.e. Primary/secondary where the first partner(s) is the one who receives primary use of resources or the more common definition where a couple sees themselves as the more important relationship vs all dynamics being on the same level of importance.)

How to be honest in a poly relationship?

First off, honesty doesn’t always feel good. If you ask for honesty it can result in hurt feeling. What you should do is remember to remain open. Your relationship should be a safe place to discuss issues and find solutions.

Realistically there is no specific way, to be honest in poly. Your honesty should not be out of malice or with the intention to hurt your partner(s). Take care to note timing and what is going on in their life. It’s not the best time to tell you partner that they are doing things that are deal breakers when they have lots of stress, but you must also be honest and true to yourself in discussing issues that can affect you negatively.

Take time before you approach your partner(s) to get your thoughts in order, that way you can say what you really mean to say.

Be receptive to your partner explaining their part, without allowing people to weasel out of their responsibility.

Every person in a relationship has responsibility and honesty is a big part of that.
“So since we are being honest I’m jealous of…”
Jealousy is a valid emotion. A lot of poly people especially new to polyamory people, feel the need to shut it down. Instead, I believe that you can use your feelings of jealousy to your advantage. Again, I bring in the idea of relationship processing, but this time use it on yourself to determine what you are feeling and why you are feeling that way, how you can approach it.
You need to know if it is provoked jealousy from you partners doing things that you have mentioned before, or unprovoked jealousy triggered by boundaries that you have not stated. That helps narrow from a potentially abusive situation.

Once you’ve determined the cause of your jealousy you can chose your course of action. You can ask to reset boundaries, but understand that relationships take compromise from all side, so you may end up compromising some too. My experience has taught me that if it’s not an abusive situation then jealousy is based off of insecurity and fear, and we should take it as a chance to share with partners and grow as a person by working to address them.

One of the things you have to understand is that relationships all look different and in your poly dynamic you will likely see interactions you want. Ask for that. Be authentic about your needs and wants because you partner(s) cannot read your mind and give you what you desire.

Your emotions are natural and a reaction to stimuli. The only thing you should ever feel bad about is hurting someone based off of your emotions without communicating intention first. Many times when we feel jealous we may jump to the conclusion that we were hurt on purpose. It’s often a misunderstanding, so again share.

Boundaries
Boundaries in Polyamorous dynamic are crucial to set. With monogamy, there is a template that many dyadic grouping easily fall into. With poly, there is not template. You have to define something, even if it is just that you will let the relationship organically form and develop.
At least consider defining the following:

  1. What is cheating in this dynamic?
  2. Is there a hierarchy?
  3. Can we be out about our relationship or since it is alternative do we have to be careful who knows?
  4. Are we using labels?
  5. What is everyone’s ideal dynamic? This can help address unrealistic expectations about the relationship.
  6. Is sex a group thing or separate?
  7. Is everyone in the group expected to be together or are there metamour relationships?
  8. Are we fluid binding?
  9. How much time do I have to devote to this relationship?

Time management
People like to say how if someone loves you, they will make time for you; but how often do we realistically address that some people have work and family that are a big part of their time resource. In the last section I included how much time you have to devote because some people have less time that others  and it doesn’t’ matter how much you care for your partner,  you have responsibilities and do you best. Unfortunately, sometimes your best isn’t enough. If however, you can accept that you are not entitled to your partner’s time and be willing to work with everyone on scheduling, you can make busy schedules work.

Flexibility is a big plus in poly relationships. No matter how organized you get sometimes plans fall apart. It sucks, but with a little flexibility, adjustments can be made.

Depending on the dynamic you have you may schedule weekly  or monthly dates/ hang time with each partner and keep it mark in a calendar. I heard of a few groups that use google calendar and other similar apps to mark everyone’s schedules to plan dates, or doing the same on paper during processing sessions.

The best thing to do in my opinion is to not focus on having the same amount of time spent with every partner but instead enjoy the time you do have together and avoid non-emergency distractions.

Privacy

People in poly relationships, people in relationships in general, still have a right to privacy. It’s not being dishonest and it’s not being unfair. In your relationships, you have to work out what privacy means to you, but using privacy as a guise to lie is unfair and does not follow what poly means.

Try to remember that polyamorous means engaging in multiple consenting and ethical relationships. You and your partners make the rules, no one else.

