Any healthy relationship involves a certain amount of influence, but what is the point at which influence is convert into coercive control?
I was listening to the radio yesterday and heard something about the new laws being introduced around coercive control within the UK, I’m really wondering what potential impact it could have upon the polyamory community.
I believe that this will place a massive dependency upon the determination of “Consent vs.Coercion” for us all in the future.
This, in itself in my opinion is not a bad development for those practising any form of ethical non-monogamy, but I have concerns that determination of this difference may have just become a very grey area, especially when you consider that the decision is likely to be taken by a third part that is unlikely to be “poly friendly” and in this instance the legal UK system.
I suspect that it may potentially have a big impact on some areas, particularly couples making a decision to open up their relationships in the future.
Another area that’s potentially at risk is newbies to polyamory, often their first mentors in polyamory relationship are also their first partners. Most of the time this will be fine, as the more experienced partner helps their less-experienced new partner get their feet, however the potential power imbalance that this creates for control and manipulation to arise is a risk.
Basically we all need to start talking about this and making sure we all behave in an ethical manner.
Lets be honest, abuse in a poly relationship can look very similar to abuse in any romantic relationship, but there are likely to be red-flags that help identify specifically in polyamory.
There are also specific challenges for polyamory, due to the way that it’s social networks and communities function within the wider poly world as a whole.
We need to embrace consent, agency and personal autonomy more so we don’t make simple mistakes in this ever changing world.
I’ve posted an extract of this piece to Reddit.com to see what other people think