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Author Topic: Arguments against gay marriage from unlikely sources
katharina
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I'm sure Tiger Woods would agree with you.
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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Unless stated otherwise in the marriage vows ("I'll always love you, and I'll sleep with you even when I'm sleeping with other people, which I plan on doing"), monogamy is one of the assumptions of marriage.
Where? Why?
I mean, Christy and I had fairly normal marriage vows, and we certainly entered into a marriage with the expectation of monogamy, but there was absolutely nothing said at our wedding which stated or implied monogamy.

With many people writing their own vows, it may or may not be in there. Most traditional orders of service have, as part of the declaration of consent, wording along the lines of "and forsaking all others be faithful to him/her as long as you both shall live."

You could interpret faithfulness in a way that doesn't include sexual exclusiveness, but I would argue that it's pretty clearly part of the original intent of the words.

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Amberkitty
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In a healthy relationship, openness to outside sexual or romantic partners is discussed before marriage, or it is discussed within the marriage with the agreement and understanding of sexual and emotional responsibility. Yes, there are unhealthy arraignments where one member of the married couple takes advantage of an alternative relationship model at the expense of the other person or flat out cheats, but generalizing those scenarios to all open marriages is unfair.
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advice for robots
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My wife and I donít like people to butt into our relationship. Telling everyone else to mind their own business is the right of married partners, IMO. However, having others be a part of our relationship is pretty much inescapable.

My wife and I are part of various communities that impose certain definitions and proscriptions on our behavior as a married couple. Everybody is. Our communities (not necessarily organizations or towns) provide plenty of norms to follow, be they conservative or liberal, and to retain our acceptance in those communities we adhere to those norms. Break the norms, especially blatantly or repeatedly, and we estrange ourselves from those communities that have defined those norms.

My point is, we donít exist in a vacuum, and we donít conduct our relationships in a vacuum. What we do is influenced by the communities weíre a part of, and in turn influences others around us. If we want to change how our relationship works, we donít just do it between us. We switch communities as well, and find a new comfortable place where we are accepted and agree with the norms.

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ElJay
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that there is also an element of "vow breaking" for one partner to decide unilaterally that sex is no longer part of the relationship. There may be good reasons for it but the person asking to "seek elsewhere" is not the only person not living up to the original expectations.

Of course there is. And in that situation, the response should be to say "This isn't working for me. We need to get counseling and work this out, or you need to agree it's ok for me to be physically involved with other people, or we need to get a divorce." Not to unilaterally decide that it's ok to cheat because their spouse won't put out.
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rivka
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I completely agree with ElJay.
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kmbboots
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With the exception of the term "put out" - I think it is deeper and more complicated than that* - and being wary of using divorce as a sort of trump card, I agree that this is how it should work as well.

*I am not saying you don't, just that the phrasing is a problem for me.

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ElJay
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I'm not listing it as a trump card. I'm listing it as a last resort in an otherwise untennable situation.
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kmbboots
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I was more addressing the issue of "consent from women who fear losing their husbands." It can be held over someone's head as a threat.
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katharina
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That's part of why the vows are important and "getting permission" isn't one of the options. The honorable options are either married and faithful or else divorced. Anything else is dishonest and very inclined towards abuse - "Let me cheat or I'm leaving you" when in reality someone cheating has left already. Make a decision and pick a life. Anything else is selfish and cruel.

I've seen how soul-sucking infidelity can be. Women who have chosen to tolerate it have their self esteems steamrolled. Having the closest person to you treat you with that much disrespect? It's a terrible thing. If you don't want someone anymore, be honest and brave enough to get divorced.

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kmbboots
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Again, I think that you are making assumptions and over simplifying. Which you are free to do.
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advice for robots
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If it takes a mature adult to handle a poly relationship well, it also takes a mature adult to put the relationship first and work through a difficult relationship problem like a spouse refusing to be intimate. Looking for an out like a side relationship is as selfish as the other spouse is being, and wonít solve anything. There might not have been any specific agreements about sexual fidelity in the marriage, but if the relationship hasnít been open to that point, quibbling about the wording of your vows is pretty silly. You ought to know whatís accepted and what isnít, and live by it like it was written down and signed by both parties.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
Try to keep up.

