PolyLiving- Discussing Polyamory and the Poly Life

Brutal Realities => Ethical Scenarios => Topic started by: Administrator on November 10, 2012, 11:03:30 PM

Title: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on November 10, 2012, 11:03:30 PM
Here is the scenario:

There is a poly family of four partners, and they start a new relationship with a fifth partner.  They poly family really respects their privacy for obvious legal and employment issues, and the new fifth partner knew this before entering into the new relationship with them and even agreed to keeping it private as well.  About a year into the relationship, the other four partner finds out from other people that the fifth partner has been talking to other people (co-workers, friends, other family members, childrens' teachers, etc) about their poly relationship. The other four partners feel hurt, betrayed and scared.

If you were one of the four partners, how would you handle this situation?  What would be the best way to proceed?

If you were the fifth partner, why do you think this person would talk about such private matters to others? 

(http://s16.postimage.org/v9udlcn4x/privacy.jpg) (http://postimage.org/image/v9udlcn4x/)
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: DeeDee on November 11, 2012, 12:41:54 AM
It really is a breech of a contract, if you think about it. If everyone agrees that the relationship should not be spoke of in public, then all parties should honor it. For some, poly can be isolating. Sites like this can help by giving those in the poly world a place to safely ask questions and discuss the day to day aspects of poly.

A family pow-wow needs to happen right away, and they need to re-iterate that to protect the family, they need to not discuss the family dynamics with outsiders. Maybe even making a list of "safe" people to discuss family issues with would be helpful.

While everyone is an individual, the family unit always comes first.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on November 11, 2012, 12:50:55 AM
DeeDee,

This is a great response.  I hope others will respond as well.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on November 21, 2012, 08:38:22 AM
Oh sorry I missed this the other day. This is a difficult situation for me since I have my own issues with closeting and personally I do not feel it is a sustainable way to live without creating some unhealthy neurosis.

However, it is obviously a breech of the previous promise she made to then talk about it to all and sunder.  I think a good question to ask is, why did she feel the need to tell so many people?  Is she just one of those people who are incapable of keeping things quiet (and to be honest there are a lot of those types of people about, it is not necessarily malicious, it is just an aspect of their nature.  My BFF is a little like that actually, I still tell her stuff but with the knowledge that my counsel is only time limited! ;)
Or, is the pressure of the closet simply too much for her?  Perhaps she is used to having the freedom to talk about her family to everyone she meets, or may be she feels like she needs more external support for this whole change of lifestyle and she is naturally gravitating towards those who she has more day to day contact with?

It sounds pretty callous and mean, but I do feel, for the sake of the mental health of all concerned AND the fact that it is not the most ideal way to live, that people who need to be closeted, should avoid new relationships with those not raised within the Polygamist culture.

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: TamBabs on November 23, 2012, 12:12:49 PM
The only reasons I could see for talking about it is, pride in her new family, or issues. Joy in the extended family, children's accomplishments or issues of jealousy etc... but if it was upfront to be quiet.. then talking could endanger that happiness. Perhaps this is a lesson to work out BEFORE adding spouses.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on November 24, 2012, 07:56:20 PM
Natja,

I agree staying closetted is not healthy.  However, some people realize, much like we did, after they've started their poly relationships that there is a need to keep it closetted for legal reasons.  Sad as this may be, it is a reality for many poly people with children.

Tam and Natja,

Thanks for your input.  I hope others will provide input as well.



Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on November 25, 2012, 02:11:55 PM
Of course, but that is not the scenario you put forward, I can totally understand a situation where people unexpectedly find themselves at risk after they have already entered Poly but to be fair in your scenario it was an already established Poly family who made privacy a condition with a new person. 
This is a situation I feel is perhaps a bit unwise because the nature of the closet is very oppressive.

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on January 21, 2013, 08:29:13 PM
I agree Natja.  Regardless in this situation the new person agreed to the privacy, but later, broke the original agreement.  What should happen in regards to this?

Any other input?
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on January 22, 2013, 05:57:30 AM
I agree Natja.  Regardless in this situation the new person agreed to the privacy, but later, broke the original agreement.  What should happen in regards to this?