Helpful links:

Helpful info for navigating non-monogamy

Posted in Verbose Redactions

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Analyzing Plural Relationships Sustainability in Society.

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Analyzing Plural Relationships Sustainability in Society.

Interdisciplinary Studies XXXX; Section XXX

University of Texas #########

Fall, XXXX

** Now I have made updates to the original paper. Some are just pointed out changes since it was written or injecting info that I had not considered ( some annoying binaries), that could be changed without rewriting.**

In our modern society, monogamy is the only lifestyle that is viewed as viable under current social, political, and economic conditions. I disagree with the ideology that there is no other viable relationship style other than monogamy. The census definition of family is “A group of two or more people who reside together and who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption” (Census.gov, 2011). Society today, though, does not necessarily qualify family using the strict definitions of the census, but rather as a mix family, kinship and household; related and unrelated. Understanding the phenomena of this definition of what makes a social grouping, I assert that plural relationships are viable. Within the scope of this paper I will seek to explain that while monogamy is the societal norm, plural relationships are a valid alternative relationship structure, that is sustainable and in need of the same recognition given to monogamous couples, because not doing so is an infringement of individuals who believe in the concept of plurality rights.

Plural relationships have been receiving a great deal of attention over the last few decades evident in the public polygamy (polygyny specifically) trials dealing with FDLS leaders and more recently polyamory (helping to fuel the negative ideologies of polygamy) with the Showtime series Polyamory: Married and Dating, Sisterwives and various articles in news sources. One notable article that sparked some controversy was the Slate article “Next step: We need to legalize polygamy. No joke.” in which the author ,Jillian Kennan, addresses that many view plural relationships in a less than positive light, partially because the only access people get to polygamous relationships regularly, are through scandals reported by the media that are not necessarily the norm for these relationships and expresses her opinion that committed plural relationships between adults ,18 and older, can be beneficial to women as long as they enter into them knowing the facts and of their own free will; essentially as long as they consent.

In an endeavor to explore this topic in an unbiased way, the principle of interdisciplinary research and thinking will be employed. This will help to reduce the chances of formulating a potential solution from one point of view that can easily be refuted due to another discipline having addressed this issue (Boix Mansilla, 2005). By using phenomena within western societal monogamy as a reference, we can compare plural relationships to monogamy. Doing this will help us to determine if the argument that polygamy, and by default polyamory, is bad for the individuals in the relationship (Badertscher & Finley, 2013). We will also be separating religious polygamy and its values, from the non-religious plural relationship structures. Once the differences in the styles have been determined, we can enter into a discussion of the plausibility of plural relationships having a recognized status in a monogamous society that is equal to that of other committed relationships; In this case,  marriage. In essence the goal of this paper is to help people to see that plural relationships may have a place in a monogamous society, by looking at how society grows and changes and what the laws reach is in denying the legitimacy and therefore protection of those in plural relationships, rather than changing society from monogamy.

Sociology: Relationships effects of societal development

Sociology is a social science which studies society in varying context. For the purpose of this paper, research has been done examining society from many facets including as an entity that is living and organic (Lindgren, 2012, p. 47). The discipline of sociology creates a direction to examine societal norms in the United States in reference to the discussion of the lives of people’s and groups within society. Sociology will also contextualize what relationship are and how those social systems are relevant to society and the changes that have occurred in the context of family, relationships and marriages and how they affect society on individual levels and as a whole.

Psychology: Fulfilling self-interest

Psychology is often used for the treatment of mental health, but it can also be used to explain what motivates individuals in everyday life. A model that will be used to analyze individual choices is the” Investment Model ” (C. E. Rusbult, J.M. Martz, and C.R. Agnew, 1998) that will be used to discuss the reasons that people choose certain relationship structures. The investment model includes three factors: satisfaction, the quality of alternatives, and investments, that according to the Mikkelson and Pauley (2013) analysis of Rusbult and Bulik  are determinates of committing to a relationship. Psychological insights allow individuals to understand how humans think and behave on individual levels, which relate to society due to the knowledge that individuals make up society, so their choices have a direct impact; and in relation, to plural relationships, understanding why certain individuals would choose that lifestyle.

Political Science: Why bigamy should not apply.