I am. I'm asking for an expanded definition from you.

also:

quote:
If you want to sleep with someone else, get a divorce. Until then, it's cheating. This is not a gray area.
It's actually just completely incorrect. That's not what cheating in a relationship is. An open marriage isn't automatically infidelity. Cheating is unfaithfulness. People in an open marriage are equally as capable of being faithful and disclosing to each other, and not acting with violation of the mutually agreed-upon boundaries of intimacy.
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katharina
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Statistically irrelevant sideshows.
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Raymond Arnold
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Based on what exactly? If either side has statistics that's great, otherwise we're trading anecdotes.
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katharina
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Open marriages formed with the vows pertaining to sexual fidelity deliberately removed that last longer than, oh, grab a number: five years, minimum, ten years better. Lots of pre-nuptial agreements phase out at ten years.

I bet the number is vanishingly tiny.

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ElJay
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I was more addressing the issue of "consent from women who fear losing their husbands." It can be held over someone's head as a threat.

Ah, I thought you were talking about people who use their spouse cutting off physical intimacy as an excuse to cheat, not people who blackmale their spouses into accepting an open/poly/swinging marriage while still having physical intimacy with each other. I see those as two different issues.
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Raymond Arnold
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Source?

The most useful comparison I can think of is the average length of a marriage wherein both parties agreed at the onset to an open relationship, vs the average length of traditional marriages.

Bear in mind the above doesn't even come close to painting a complete picture, since you can have open relationships that are long and satisfying but not necessarily involving "marriage." Also, length of marriage doesn't necessarily indicate happiness. How many people get married young, are pressured to stay together by society but ultimately are not happy with each other?

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by ElJay:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I was more addressing the issue of "consent from women who fear losing their husbands." It can be held over someone's head as a threat.

Ah, I thought you were talking about people who use their spouse cutting off physical intimacy as an excuse to cheat, not people who blackmale their spouses into accepting an open/poly/swinging marriage while still having physical intimacy with each other. I see those as two different issues.
That or even, "have sex with me or I will divorce you". Like intimacy under duress is what people are looking for anway. Relationships are complicated and often messy and I am far less apt to judge what kinds of marriages people negotiate than I once was.
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Sterling
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...And now to juggle some plates...

quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
Sterling: No offense, but I don't see how it's yours ou anyone else's business.

People do a lot of things in their marriage that someone else doesn't want to do, or thinks is a bad idea. So what? How does that hurt anyone else, and why should we worry about what might or might not work for them?

No offense, but saying something is no one else's business just drops a wall in the path of discussion.

If couples or groups choose to quietly engage in polyamorous relationships among themselves, absolutely, it's none of my business.

If "swingers' groups" choose to meet in hotels and go about things... Yuck. But, again, yes, not really my business.

But about the time someone says that marriage should no longer come with reasonable expectations of sexual fidelity and seeks to create a public legal and social framework around that reality, I think at a very minimum I have a right to raise objection.

quote:
Originally posted by Olivet:
I think he's referring to the fact that most members of poly relationships have no legal rights.

Basically, yes (thanks for clarifying). And about the point that you start trying to establish a visible legal and social framework, you open up ze kettle o' fish.

quote:
Originally posted by Amberkitty:
Dan Savage - and anyone else - commenting on what's natural relationship or sexual behavior is bullshitting.

I tend to feel there's an element of satire to Savage suggesting anything is "natural" or "unnatural", simply because the terms have been used so often by opponents of gay rights. But to the extent that he's serious, I agree.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I don't think most people actually promise to exclusively have sex with their spouses when they marry, now that I think about it. There's perhaps an implied promise, but the applicability of that implication depends entirely upon both spouses' expectations of sexual behavior.

quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
There might not have been any specific agreements about sexual fidelity in the marriage, but if the relationship hasnít been open to that point, quibbling about the wording of your vows is pretty silly. You ought to know whatís accepted and what isnít, and live by it like it was written down and signed by both parties.

