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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

November 9th, 2004

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07:16 pm - *gets on soapbox* "Now, I'm not trying to offend, but watch me say something wrong and regret it!"
Over the past 10 years, I've been exposed to some interesting things in Paganism. One of the results of this is that I can pretty well take any new development with relatively little non-plus.

Every so often, though, I'm a bit surprised at things. I'd like to address two of them, because they've been on my mind recently for various reasons.

**Note: No, this isn't directed at anyone. It's just some observation to hopefully help people understand what I mean.


It bothers a lot of people that I just don't get it. I don't understand polyamoury or the dynamics that cause/contribute to it/make it work. This leads a lot of people to think that I'm against poly relationships for all manner of silly reasons.

Let me start like this: I'm not poly. I'm not going to be poly. Yes, that means that even if you ask me three times in one week, I'm still not going to be poly. By the same token, what you do with your life is entirely up to you, and I encourage you to use it as you see fit. Just not on me.

My problem with poly doesn't come from the lifestyle. It comes from the people I've encountered who claim the poly lifestyle as their own. Over the past two-three years, I've met some genuinely caring, good people who were poly. Before that, I hadn't met any people who were poly who I really liked (at least, no one who told me that they were poly; I'd probably met some and didn't know it).

The reason I didn't like the people I'd met before is that I was in a relationship, and they wouldn't take "no". "No" meant, to them, that I was not being considerate of their poly lifestyle. To me, repeated attempts to get me to become poly, or to explain polyamoury without me asking them first showed that they weren't considerate of my wish to be monogamous with my girlfriend.

One girl, after asking me three times if I'd date her because "Tina would be okay with it" (despite the fact that I'd never asked Tina, nor did I really want to), asked me if I would date her if I wasn't with Tina. My response was quick, harsh, and possibly the meanest thing I've ever said to a person: "No, because I don't find you attractive." It wasn't necessarily true, but I was so fed up with her persistence and downright obstinance that I had to do something, and being mean was the only thing I hadn't tried.

I'm very free with my flirtations, but that's only because they don't mean anything. I enjoy flirting, and I like innuendo.

I think that people who are cool with their sexuality rock. I think that people who can love lots of people are probably very good people. Actually, I think that people, especially women, who are free and open with their sexuality are generally very strong people. But I also see some of these people as painting a rosey picture where there's something rotten beneath.

Most of the people I've met who are poly are interested in one thing: sex. I watched several of them seek out and eventually damage people emotionally just because they were hot. I've seen people who, rather than being accepting of another person's monogamy, have called that person "stupid" or "dangerous" or "not really Pagan". I watched polyamoury rip a local Grove apart at the seams. I'm convinced that I once saved a girl who was receiving unwelcome advances from rape.

That's what I've dealt with for years. A lot of this was men who called themselves poly, but acted contrary to what I understand poly to be all about. A couple of people on my friends list have convinced me, over time and over experience with them, that there are positive aspects to being poly. I know that not all persons who are poly are like that now. But for the first 7 years of my experience as a Pagan, that's the kind of person I met.

So if you wonder, just for a moment, why I don't necessarily understand poly relationships, that's why.

Senior Druids and Grove Members:

A few months ago, there was some commotion on the ADF-SD list regarding Senior Druids and their dating habits. Someone had posed the question of whether it was proper for an SD to date members of their Grove, and I was a bit shocked that the overwhelming answer to this was "yes", and that some people actually encouraged it.

I didn't reply there, because I had to think it through. It was one of those things where the answer isn't immediately obvious, and to bring it up now would be old hat, and a rehash. So I'm going to try to outline my thought process here, instead.

After thinking it over, I don't think that relationships among leadership of a Grove is a good idea. I know it works for lots of Groves, and lots of study groups, and lots of covens, but I don't think it's wise.

Of course, an established couple, be they husband/wife or simply long-term relationship, is very different than a few hookups. Still, there are considerations that I just can't get past.

First, it makes the SD no longer impartial. If a dispute arises that affects the other person (or persons) in the relationship, the SD is not going to have a clear view of what's going on. That alone is dangerous.