I don't know what people could do, it depends entirely on the people involved.  It may be that they realise through the situation that the privacy rule is perhaps overstated and not as necessary.  Or they can decide that the breaking of this rule is so destructive to them that they can no longer trust this person and chuck her out. 
Personally I feel it does take a certain type of person to maintain that level of secrecy indefinitely, so wrt to ALL the relationships, they will have to decide what kind of future they want to go forth with.
I am also definitely of the opinion that if something is not broke, there is no need to fix it.  When your situation forces you to live in a way that is not ideal for personal growth/self actualisation, than it is best to not bring more people into a restrictive lifestyle. 

But then I am not a woo-woo romantic type and do feel that people can, and should control their impulses. 

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Jennelynn on January 22, 2013, 02:30:04 PM
If I was one of the four people, there would be some trust issues between myself and the 5th person for sure.  Things I think I would need the answer to would be, is the 5th committed to the family?  If so why would she/he put the family at risk?  Why did she do it?  What was she needing from the social gossip?  Validation? Spotlight?  A poly relationship isn't really designed for spotlight people.  I would proceed with caution.  If the 5th isn't married to everyone else then I would consider in great depth the future with this person.  I hold the bonds of marriage, or hand-fasting, or any form of commitment pretty seriously so if that has been done, then I would need to work on forgiveness and she/he would need to work on keeping their mouth shut. 
 
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 03, 2013, 08:15:04 PM
Thanks for the your input Jennelynn.  Interesting thoughts on the topic.  Any other takers?
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 04, 2013, 06:29:25 AM
A poly relationship isn't really designed for spotlight people.

Hmmm, I think Deborah Anapol, Dossie Easton, The Zell-Ravenhearts and even Franklin Veaux might have something to say about that!!  ;)
Anyone who puts themselves out there to be open are asking for a bit of spotlight, this does not make them 'bad' Poly people, this just makes them open and willing to allow people into their lives and experiences to teach people about Poly, some of us might do it in a smaller sphere, we may blog or just be open on Facebook, some want to be open in real life. The thing is the closet doesn't suit everyone and this might be a bad match but that does not make it bad poly.

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 04, 2013, 10:01:14 AM
I believe being open would be better because it helps towards societal acceptance. Being honest and open also allows poly people to feel more at ease and allows them to experience more self love, respect and esteem.

Sigh. One day.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 04, 2013, 11:55:04 AM
Ooops forgot to close the quote.... ;)

I think we are definitely seeing a change now, think about the great support the Browns get from ordinary people, as with everything, the more people are exposed to something the more likely they are to be tolerant.  But those of us with hostile family members (or ex family members) will always be more wary and vulnerable than those without.

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 04, 2013, 05:22:36 PM
Some of us also need to be concerned about our careers with "morality clauses."  A few of these include, but are not limited to, educators of children and medical professionals.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 04, 2013, 05:32:50 PM
Some of us also need to be concerned about our careers with "morality clauses."  A few of these include, but are not limited to, educators of children and medical professionals.

Ah yes, well that is culturally alien to me, we don't tend to have that sort of thing over here, in fact I find the concept quite shocking.  I despise the idea that any employer has the right to determine what is considered 'immoral'  based solely on their arbitrary ideals or beliefs.
Another good reason to be as independent from 'The Man' as possible, but I would hate to feel I have to choose between a fulfilling private life and my job, but I am privileged in that I don't have to I have no passion for any particular career that would hold that sort of restriction and I will choose my private life over a job every time.

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 04, 2013, 06:18:25 PM
Here, in the states especially the southern ones, it seems that many lifetime careers that are financially sound and beneficial have morality clauses.  They talk about being upstanding citizens that are examples for the community. 
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 04, 2013, 08:29:01 PM
Yes but who makes the rules?  If your boss was a Muslim for example, would you keep your job if it came out that you were a Polygamist but lose it if they find out that you are a Polyandrist?

Who makes the rules?  I honestly wonder how a whole country can claim to be free and yet have so many laws controlling ones behaviour?

It is nonsensical to me.

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Bud on April 05, 2013, 12:35:30 AM
Natja,

Indeed, who does make the rules?  Furthermore, many rules are made to be broken.  Take the status of GLBT person's "rights" just in our lifetimes.  There were "rules", including in our military, that forbid this group many civil rights; protection from discrimination for employment, education, housing, freedom to congregate, freedom to walk down the street without fear of harm, injury or death and so on.  Now we are in a time and place that these "rules" are being broken down.  It is happening slowly, but it IS happening.  For those GLBT's that came before me and lost freedom, life, jobs, medical coverage, and so on, it is because of their voices that we are now at a place that gay, lesbian & TG's can leaglly get married.  AND, the movement is spreading to include insurance for same gender spouses, adoption rights, rights to serve in the military and so much more.

