Bonus Material! [Polyamory - Too Much Prejudice?]
A follow on from my “Polyamory – Too Much Prejudice?” post.
Honestly, as much as I enjoy a good intelligent debate I do know better than to argue with idiots. It’s just that these people aren’t idiots. They’re educated adults and they are claiming to give informed professional advice. To me, this is a misdemeanour worth challenging.
I have copied below for easy reference the discussion that ensued in the comments section of their blog. I am red, and Lee is blue. I welcome your thoughts and additional points.
In response to the original article:
Interesting. I completely disagree but I’d be really interested to know where your evidence for your arguments comes from :) Would you mind sharing? The studies I have seen don’t support this at all and I’d like to make sure I have a balanced body of evidence.
This area of relationship has limited research. It is interesting that the majority of research you find are conducted by people living the lifestyle thus the idea of balanced body of evidence is not available. While I do not condemn any lifestyle entered into by consenting adults, I do question how an individual fairs in such a community. Communal living, egalitarian societies and group marriages tend to surrender the ideal of individuality. For some people, that is great. For others, depending on their level of individuation and development may forego that for this lifestyle. Is the lifestyle right for you? Only you can decide.
Actually, no. There is a great deal of research on this subject across many cultures and going back 5 decades and what is ‘interesting’ is how you answer my request for evidence with more sweeping claims you can’t evidence.
I challenge your assertion that you “question how an individual fairs in such a community” You don’t. (Maybe you should, as there are plenty of people who would be happy to answer that for you – for good and for bad). You do everything *but* question, you assume, presume and speculate.
You say communal living and group marriages “surrender the ideal of individuality”? In what possible way is this distinct from any communal family living? Where are you getting this information from? Has it honestly not occurred to you that telling a vast population of people that their life and loves are invalid adolescent fantasies for the emotionally insecure might be something you ought to have damn good evidence for?
Your reasoning is deeply flawed and biased and the prejudices you reveal under the guise of ‘advice’ should earn you no respect as a blogger let alone a psychotherapy professional. Frankly I find it all deeply concerning.
(Interested others – I go into more detail on how badly these arguments are constructed and explore their blanket prejudices at: LINK )
Amanda, I’m sorry. What you call research is anecdotal with a very limited sample. Most actual research notes the limited amount of research as to the “health” of the lifestyle and merely relates the tenants. This is understandable with the amount of prejudice out there. My remarks are tame next to the others but if you felt that I judged your lifestyle, then I apologize. However, my opinion is not just based on speculation but after 20+ years working with clients of various sexualities.
As for putting a link in a comment, you have a blog and know that that is not how professional bloggers do things. I would love to let you rebut our post, however, with respect and not with name-calling.
When I say “I question” it is because I would like to see quantitative research as to this very thing! I see some studies as to polyamory. Social Anthropologists like Dr. Wolfe have done a lot of work on researching the history of the lifestyle and yet also explains some of the problems some participants have with it (namely jealousy/possessiveness). I would like to see studies on individuality within poly societies! I would like to see the effects of a “responsible practice of non-monogamy” (Klesse) in a longitudinal study.
Before you make blanket statements as to our writings, you may want to know who we are. Our statements/posts are opinions. Once again we apologize if you felt offended but some of your comments are offensive, as well.
1) I am not and have never claimed to be a professional blogger.
2) My statements wrt your writings are evidenced and explained in the link you took exception to me sharing. I see no benefit in reposting it at length here.
3) What “name calling” do you refer to?
4) Your prejudice being ‘tamer’ than others is not an excuse worth discussing.
5) Your experience working with clients of various sexualities is nowhere close to a scientifically valid sample and should not be generalised from. You’re a psychotherapist – did it not occur to you that your opinions might be based on a disproportionately troubled sample?
6) What blanket statements do you refer to? I read your introduction/about page, I already know what you want me to know about you. If your readers need more information than you provide to respond to your ‘advice’ I suggest you revise your copy.
7) Your blog reads accurately as a psychotherapist referring to themselves as a “relationship expert” giving “relationship advice” – you do not make clear these are your opinions. The sub heading of the piece in question is “Real Relationship Advice” for Heaven’s sake! You portray these prejudices as science and advice and it is to this and your invalid extrapolations from a clinically troubled sample that I take such objection to.
