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Polyamory, Jealousy, and the Eight Walls of Intimacy

Note: This post will be a sort of a part of a 2-part follow-up to my post on Understanding and Managing Jealousy:

If you have not read the other two articles then please take a look.

Jealousy, nurse that horrible Green-Eyed Monster that can tear apart relationships, can rear its ugly head enough in monogamous relationships, but in an open or polyamorous relationships there are a tremendous amount of opportunities where jealousy can surface and cause problems if you are not prepared. The more we understand jealousy the better we will be able to tame this destructive beast. Please also take a look at my other articles on Jealousy to explore this further.

The Eight Walls of Intimacy

I envision there are 8 basic walls (categories of intimacy) that a person may encounter when jealousy, fear, and insecurities can really rear its ugly head. For some of you, depending on where you are at in your journey, these walls can be made of teddy bears and rainbows bringing us joy and candy, but for others, though, a wall can be made of a thousand pounds of tetanus-laden spiked bricks and wounded badgers which rise up to tear you and your loved ones apart.

Each person and each relationship is going to be different, but below are the eight walls I have identified that we may run into when our partners desire intimacy, are intimate, or show intimacy with others. Six of the walls are general categories of actions, and two are specific significant actions whose potential emotional response may be large enough to warrant its own listing. You might arrange them different for you, but I tried to put the walls in the order of least likely to most likely to trigger a jealous reaction. Some specific actions may be categorized differently for you than it is for others, or might be categorized under several of the walls for different reasons, but this should be good enough to start the conversation.

  1. Interest in Another – showing or expressing interest in another person
  2. Non-Sexual Physical Intimacy – holding hands, hugging, kissing, cuddling, petting
  3. Intellectual Intimacy – having deep conversations, sharing a hobby or other interest in common, have aligned philosophical, political, or religious views, etc…
  4. Emotional Intimacy – the way that your partner looks at another, desiring and being excited to see another person, having or desiring a deep emotional connection with another
  5. The “L” Bomb – saying that you love someone else too
  6. Sexual Intimacy – sexual thoughts or having sex with another
  7. Commitment – entangling finances or living conditions, etc; bringing the partner over to family events,
  8. Children – wanting to have children with another, having their children play together, spending time or taking care of the other’s children

Jealousy Severity Rating (JSR)

In the table below I have the 8 Walls listed with a rating scale (0-5) for the Jealousy Severity Rating, and a section for Partner Notes. You could even create subcategories to show that certain aspects are better or worse for you like: non-sexual physical intimacy does not phase you, with the exception of kissing which is something that you may consider very intimate, and seeing your partner kiss another brings out a fresh batch of negative emotions.

Here is a PDF version of this: Jealousy Severity Rating Worksheet

Walls of Intimacy Jealousy Severity Rating (JSR) Partner Notes
0 1 2 3 4 5
1 Interest in Another
2 Non-Sexual Physical Intimacy
3 Intellectual Intimacy
4 Emotional Intimacy
5 The “L” Bomb
6 Sexual Intimacy
7 Commitment
8 Children

Jealousy Severity Rating

JSR name description notes
 0  no reaction no negative emotions are brought up, sunshine and rainbows good for you – compersive feelings are what it is all about
 1 light jealous reaction wibbling, you notice it and may be able to tell it to go away; you may be aware of what is happening and why perhaps some more self reflection is in order and perhaps consider a future talk with your partner about this
 2 mild jealous reaction some negative emotions arise are creating stress and some conflict with you and/or your partners this is a good time to start a conversation with you partner as well as healthy dose of self reflection time
 3 definite jealous reaction definite negative emotions arise: anger, sadness, feelings of loss or neglect and create definite conflict therapist most likely needed, partner conversation needed
 4 strong jealous reaction crying, rabid fears run amok, feeling despondent, questioning relationships and partner choices therapist definitely needed
 5 overwhelming jealousy hysterical crying, serious thoughts of divorce or breaking up, potential thoughts of suicide therapist definitely needed