We are slowly seeing this with the poly movement as well.  With the social media we now have, people are more aware of poly and beginning to learn there ARE "normal" poly families and not the compounds and cults of poly people that has always been sensationalized. It is much easier to communicate and organize as a group with the growth of globalism.  I believe I will see drastic positive changes in the rights for poly people still yet in my lifetime.  We owe that to those who have been free to live out of the closet.  The ball is rolling and gaining momentum in regards to awareness of what it really means to be poly.  Granted, we have a long way to go yet, but I belive we will get there.

People are going to live and practice their beliefs no matter "who" happens to be making the rules at any given time.  Tolerance must come about first, and then acceptance, at least to a degree.  Those making the rules, the so-called majority, must rethink their rules when they are oppressing any people and those people rise up and take a stand.  This can apply to an individual or a group of people.  When people have had enough, it becomes a bit scarey that there might be a revolution of sorts...from boycotting, striking, civil disobedience, rioting, until things escalate to the point of an armed revolution.  Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, nor is it without casualties.

My answer to your question, "Who makes the rules?" is this: 

If one doesn't make his or her own rules, the rules will be made for them by someone else.

Why so many give up personal rights and freedoms is beyond me, with the exception to protect oneself or one's loved one's.  We must choose our battles, so to speak. 

None are truely free except within one's most inner being.  If a person can live true to him/herself, then that is the free person.

Best Regards Always,

Bud
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 05, 2013, 02:27:00 AM
Thank you Bud, I agree totally, I do still find it shocking that there could be allowed so much interference into private lives in the West. I suppose as a European this sort of thing just seems very extremist to me.

I think it is so very important to be out, if you can for that very reason, those of us who are out, even if just for personal comfort,  are in place to teach and to educate, whether on a small scale in their local communities or a large scale, as in activism. It is imperative that functioning Poly people speak out or we possibly leave it to the dysfunctional (and possibly the down right shambolic) representing our lifestyles in the media.

A good example of this over here in the UK is Mick Philpott, a character who has just been convicted of the manslaughter of his six children, the utter twonk set his house on fire in a bid to frame his ex partner who used to live with them and had 5 children by him.

It was a Poly relationship and he had a lot of small scale publicity (chat shows, tabloid newspapers and such) trying to get a larger houses they had eleven kids living with them in all in a three bedroom house.  He did not work also so part of his newsworthiness came from him being considered a 'benefit scrounger' who just made lots of babies with the State paying for them.

Of course since the fire (that he set) we now know that he is near psychopathic and spent time in jail for attempting to murder (stabbing multiple times) his 17 year old girlfriend back in the late 70's.

Now thankfully the terms polygamy/polyamory were never used in his case (which is why is remained outside of the UK Poly scene) and I did not know about him until after the fire, but there has been no end to mention in the tabloids about his 'sordid' lifestyle. 

I know 'I' don't want to be associated with a person like that, positive poly people definitely need to be open now and not by undermining Poly-fi live in situations (as this was) but by emphasising that we are not all like that.

Sorry I know it is a little off topic but the Philpott case is very much in our consciousness right now.  He got life btw.

Natja
x
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Deorccwen on April 05, 2013, 07:42:22 AM
Some of us also need to be concerned about our careers with "morality clauses."  A few of these include, but are not limited to, educators of children and medical professionals.
The sooner ENDA is passed, the sooner poly people will get those protections, too.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Deorccwen on April 05, 2013, 07:52:34 AM
When as many poly people as possible are out and loud/proud, then people like Mick Philpott will not be seen as representative of us, because there will be so many good, ethical examples of poly to contrast him with.  He would just be seen as the psychopath that he is, who could have had any relationship structure but would still be psychopathic. 
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 05, 2013, 11:40:27 AM
Well that did not take two long....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-21753195 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-21753195)

Exactly what I feared and full of such insightful sound bites such as:

Quote
Dr Thom Brooks, who has researched polygamy and polyamory, said a lack of consent by women was one of the most significant problems.

