Morgaine

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Double Ouch !

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 31, 2008 at 8:11 pm
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Ouch !

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 31, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Science

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 31, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Stereotypes in polyamory

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 31, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Source: polyamory community at LiveJournal

When I was but a wee lad in my early twenties, and not wise in the ways of polyamory, I used to scoff at the ideas of people falling into relatively easy to identify clichés.  Especially among the poly community; after all, weren’t we all being delightfully non-conformist.  Now, from the ever-so-much-more-enlightened position of being in my late twenties, I see that, no, my belief was quite wrong.  I think there are maybe about 10 types of polyamorites in the world (or more).  Certainly, the boundaries are not hard and fast, and I am not doubting that each one of you is a beautiful and unique flower with something special that makes you the exception, but the general rule holds nonetheless.  I think it all came together for me at a party hosted by some good friends of ours in Colorado Springs.  They were a (mostly) functional triad with two children.  They were kind and friendly to us when they first encountered us, and were incredible friends.  I walked into the cluttered living room and waved to them across the half-filled couches.  Two waved back, and the third looked up from a conversation with a curly haired refugee from the eighties, a look of amused despair on her face.  The man in question seemed oblivious to this look, and continued blithely pressing his suit.  It occurred to me that here were two extremely different types of people.

            Polyfi:  Polyfi has been polyamorous for years; long enough to watch the current internet blossoming of the polyamory “community” with a hope that slowly over time has become resigned disappointment.  Polyfi is usually very attractive, with attractive mates, and, no, no matter how many times you mention your stamp collection, Polyfi will not sleep with you.  Not now, not ever.  Polyfi’s natural enemies are Entitled and Fanatic.

            Entitled:  Entitled is almost always male.  He goes to poly events with one goal, and one goal only: to take home whatever woman he can manage to convince.  He will start the evening talking incessantly to the most attractive woman in the room (usually Polyfi) and persists until he is first gently, then rudely rebuffed.  Undeterred, he will turn his attentions to the next most attractive woman in the room.  Usually, he'll go home with Easy, unless even she can't abide his smarmy ways.  As time goes by, Entitled can sometimes evolve into Fanatic.

            As my wife and I circulated through the party (and she fended off her turn with Entitled) I began to look at the others and wonder whether they represented certain types as well.  I thought back to other events, and started observing again.  There was the somewhat disgruntled woman sitting off in the corner, looking occasionally at her husband (across the room, chatting with someone ten years younger than either of them) with a look hovering between wistfulness and jealousy.  Over on another couch, an aggressively together couple snags the much-sought-after attention of a woman that actually came here alone, and is by reputation bisexual.

            Hobbit:  short for "hot bi babe": the holy grail of polyamory.  Vessel for the ill-conceived fantasies of many a poly couple, man, and woman.  Not only is she (in theory) eminently available, but she might actually like YOU.  Why not?  Hobbit rivals polyfi in popularity, but is usually not as attractive.  In some cases it is possible to confuse Hobbit with Easy.  Hobbit's natural enemies are non-existent…but her natural predators are everywhere, waiting to pounce and snatch up this hot commodity before some other person or persons manage to do so.

            Twofer:  They may not be joined at the hip, but it sure seems like it sometimes.  Twofer is always on the prowl for someone they BOTH can date…and is nominally interested in nothing else.  Often times, being a Twofer is a compromise to avoid one party being Reluctant Spouse.  Twofers are sometimes (but not always) also Newbies.  Twofer's natural enemies include Hypocrite and Fanatic, but that's partially because both are trying to split one off from the other, which will always result in horrible drama.  Twofer sometimes generates Hypocrite and Hobbit, but not always.

            Easy:  Female fusion of Hobbit and Entitled.  Usually not as attractive as Hobbit, but makes up for it with a willingness to sleep with anyone and everyone that asks her.  Sometimes single, sometimes married, her relationships do not usually last long, and are often emotionally unfulfilling, which only spurs her to keep trying all the harder.  Easy's natural enemy is Romantic, but that won't stop him from sleeping with her, too.

