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Old 07-06-2010, 11:07 AM   #16
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i guess the big question is this: is monogamy a virtue because of the social consequences? that we've created an incentive structure to enforce monogamy -- which ultimately protects children -- that's a total human fabrication, and were we to first understand what these structures are and how they operate on us while at the same time liberate ourselves from the consequences of non-monogamy, could we not be happier if we're living closer to our non-monogamous natures? certainly, there's a level of challenge to monogamy, some might say it causes a degree of pain and suffering, so why put up with that if you don't want or have to?

i will say, however, that monogamy is one of the fundamental tenets of my relationship. it would be a different relationship if we were non-monogamous. we don't have to worry about illegitimate children, and so long as safety is adhered to, what's the big deal?

for some reason, it is a big deal. i'm just wondering how much social structures that weren't designed for me -- they were designed for heterosexuals, since the consequences of reckless heterosexual sex are much graver than homosexual sex -- but that i've come to adapt to. i would also argue that many gay men who are significantly older than me don't feel nearly as much pressure to adhere to these rules than younger gay men. could it be because we see ourselves as genuine equals to our straight counterparts, and we're thus subject to the same rules?

likewise, if a postmenopausal woman wishes to have multiple partners, and the danger of illegitimate children is removed from the equation, what are the incentives for her to be monogamous?

just thoughts.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:23 AM   #17
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i will say, however, that monogamy is one of the fundamental tenets of my relationship. it would be a different relationship if we were non-monogamous. we don't have to worry about illegitimate children, and so long as safety is adhered to, what's the big deal?

for some reason, it is a big deal.
Ok so...why is it a big deal in your relationship? Especially if there are no social consequences. In what ways do you think it would be a different relationship if it were non-monogamous?

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i guess the big question is this: is monogamy a virtue because of the social consequences?
If it is a fundamental tenet in your relationship and there are otherwise no social consequences, then I guess the answer is no.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:06 PM   #18
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Ok so...why is it a big deal in your relationship? Especially if there are no social consequences. In what ways do you think it would be a different relationship if it were non-monogamous?
because it's been indicated that it matters very much. there's no real logical reason behind it other than "i want to be the only one" -- so it's really almost pure jealousy, i guess, if we have to boil it down to that. i also feel that our models of relationships tend to be heterosexuals, because we simply know many heterosexuals and they tend to take our relationship as seriously as their own, and that's the model out there. gender is pretty much removed from the situation. we feel equal, so we live up to the expectation.

but is this a good reason? social pressure?



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If it is a fundamental tenet in your relationship and there are otherwise no social consequences, then I guess the answer is no.

well, there are social consequences. certainly not as far as illegitimate children, but i think the relationship would then be viewed as "less than," were it open.

maybe that's not right, but that's my gut feeling. i think i'd take it a bit less seriously were it open. but then, maybe i'd be happier?

then again, having seen some documentary footage of a (heterosexual) poly relationship (1 girl, 2 straight guys), it seems like someone always gets the short end of the stick, and someone always feels jealous. they talk about taking joy in watching their partner receive joy from someone else, but it rings kind of hollow to me. (of course, this is just one example)

so this is a bit of psychotherapy to me in a way. it really shouldn't matter to me, being that the social incentives really don't exist in the way that they do when there's a uterus involved, but i feel the same way. is this socialization, or something else, or both?
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:29 PM   #19
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Maybe you'd be happier? Why?
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:40 PM   #20
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I vote this the best thread in FYM right now. (Followed surprisingly enough by Christians are Compassionate). Absolutely fascinating food for thought, interesting insights, some real heart. And no lengthy diatribes!

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Old 07-06-2010, 02:43 PM   #21
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well, there are social consequences. certainly not as far as illegitimate children, but i think the relationship would then be viewed as "less than," were it open.
That's a good point and probably central to the struggle to be accepted as legitimate particualrly as it pertains to gay marriage.

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i think i'd take it a bit less seriously were it open. but then, maybe i'd be happier?

is this socialization, or something else, or both?
Probably both. Do you think the older gay men who follow their own rules are happier overall?
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:45 PM   #22
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And no lengthy diatribes!
I can make one for you if you'd like
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:49 PM   #23
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Maybe you'd be happier? Why?

we would rationally understand the natural wish and impulse to be free to indulge in transitory pleasures of the flesh with others who find us mutually attractive, and leave it at that, thusly authentically embracing our non-monogamous nature.

i mean, i'm just saying.
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:49 PM   #24
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That's a good point and probably central to the struggle to be accepted as legitimate particualrly as it pertains to gay marriage.



Probably both. Do you think the older gay men who follow their own rules are happier overall?
Is happiness the highest good though?