Political science as a discipline will assist in the discussion on how laws and public policies relates to relationships and marriage, children and property in a monogamous society.  Using the discipline of political science will contribute an understanding of public policies, political processes and behaviors that are involved in plural relationships. Some of the approaches that will be taken are looking at bigamy and how it relates to consenting plural marriages and addressing polyamorists and polygamists from a minority’s point of view( Lewis, 2011) and if marriage is a civil right of polyamorists who wish to be married to their partners and polygamists, that is being violated. Political science can help contextualize how plural relationships can be decriminalized on the marriage front and help us to understand the potential conflicts that would be faced in doing so.

Literary review

Sociology: Relationships effects of societal development

There has been an interpretation that due to the decreased commonality of the “traditional” nuclear family structure, that the family structure has declined and in on the verge of collapse. I reject that ideology, on the basis that the definition of family has changed over time. Due to this knowledge it leads me to corroborate the hypothesis that families are yet again experiencing change in regards to form and meaning, in a combination of kin and non-kin (Bengtson, p 4). At its simplest form, the evolving definition of family is what plural relationships embody; not an overall change for the society to convert to, but a new way of structuring family that benefits its members.

Plural relationships have a bad reputation for being inherently abusive, a means to cheat without guilt, an easy way out of commitment and just in general bad for the well-being of the individuals. That can be true, but no truer than it is for monogamous relationships. Plural relationships are not for everyone, and I do not seek to argue that plural forms of structuring relationships should be the new norm for society, only that they should become a respected form for those who choose to live the lifestyle. For those who choose to engage in plural relationships, there are benefit that they see, both economically and socially. For now, I will focus on children of plural relationships.

When speaking on the terms of committed plural relationships, the idea of the potential harm it can cause children becomes the forefront argument. The first argument is usually the primary image that people have of plural relationships, parades of people coming in and out of your life on a regular basis and leaving impressions on the children or worse sordid individuals who can harm your children.  In monogamous dating, single parents take care when dating; they often don’t want a stranger who they know little about being around their child. That is no different in the plural relationship dating realm. Going further with the idea of single parents raising children, these families usually experience a higher degree of economic vulnerability, due to relying on one income to provide for the parent and the child (ren) (Mclanahan, p 35). There is a higher probability that adults engaging in plural relationships will experience a decline in economic scarcity, poor parenting, and deficiency in social support. In regards to those who would want to be in plural relationships ( in terms of poly-fidelity and polygamy, or any other structure individuals may choose,) their family unit may combine financials obligation, splitting each obligation between each working adult so that each person pays an equal amount or so that each person pays in proportion to what they make. This provides more financial security. Quality of parenting is not a reference to single parents being bad parents, in fact many single parents do a well parenting solo, but they worry that the lack of time they have to devote to their children, because they have to work to provide the basic necessities. Some plural families feel that the children benefit, because if they decide to co-parent, using the example of a triad, there are 3 adults are there for the child to go to and be supported by. This also relates to expansion of social support. Adults have more than one partner, each partner may be able to relate to a certain aspect of that individual, whether hobby, preference of social interactions, sexual intimacy, etc. Children have a network of individuals that may be willing to care for and support them in various ways.

Another phenomenon that helps us to conceptualize plural relationships in a modern environment are couples who are in a relationship, do not live with each other’s but their social circles recognize them as being in a relationship, also known as LATs (Levin, p 228). The point that differentiates LATs from simply being a couple in the stage before marriage is that there are couples who live this way without any thoughts of marriage in mind.  While there are short-term LATs that evolve into marriage, many LATS never reach that point (mutual decision) but still manage to comingle their lives and even financials. For example Sally and Joe are a long term LAT dyad. Sally has a son and she does not want to uproot him and separate from his friends, family or father (her ex-husband) (Levin, 135). So Joe and Sally live in two separate homes (in the purpose of this example in different cities that are easy driving distances (2 hours). Joe makes more money than Sally so he pays her rent and car payment and she pays his phone and electricity bill. On weekends Joe attends a family dinner at Sally’s dad’s house where he is considered a son. They have two separate groups of friends who know that they are together and respect that. Joe is there for Sally’s son, Ron, baseball games. Ron sees Joe as his other parent because Sally and Joe have been together since he was 5 (he is now 13, so he goes to Joe with many problems he has).