I think that at this point it's worth noting that traditionally marriage has contained the notion of sexual fidelity (for all that "traditionally" is worth in a discussion, which I recognize isn't a heckuva lot). But more to the point, sexual infidelity remains legitimate grounds for divorce just about everywhere, and adultery is actually illegal in many places including at least twenty-two states.

So perhaps it isn't just expectations and what's implicitly stated in vows.

quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Men have a bigger problem with monogamy than women do. Statistically, of course; any finding like that is only statistical, and there are exceptions, but still, everyone knows it.

To throw out some vast generalizations: many people would agree with the basic model that, biologically, men have a directive to both a) procreate as widely as possible, and b) prevent other men from mating with women they have mated with, lest the limited opportunity for one of their mates to bear their offspring be "squandered" by conceiving a child of a different genetic line.

By contrast, any offspring a woman bears will of course carry on her genetic line. But childbearing renders the woman physically vulnerable and perhaps less attractive to other men (in as much as she clearly won't bear their children while she's bearing someone else's.) It's to her advantage that the man who has made her pregnant focus his attention on providing for her rather than shuffling off to find another fertile female.

So monogamy is a sort of compromise: the man gets some security (including that the child the woman will bear is, presumably, his) in exchange for a broader selection of mates. The woman gets help raising their child and caring for the family- gets to be the sole focus of the male's attention- in exchange for providing that security.

Which somewhat leads me to say that if one wants to make the assertion that, at least as far as males go, non-monogamy is "natural", jealousy is part of that same package. But again, as human beings, we sometimes choose to engage in things that aren't "natural"- in some cases because they're much better for us, either as individuals or as groups.

We can, as we do, discuss whether polyamory or monogamy is "better for us". But I do think, despite whatever biological pressures may be upon us, as human beings we make a choice.

quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
There's a poly blogger (that is, a blogger who happens to be poly, as opposed to someone who blogs exclusively about poly-related things), that I generally respect. He often emphasizes a few things about how he manages his lifestyle:

1. Always remember that poly is HARDER than monogamous relationships. If you're doing it because you think monogamy is "hard," you're doing it wrong.

2. Whenever they want to introduce a new person to their poly circle, they have to get express permission from EVERYONE who's already involved.

3. Whenever things between he and his wife are tense/difficult, they retreat AWAY from poly relationships, focusing on fixing their core marriage, because if they used other girl/guyfriends to escape from whatever problems their facing, their marriage might break.

4. Since sexual fidelity is less of an issue, he (and most poly groups he knows) find other ways to be faithful to each other. For example, there's a playful word that he made up, which he only uses with his wife.

Interesting. But it does raise something that I've been kind of dancing around in many of the things I've said: there are probably a lot more people who would like to engage in a polyamorous relationship (in some cases because of wildly unrealistic senses of what that would entail) than there are people with the ability to carry one off without someone getting hurt.
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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Source?

The most useful comparison I can think of is the average length of a marriage wherein both parties agreed at the onset to an open relationship, vs the average length of traditional marriages.

I'd love to see such a comparison. I googled up a lot of numbers but nobody seems to have anything concrete. CNN came up with a 93% failure rate, FWIW.

quote:
Bear in mind the above doesn't even come close to painting a complete picture, since you can have open relationships that are long and satisfying but not necessarily involving "marriage."
I don't care about those. Dating and non-marriage relationships involve promises to each other. Marriages involve flat-out vows that exist independent of the other's permission.

quote:


Also, length of marriage doesn't necessarily indicate happiness. How many people get married young, are pressured to stay together by society but ultimately are not happy with each other? [/QB]

It isn't a perfect measure, but it's a sure bet that couples who divorce can't be counted in the "happy together" column. If CNN is right and only 7% of open marriages stay together, and say half of those that stay together are unhappy, that's hardly a supportive statistic for "unfaithful is cool".

