When Two Tribes Go To War


Us and them - when two tribes go to war

I’ve been spending a bit of time recently reading and following varies threads on poly discussion groups and forums.

I’ve noticed a few things about the poly community which I’ve found quite interesting

“polyamory is loving however/whoever makes you happy … as long as you aren’t unicorn-hunting, don’t operate a OPP, etc”.

From my perspective I can identify two relatively clearly defined tribes based upon the way they react to simple questions on forums and I’m going to try and define them.

There are those polyfolk for whom poly means;

“Everyone should be free to arrange their relationships however they see fit”

These include those that practice hierarchy with “primaries” and “secondaries”. It also generally covers the polyfidelitous triads and quads.

They generally consider boundaries to be okay as long as they are mutually negotiated. I believe this tribe are probably the largest and most common.

They most likely read and liked “Opening Up“.

Then there are those polyfolk for whom poly means

“everyone is responsible for their own happiness, and it’s unethical to expect another person to permanently restrict themselves for the sake of your insecurities”

They generally consider boundaries is a bad smell, and even if they might be necessary for some relationships, they’re purely used as training wheels.

Their ultimate goal will always be to eliminate boundaries and not accept or perpetuate them in any form.

These are the people who have self-defined, independent relationships with some number of friends and lovers.

These folks probably read and liked “The Ethical Slut”.

There is some crossover of people and ideas, but I tend to consider these tribes as two pretty well-defined ideological factions.

From what I’ve seen so far the two tribes seem to spend one hell of a lot of time arguing and writing hateful  things about the other set without even realising what they’re doing.

It’s probably why we seem to see such a lot of internal drama on poly discussion groups and forums.

So Just because someone hasn’t gravitated to your personally preferred set of no-rules-except-my-rules polyamory doesn’t mean they aren’t open-minded or will someday see it your way “when they mature”.

We all have to consider that they might just be content with what they are doing already and perhaps agree to disagree.

Remember, polyamory is all about “love”, “communication” and “understanding”.

3 thoughts on “When Two Tribes Go To War

  1. There is a movie you should definitely watch, it’s called “Heartbeat” with Nick Nolte as Neal Casady, Sissy Spacek as Carolyn Casady and John Heard as Jack Kerouac. They were among the best-known of the American Beatniks and the story covers their lives from about 1947 until 1966. They were a triangle.

    At the end of the film, Carolyn is musing to herself (and to us): “For Neal, life was without compromises, but for Jack, life was nothing BUT compromises. And me? They’re like dental appointments, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

    This is, in reality, a “first among equals” thing. None for us, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On forums, specifically, what I see happen is that someone comes in with the idea that they want to create this polyfidelious relationship riddled with couple privilege, and then ask why they are not making successful connections with willing candidates. A bunch of people then reply saying that the relationships they are seeking only really work for the “primary” couple and perhaps that is why seasoned poly people are put off and noobs quickly realise this isn’t going to work for them and either try a “cow person” move or bow out gracefully. This is met by defensiveness and accusations of “one twue wayism” by the OP and a few others who may be seeking or in the early days of such a connection. Or perhaps those who have successful connections but don’t realise they only have those because they occurred organically and genuinely work for the parties involved. Not because the relationship structure and philosophy is flawless.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s