This can easily be placed in the concept of plural relationships. This example will use a polyamorous “V” setup that is a Male- Female-Male configuration similar to polyandry; difference is that there is no claim to marriage. Enter David, he is Sally’s other primary partner and Joe’s metamour (meaning they have no relationship other than possibly friendship). Keeping to the above example, everything will remain the same but adjusted the financials to everyone supporting themselves. David lives in the same city as Sally but they have been together for 3 years. Sally spends time with David during the week, as does Ron, and on the weekend she spends time with Joe, though David comes to Ron’s baseball games and the family dinners.

In the above example, it seems as though adding additional people to a dyad is easy, which it is, but that does not guarantee a relationship(s) to have any type of stability. This is where the general monogamous population has trouble understanding how plural relationships work. There is a term called processing in the polyamorous community. This term is a more complex form of communicating with your partners. It surpasses the basics such as “I’m ok with that” or “No, I am not ok with that”. In many cases it can take hours for groups to get through discussing everyone’s feeling on how the relationships are working and how to better plan and account for everyone’s feeling, needs, wants, and plan date nights and outings. Plural relationships are complicated in the fact that there is more complexity when you deviate from a dyad. They require maturity on an emotional level, a willingness to understand that your partner may have other obligations, an ability to transcend and include your ego, to uphold your boundaries but be flexible without compromising yourself, empathy, organization (you may need a planner/calendar to keep track of everyone’s availability) and responsibility/ self-accountability (Amaroux, n.p). Without those qualities you would have a difficult time navigating a plural relationship, though it’s not impossible.

While many have this belief that plural relationships are a way to cheat but not feel bad about it, they tend to lack an understanding that while plural relationships can add an air of freedom to the person, it increases that responsibility that person has to take for their actions. This is why plural relationships are not for everyone, but for the people who want to engage in them, there are many benefits that are attractive and make the hard work worth it. The above monogamous society is inclusive of other relationships styles.

Psychology: Fulfilling self-interest

In the introduction of this paper, I brought out that there are benefits that motivate individuals to choose a relationship style and when to engage in a relationship with others. But do those benefits outweigh the stigma that is attached to plural relationships and the discrimination that many polygamist and polyamorist are faced with? By examining plural relationships in the context of the Investment model, it is simpler understand why individuals will go against societal norms to feel fulfilled in their personal relationships.

Remember that satisfaction, the quality of alternatives, and investments, are determinants of an individual’s commitment to a relationship. To better understand the model, it is prudent to understand what is meant by the terms. Satisfaction speaks in regards to an appraisal of the positive and negative association of the aspects of a relationship. Satisfaction is a central determinant in relationship commitment because quite simply the extent that a person’s needs are or are not being met are elements of seeking alternatives in the first place and reexamining their investments. In respect to plural relationships quality of alternatives speak on the appeal of relationships outside of the original/primary relationship, if such a relationship existed prior to a plural dynamic. Investments refer to the time, energy (both physical and emotional), social status, property/possession and self-identity that a person expends and the determining if the values of these investments would be diminished if there is a decision to seek alternatives.

For many participants in plural relationships maintaining a sense of self is important (Barker, p 77). It helps individuals to recognize who they are outside of the boundaries that society has drawn. The norm of Western society is that 1) sexual relationships should be between one man and one woman ( The legal definition of marriage has been adjusted to accept gay relationships, though many still struggle in individual areas, since this paper was first written.), 2) monogamous, though one or both parties may crave for outside influence on the relationship but never physically seek it, and 3) with the man in the role of the active or dominate partner and the woman in the passive or submissive role. This compulsory view of heterosexuality and relationships is no longer applicable. It puts forth the notions that gender roles, relationship involvement, relationship structures are fixed, when societies history has shown us that that is not the case. It seems then that plural relationships viability is demonstrated  in its capacity to provide individuals in a postmodern world with intimacy and security, especially in the terms of polyamory, providing an atmosphere of equality in love, trust, desire, compatibility, and choice (Barker, p 78).

For some the alternatives to plural relationships are to stay in monogamous relationships that are stagnant and that are not fulfilling their need to grow as individual. Some individuals look at the complexity in plural relationships and feel that they are putting themselves at risk of being alone if they try to enter into this lifestyle, but often they end up exposing what they tried to hide from. To engage in a plural relationship, individuals must learn or at least be willing to learn as they go that love is not necessarily limited; that your partner loving someone else does mean they love you less and that they will feel jealousy and that it is up to them to learn how to handle it in a manner that allows the relationship(s) to flourish (Emberger, p. 3).