I'm sure someone will come up with an off-the-wall example and pretend the norm is defined by the lunatic fringe. In which case: sure, sure.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
Statistically irrelevant sideshows.

In matter of fact, you would only need one married couple who have an open relationship and are not cheating on each other. And this group of 'statistically irrelevant sideshows' may comprise as six percent of all married people, nearly equivalently distributed between sexes.

SOURCE

Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz (1983). American Couples: Money, Work, Sex, New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, ISBN 0688037720

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katharina
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_marriage_incidence

Don't pretend there aren't problems with that study. Like the poor wife who denied any toleration of cheating in their relationship whose husband happily claimed to be in an open marriage.

And how many people claim to be in an open marriage, even when both agree, is less important than how many marriages are formed with that in mind and how many of those deliberately formed open marriages last for any appreciable length of time before imploding.

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Samprimary
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If I were pretending there were no problems with that study, you could bet my language would be that the group "definitely" comprised, as opposed to "may" comprise.

We're still where we were.

- Your use of the word "cheating" is completely incorrect,

- Marriage does not necessarily include the promises you are insisting it does, and

- None of this can be handwaved away as 'statistically irrelevant,' especially when it is you being wrong about both about terminology and applying a broad, personal axiom about marriage when it clearly does not universally apply.

At some point you'll hopefully have to admit at least the top two, because they're not ambiguous.

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katharina
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You fail to be convincing.
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Samprimary
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Why is it that in any contentious argument you immediately resort to acting in a backbitey manner and acting, often, worse than what accusations you fire at people who disagree with you?

Well,

quote:
You fail to be convincing.
Gosh, what a stunning counterargument.
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King of Men
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quote:
- Your use of the word "cheating" is completely incorrect,

(...)

At some point you'll hopefully have to admit at least the top two, because they're not ambiguous.

Come now. I don't hold that there is no correct meaning of a word and that any usage is acceptable, but what we have here is a disagreement between two largish schools of thought about what constitutes cheating, not an attempt to unilaterally redefine a word so as to support one's argument. Your assertion is much too bombastic.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Unless stated otherwise in the marriage vows ("I'll always love you, and I'll sleep with you even when I'm sleeping with other people, which I plan on doing"), monogamy is one of the assumptions of marriage.

Also, vows are said in front of witnesses for a reason. It isn't just a promise to each other, so you can't just dissolve them by an agreement with each other. You're married until the divorce is legally final.

If you want to sleep with someone else, get a divorce. Until then, it's cheating. This is not a gray area.

Y'know, katharina, marriage is...well, pretty personal. You are not the arbiter of what is and isn't marriage, and what two people decide their marriage means really isn't something you or anyone gets a vote on in terms of defining what they're doing. You just don't, no matter your certainty, no matter the number of witnesses, no matter what you or I believe are the givens of marriage.
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Parkour
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Why do people still respond to Katharina? She is not interested in arguing.

If she is wrong at the beginning of a thread, that's it. Its over. Trying to correct her just picks a fight with her.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
It is sad when someone wants to be the partner of someone with low integrity and be a part of breaking serious promises. It doesn't reflect well on either person, and I have to wonder about the mistress's self esteem.
What's also sad is when someone makes sweeping, damning generalizations and accusations based entirely on their own limited experience and completely refuses to even entertain any notions that might be different.

It goes without saying it doesn't reflect well either. It's their business, it's not yours.

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Samprimary
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quote:
what we have here is a disagreement between two largish schools of thought about what constitutes cheating, not an attempt to unilaterally redefine a word so as to support one's argument. Your assertion is much too bombastic.
Her assertion is far too broad to be correct. if two people go get married, have always been polyamorous, and continue to have an open relationship while married, they're 'cheating.' Strangely, I don't think you agree.

Of course, I'd like to see an actual argument in favor of that terminology, if I say that it is wrong and she disagrees. Perhaps she could back herself up! Perhaps something more than a Katharina-grade contemptuous dismissal. Maybe I expect too much!

