Primary Partnership Risks

This was originally a comment in response to Couple Privilege: Your Thoughts? on If you have not read that post (or the blog in general), then I recommend you do so! The blog overall looks at polyamory from the perspective of someone not in a “primary” relationship, and the post discussed various problems with couple privilege. Since polyamory has traditionally been presented from the perspective of “couple exploring while wanting to protect their existing relationship,” this serves as a real reminder that polyamory is about individuals loving other people, not about couples dictating how a third can best accommodate them.

The post requested reactions to and views on couple privilege. I agree with the original post that couple privilege is an insidious and harmful issue, but feel that there should be some recognition of the risks inherent in being a “primary” partner. The following is my comment on that post.

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Warning: This is a really long gushing over a comic.

Many people cite Robert A. Heinlein stories (particularly Stranger in A Strange Land) as their introduction to the concept of ethical non-monogamy. My introduction to the idea was also fiction: Wendy Pini’s ElfQuest series.

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Letting Jealousy Have Power

I have been listening to Polyamory Weekly, a podcast by Cunning Minx. She has a great speaking voice and plans her podcasts (too many podcasters just ramble), so I find them enjoyable listening. Also, she discusses matters important to polyamory, which, as she and other poly folk often note, are matters important to any form of relationship.

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Conditional Compersion

I get jealous easily, though I think that I handle it pretty well. (SwingBot and former boyfriends might now be mopping the drinks they just spit onto their monitors after having read that.) My initial reaction, when surprised by an interest or attraction that my partner has for another person, is to feel some sense of possessive jealousy against the previous unknown. That changes quickly, though, to enjoying the idea of my partner having fun with the other, once I get over the initial shock.

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Polyamory Reality

I previously noted that, before I even heard about the idea of polyamory, I often questioned the one-for-one model of romance. My imagination is limited; my thinking, fantasies, expectations, etc. generally fell along the lines of what society dictated: one woman + one man = one romance. However, I still had niggling doubts, some that could form into full questions or concepts, but some that hinted at ideas I could not express.

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