In plural relationships, satisfaction with the relationship can be determined by compersion, happiness with your partners’ happiness with another person; the physical representation of the heart opening itself up to pleasure and appreciation of their partners being treated well and benefiting mutually from the intimate relationship (Ferrer, pp 54-5). It should also be noted that entering into non-monogamy does not necessarily mean that a relationship is lacking (Melby, p 5). By investing in compersion, a person opens themselves to a path of self-enlightenment, or getting to know ones-self (Ferrer, p 55) Often we come across fears ad insecurities that we never knew we would had.

Political Science: Why bigamy should not apply.

With the negative outlook that has been given to most Americans via media reports on some sects of the Fundamentalist Mormon community, in regards to polygamy, no one can be blamed for thinking that plural relationships are vile and inherently abusive. I acknowledge the fact that there has been abuse, but it must also be remembered that many of these instances of abuse that are being put forth are not the only side polygamy, even in the Fundamentalist Mormon communities. Some of the common views of polygamy are that one or more wives are treated better economically, children often fight for their father’s attention, and children and/or wives are being physically, sexually or emotionally abused (Al-Krenawi, Graham, Al-Kremawi, p 453).  As previously said before, the fact that these abuses happen, should not mean that it always happens in every situation.

In 2008, an anonymous tip about a sixteen year old girl being physically and sexually abused, lead to 486 children being taken from their parents because community concern that the culture of polygamy was allowing children to be abused and young girls being forced to spiritually marry older men. (White, 447) This is a more recent account. A similar situation in 1953 showed a different view of the public opinion when people were able to see children being torn from their parents and recognizing that this was not the proper way to go about helping the victims( White. 449).Yes these type of abuses do happen in marginalized communities, especially those where people are raised to understand that their core values are looked down upon by those outside of their community and that they could potentially cause them harm and destroy their family, but this is what happens when a culture is only seen by the bad that is shown openly. The problems with the way these cases are handle is that many believe that the entire culture is abusive and the only way to protect individuals from it is, to separate families. But apply the same logic to non-polygamous communities. One family in one neighborhood has allegations of child abuse, so every child in that neighborhood is taken from their parents. Reason this seems so absurd is only because they aren’t fundamentalist which society has seen perceptions pointing to the fact that these communities are abusive. It’s important to remember that beliefs don’t dictate whether a relationship style is abusive. It’s the people who participate in the relationship that determine if that particular relationship will be abusive.

If law enforcement sought to prosecute polygamist just because they have multiple wives/husbands then it would be a critical waste of resources that could go to prosecuting actual criminals. In Utah and Arizona they have strict laws prohibiting polygamy, but that does not prevent it from being practiced. Instead law enforcement focuses its attention on crimes that people may be committing, it just so happens that the perpetrator is a polygamist (White, p 453). They focus on polygamy cases only when it has been noted that there is abuse, domestic violence and fraud. I agree that this is the most prudent way of dealing with the abuse in polygamy. Instead of focusing on the way people decide to style there family, whether because of religion, culture or personal preference, focus on the real issues at hand. Treat the cases of abuse, neglect, and fraud not as a polygamist problem, because when that is done it is coloring all plural relationships in a dark shadow. It became less about protecting the individual and more about placing personal preference on someone else’s life.

There are many polygamist out there in the United States that aren’t in the public eye because they aren’t fundamentalists or in large communities showing that it’s not the relationship style, it’s not the religion and it’s not the belief, it’s the people and the forced secrecy that create the problem.

Though Kurtz made an incorrect assumption the group marriage is important to all bisexuals he did make a point, that orientation could allow for people to construct their own forms of marriage.” Same sex marriage has in a way showed that the legality of plural relationships, where everyone involved knows about each other and consent (the opposite of bigamy), is possible if it can be proved that there is a real and substantial benefit to public health, morals, safety etc. of the general welfare (Ashbee, p 106).

Now that it has been determined that fundamentall, there are not many differences between plural relationship that result in some form of marriage, whether polygamy or group marriage, we need to understand why people feel the need to be able to claim that they are legally married to their partners. The LGBT marriage equality movement has outlined the reason people want to have legal standing for their unions. Marriage Equality USA has created a concise list of reason people would want or need to have a legal backing to their unions. These: include the ability to see your partner during hospitalization or make medical decisions for them; because often the medical power of attorney is looked over in favor of family, the right to be treated as an economic unit, protection of assets when one spouse dies, protection of children in the event of one parents death by avoiding being separated from family( Marriage equality USA, n.p).