Second, it makes it hard for a single person in the Grove to gain say in matters. This is especially the case in smaller Groves. If the SD is involved with one person, that's one less person you can go to if you have a problem with the SD. ADF Groves are rarely large, and the loss of one person you can talk to is huge.

A poly relationship could make this even worse. You might have all three officers in one relationship, which suddenly makes it very difficult for a person to gain a voice. The thing about relationships is that they tend to form blocks. People become "other" to the relationship, and their opinion doesn't count as much, either because the people in the relationship don't care, or because they constantly hear the side of their lover(s) more often. Plus, it's easier to give in to your lover than to fight them.

One of the most damaging things, though, is the fact that when officers act together, though, their motives become shaded in the eyes of the rest of the Grove. When officers in a relationship send a joint email, the critical (or hurt) party will automatically fall back on, "I'll bet that X got Y to send that because they're sleeping together!" Decisions that were discussed in depth are written off as one person controlling the other through sex. That reaction can cost you half your Grove, if you let it fester.

Third, there's the whole "trust" thing that priests are supposed to have. If you start sleeping with your congregants, you need to be very careful of a few things: Are you sleeping with people who are looking for spiritual help? Are you taking advantage of their need for help? Does the person have the ability to say no to you? Will you still retain their trust after you've slept with them? Will you still retain the Grove's trust?

Fourth, you have to worry about driving people away after a messy breakup. If your SO is an ADF member, and you break up with them in such a way that they feel like they can't come back to your Grove, then they're stuck being solitary. Nothing is worse than suddenly not belonging, and if you can't return to your religion, something people should find solace in, then what can you turn to?

Finally, though, there's the danger that you'll get starfuckers. There are people out there who want to sleep with high-ranking people in any organization. Those people may or may not be looking for the power that comes along with that, but you need to watch for them. Starfuckers cause more burnout than anything outside of Pagan politics.

No one thinks that they're violating any rules when they do things that are fun, but I really think that, if I had to look for a new girlfriend, I would continue to look outside ADF, and certainly outside my Grove. My Grove trusts me, I hope, and I wouldn't want to damage that trust. I'm very much afraid that, if I did sleep with a Grove member, or even another person in ADF, I'd lose that trust.
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[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 04:54 pm (UTC)


(because i must think about how this could be relevant to me, me me! ;)

if you had thought all this out a year ago, would you have given me different advice re: adam? (or, for that matter, is a grove organizer of a different category than a senior druid?) not that it would probably have changed anything, but i'm curious.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 01:46 pm (UTC)

Re: hmmm...

I don't think I would have given you any different advice. If I recall right, I did mention that a Grove could get torn apart, and that I've seen it happen, but really, the choice is up to the individuals involved.

I really think that when I say "SD's" above, maybe I meant "MJD's in particular". Thing is, though, I think that before anyone gets into such a relationship, they need to talk it over first, not after it's happened.

Then again, everyone has moments of passion that they don't plan. Otherwise, they wouldn't be any fun.

Honestly, I was quite happy to see that, despite the awkwardness and such, your breakup went pretty darn well. I could have had a mess on my hands :) I'm very happy I didn't have to get involved.

You did well. :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 05:38 pm (UTC)
I've never seen a poly relationship that looked healthy. In fact, I think in the case of one person close to me, it let alot of damage happen. I call shenannigans on the entire idea. Either you can do it right with one person, or you need to learn more about yourself, you know?
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 01:48 pm (UTC)
On occasion, it seems to work, or so I've seen recently. But I admit I'm immediately skeptical of them, as you are.
[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 05:49 pm (UTC)
I'm very much afraid that, if I did sleep with a Grove member, or even another person in ADF, I'd lose that trust.

I'm rather amused by this comment because so many people seemed to think that we did sleep together at that Wellspring where we met.

I don't think you lose trust just because you have a relationship with someone. However, if you let your relationship interfere with your ability to do your job then you'll lose it really quickly- probably more quickly than if your problems came from anything else.