            Philanderer:  Male.  Philanderer is always male.  He's somehow convinced his wife (Reluctant Spouse) that they should get into the poly "lifestyle," and either obliviously doesn't notice her unease or willfully ignores it.  Philanderer often closely resembles Entitled in his behavior.  Philanderer will encourage Reluctant Spouse to explore polyamory, and tries to set her up with women he wants to sleep with as well.  When Reluctant Spouse becomes interested in a male, however, Philanderer often becomes Hypocrite

            Reluctant Spouse:  She doesn't want to be here.  Really.  Her pride is wounded, she feels bad for being angry at Philanderer, and doesn't have the guts to tell him so.  Reluctant Spouse will eventually find the courage to date herself, and will be surprised again when Philanderer reveals himself as Hypocrite.

            No Boys Allowed:  No Boys Allowed is nearly always married to either Monogamous (male variety) or Hypocrite.  By decree, negotiation, or desire, she doesn't go after other men, and is somewhat insulted when other men ignore this fact and hit on her anyway.  No Boys Allowed is sometimes a Twofer in disguise.

            Quixotic: Quixotic is male and in love with No Boys Allowed.  Poor guy, but he's kind of asking for it.  Unless Quixotic manages to find some perspective, he will inevitably evolve into Fanatic.

            Fanatic: Fanatic thinks any negotiation, arrangement, or rules at all restricting who one's partners can see is tantamount to slavery and oppression.  He will climb high on his might horse and trumpet loudly "That's not poly!" and suggest that others need to shed their outmoded ways of dealing with relationships.  Fanatic will attempt to fix the definition of "polyamory" and "non-monogamy" using circuitous routes of logic (and fallacy).  Fanatic is rarely without his copy of "The Ethical Slut" and will insist that any and all newbies read it.  Fanatic will unabashedly encourage people with arrangements (especially No Boys Allowed) to leave their current partner(s) and find someone who will give them true freedom.  By definition, of course, this means them.  Convenient, huh?  Fanatic's natural enemies include anyone with a brain.

            Matriarch:  Matriarch loves attention.  She's often in her late thirties, is no longer skinny, and is often strikingly beautiful.  She can usually be seen holding court surrounded by a gaggle of admirers.  Cigar in one hand, whiskey in the other, she picks and chooses the best and brightest from her followers.  She usually rules the local poly social scene with an iron, yet benevolent hand.  She has an intense dislike for Entitled, and never invites him to her parties.

            Romantic: Romantic feels that it is his (or her) destiny to have many loves…and will do all possible to make this happen.  Romantic will actively woo, post regular holiday "I love you ALL" messages on his livejournal, publicly comment about how happy-making this lifestyle is…and generally try to "live the dream".  This is attractive to some, a turn-off for others.

            Hypocrite: "But honey, it's perfectly fair!  We'll have the same rules.  Both of us can only date women!"  Hypocrite was often once a Philanderer who discovers he's not quite as sanguine about his wife having other men as he originally claimed.  Hypocrite is surprisingly common, and often masquerades as any of the other types of Polyamorite.  The Fanatic actively plots Hypocrite's downfall, usually by encouraging Quixotic.

            Newbie:  Newbie is brand new to all that is polyamorous.  Newbie is full of optimism, hope, and has not yet realized that their ideal doesn't exist in the real world.  Newbie is often part of a Twofer.  Newbies are always welcomed with great fanfare, as everyone else jostles to get their chance at the fresh meat.

            Kinkball:  the name says it all.  Not only is kinkball polyamorous, kinkball is also into bondage, domination, watersports, yiffing, and half a dozen things you haven't heard of.  Kinkball lords their "more alternative than you" lifestyle as much as they can, and then complains of discrimination when other people complain.

            Picky: Can be male or female, and confuses many.  Picky will go to many poly events, meet, greet, and generally mingle.  Despite all this, Picky usually goes home with the same person that they came to the party with.  Picky will shoot down many attempts at flirtation, smoothly turning them into mere friendly conversation.  Some will hypothesize that Picky is not poly at all, but for Picky it comes down to this: "the odds are good, but the goods are odd."  That said, if Picky manages to find someone to meet their stringent standards, Picky will often evolve into Polyfi.  Can sometimes be mistaken for Snob

            Snob:  Snob will come to the poly party and subtly mock everyone around them.  They will not date anyone there, and wonder aloud why so many people attracted to poly are ugly, fat, or both.  Snob will not hesitate to show pictures of their unreasonably attractive mates.  While one would expect Snob to be equally attractive, this is not always the case.