"The two are practised very similarly and [are] almost always a relationship of one man with two or three women, with the man at its centre," said Dr Brooks, of Durham University.


Quote
Dr Brooks argues that polyamorous and polygamous relationships subordinate women.

Quote

Dr Brooks has looked at research which suggests women in polygamous marriages are at a greater risk of harmful effects, including sexual diseases and family violence.

Quote
The women can also be powerless, he argued, because they are typically less educated and lacking in employability skills.

I knew this would happen....
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Deorccwen on April 05, 2013, 03:47:35 PM
Oh, good grief!  We really do need more high-profile polyfolk.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 06, 2013, 05:23:42 AM
Update:

It is all kicking off on the UK Poly forums, I have been emailing the BBC and the people mentioned in that awful article.  Polytical (UK Poly activist org) have got involved.

An excellent example of people willing to come out and push their case....privacy be damned!!!! ;)

Natja
x
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 07, 2013, 01:58:17 PM
I understand.  This same thing happened here in the States with Tom Greene and Warren Jeffs.  Sigh.  I sure wish we were at a place were we could be open. 
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 07, 2013, 04:35:24 PM
I know, we just have to look towards a more positive future :)
One positive thing that has come out of this news story is that it has mobilised the Poly community in the UK like no other. I have had many good conversations with people I don't usually speak to and it has reminded me of how important community is.

N
x
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 07, 2013, 08:03:05 PM
I agree community is important and even helpful. 

I had a dialogue with some of my colleagues the other day after we spoke about the morality clause here online.  Most of them feel the morality clause here is ridiculous.  Plus, they all ask the same questions: "Who sets the moral standard?:, "What is the moral standard?", and "How will we know if or when we have broken it?"  It seems somewhat scary to us. 
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 08, 2013, 06:21:58 AM
Yes, it is very scary, I wonder if there is any possibility of the legalities of those kind of clauses being challenged in the court?

Natja
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 09, 2013, 06:12:22 PM
I know recently of two such cases that were challenged in court by two different school teachers who were fired due to a morality clause.  Both incidences for which they were fired occurred before they ever became  teachers.  One female teacher had been a porn star before becoming a teacher, but once she became a teacher, she no longer worked as a porn star.  The other female teacher had been a stripper before being a teacher, but no longer stripped once becoming a teacher.  Both of these women were fired due to their former professions.  They both took their individual cases to court, and they both lost.  I tend to believe that each of these cases will be moving up in the court system.  Only time will tell.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 09, 2013, 08:54:49 PM
Good luck to them, if you allow employers to have that much control of your lives where does it end?

N
x
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Deorccwen on April 19, 2013, 01:33:46 PM
But what can a person do when they have to support themselves - and maybe a family - and most (all) of the employers in their area have the same attitude?
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: beccablue on April 19, 2013, 01:51:29 PM
Sad but true in this country especially.  :(  We are often forced in many ways to present a certain picture of our lives publically speaking that conform to the societal norms.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Deorccwen on April 19, 2013, 02:53:28 PM
The only way I can think of to get around it would be to own your own business.  But, aside from the fact that that is simply not often possible, I imagine you would *still* have to conform to social norms whenever you had a customer or client around, or risk losing business.   
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: beccablue on April 25, 2013, 02:47:50 PM
I found this article that sort of demonstrates exactly the morality clause we were discussing. Of note is that she was fired after 19 years and clearly none of the students were very aware and if other staff were aware they certainly looked the other way -- all because a parent complained that it violated *their* view of morality and it got her fired.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/high-school-fires-teacher-after-her-partners-name-appeared-i

Also note carefully the circumstances in *how* it was found out. How did they verify? Stalk her? Ask her directly about her sexual orientation? Or perhaps they didn't even bother, just dismissed her based on the obituary (which could have been a typo for all they knew legally speaking). It is really disturbing how little control we have over what others determine is moral or immoral.

~Becca
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Natja on April 25, 2013, 05:17:16 PM
My fb was abuzz with this news item. I am horrified and the idea that someone could use her mothers obit. And they claim that 'she' is immoral.
Title: Re: Privacy
Post by: Administrator on April 25, 2013, 06:28:16 PM
It is horrifying, deeply so.  Becca, that was a great example.  Thank you!