Being single, I won't rule out being involved with another person in ADF. After all, someone in ADF is going to have a fair amount of things in common with me on some levels, which I find to be important. And there's lots of smart folks in ADF, which I also find important. Frankly, any time you date someone there's potential for things to get messy somewhere, it's just matter of degree. If I date a classmate, that could get tricky. If I date one of the guys that shows up at karoke, that could get messy, too. My ex husband & I spliting was definitely messy & hard on my old Coven, but not nearly as bad as when another couple split up & things got seriously nasty. Neither destroyed the group.

As for polyamoury, I'm recently deciding that poly or mono doesn't matter nearly as much whether the folks involved are happy with it. You're very right to say that folks should respect your right to be happily monogamous. But I know some pretty unhappy monogamous folks. I know at least one guy who's poly now but mainly because his wife has decided that she doesn't really want him. They were initially mono & the impression I have is that he'd happily go back to that. And I know one couple where she told him he was free to do whatever then she got really pissed when he did just that. And I know some happily poly people, even if it weirds me out a little that I have a friend who occasinally tries to get me to sleep with her boyfriend.

[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 01:52 pm (UTC)
Well, yes. There are rumours (which I encourage, actually), and then there's actually doing it. I've set up some expectations among people for a certain level of behavior, and a lot of the time, those expectations are what the trust people have on me is built on.

But at the moment, I think all of ADF is out for me. I'm just not interested in a relationship within ADF, and there are a variety of reasons for that.
[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 06:37 pm (UTC)
Two words:

I agree.

I can't understandy poly relationships (though I know and platonically--familially? you get the idea--love several poly people) and wouldn't want one. I like my monogamous relationship. But hey, that's me. That's not for everyone. I once knew a girl who wanted me to be in a poly relationship with her. I couldn't do it--I knew my boyfriend wouldn't like it, true, but I also knew that such a relationship wouldn't work for me.

If a person can honestly make that work for them, then more power to 'em. I know I can't do it.

Yeah, I flirt too. But it's fun to flirt when folks know that nothing's going to come of it. That takes all the tension out of it for me, but keeps the fun.

I also don't think people should date within a grove, especially not SDs. It's not quite the same kind of energy as a coven--and for that I'm glad, I don't think I could handle that--but it's also usually not as loose as a large church congregation, where maybe you could "get away with it". I just don't see it as having a good outcome, ultimately. It's why I would never date someone from work, only more so, because this is a spiritual enterprise.

But man, I'm glad to hear someone else say this. I was starting to think I was alone.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 01:57 pm (UTC)
Not alone. Just in a less-vocal group, that's all. A lot of Pagan books focus on sexuality and the ideals of free-love as if they're integral to everyone's spirituality.

They aren't, and I think that Pagans get mis-represented that way, simply because we don't talk as much about being mono as others talk about being poly.
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[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC)
It's definintely inevitable to some point, but more often than not, we can choose. It's the making of those choices that I think about most.

I like your company analogy. It's very apt.
(Deleted comment)
Date:November 9th, 2004 07:36 pm (UTC)
I call myself poly, but I am not really sure that I am. It's an easy to use word that people in most of the circles I run in can relate to (although, as you mention it is often related to negatively). I would be under the label of monogamous... except I'm a femme dyke and married to a man. Men (that aren't my squishie pooh) are just squick (sorry babe). Having said that, wandering around the "poly community" I have found the people who often call themselves poly do the most damage to the term. I also think the same of the words pagan and neopagan. Yet another reason I say I am not neo/pagan. ;)

You make very valid points with your thoughts on relationships and Groves. I see only three pin-pricks. The first is if you allow longterm relationships or legally wed people but not dating or flings, how do you justify it? Those relationships have just as much a chance to blow up painfully. Yeah, yeah, life is not fair. :-D The second is that love cannot be controlled. If feelings develop how do you tell people to knock it off or leave? This leads into the third thing of how do you define a meaningful relationship and a non-meaningful. I'm sure on some level starfuckery has it's meaning to the individual.

But these are all things that, surprisingly, some corporations also struggle with. They even go so far as to say significant others cannot work in the same department together (unless they meet there and got married after both were employed by said company). They will even state certain family member also cannot work in the same departments.