Exploratory Exercises:

  • assign a Jealousy Severity Rating (JSR) to each Wall with 5 being the most severe reaction
  • create sub-categories or list specific triggers that are significant for you and list their JSR
  • rearrange these in the order from least to most likely to induce an attack of a negative emotion
  • share this with your partners along with notes of their triggers and for ways they can provide reassurance and support to help you combat or deal with it
  • your partners can do these exercises for themselves too
  • each partner can fill this out for how they believe these areas may affect their individual partners as a sort of a check. We may not think a specific or category or trigger affects us, but others may see that it does and this can start a conversation

The Implied Monogamous Relationship Agreement (IMRA)

Note: This post will be a sort of a part of a 2-part follow-up to my post on Understanding and Managing Jealousy:

  • Part 1 – The Implied Monogamous Relationship Agreement (IMRA)
  • Part 2 – Polyamory, surgeon Jealousy, approved and the Eight Walls of Intimacy

If you have not read the other two articles then please take a look.

Introduction

To get the most out of this article you will have to closely examine your past and present monogamous relationships as well as your thoughts, buy assumptions, and expectations in relationships to see the truth in what I am presenting. This process may be challenging for some. Keep in mind, also, that this is written in broad and sweeping terms.

This article is written from the stand point of an American in a westernized culture where monogamy is the norm and other relationships are not allowed and/or are punished. The only acceptable or even acknowledged relationship structure here is monogamy.

All relationships have a relationship agreement which governs what actions are acceptable or not – monogamy is no exception, although most do not even know that it exists or that this is a thing. The first rule of monogamy, like the Fight Club, is to not talk about the Implied Monogamous Relationship Agreement (IMRA) or even acknowledge its existence.

The IMRA is something that we are taught from birth. It is ingrained and indoctrinated into us as children. It is a fact of life and no other relationship formations can even be contemplated or considered, because the rules for all relationships are already set in stone for you before you were even born, and they are to be a visceral and intrinsic part of your worldview, understanding of life, and the way you interact with people. Its rules and your acceptance of them is implied and expected by everyone as a matter of course. To violate these rules is to court disaster from society at large.

Our culture supports, enforces, and perpetuates the existence of monogamy and its relationship agreement through books, movies, music, religion, laws, and our societal expectations of relationships. Understanding that the IMRA exists can help us to understand our thoughts, emotions and desires, to manage and understand jealousy better, and to better understand relationships dynamics.

As a note – a lot of this is perpetuated and reinforced by 2 harmful ideas: the Starvation Model of Love and the One True Love Myth. If you have not heard of these then please look them up. Perhaps I will write up a short post on this as well.

Contents of the Implied Monogamous Relationship Agreement

The IMRA manifests as a series of Exclusivity Clauses (EC) which effectively state that your partner will have exclusive access to you in the following major areas of life:

  1. Social
  2. Intellectual
  3. Emotional
  4. Sexual
  5. Financial
  6. Parental

I will talk about the individual EC’s a bit more below. In my forthcoming article that talks about the ‘Eight Walls of Intimacy’ you will see how these EC’s map to the Eight Walls – hint: they map pretty closely. Certain specific life moments may have significant overlap in several areas. Flirting is a good example of this, since it could hit on sexual, social, and intellectual or emotional areas, depending on the person or the situation.

For the following discussions I am going to assume that we are talking about a person who is in some form of a committed monogamous relationship (i.e. married or dating exclusively).

Before we dive in we have to create/define one word here as it will be used for our purposes so I do not have to repeat a large phrase each time:

person-gender:  a person of a gender that is appropriate for you as a potential romantic interest (i.e if you are a heterosexual woman then that gender would be male). This is typically applies to situations outside the work environment, but could apply there – each person, relationship, and situation is different.