            Homophobe:  Homophobe embarasses everyone around him.

            Bait:  Bait attempts to procure nubile female flesh for her husband by using herself as a lure for bisexual women.  She herself may not in fact be bisexual, and may even be a closet homophobe, but she'll do anything for her man.  The religious sub-type of Bait–sister-wife–is especially notorious for this, but she tends not to come to poly parties.  After all, she might meet strange people there.

            Out of Play: Out of play–for whatever reason–would really, really like to be poly, but isn't dating right now.  No, not even you.

            Monogamous: Happier than Reluctant Spouse, monogamous knows what they want, and knows that poly is not it.  That said, most specimens of Monogamous you will meet through the polyamory community do not mind if their spouse is Poly; in fact, Monogamous will often encourage it, to the confused consternation of everyone.  Monogamous sometimes has tried poly in the past, and "grown out of it."  Monogamous' greatest "enemy" is Fanatic, but Monogamous never hangs out on polyamory bulletin boards, and doesn't notice the hue and cry at all.

            I don't go to many poly meet ups anymore.  It's hard to see past the types when I go to these events.  These days, I prefer to make friends one on one with the rare poly person or couple I come across out in the real world.  This means fewer dates, but also less drama.  Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to venture back into one of those meat markets, but I'm not counting on it anytime soon.

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Capturing the silence

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 29, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Capturing the silence

East-Ouest uploaded this image to flickr, click the image and follow the link to the original page

Silence in Beng Melea, 80 km form Siam Reap

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Peaceful

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 29, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Peaceful

simjeelee uploaded this image to flickr, click the image and follow the link to the original page

Lotus on the lake beside the pathway to Angkor Wat.

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Temporary Monks

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 29, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Temporary Monks

Justin Mott uploaded this image to flickr, click the image and follow the link to the original page

Only about a kilometer from one of the most visited temples in the world of Angkor Wat lies Wat Ang Kea Sa. Wat Ang Kea Sa is one of many monasteries in predominately Buddhist Cambodia with a thriving population of young men. Over one hundred Bodhisattva (The one striving for Enlightenment) monks study the Pali language (the language of Theravada Buddhism) here while also studying the international language of English. They split their study time towards the path to enlightenment with the path to a career in their post-monk hood world. After a few years of living in the pagoda many of these men look to enter the tourism workforce thriving in Siem Reap. Speaking another language is a must in order to land a decent paying job at one of the many new four and five star hotels popping up. Alongside their traditional orange robes they reveal a somewhat non-traditional view of tattooed arms with cell phones clipped to their robes and a partially divided life they will live. While Buddhism will probably play a prominent role in their future lives, their time at the pagoda and their time in the robes is short lived.

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Steep

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 29, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Steep

Farl uploaded this image to flickr, click the image and follow the link to the original page

The uppermost level of the central tower of Angkor Wat requires one to climb steep staircases of stones. The ascent is best avoided by those who feel dizzy with heights and unsure of their footing. Actually, the climbing part is easy. It is in going down when one's nerves are tested to the limit. The steps are too narrow and steep to be able to see where one's foot will land. Add to that some rain for slick. Nevertheless, there is always a willing crowd all too eager for the thrill.

At the uppermost central shrine of the Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Kampuchea

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She wants revenge – Tear you apart

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 28, 2008 at 8:27 pm

How to Make It Work – Tools for Healthy (Polyamorous) Relationships

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 28, 2008 at 6:48 pm

By Brian Frederick

1. Tell the Truth. Lasting relationships are built on trust. Trust is built on honesty. Honesty isn't hard and it's a good habit. Bite the bullet, tell the truth. If your relationship can't weather it, you are in the wrong relationship; but it probably can. Telling the truth is easier than lying, all rumour and myth to the contrary. Lies are a lot of work. They weigh you down and isolate you. Small lies get lonely and seek out bigger lies. Don't ask one lover to lie or keep secrets from others. Secrets may not be lies but they breed lies. Secrets build walls and discourage intimacy. Know the difference between privacy and secrecy.