It is a very fine line to walk. Especially if you are clergy. I think it comes down to group dynamics. Some groups could have everyone boinking each other and a break-up could happen and they wouldn't miss a beat. While others would have a tragedy of large proportion on their hands. How do you make a universal policy that doesn't work universally?

And is a member of clergy really taking advantage of someone? How do we figure that out, especially since that sounds very much as if we are basing such a judgment call on one of the more puritanical religions. How do we balance sexual openness with improper behavior?

Personally, I think ultimately it depends on the group and individuals. Some people aren't meant to do those things; they are spiritually, emotionally and psychologically mature enough. Unfortunately I think they are few and far between. Oh, and I wasn't asking any of this questions in an accusatory tone (which I am sure you know), they're really thinking out loud rhetorical questions. :)
Date:November 9th, 2004 07:38 pm (UTC)
They are not spiritually... for got the "not", bwahahahaha.
[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
One thing I've found in interacting with members of the poly community, and having a polyamorous relationship myself; is that like monogomy, it is not for everyone, and good communication skills are necessary in order to make it work. And even then you aren't going to guarantee yourself a stress-free relationship; but when the bumps and grinds do hit, it will make the transition through that period "relatively" easier. The problem with flirtation and innuendo is that sometimes the other party will want you to follow through with it; and what can seem to be innocuous flirting at the time could have profound consequences later. Though that's not to say that if one enjoys flirting that they should be discouraged; just some food for thought.

At polymatchmakers, an online group and connection service for members of the poly community that I belong to, I've counted no less than seven or ten different interpretations of what "poly" is... are you referring to polyfidelity, polyamory, or polygamy (and its internal offshoots: polyandry and polygyny)? And I've also noticed that what one person feels is giving a bad name to poly, another person feels that what they are experiencing are well within the established parameters. So, your mileage may vary.

As far as polyarmory goes; as a strict definition, it means "many loves," and the consensus I've picked up on (though I could be wrong) is that it applies equally to non-sexual love, as it does to sexual love. As a random question, how many times do you say "I love you" to a friend, family member, or lover? If so, on a technical/semantical level, then you're already engaging in polyamory; it's just a degree of intrepretation and association.

*Chuckling* Also from what I've noticed reading through the message boards at PMM, as well as through the discussion listings of ADF, and the boards at ACOD, and OBOD; the consensus of what poly is or isn't is almost if not as varied as what it means to be a Druid.

However, one thing most polys are agreed on, is that "no" means exactly that--with the minor exception some very bizarre S&M groups that have some other safe-word or action established to indicate the same concept. And anything that steps over bounds of that "no" is unethical behaviour. If one is trying to maintain good relationships, as well as communication, making someone do something that they are not amenable or agreeable towards is not going to help matters--if anything, it will only succede in deepening suspicions, hurts, angers, and keep wounds festering.

Regarding Clergy, romantic interludes, and grove membership: I would take the view that such should be treated in a like manner to intra-office romances. Although looking at some members of various protestant branches of the Christian tree, quite a few of their ministers establish long-lasting relationships from within the area that their congregation comes from and seem to have no ill result from it--granted I must make the plea that I do not know when or where those clergy who are married met their wives, but at the same time, it is not implausible for someone of such position (unless they're catholic) to marry someone from the congregation.

From a Celtic reconstructionist perspective, such a union would be good as it is making ties and bonding with the community that one has chosen to serve (although not necessarily a requirement). And instead of causing a divide, it can provide a pillar of strength.

And even with the best and most sound judgement, one will occassionally, if not often, miss the signs until review at a later time. Hindsight is after all twenty-twenty. In the interim, one must continually live in as forthright manner as they can, and do what needs to be done in observance and honoring the family, friends, lover/s, the tribe, the community, the ancestors, the spirits of place and nature, and the deities. We are not perfect, though we strive for perfection.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think that there are always things that will happen, and you're right: Protestents seem to do just fine with clergy having relationships with congregants. I do wonder, though, if part of that isn't due to them having more options: if you're uncomfortable going to the Zion UCC, you can go to the 4th Street UCC down the street. I don't know if Pagans have a similar option, really. Plus, there's the size of the congregation, and the ability to get lost in it, as well as the inability to claim your own spiritual authority and take half the church with you.

