Monday, September 5, 2011

Monogamy doesn't work

Ha! Made ya look!

One thing I've learned about blogging it's that (1) the more inflammatory your post-title the more people are going to read it. In a similar vein, (2) if you make broad, sweeping generalizations based on a biased sample size, you'll garner even greater readership. And if readers were nickels, I'd have about 75 cents.

Anyway, I've been out of the bloggosphere for a while, but every now and then, an article comes across my Facebook feed, and I read it just to make sure I still can get mad at stupid things. Most of the time it doesn't work, and I juts roll my eyes (good exercise), but today is Labor Day, so I have a bit of time for a bit of snark. This post over at Poly In the Media, concerns a stupid post by a person who has also learned rules 1 and 2 stated above, and decided that it was a good idea to blog about something where she had no real expertise or experience. (Suffice to say she has heard about "open marriages" and thinks that they are scary.)

The main point of her article "Why 'Open' Marriages Don't Work" is a valid one: people sometimes go into swinging (which is what I think she means when she speaks of ""open marriages"" - double quotes because I'm quoting her scare quotes too) without thinking about the emotional repercussions. Now, to say that initial foolishness in a venture means that that venture is always doomed is kind of silly. Just about every type of innovation ever seen by the human race has been met by someone calling it foolish.

She goes on to be rather silly, saying that once an emotional bond is formed between one primary partner and a (what we're now calling) satellite partner, a triad is formed (not true) and that is dangerous (not true) because, and I'm paraphrasing, you will never be able to love your mom as much as you love your dad. Paging Dr. Freud? Someone never made it past the early 1900s in their "History of Psychology" online course at Devry.

Now, I know that this silly person isn't talking about my relationship style. She's talking about a very specific kind of relationship style. One wherein the partners may sleep with whomever they wish, and where emotional connections with the "satellite" partners (and I really am offended by this term, I have to say) are verboten. This does not describe my relationship style, nor the styles of relationships of any number of people that I spend time with in the poly community (most of that time is spent not having sex, if you must know). So, I'm not sure why the poly community is upset about this article.

I'm also puzzled by there being enough "angry phone calls" to merit Psychology Today taking down the original post. Being any kind of sexual minority (female, gay, non-monogamous) does tend to make one a bit of an activist, but there was an insistence on being civil and articulate in response to this article... so, I guess PT doesn't really get that dissent != hatred and anger. Whatever.

Anyway, the lesson to be learned here is this: bloggers are silly people who say silly things because one day they think that they'll be on Oprah or Countdown. This is, in fact, a very significant problem in our society: people make sweeping generalizations so they can get a rise out of others and eventually use their intellectual prowess to win an argument on the internet with someone they don't know. I know it's a problem, I've done it myself and it turns you into a really annoying person.

Also, we need to learn to be a little more specific in our language. ""Open marriage"" can mean a lot of things, but when you put it in scare quotes like that, it means swinging. Not polyamory. So, really, unwad your panties before you say something stupid.