Help me figure this (polyamory-related ethical question) out
December 16, 2011 9:29 AM Subscribe
This question is about polyamorous ethics. It's part of a larger question about my relationship with my long term partner and considers the ethics of the third party.
What I'd like a read on or resources to help think about: the ethics of expressing interest in someone who is already in a partnered, monogamous context.
posted by anonymous to human relations (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The situation is that I had been proceeding with my partner on the assumption and the public narrative of my relationship with my partner as a monogamous one. There exist certain conditions where that may be renegotiated (towards polyamory) but those conditions are not fulfilled.
At a conference, my sweetie got emotionally (not physically) intimate with someone who was a surprise for her and she and I are now working out the ramifications of that new intimacy. (Including, despite my strong reservations about it, whether or not we should be considering opening up our relationship to some form of polyamory or non-monogamy.)
I should note here that I have had mixed experiences with polyamory in the past, both with this partner and also with other partners. I tend toward worried anxiety and jealousy both of which feed off of each other and that can interfere mightily with making polyamory a healthy relationship choice for me.
My questions for the AskMe poly advice-giving community are: what are the ethics and ethical systems that can be said to apply to that third party? Is the friction that my partner and I are dealing with really just for her and me to work out, or does that third party person also share some of the responsibility? Are there books, FAQS or guides that are specifically about these kind of ethics and philosophy that might be helpful to me in working this out?
My instinct has been to keep her (the third party) out of my sphere of consideration and work only on the issues now arisen for myself and my partner, but I have a nagging feeling that I should also perhaps have a talk with the third party and figure out what's going with that.
To be honest, it feels rude that she expressed interest to someone who is publicly known to be in a monogamous relationship and it feels like the third party has some responsibility to bear for the crisis my relation is in, but I don't know whether anyone other than I would consider it appropriate to try to reach out and process that part out with the third party.
For what it's worth, I don't intend to take action without thinking about it and analyzing it and discussing it with my partner. I am also actively in therapy with a good therapist who has a doctorate in social work and specializes in relationship counselling, and my partner and I are considering going into couples therapy together.