Resist the desire to tell someone what you think they want to hear or try to protect them. "Especially do not feign affection." If you're not sure about love, say so. If your relationships are not a high priority in your life, let people know. Encourage honesty in others. Above all, be honest with yourself. Are you looking to build a family or for a little sexual variety?

2. Know Yourself. This is the most important tool and sometimes the hardest to find. Spend quality time with yourself and find out what you're like. Most people never do. Learn to tell when you are moody or unreasonable or defensive or hyper-sensitive or blinded by New Relationship Energy. Know your limits. Discover where you could do better. Learn what's healthy for you and what's not. Figure out what your priorities really are. Learn when to take a walk and cool off.

Many people never see the consistent patterns in their own behaviour that are obvious to everyone else, like always pursuing the same type of lover or always turning relationships into soap operas or lovers into adversaries. They are blind to themselves. What don't you know about yourself? If you know about your addictions you can transform them into a preferences and eventually into a choices, but first you have to know about them.

Take time to discover things like: what baggage are you carrying from your childhood or your last relationship, what do you need and what do you only want, what pushes your buttons and why, which things are you willing to compromise on, what are your core motivations, what makes you jealous or insecure or competitive, at what point are you over-extending yourself, what are your patterns, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Remember to learn your good points too. A lot of this goes back to honesty.

3. Take Care of Yourself.
Work on you. "Grow your own garden in your own soul, don't wait for someone else to bring you flowers." Instead of looking to other people for validation or satisfaction or happiness, learn to make it yourself. This is a vitally important skill for living. You will always be at other people's mercy – until you learn to satisfy your own needs. Once you do, you gain a freedom and confidence that can never be taken away. You can meet people as equals and choose to enjoy each other instead of carefully exchanging needs in a scarcity-driven emotional economy. Ironically, people find this kind of independence very attractive.

Take time by yourself to think about what you need to work on and give yourself the space to do it. Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself, like yourself, love yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself, respect yourself, serve yourself, nurture yourself, just be yourself and please, sharpen a knife and cut yourself some slack. Everyone is too hard on themselves and everyone's mirrors are warped. Yours are too; learn to compensate. Learn emotional first aid. Your relationship with yourself is the foundation of all your other relationships.

4. Take Responsibility. Own your feelings. No one can make you sad or angry or happy either, they are your emotions. They exist in your head and nowhere else. You own them. You. There are always choices. Accept that sometimes you feel good or bad for no reason at all – not because of the people or events in your life. When you make someone else accountable for your feelings, your disempower yourself.

Playing the victim or martyr is just a way to manipulate people. To say, "I hurt you because my parents hurt me", is to surrender your life to other people and to the past. Be here now. Take charge of your own feelings and actions and life. You are responsible for seeing that your own needs get met. (Yes, even your own sexual needs.) Don't tell other people "do me, make me happy, protect me." Learn to take care of yourself.

If there are problems in one of your relationships or if your life is a mess, stand up and carry your share of the responsibility (and no more), even if you don't think you deserve it. Taking responsibility is not taking blame. "It's all your fault," causes new problems, it doesn't solve any. The more responsibility you take over your own life, the more freedom you have.

5. Encourage Growth. Remember to care about your lovers as human beings. Support them in advancing their careers, spiritual pursuits, educations and ambitions. At their own pace and in their own way. Help them to heal and understand themselves better. Encourage them to take time by themselves and give them the space they need. Help them cultivate strength. Ask them to do the same for you but tell them how; they can't read your mind. One way to encourage growth is to give those you love the freedom to love others.

Some people find neediness and weakness very attractive. Maybe they think they'll be abandoned if their loved ones get strong. They might try to keep people weak and needy so they'll stay. They might give generously but with conditions and strings attached. This is not unconditional love – it may not be love at all – it might just be aggressive need.