Social Exclusivity

Social Exclusivity points to only spending time with your partner and no other person-gender – not for lunch (especially if they are very attractive), not chatting on Facebook, not flirting with, not going to a convention or concert with. Your primary social partner is your exclusive partner in all things not work related and anyone else is infringing in that space.

Intellectual Exclusivity

Intellectual Exclusivity points to not finding other person-gender interesting or having interests in common (and wanting to share it with them) especially if your partner does not share it in common with you; not having deep conversations about life, politics, religion, or philosophy, etc.

Emotional Exclusivity

Emotional Exclusivity points to only having romantic or other feelings of desire for your partner and no other person-gender – not still caring for your ex’s or even still carrying a flame for them or a previous love, not falling in love with or being attracted to someone else, not having a close friendship that is closer than an acquaintance or distant friend.

Sexual Exclusivity

Sexual Exclusivity points to having sex with and only sexual thoughts for your partner and not finding other person-gender attractive or thinking about them sexually, not looking at porn, not admitting that they are pretty or are in great shape, not pointing out great things about them, since you should have eyes for only your partner.

Financial Exclusivity

Financial exclusivity points to not spending money on other person-gender – not gifts, surprise parties, trips, etc. All money should be spent only on your partner.

Parental Exclusivity

Parental Exclusivity points to only wanting to have children with your partner, not thinking about wanting kids with partner-gender or what your children might look like. Obviously, there are some exceptions when you already have kids with someone else, but the other rules still basically apply to them too.

Life Partners Who Aren’t — And Never Will Be — Lovers

Here is a great link talking about a nontraditional family structure where people find others to raise kids with, emergency without romance messing things up: Life Partners Who Aren’t — And Never Will Be — Lovers  (Buzz Feed)

At 40, sale Dawn Pieke had just broken up with a live-in boyfriend who cheated on her, story but she was ready to have kids. She didn’t want an anonymous sperm donor — “because I hadn’t grown up with a dad myself, it was important to me to have my child know who their dad was.” So she started looking online, and eventually found a Facebook group devoted to something called coparenting.

“Single mothers by choice” have gotten a lot of attention in the past few years, and most discussions of single women — a topic of much recent scrutiny — include at least a nod toward women who go the sperm-donor route. But a growing number of single people want to have kids with someone else — and that person doesn’t have to be a romantic partner. Instead, it can be a coparent — someone they meet online or in life and agree to raise kids with, in a relationship that can be very close but isn’t sexual. And some coparents say this system has big advantages over the more traditional one.


 

The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality [video]

This is sad but true. The Tea Part has no real grasp on what America really is or who our founders really are. They claim to be Christians and hide behind claims of righteousness, medications but violate Jesus’ words at every turn. Hypocrisy and fundamentalism at it worst.

Matthew Vines speaks on the theological debate regarding the Bible and the role of gay Christians in the church. Delivered at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, sale Kansas on March 8, nurse
2012.

Rachel Maddow Interviewing David Bahati, the Sponsor of the “Killl the Gays” Bill in Uganda

As a follow up to my previous post on this topic titled “Ugandas Death Dentence Legislation for LGBT Peoples and the ‘Christians’ Who Counseled Them Towards This End ” – I just recently found this link from WATCH: RACHEL MADDOW INTERVIEWS UGANDAN MP DAVID BAHATI, migraine AUTHOR OF THE ‘KILL THE GAYS’ BILL. It is actually is disturbing to know that this sort of blind zealotry still exists. I do really know that it does, ed but it really saddens me to hear of it.  Please take the moment to watch it. Something interesting to note is that I do not think that this interview would have happened if MR. Bahati knew that Rachel Maddow was a lesbian.

Interview with David Bahati – Part 1

Interview with David Bahati – Part 2

Interview with David Bahati – Part 3

Prop 8 Appeal to be Televised

If you have not followed California’s Prop 8 trial please take the moment to watch the district court appeal which should give you an ideal and a great summary as to what this is all about and both sides’ views. One of the places it is available is via C-SPAN and it all starts at noon (CST). There is also a live BLogging of the district court appeal available at Prop 8 Trial Tracker in case you cannot watch the video at work… like me.