But I may be over-stating the case, too.

The more poly people I meet, the more I think I just ran into lots and lots of bad apples. :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 10:44 pm (UTC)
Until a few years ago, I had never really seen a functional polyamorous relationship either. (Since then I've seen several, not to mention my current relationship.) So I do know where you're coming from.

But if someone won't take no for an answer, or if they say you *have* to sleep with them to be a part of a group, then I'd venture to say that it has nothing to do with their fidelity/orientation/religion, and everything to do with them being a sexual predator. Anyone who pulls those tricks and tries to use poly as a defense is like a grown man sleeping with an underage boy and says it's 'just part of being gay'. Nuh-uh.

It could be argued that sexual predators are attracted to what they perceive as polyamory because they think they can use it to excuse their reprehensible behavior. Much the way it could be said that lesbians are attracted to women's colleges... but it doesn't mean that every girl at Randolph-Macon is a lesbian.

As for inter-grove dating, that's a sticky wicket. Er. Well. Yes.

I know in the UUA, for a minister to date a member of the congregation is damn near impossible with all the rules and regulations -- I think the congregation may have to vote on whether or not to allow the courtship, but I could be making that up. But it's for all the reasons you mentioned, and then some. Using the grove as your sexual playground is a Bad Idea, but on the other hand... statistics say that lots of people meet their future spouse 'at church'. Hell, that's how I met David. And Kimberly. But Gaia Community has way more members than the average grove.

Hell, whether it's polyamory, grove dating, or anything else, I think that it can be done well, or it can be ugly. And it usually has more to do with the individuals involved that the particular flavors.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)
Yes. I was thinking about you guys when I wrote this, actually, hoping not to offend. I seem to have done okay :)

Sometimes it works. I'm just not at all sure that, as a general rule, it's going to work out more often than it doesn't.

And you're right about sexual predators. Unfortunately.
[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 10:47 pm (UTC)
I tend to prefer poly relationships to mono ones for a variety of reasons, most of which aren't related to sex; Growing up, I didn't observe many healthy or positive monogamous relationships, and the people who used to come to the parish looking for counseling certainly weren't in healthy relationships either; so far, I haven't seen or experienced anything that would lead me to believe that poly relationships are less healthy, or more healthy, than monogamous relationships.

I've been in two poly relationships and two monogamous relationships, so it's not as if I have a slew of experience in the area, but it has been my experience that people in poly relationships are generally more emotionally mature and quite secure in themselves, and jealousy really doesn't tend to be as much of an issue, because of the whole sharing thing being inherent in the relationship.

It's refreshing to be able to say that a woman you're not involved with is gorgeous and not have your partner(s) jump on you for it.

YMMV, and I'm not going to chatter about BDSM relationships over here, because I know none of you well enough for that.

As far as clergy and romance. I was lucky in that my church permitted its priests to marry if we chose to... not that I really had time for a romantic relationship with what my average day consisted of, but... I do know several priests who married while serving congregations, and a couple who married members of their congregations.

In one of those cases, it worked out well. They're happily married... In the other, the fellow ended up leaving his parish, and it made a total mess of things.

I wouldn't advise clergy of any stripe to date within their congregation, because there are professional boundaries there that really shouldn't be crossed. If I've heard your confessions, I'm not dating you, period.

If people do decide to date within the congregation, that's up to them. Most of the advice I have doesn't really apply to pagan clergy, because it's not exactly the same conflict of interest. There's no confession in ADF, so ADF clergy don't have to remain as neutral and detached as catholic/orthodox priests do.

Plus you can't talk about confessions after they've been made. The urge to ramble on about 'OMG, I can't believe you slept with Jim before we were married' would likely be far too great if it were me.

P.S. I used to be ninian_dp in case you're wondering how I stumbled over here.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:26 pm (UTC)
I hope you don't mind me re-adding you, as I generally enjoyed your posts. That they won't be related to ADF doesn't mean I won't be somewhat interested, I don't think. :)

Well, I don't call any women "gorgeous" outside of Tina, Eris, and a specific kitten, because I really don't see any women approaching them. Crazy how I am.