Growth can be stunted by difficult emotions like insecurity or fear of abandonment. One way to manage a limiting emotion is to meet it head on. "The only way out – is through." Don't hide from it; that just gives it power. Dive in and weather it and survive it and examine it. Your fear is far worse than reality. Learn that and the emotion loses its power and you grow stronger. You can even use jealousy, insecurity, etc. to teach you about yourself. They are valuable. Pay attention to them and learn from them.

6. Respect. Respect is a form of love. Respect yourself, set limits and boundaries and respect those of other people. Know how and when to clearly say `no' and how to listen when others say `no'. Never tolerate abuse. You deserve better. Remember to be polite to your partners, they deserve it even more than the stranger down the street.

Try not to save all your best stuff for one partner and take your partners for granted, especially when they are together. Try to treat them evenly or someone will feel slighted. Comparisons make people compete and force someone to be the loser. Find a way for everyone to win.

Respect relationships as well as people. Each relationship seems to have a natural shape; don't try to force it to be something else. Think of each relationship as a separate entity that could be healthy or sick. Resist the urge to use a relationship to get your head in order; a lover is not a life raft. If you need therapy, see a doctor.

It's easy to project your expectations onto other people. "Maybe they'll change." Don't try to force a person to be someone they are not. People are package deals; accept them for who they are, good and bad, or don't accept them at all.

If you want respect, keep your word. Keep to the spirit of your agreements; don't squabble over semantics looking for loop-holes to exploit. If you make an agreement in the kitchen, keep it in the bedroom. Every agreement you've ever made is really with yourself.

7. Communicate. If you want a healthy relationship, strong communication skills are a necessity, not a luxury. Trouble usually starts when talking stops. Things come up all the time that have to be worked through patiently and lovingly, even when you're having a bad day. It gets easier over time, but it takes work and a willingness to break up scar tissue and tear down walls. Communication skills are what make a person a good lover.

Arguing skills are not communication skills. Arguing better than someone doesn't make you right, it just makes you better at arguing. Sometimes people strive to `win' an argument at the cost of their own relationship. Negotiate a way for everyone to win.

Listening is more important than talking. Listen actively and don't just hear. Make eye contact. Be here now, don't wander. Paraphrase their words to see if you heard them right. Notice your own words and feelings, ask why they are what they are. Listen to unhappy feelings (yours and those of others) without needing to fix them. Listen to disagreements without taking sides. Listen to non-verbal communication, which usually speaks more clearly than words. Be aware of how the people in your life are loving you.

Some talk is not communication. If you get lost in the woods and pass the same landmark several times, you are making the same mistake over and over. Raising your voice or speaking harshly makes you harder to understand, not easier. Use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. "I think you're wrong" is easier to accept than "you are wrong." Directness works better than manipulation.

Clearly express yourself; people can't read your mind. Tear down the wall between your feelings and your words. Set limits and boundaries and communicate them. Make sure everyone knows what they are getting into. Learn how to defuse arguments. If necessary, learn how and when to say goodbye. Actions communicate better than words. Show people that you love them. Share kindness and affection and laughter. When in doubt, rub their feet.

8. Attitude. Having tools isn't enough, you have to really want to use them. Ya gotta wanna. Your disposition will make it work or blow it. Find a way for everyone to win. Make important decisions unanimous. Shine a positive light on difficult situations too; many relationships wither from negative energy. Don't turn little things into big things. Look for solutions, not someone to blame. Practice tolerance, patience, flexibility, generosity, understanding, forgiveness. Learn to apologize. Laugh at yourself.

Be wrong; you can't learn from errors if you always gotta be right. Let it go; be happy instead. Listen more than you talk. Give someone else the last word. See things through their eyes; empathy is the cure for anger. Stay calm and remember to breath. Let down your walls, trust, open up, risk and let yourself be vulnerable. Without vulnerability there is no intimacy. Take your time and emphasize friendship over romance. Savour what you have instead of dwelling on what you don't have. Practice truly unconditional love. Share.

These tools apply to lovers (monogamous or poly, straight, gay, bi or sell) but also to friends, children, parents and yourself. They won't give anyone a healthy relationship, but if you find yourself confounded and don't know what to do, one of these might help.

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