Please watch/read it. This really matters.

“Pregnant Mother’s Diet Impacts Infant’s Sense of Smell, Alters Brain Development” – a Science Daily Article

I came upon this really interesting article in Science Daily titled “Pregnant Mother’s Diet Impacts Infant’s Sense of Smell, prescription Alters Brain Development“. It says that a baby’s sense of smell is affected by what foods the mother eats while pregnant. This makes a lot of evolutionary sense. If the mother is consuming certain foods then it must be good for the baby to have a predilection to consume and have desires for this food as well. This is an effective way of helping to ensure that the baby will want eat the food that is available in its future food sphere. However, valeologist this horrendously backfires when the mother is an alcoholic or has a horrible diet to begin with allowing the potential to pass a desire in the baby for a similar life style. =(

If you are currently pregnant please keep this finding in mind…. think of the children.

Mosuo – an Egalitarian and Matriarchal Society in Tibet

The Mosuo are mentioned prominently in the book Sex at Dawn which I wrote about earlier. The Mosuo, unhealthy who are found on the Chinese/Tibetan border, pregnancy  are one of the few remaining egalitarian and matriarchal societies. What is so fascinating about them is, diagnosis partly that they are a matriarchal society where the mothers ares the center of the family, but also that a mothers family raises the children and the father does not necessarily have to have any direct involvement with his children. The children’s mother and her brothers etc take care of raising the children. Here it truly does take a tribe to raise a child.

They do not marry as we, westerners understand the term. They have something called Walking Marriage. At night if a woman wants the man to come in to spend the night then she leaves the door open for him, and in the morning he must be gone. Women may have however many partners as she deems appropriate, but these liaisons are usually based on love and not necessarily on libido.

Frontline World: Rough Cut has a 20 minute video titled ‘The Women’s Kingdom’ detailing the Mosuo culture. It is fascinating. Please take a moment to watch it.

Read More

Review “Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality” – A+++

California’s Appellate Court granted a stay on Judge Vaughn’s ruling pending appeal. This was, patient in my opinion, to be expected since this is such a high profile case and precedent setting case,  so nothing drastic there. However, there is some good news as far as this process is concerned as is covered here BREAKING: 9th Circuit STAYS Judge Walker’s ruling; Appeal scheduled December 6 on Prop 8 Trial Tracker:

  • the appellate court is expediting the the appeal of the ruling of the unconstitutionality of Prop 8 and set the date for the week of 6 December, which is awesome. The sooner the, hopefully, better.
  • they are also specifically asking the Prop8’ers: In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. which is huge. Judge Vaughn said that they do not have standing for a stay or appeal, if I remember correctly, and the appellate court obviously pretty much agrees with them, but are giving them a chance to sound at least a little rational and try to retain some self respect.

In the scheme of things this is pretty huge. The appeal process could end up being pretty short (comparatively speaking) since they do not have standing for appeal, so this may most likely get dismissed with prejudice. This will be a massively huge win and precedent for gay rights all throughout the US if this does happen, since there will be a court ruling stating that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional and they have no standing. Of course, once that happens the appellate court’s decision will be appealed and, hopefully, a similar thing will happen in the Supreme Court.

Cross your fingers everyone. History and justice is happening. =)
I recently finished the book Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. It is an excellent and life altering book. It really ties together a lot of what I have read about evolutionary psychology and evolutionary biology. If you have not read this book, ask or even if you have never read an evolutionary psychology book at all, pharmacy read it. It may change the way that you see the world, and I mean that in a good way. It covers topics such as monogamy, swinging, infidelity, and polyamory in it.  It truly covers the wide spectrum of human sexuality. Wow is all I can say.

If you do not know what polyamory is I have written a primer on polyamory for those who are curious.