It's the professional boundaries that I worry most about, when it comes to SD's and clergy dating within their congregations. I've seen it work, too, but the potential to ruin more lives than just your own is staggering to me. Having the ability to rip apart a congregation freaks me a lot.
[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2004 11:21 pm (UTC)
Poly doesn't work for everyone. I've come across many people who aren't poly, and as much as I wish they were they're not. I may ask once, and wish many times...but it's not something I'm going to force on someone.

I've been thinking of writing an entry on polyamory. Maybe I should get around to that.

If you're interested in books on it. Try Ethical Slut. I'm currently reading it, maybe you'd get some helpful insight?
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:27 pm (UTC)
The Ethical Slut is actually on my Amazon wishlist. As I'm not poly, I don't really need to be paying for a copy out of pocket at the moment, though.

You should write that entry on poly :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 10th, 2004 05:43 am (UTC)
First: you are an amazingly strong and good person.

Second: if "I don't find you attractive" is the meanest thing you have ever said to a person, you are the biggest sweetheart ever. Even if it was a lie.

Third: While maintaining my "open to it, though cautious" position on polyamory in theory, I agree with everything you said on the subject. Most poly relationships that I have seen are immature and ride an emotional wave. But what burns me up is people using polyamory to circumvent "no means no". Using polyamory as an excuse to pressure someone for sex is just another form of hurtful, immature peer pressure to get into someone's pants. It should be stopped. No means no. Period. I'm so sorry you have had to put up with that kind of pressure, but I'm glad you are strong enough to withstand it. It really bothers me that there are so many others who can't and give in.

On grove leadership dating grove members: That's a wise stance you have. Not only can such relationships cause problems within the grove, but such dating is dangerous because of the power inherent in the SD position. It would be similar to a teacher-student relationship. My feelings about such a relationship are that it would be unwise, and probably unethical primarily on the power basis.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I try. Mostly, I fall on my face. But I do try.

I think it's the meanest thing I've ever said. Probably not the meanest thing I've ever done.

As for withstanding that pressure, it's actually pretty easy for me. I have a very hot, very monogamous girlfriend. It solves most of those problems for me.

I was thinking, also, that it's similar to a teacher-student relationship. I'm not a fan of relationships that involve a differentiation of power, in any way. I believe in full equality.
[User Picture]
Date:November 10th, 2004 06:03 am (UTC)
I think much of what has been said about polyamorous relationships is accurate. They differ from a monogamous in matter of degree only really. There are more people involved and therefore more opportunities for things to go wrong, it depends on the communication and the people. One possible advantage that a poly relationship has (and yes can also screw up) is when raising kids an extra adult around is darn handy. zylch is not (emphasis for her...I'm too old and an asshole ;}.)in a poly relationship with saffronhare and I but is worth her weight in gold to have around. She may not think she does much with the kids and we try not to take advantage of her presence but every bit she does is great. I can see all sorts of problems with having more "parents" but we have lost our extended families over the past few decades and I think that polyamory is one attempt to regain that.
[User Picture]
Date:November 10th, 2004 07:38 am (UTC)

philô all' ouk erô se. (Roughly translated: I like you, but I don't like-like you.)

Darn tootin' you are. You're also too married for my taste, which makes three strikes. As for Saff, see above re: not all women who go to Randolph Macon Woman's College are lesbians. Don't even need strikes two and three there.

The only thing that particularly bothers me about polyamory is the same thing that bothers me about homosexuality: the name. Man on man action, A-OK, but mixing Greek and Latin word roots is just uncouth! Multiamory or polyeroticism would be much better, IMNSHO.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:38 pm (UTC)

Re: brief note while I think on the rest

Well, I might say something like that just because it'll raise an eyebrow. :) But yea, I realize that my experience with poly people was limited primarily because of the fact that lots of people are not open about it.

In fact, I might go so far as to say that the people who are unlikely to act as I described are just the ones that won't say anything.

I imagine it would be a difficult thing to explain, probably more for a woman than a man.
Date:November 10th, 2004 08:34 am (UTC)


I agree with a bunch of your points and disagree with some as well.