According to Lewis the constitution was written to protect minority rights and cited this as a justification for the type of government we now have (p 365). Here I argue that if there is a group of people that want to marry and retain benefit the government provides, that should not be taken away simply because the individual’s relationship style does not fit within the societal norms. When comparing monogamy and plural relationships the only difference is that one has more individuals, but it is not up to the government to determine if a person can love more than one person and be in a relationship with them.

Integration and discussion – How can plural relationships work in a work in a monogamous society?

Plural relationships are a valid relationship structure. While they are often more difficult only because of the fact that there are more individuals involved, it does not make them any less sustainable or worthy of legal recognition in marital terms. Just like with monogamy if someone does not feel that they are prepared for marriage or want the responsibility of marriage, etc., individuals will not get married. They can remain together, but just many never see the usefulness of marriage. Addressing another issue from the naysayer perspective, I assert that if the marriage fails, it’s not greater disaster than that a monogamous marriage falling apart.

By legalizing plural marriages, you allow the individuals in the relationship to receive the same benefits that monogamous heterosexual couples receive; yet with more than two people in the marriage how do you make sure that all bases are covered. It is as simple as redefining terms found in the discipline of political science. The census definition of a married couple is now, a husband (one man) and wife (one woman) enumerated by law as the same household with or without children, and the steps of legal marriage (census.gov, n.p).  As of now the general steps to obtaining a valid and legal marriage include: 1) obtaining a marriage license from you county clerk and paying the fees, 2) being at least 18 years of age or having parental consent if younger,  3) proof of vaccination in some states, 4) proof of dissolution of all prior marriages, 5) ability to consent to the marriage, 6) proof that you are not a close relative of the potential spouse, 7) in some states, you must have a blood test to determine if you have STDs that are disclosed to your partner,8) complete your states waiting period 9) perform the ceremony with a valid officiate and witnesses 10) record the marriage license with the state, and 11) consummate the marriage. The text of Repko defines “redefinition” as modifying concepts to achieve a new meaning or understanding ( Repko, p 336). So therefore the new definition of a married group would be, husband(s),wife (ves,) or partner(s) enumerated by law as the same household with or without children.  To understand how plural relationship could potentially be eased into the current framework of marriage, I will outline how the current steps in the marriage process along with additional steps will allow for plural relationships that are registered.

All steps can remain the same, but starting at step 8, I will make adjustments. At this step, any “group” wishing to engage in a plural marriage would present a document or contract, signed and dated by all parties involved, with a witness, which outlines the agreements to the relationship. This is a fair and equal measure because the law already outlines these basic structures for monogamy, but plural relationships vary from group to group. By having all members agree to the terms in which their marriage will operate, in the event of questioning or divorce a document will exist outlining the agreements each person has made for this event. This document would include the following areas:

  1. The intentions of the relationship- In this section each couple must discuss each individual’s intention for their union; a precursor for their vows, written and legally binding.
  2. The agreements- In this section all agreements that the group makes in regard to this union must be recorded. Keep in mind this document is a general outline, like the current policies in for marriage; it should encompass every individuals expectations and what they agree on.

Suggested topics in this section are:

  1. Veto power- Outline if this is allowed and how it can be used.
  2. Transparency- Outline a safe way to approach all partners about new information and all information each partner requires before the marriage begins. Remember, honesty and communication are extremely vital to plural relationship.
  3. Safe sex practices- This outlines the group’s requirement in reference to sexual practices.
  4. Processing- This is a reference for the intense discussion people who engage in plural relationships often have to determine the well-being, physical, emotional, and mental, of each individual. This will outline how it should be done, generally, to ensure everyone is heard.
  5. Communal Economics- How family finances and economics will be handled. Here the discussion of tax exemption should be had to determine that all claim exemptions that are appropriate and legal. Here a tax specialist may need to be consulted.
  6. Property- Here is suggested that each partner keeps their personal property before entering into the marriage separate, but any property obtained after the marriage be split between the individuals however they see fit; outlined in this section.
  7. Children- This section will outline the care of the children. Who will care for the children financially? Who will parent them? What befalls the children in the event of their legal guardian/adopted parent/ birth parents deaths? etc.
  8. Termination of the relationship – The terms of this is a summary of how all property, etc. will be divided in the case of divorce.
  9. Death- This outlines the sharing of property, child care, spousal care, etc. in the event of one or more spouse’s death.