9th Circuit STAYS Judge Walker’s Ruling Pending an Expedited Appeal

California’s Appellate Court granted a stay on Judge Vaughn’s ruling pending appeal. This was, visit this in my opinion, to be expected since this is such a high profile case and precedent setting case,  so nothing drastic there. However, there is some good news as far as this process is concerned as is covered here BREAKING: 9th Circuit STAYS Judge Walker’s ruling; Appeal scheduled December 6 on Prop 8 Trial Tracker:

  • the appellate court is expediting the the appeal of the ruling of the unconstitutionality of Prop 8 and set the date for the week of 6 December, which is awesome. The sooner the, hopefully, better.
  • they are also specifically asking the Prop8’ers: In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. which is huge. Judge Vaughn said that they do not have standing for a stay or appeal, if I remember correctly, and the appellate court obviously pretty much agrees with them, but are giving them a chance to sound at least a little rational and try to retain some self respect.

In the scheme of things this is pretty huge. The appeal process could end up being pretty short (comparatively speaking) since they do not have standing for appeal, so this may most likely get dismissed with prejudice, which would prevent a Supreme Court Appeal. This will be a massively huge win and precedent for gay rights all throughout the US if this does happen, since there will be a court ruling stating that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional and they have no standing.

If  the Supreme Court does not dismiss out of hand due to lack of standing, which would rock, then the appellate court’s decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Cross your fingers everyone. History and justice is happening. =)

“Social Organization Among Apes” from the book “Sex at Dawn”

I am currently reading the new book ” Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality” which is a book on Evolutionary Psychology, search which for me, more info is a really fascinating topic. I think I have the table copied over correctly. It is a great book so far.

This table occurs in Chapter 3 and I found it really, really interesting and I thought I would share it with you. I found it especially interesting since chips and bonobos are our closest genetic relatives, differing by about 1.6%. It is amazing how diverse the primates’ mating patterns are.

Table 1:  Social Organization Among Apes

Bonobo

Egalitarian and peaceful, bonobo communities are maintained primarily through social bonding between females, although females bond with males as well. Male status derives from the mother. Bonds between son and mother are lifelong. Multimale-multifemale mating.

Chimpanzee

The bonds between males are strongest and lead to constantly shifting male coalitions.  Females move through overlapping ranges within territory patrolled by males, but don’t form strong bonds with other females or any particular male. Multimale-multifemale mating

Gibbon

Gibbons establish nuclear family units; each couple maintains a territory from which other pairs are excluded. Mating is monogamous. mating.

Gorilla

Generally, a single dominant male (the so-called ·Silverback”) occupies a range for his family unit composed of several females and young. Adolescent males are forced out of the group as they reach sexual maturity. Strongest social bonds are between the male and adult females. Polygynous mating.

Human

By far the most diverse social species among the primates, there is plentiful evidence of all types of socio-sexual bonding, cooperation, and competition among contemporary humans. Multimale-multifemale

Orangutan

Orangutans are solitary and show little bonding of any kind. Male orangutans do not tolerate each other’s presence. An adult male  establishes a large territory where several females live. Each has her own range. Mating is dispersed, infrequent and often violent.

Transcripts and Evidence from the Proposition 8 Trial available online

Transcripts and Evidence from the Proposition 8 Trial available online now! Yea!

If you have not taken a look at some of this please do.

New Examiner Article – “California’s Proposition 8 is found unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker.”

I just posted a more in-depth article on the Prop 8 findings for the Milwaukee Examiner-  California’s Proposition 8 is found unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker.

California’s Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional by Judge Walker

Holy thank God! =)

As I fully expected, traumatologist and if you followed the transcripts you will know what I mean, troche  California’s proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional via Prop 8 Trial Tracker (full decision)! Judge Vaugh Walker dropped the big metal hammer of constitutional justice upon this sordid issue. Happy Days!

Now the long process of appeals begins for the Prop8’ers.