There really is nothing more annoying on the planet than a poly person who wants to push polyamory on everyone around them. These are people who I wish to smack repeatedly. They are also the people who assume that I will sleep them and/or let them watch (equally as annoying and slightly more icky).

I think starfuckers come whether or not a SD is available, and really the only thing you can do is to be aware and deal with it on a case by case basis.

If this is about the thread on the leadership (not SD, unless there really *is* no mythical SD list and it was on leadership), I believe I started that one, and was looking for honest answers on the subject, not a cheering squad. I would have really appreciated this response during that discussion, but understand why you didn't.

Obviously, I don't agree on your stance about SDs never dating, or never dating anyone else the grove (see: Exhibit A - My Life) and I think people will see collusion or influence where they will.

Also, you seem to be making a lot of assumptions on how relationships and grove working intersect (as in: ... it's easier to give in to your lover than to fight them. ). I know you've never been to any of our business meetings, but I can assure you, there is plenty of disagreement between members who are involved with each other. maxsteele and I have been doing the poly thing for a long time and have been doing the pagan leadership for a long time we have learned to check grove business as the bedroom door. Before there was any involvement with anyone else, we all sat down and discussed what it would mean for the grove, what the risks were and what the exit strategies were if it didn't work out.

Of course, I have the added knowledge of going through a divorce and having to deal within it in a large quasi-pagan (Ren Faire. We all know damn well it's a Pagan draw). maxsteele and I dealt with it the only way we knew how, we let everyone know we were getting divorced, it was amicable and that there was no need to choose sides. In fact, we told people that if they felt the need to choose sides, they would probably lose both of us as friends.

I am curious though, what do you constitute a "long term relationship", 6 months? A year? 10 years? And at what point does it become less distasteful for a SD to be involved with a congregant/officer?

[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:45 pm (UTC)

Re: well...

Eh, perhaps I mixed up my lists. I'm on so many now that it happens :)

The reason I didn't post this statement there is pretty simple: I hadn't fully formed it. I don't like to throw out things immediately without thinking about them, especially when they might change someone's opinion. A half-formed, half-thought-about opinoin is perhaps more dangerous than a wrong opinion.

Sitting down and discussing these things is very important. If you're going to be running a Grove and such, then I'd suggest that you have to do that. A lot of what I base my position on is what might happen to *me* and to *my grove* or to groves I might advise.

I worry a lot about power dynamics in my own Grove, and don't think it would be intelligent for me to date people within it. No matter how smart I might think I am, I'm not able to recognise when a person is showing affection becuase they're hurting spirtually or because it's really about liking me.

The SD badge brings a lot of baggage and worry, at least in my experience.

Long-term? It's not so much a temporal thing, as it is a "maturity level" thing. Some people go for years involved in puppy-love, and some go for a week before they move into full commitment and level-headed decision-making and planning. It's tied more to the people involved than to the time they're together.
[User Picture]
Date:November 10th, 2004 11:39 pm (UTC)
Well, I consider myself poly, but that doesn't mean I want to have sex with everyone. In fact, I am really PICKY about who I have sex with, so... it's not about the sex. It's more about open and honest communication, in my mind, and if I or my partner(s) are interested in someone else, it gives us the freedom to say so, and then decide, what, if anything we will do about it. In the long run, I say, "To each his own," and I respect someone with a healthy monogamous relationship as much as I respect poly relationships that work (and I have known several that do).

As for dating others in my grove, or even in ADF, at this point, there aren't any I am interested in, but if I was, I would have to see how I felt about it in that moment. In some situations, it might be totally appropriate, and might not take away from the group. In others, it might. Each situation is different, and I can't make a widesweeping statement about it, personally, because I don't really know until I am in it.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2004 02:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, I give every person the benefit of the doubt. I don't understand poly relationships, but in the good, time-tested way we Chaotes have, I say, "Shit, obviously it works for them, so that's good enough for me." It just doesn't work in my mind, that's all.

It could be appropriate. I know several groups that have worked well while the leadership has been involved with people.

But then, I've known more that have blown up. At least one of which ended up dragging ADF through the mud before it finally all died down.

And that's what makes me make the sweeping statement. . .

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