This basic outline would provide a family with accurate protections that are legally documented. Just as you must insure that a copy of your marriage license is given to the county clerk, a copy of this marriage agreement should be sent in as well. Anytime changes need to be made, it should be done so, legally binding with a, lawyer, preferably, or witnessed outside the marriage present and a new copy must be reported.  For taxes, it could be as simple as claiming “other relatives” that you live with full time, as long as they do not file jointly with anyone else. Essentially all should file separately but be able to claim exemptions. In the children portion of the marriage contract they should determine who would claim children for tax purposes, to prevent too many people from getting the exemption. Again taxes are something expressed in the marriage contract. Then enters step 9, where individuals complete a waiting period, where their contract will be validated by the courts to ensure all measures within legal frameworks. Then so on to step 10-12, 10) perform the ceremony with a valid officiate and witnesses 11) record the marriage license with the state, and 12) consummate the marriage ( This law should be looked at to address non sexual relationships and what we mean by consummating). Agreements and Contracts are not a foreign concept to plural relationships. Many who have these types of relationships already have them, whether orally discussed, documented but not necessarily validated with witnesses or lawyers, documented by creating a limited liability company, or with a will and power of attorney. An example of how this could work, for instance, is that Sally marries Joe and David moves in. So now the adults and the child all live together. They must then outline how they plan the relationship to work in general. General refers the basic rules they will live by. Now say David meets another person and they end up wanting to marry but his new partner does not want to be in his current relationship. David would then need to go through the same process with an addendum that is added to both relationship contracts, outlining his new roles in both relationships and the separation of his estate. This will be a lot of work, require time, possibly money, and definitely effort. This is one of the reasons plural marriage is not for everyone.  There is a lot to consider and multiple lives in the balance.

Conclusion

Plural relationships are an immense topic that encompasses many disciplines. In the scope of this paper I looked at this relationship style from a societal perspective using the disciplines of sociology, psychology and political science (public policy), to determine if plural relationships are viable and if they could be recognized as legal units. Knowing that there are other factors to take into account, this could have been expanded more on the economic position, religious/ spiritual (or lack thereof) perspectives, and moral standpoint. As an introduction to this topic and a discussion based off of the predominate opposition that has been encountered, the direction this paper took appeared to be the best way to discuss viability of a relationship. Naysayers should understand what is going on in society today that could make a person who has not had any cultural, social, or religious view of plural relationship learn about them and engage in them.  They must also understand what legal issues make these choices more difficult and if those blocks are truly justifiable. Something that I had not realized to the extent I gathered during this research is that people believe that plural relationships are completely different from monogamous relationships, when really both are relationships styles are on the same spectrum; just on different ends rather than two different spectrums. I believe that, that is where the confusion of plural relationships viability comes in. More research should be done on the differences of plural relationship to monogamous relationships to determine if they are fundamentally different or if it is merely structural difference that enhance certain aspects of plural relationships.

References

Sociology: Relationships effects of societal development

Bengston, V.L (2001). Beyond nuclear family: the increasing importance of multigenerational bonds. Journal of marriage and family, 63, 1-16

Levin, I ( 2004). Living apart together: a new family form. Current sociology, 52(2) 223-240

McLanahan, S (2002). Life without a father: what happens to the children? Contexts, 1 (1), 35-44

Psychology: Fulfilling self interest

Barker, M (2005). This is my partner, and this is my… partner’s partner: constructing a polyamorous identity in a monogamous world. Journal of constructivist psychology, 18, 75 – 88

Ferrer, J.N (2008). Beyond Monogamy and polyamory: A New Vision of Intimate Relationships for the twenty-First Century. ReVison, 30,(1 and & 2), 53-58

Melby, T (2007) Open relationships, open lives. Contemporary sexuality, 41(4) 1-4

Political Science: Why bigamy should not apply.

Ashbee, E. ( 2007) Polyamory, social conservatism and the same-sex marriage debate in the U.S. Politics, 27(2), 101- 107

Lewis, D. (2011). Direct democracy and minority rights: Same-sex marriage bans in the U.S States. Social science quarterly, 92(2), 364 -383.

