I was that grey-Ace anon and whoops Im sorry I didn’t mean to be offensive with wording and sound so bad 😅 I just didn’t know how to word it. Thanks for your answer though!

Hey, it’s okay! 

I don’t usually post follow-ups like this, but in this case I want to point out that when I call attention to language like I did in the most recent letter, I am never trying to shame someone or say that they are being offensive or wrong. 

Instead, I believe strongly that healthy polyamory (and healthy personhood, honestly) means recognizing our unconscious assumptions. We need to identify what we believe, pull it into the light, examine it, and with intentionality decide whether we want to keep that belief or not.

A lot of times, we move through the world thinking that how we see things is just an objective observation of reality - that if we interpret something one way, that’s just how it is. Because how else are we supposed to know what the world is like if we can’t trust our senses and interpretations?

But when you sit down with yourself, your thoughts and feelings, you might find that some “facts” you take for granted; some of the structure of your worldview - it’s not that useful or true.

So when I call attention to the language in a letter, I am not trying to correct you or call you out. I am trying to say, “hey, based on your language, you might actually be framing things this way - I encourage you to recognize that that is a way of framing things rather than simply how things inherently are.”

Looking at the language we use is a great way to expose and explore the underlying assumptions we have about the world! It’s just a little “hey, did you notice…” from me, trying to be helpful, not accusatory! The words we choose for things we struggle to define can be powerful clues about how our minds are putting it all together.

Another example might be me saying “I know I shouldn’t be so angry, but I really can’t stand when my mom does XYZ.”  I’m trying to talk about the issue with my mom, but my therapist stops me and points out that I prefaced my emotions with “I shouldn’t feel this way” and encourages me to explore that sense of shame or repression around my anger. To me, it was just an innocuous conversational way of introducing a topic, but she is trained to see these patterns and help us be cognizant of them. It doesn’t mean it was a bad thing to say, just that it’s good to pay attention to the words we use, because sometimes they reveal things we haven’t consciously noticed. 

Go forth, live intentionally, date healthfully, and keep sending me letters! <3

I explained to him that i cannot stop. He just tends to suck it up and sulk, so it makes me feel like crap. But i cannot leave him. I love him. Am I in the wrong?

I believe this is a follow-up to this message. The thing is, sometimes “love” isn’t enough for a relationship to work out. If he has a tendency to sulk and guilt you about your own feelings, and if his method of dealing with issues is to be this immature and make you “feel like crap,” that is a huge problem.  

It’s not about who is “in the wrong” - it’s about what you’re willing to tolerate in a relationship. There is no magical, Correct Poly Procedure you can take to solve this situation. You have not somehow failed to do the right thing and therefore caused his behavior. He has made the choice to demand that you “stop” being poly and to sulk and make you “feel like crap” when you don’t meet that demand. Your choice is: do you want to be with someone who makes you feel like this? 

Some Follow-Up for the Triad

Earlier today I advised a triad who was worried about legal marriage and health insurance. I also want to point out that nothing turns apathy into advocacy better than knowing someone affected by an issue. If you do decide to have a marriage ceremony between any two members of your triad, or if you decide to have a non-legally-binding ceremony, you might want to include a little section in your program that explains your situation. It could be cutesy, or educational, or quick and to the point - but explain why you chose to go the route that you did, and perhaps ask your wedding guests to consider donating to the various organizations that helped you out, or any political candidates whose views on healthcare coverage show promise for plural families.

For example, you could have a page called “Why No One’s Getting Married at This Wedding,” explain the situation in a little story, and then finish with “To ensure that in the future, people like us get to say ‘I Do,’ please consider supporting the following organizations and candidates…” Or, if you and your fiance go ahead and get married after finding another way to provide for your girlfriend’s health care, maybe have her say her own vows as part of the ceremony, explaining how much she loves you two, how true love matters more than legal contracts, and the sacrifices you three have had to make. That would do the double-duty of helping your guests understand your unique situation and helping pave the way for future poly families.

Congratulations on your happy, healthy relationship, and good luck navigating all of this.