World Polyamory Association  
POLYAMORY: MORE LOVES, MORE LOVING

HomeBlogCalendarCommunityConferencesCounselingEventsNewsletterSocial Network

ARTICLES

Home
Advice
Advertise
Art
Articles
Books
Conferences
Contact Us
Dating
Directory
Education
Events
Faculty
FAQ
Forum
Groups
Links
Media
Memberships
Photos
Poly News
News Groups
Promote
Scholarships
Store
Testimonials
Volunteer
Workshops
 

POLYAMORY
MANY LOVES

 


 

 

 Check out our Frappr!
 



 


 



 




 




 



 

 

 








 

 

 

INCOMPATIBLE POLY WORLDVIEWS
by Kelly

 
 

kc62301@yahoo.com

 


I've posted this at a couple of other poly groups and have gotten some really interesting feedback. I'm still dealing with this situation in my own life, so I continue to seek the thoughts and
perspectives of others.

Caveat: People's worldviews are clearly too complex to be classified into three types. The three worldviews described below are merely convenient fictions to help pose the questions at the end.

1. People have different worldviews about love and sexual intimacy in marital relationships.

One worldview is that love implies an exclusive sexual relationship. "If you love me, you will not have sexual relationships with anyone other than me." This exclusivity underlies the culture of monogamy to which most people in our society subscribe.

A second worldview is that love implies happiness when a partner has satisfying sexual relationships with anyone else. "I love you, so I'm happy whenever you have enjoyable sexual relationships with anyone." This compersion underlies the culture of absolute sexual freedom to which many proponents of open marriage and free love subscribe.

A third worldview is that love implies companionship in sexual relationships. "We love each other, so let's share our sexual relationships with other partners." This companionship underlies the
culture of couple-oriented or group-oriented relationships to which many proponents of swinging and polyfidelity subscribe.

We can set these three worldviews on a continuum in terms of opportunities for sexual relationships with extramarital partners.

Exclusivity no opportunity for sexual relationships with extramarital partners.
Companionship limited opportunity for sexual relationships with extramarital partners.
Compersion unlimited opportunity for sexual relationships with extramarital partners.

We can also set these worldviews on a continuum in terms of circumstances that give rise to jealousy and emotional pain.

Exclusivity any sexual relationships with extramarital partners provoke jealousy and emotional pain.

Companionship sexual relationships with shared extramarital partners do not provoke jealousy and emotional pain; but sexual relationships with extramarital partners not shared provoke jealousy and emotional pain.

Compersion no sexual relationships with extramarital partners provoke jealousy and emotional pain.

It is unlikely that people adopt one of these worldviews based on logical arguments. It is more likely that people adopt one of these worldviews based on a combination of their cultural upbringing, their personal relationship experiences, and their biological makeup (e.g., natural variations in brain areas associated with attachment, pairbonding, and sexuality). They probably adopt the worldview that makes the most sense in light of their history, experiences, and
predispositions. Consequently, changing from one worldview to another worldview is not a simple matter; it requires fundamental changes in how one makes sense of oneself and one's intimate social relationships.

Since exclusivity is the only socially sanctioned worldview, people often do not have sufficient opportunity to explore and discover whether companionship or compersion better suits them until after they have married.

This is analogous to sexual orientation. Since heterosexuality is the only socially sanctioned orientation, people often do not have sufficient opportunity to explore their sexual orientation until
after they have entered an opposite-sex marriage. Many come to realize their homosexuality or bisexuality after marrying heterosexual partners.

Since exclusivity is the most widely accepted worldview, and therefore adopted by the greatest number of people, we most often see examples where one partner has an exclusivity worldview and the other partner has either a companionship or a compersion worldview.  Much has already been written about this situation. But it also happens that married partners come to realize one has a companionship worldview and the other has a compersion worldview.

This poses a number of challenges to the marriage.

2. When one partner holds a companionship worldview and another partner holds a compersion worldview, the partners can come to view each other negatively.

Suppose Jack has a compersion worldview and Jill has a companionship worldview. This difference can cause Jack and Jill face to see each other as selfish individuals.

Jack sees Jill as unable to be happy unless she gets direct gratification from the relationship. She is demanding Jack to not become involved with extramarital partners who do not also want to
be with her. Jack sees Jill as selfishly denying him the freedom to be with extramarital partners unless she gets her enjoyment, too.

Jill sees Jack as being uncaring about her feelings. Jack is demanding to get enjoyment from extramarital partners no matter how badly it makes Jill feel. Jack responds to Jill's feelings by
telling her to exercise her own sexual freedom. She sees Jack as placing his own selfish gratification above his primary partner's feelings and taking an "I got mine, you get yours" attitude about love and relationships.

Their different worldviews can also cause Jack and Jill to see each other as psychologically inferior with respect to relationships.

Jack feels little or no jealousy. (Indeed, he may have adopted a compersion worldview in part because it makes sense given his general lack of jealousy.) Jack may consequently see jealousy as something unnecessary and avoidable. If people just tried hard enough, or just thought about things clearly enough, they wouldn't bring the poison of jealousy into relationships. People who feel jealousy have no one to blame but themselves. They should get over it. People who feel jealous and seek sympathy for those feelings are emotionally inferior to people who have gotten past the whole business of jealousy.

Jill sees companionship as a key to successful, long-term relationships. She grew up believing that couples who do things together have a better chance at lasting relationships. "That family
that plays together stays together," as the saying goes. People who demand absolute freedom and independence have a naively idealistic understanding of committed, long lasting relationships. They should get real about what it takes to make a marriage last. People who
insist on such absolute freedom have an inferior understanding about what makes marriages work than people who understand the importance of togetherness.

3. When one partner holds a companionship worldview and another partner holds a compersion worldview, the partners can find themselves in a conflict that pits jealousy against resentment.

Suppose again that Jack has a compersion worldview and Jill has a companionship worldview.

If an extramarital partner agrees to become involved with both Jack and Jill, no conflict need occur. Jack and Jill can both enjoy the extramarital relationship.

If an extramarital partner wants to be involved with Jill alone, no conflict need occur. Jill genuinely prefers to be involved in extramarital relationships together with Jack. Besides, Jack is okay
with Jill having extramarital relationships by herself.

If the extramarital partner wants to be involved with Jack only, a conflict will likely occur. Jack desires to be with the extramarital partner. If he cannot be with the extramarital partner because Jill will feel jealous, Jack may feel angry and resentful over his lost opportunity. Jill, on the other hand, wants Jack to turn down the extramarital partner. If he becomes involved with the extramarital partner despite her feelings, she will feel rejected and jealous. The conflict hinges on whether Jack has to deal with feelings of anger and resentment or Jill has to deal with feelings of rejection and jealousy.

Questions:

(1) In marriages where one partner holds a companionship worldview and another partner holds a compersion worldview, how can the partners learn to accept their differing worldviews without viewing each other negatively?

(2) In marriages where one partner holds a companionship worldview and another partner holds a compersion worldview, how can the partners resolve conflicts that pit jealousy against resentment?

Thanks for actually taking the time to read this far. I genuinely look forward to hearing your thoughts on these two questions.

Kelly
kc62301@yahoo.com
 

 
Subscribe to WorldPolyamoryAssociation
Powered by groups.yahoo.com

World Polyamory Association
1371 Malaihi Road
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii  96793
808-244-4103, 808-214-3442
WorldPolyamory@aol.com
Copyright 2002-2009, WorldPolyamoryAssociation.
All rights reserved.
Revised: September 07, 2011

 

This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.
 

Poly Gathering Webring... Visit other poly clubs/groups, web sites Today
[ Join Now | Ring List | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]