White, R. (2009). Two Sides of Polygamy. Journal of law & family studies, 11(2), 447-454.

Additional Sources

Al-Krenawi, A. , Graham, J.R., Al-Kremawi, S( 1997. Social work practice with polygamous families. Child and adolescent social work journal, 14(6)

Amaroux, F (2013). Why I believe in polyamory, but still feel it is problematic. n.p. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-amaroux/why-i-believe-in-polyamor_b_4138691.html

Badertscher, E. & Finley, L. (2013) Counter point: Polygamy is bad for families and bad for society. Points of View, p. 3.

Boix Mansilla, V. (2005). Assessing student work at interdisciplinary crossroads. Change, 37(1), 14-21.

Emberger, R.A (2009). Considering polyamorous clients’ needs and evaluating clinicians’ attitudes towards polyamorous clients. http://www.rebeccaemberger.com/polyamorousclientneeds.htm

Keenan, Jillian. (2013, April 13). Next step: We need to legalize polygamy. No joke. Slate, n.p.

Retrieved from Slate.com

Kurtz, S (2005). Here come he brides: plural marriage is waiting in the wings. The weekly standard, 11(5)

Lindgren, A. (2012). Sociology as the philosophy of the future. Asian Social Science, 8(8), 45-49. Retrieved from http://ccsnet.org/ass

Mikkelson, A. & Pauley, P. (2013). Maximizing relationship possibilities: Relational maximization in romantic relationships. The Journal of Social Psychology, 153(4), 467 -4 85  . Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/publication/255972284_Maximizing_Relationship_Possibilities_Relational_Maximization_in_Romantic_Relationships

Repko, A.F (2012) Interdisciplinary research Process and Theory. California. Sage. P 336.

United States Census Bureau (2011). Family.

http://factfinder2.census.gov/help/en/glossary/f/family.htm

United States Census Bureau (2011). Married couple.

http://factfinder2.census.gov/help/en/glossary/.htm

Posted in Uncategorized, Verbose Redactions

Ritual Journaling

Many of you know that I am involved with a pagan based student group we started on my campus. We are not doing a ritual on Samhain this year. Instead, we are holding a masquerade with another student group. Because we are not doing a ritual, something (I’m assuming one of my animal/spirit guides) prompted me to post about an alternative for those that don’t have another way to celebrate the Sabbaths. I would like to introduce to you Ritual Journaling.

I will provide a link as well as the example below of how I have done this in the past.

The way I hold Ritual Journaling is much like how I do powerful spells ( or for some people spells in general).

First I gather my supplies( normal for me with general spell work) – Supplies include my BOS ( so currently my tablet), Incense, candles, any materials for spells I wish to do that coincide with the Sabbath, my journal or piece of paper I wish to do the ritual with and a writing utensil that won’t give out and that will only be used for the purpose of ritual journaling.

Second I find a comfortable spot to hold my Ritual (normal for my spell work)- Now this could be in your house, outside your house, alone in a room where you won’t be disturbed or in a room with people who know what you are doing. I usually do the latter, but before I lived in my own place I would find a quiet spot alone.

Third I cast a circle( not so usual for me)- usually, I don’t feel the need to cast a circle except when working with powerful spells, but during a Ritual Journal my focus is not on my energy and directing it but reflecting on the holiday. Because of this, it is important to erect a circle around you. For me, I simply without voicing anything visualize a circle around me and draw energy to that area until I feel the energy surrounding me. If you are someone who is uncomfortable with this, then you should sit and begin writing at this point by detailing how you erect a circle.

Fourth I sit and begin writing my Ritual, starting with ” The circle has been cast…” Then it is usually a free write. If you are keeping the journal entry then date it so that you remember when and where it is from.

Fifth ( this is an optional part)- I work really well with fire and spirit. So when I do journal rituals I usually burn the page as an affirmation that what I have written will happen. Sometimes I make two copies so that I remember what I reflected on. I also do my spells at this point bc I have a tendency to work with fire for most spell work.

Sixth I take down my circle- this is essentially Step 3 but in reverse.

And it’s as simple as that. This can take varying lengths of time. I have a difficult time meditating but often find myself falling deeply into one during these times, so be sure to give yourself time to do this or at least set a timer.

And then here is the link for further guidance and also cutewitch772 on youtube does this so it may be beneficial to seek out her videos :

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccanandpaganrituals/f/JournalRitual.htm