Please just consider for a moment the fact that there are emotionally mature adults who put a lot of work into maintaining fulfilling and supporting relationships with more than one person. Adults who aren’t adolescent in their world view, who are not blind to the difficulties of polyamory or think that love alone is enough but rather think that love is precious and worth the extra practical effort to nurture it wherever it is found, who see these additional complexities as simple compared to the restriction to total sexual and emotional fidelity in monogamous relationship. For many, it isn’t necessarily immature co-dependent or possessive. It can be, of course, as any relationship can be! Yet it can also inspire trust, personal confidence and, yes, multiple genuine, deep and full loves. For someone in your profession to have the opinion and speak so authoritatively to say that this defies belief is surprising and, to me, concerning.
You are married, with 3 children. I hope for their sake that you didn’t really mean what you wrote in earlier comments about hierarchies being an unavoidable fact of the human condition, and all co-living environments leading to loss of the individual. You decided to love and nurture a second child, and then a third, alongside your love for each other. Why? Why not just be amazing parents for the one child? If it hurts for me to suggest that we all know you really love your first child most, and that by having other children your ability to support and be there for each of them was compromised, you might begin to see the offence you’ve caused.
The example of the children was used as an argument on ‘loving big’ in a polyamory article I read. Did you notice the apology? Besides this article, when else have you felt judged/offended?
I noticed that you failed to answer a single one of my questions. Please now do so. Particularly 3. 6. and 7.
Please don’t patronise me. I don’t require you to apologise for my feelings. I require you to apologise for publishing unevidenced prejudice under the heading of ‘relationship advice’ from a professional psychotherapist.
And there we’ve left it. I will publish the answers to the questions if we get them…
3) There has been both name calling and tone. We have removed name calling from the threads. We have also been called names on the associated Twitter feed. As far as tone of the comments, most of our commenters have been respectful in their disagreement. The tone of your comments are aggressive, argumentative and dismissive. The apology was not to be patronizing but to say sorry for bringing you to this passionate state.
As far as 6) and 7) we will not be answering these because they would simply devolve into personal attacks. Your statements are already questioning our integrity through your perception of truth. This is outside the scope of this comment thread.
Please look at the response to PolyKink above for information on the evidence discussion.
I have not engaged in name calling and resent your bizarre insinuation that I have and that you have subsequently edited it out of my comments. In light of this additional accusation I repeat my request that you please let me know what name calling you believe I have engaged in either here or on Twitter?
Similarly I also fail to understand why you are unable to tell me what blanket statements you believe I have made, or to or answer my question regarding whether you still believe you made clear this was an opinion piece (not an advice piece) without devolving into a personal attack?
I can’t help but think it says a lot about you that you are a) unable to substantiate your accusations against me with examples when everything is written here for you to choose from and b) you suggest answering my questions is impossible for you without lowering yourself to a personal attack!
First, this is not a comment thread between two people. There have been name calling. Not necessarily from you. Secondly, we are not saying that we would lower ourselves to personal attacks. We are saying that specifically Aamanda is attacking our veracity, integrity and professionalism which is a personal attack. Review your use of punctuation in your comments and see if you recognize an inference that we might perceive as aggressive and personal.
Ok, so when you referred to my blog post as containing name-calling, you meant other people had engaged in name calling during this comment thread?
…Well at least that’s cleared that up.
Wrt your second point, I have not an inference but an outright criticism that you have not made clear your piece is personal opinion and not professional advice, yes.
That criticism is becoming increasingly frustrated as you continue to avoid addressing it therefore I see why you may perceive it as aggressive.
We do want to respond to your issues with the article. The whole sentence that you quoted is “And we would argue that the idea that love is all you need in a relationship is immature and shows signs that polyamorous relationships are stuck in an adolescent fantasy.” We are not saying that anyone in a polyamorous relationship is in an adolescent fantasy. We are saying that anyone (monogamous or polyamorous) that believes that love is enough for a relationship is in an adolescent fantasy. Do you disagree with that statement?
“We do want to respond to your issues with the article”
Says it all really. I can’t add to that.
Thank-you for an interesting discussion and thank you for some excellent points, MoreThanNuclear.