NPR had an interesting piece this past spring about some recent research that indicates that people who don't have children are happier than those who do. Ethnicity, culture, religion, none of it changed the outcome. Childless people are on balance happier than those with children. The question posed was, why on earth would people keep having children then? The answer, which the NPR reporter, a new mother herself, concluded with is that there is something beyond happiness that many people gain from parenthood.

Now, I don't want to derail the thread with a debate about whether people should or shouldn't have children (I personally believe that there is no moral--or any other kind of imperative--either way), but it I did want to raise that question about the concept of happiness, as well as what exactly we are talking about when we say happier.
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:54 PM   #25
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we would rationally understand the natural wish and impulse to be free to indulge in transitory pleasures of the flesh with others who find us mutually attractive, and leave it at that, thusly authentically embracing our non-monogamous nature.

i mean, i'm just saying.
I just think that's a different kind of happiness that's fleeting and can't compare to what a genuinely happy and in love relationship can give you-even with all of its issues and conflicts and hurts. But what do I know, monogamy is easy when you're alone.
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:55 PM   #26
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Oh, Mrs. S, I don't think you have it in you to do that. Which is one reason why I you.

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we would rationally understand the natural wish and impulse to be free to indulge in transitory pleasures of the flesh with others who find us mutually attractive, and leave it at that, thusly authentically embracing our non-monogamous nature.

i mean, i'm just saying.
I have to admit, I understand the appeal of this. I really do. It just seems impossible to actually live out without reprocussions. And my view of morality is just that--you avoid doing the things that lead to reprocussions to others and yourself. If there are truly no reprocussions then there is no moral violation--otherwise morality is just abritrary nonsense.
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:58 PM   #27
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I just think that's a different kind of happiness that's fleeting and can't compare to what a genuinely happy and in love relationship can give you-even with all of it's issues and conflicts and hurts. But what do I know, monogamy is easy when you're alone.
Happiness is fleeting in general, really. Unhappiness, though, while also transient, tends to last longer. I don't know that I'd want to embrace one fleeting moment of happiness and then live with years of unhappy consequences afterwards.
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:35 PM   #28
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I have to admit, I understand the appeal of this. I really do. It just seems impossible to actually live out without reprocussions. And my view of morality is just that--you avoid doing the things that lead to reprocussions to others and yourself. If there are truly no reprocussions then there is no moral violation--otherwise morality is just abritrary nonsense.


i generally agree. i guess the thrust of all this -- snerk -- is whether or not these repercussions are as "natural" as our supposed non-monogamous nature, or whether or not they are totally socialized. i'm just trying to figure out why it is we do what we do, and the point of that being to try and live as authentically as possible. i was having a conversation with someone about this stuff recently, and i've been reflecting upon this stuff of late as Memphis and i approach our 5 year anniversary, and begin to make very early plans to purchase property in DC itself and continue to further imitate a heterosexual relationship. but that's what we want. and that's what most of the gays i know want. even if there are some long-term relationships that have been open for 20+ years, they tend to have houses and gardens and puppies and dinner parties, and they seem to be comfortable with openness in a way that we are not. so it's less about my wanting something (other than a goddamn down payment) and more curious about why it is that i want what i want.

feeling very post-gay lately.

another question: is dishonesty important in relationships? i'm not talking about lying about having another wife or lying about having been in jail. i'm talking about the little white lies we tell day in and day out in order to facilitate living together. perhaps i don't really like your lemon bars, or maybe that shirt does make you look fat, but i lie to you for your own happiness. do we lie because we love?
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:36 PM   #29
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Nick Hornby's "About a Boy" raises this question in an interesting way -- Hugh Grant as a man who is perfectly content to live life alone, but whose world becomes invaded by a troubled kid and his more troubled mother. The end of the film (and, I presume, the book it's based on) lands on the notion that "one is good, two is better."

In a different way, "Shadowlands" brings up much the same point. "The pain now is part of the joy then," is I think how Anthony Hopkins' C.S. Lewis puts it, while watching his wife slowly pass. The quest for personal happiness is not a bad goal necessarily, but sometimes growth comes at the cost of happiness, doesn't it? Sacrifice, suffering, loss -- all these things are opposed to happiness, but all make us better human beings, don't they?
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:41 PM   #30
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In a different way, "Shadowlands" brings up much the same point. "The pain now is part of the joy then," is I think how Anthony Hopkins' C.S. Lewis puts it, while watching his wife slowly pass. The quest for personal happiness is not a bad goal necessarily, but sometimes growth comes at the cost of happiness, doesn't it? Sacrifice, suffering, loss -- all these things are opposed to happiness, but all make us better human beings, don't they?

reminds me of the opening 5-10 minutes of "Up."



imho, the opening is as perfect a piece of filmmaking as has ever been made.
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