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Chris Bridges
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Without getting into the worth/longevity of poly relationships, I would like to point out:

The wife who puts up with poly relationships to keep her husband has been mentioned several times. Let's not forget the husband who puts up with poly relationships to keep his wife.

My own anecdotal "evidence": I have known several poly groups. A few lasted -- are still lasting -- quite a few years, but not always with the same cast they started out with. More than a few crashed and burned heavily after a short period.

I'd say a poly relationship is possible, but much more difficult to maintain than the two-person marriage. Like, exponentially more difficult. Part of that would be, I think, the social stigma and necessary secrecy adding stress to an already unstable combination, but just the sheer amount of communication and juggling needed to balance 3 or more people's wants, needs and desires boggles the mind.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
what we have here is a disagreement between two largish schools of thought about what constitutes cheating, not an attempt to unilaterally redefine a word so as to support one's argument. Your assertion is much too bombastic.
Her assertion is far too broad to be correct. if two people go get married, have always been polyamorous, and continue to have an open relationship while married, they're 'cheating.' Strangely, I don't think you agree.
Indeed, I don't. But nonetheless it is a point where people might differ without one side being obviously in the wrong.
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MightyCow
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quote:
Sterling:But about the time someone says that marriage should no longer come with reasonable expectations of sexual fidelity and seeks to create a public legal and social framework around that reality, I think at a very minimum I have a right to raise objection.
First, same sex marriage isn't about adding infidelity to marriage any more than interracial marriage is about adding spicy food to marriage.

Second, it's still none of your damn business how faithful someone else's marriage is. It has absolutely zero to do with you.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
That's part of why the vows are important and "getting permission" isn't one of the options. The honorable options are either married and faithful or else divorced.
Katie, I'm curious why you'd assert that a couple who has married while fully intending to have sex with other people (with the acknowledgement and permission of their counterpart(s)) cannot be honorable. Or, rather, why you do not permit the possibility that one can be "faithful" to a spouse while not remaining sexually exclusive to that spouse.
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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
First, same sex marriage isn't about adding infidelity to marriage any more than interracial marriage is about adding spicy food to marriage.

Second, it's still none of your damn business how faithful someone else's marriage is. It has absolutely zero to do with you.

First, I never said that it inherently was- in fact I was quite clear that I support SSM. Second, that reply suggests to me that you are no longer actually listening.
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Dan_Frank
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I don't have any objection to polyamorous relationships.

However, anyone who says that monogamy is "unnatural" has clearly never heard of Anglerfish.

Nature's Most Extreme Monogamous Relationship!!!!

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Dan_Frank
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PS There are also less ridiculous examples of animals practicing monogamy, but they aren't nearly as funny.
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MightyCow
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Sterling: It isn't that I'm not listening, but that I can't figure out what your point is. You seem to be equating this infidelity argument with Savage's assertion that gay men are less interested in a faithful marriage, but I don't see where you make the jump from "Some gay men aren't faithful" to "seeking to create marriage that includes infidelity" and then to "I must stop other people from doing things in their marriage that I don't approve of."

I don't understand your thought process that leads you to believe that your situation is actually going on (strawman) or why you care what other people do when they're married (noneya bidness).

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Jenos
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Dan, anglerfish aren't monogamous, they engage in polyandry(multiple male anglerfish can and have been noted to be attached to a single female at any given time). In fact, the vast majority of what we consider monogamous relationships in animals are at best only serial monogamy.

Your point, however, remains. There is, to my knowledge, no animal that exclusively practices monogamy. But there are cases of some animals that occasional engage in monogamy, for various reasons(inability to find mates is a common one why an animal would only have 1 mate). Monogamy is just as unnatural as polygamy, which is to say, not at all.

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katharina
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I am dismissing the "long lasting, healthy open marriages formed as such from the beginning" because those are statistically insignificant. Nothing anyone has posted even whispered otherwise.

When I say that people who cheat are selfish and dishonorable, it's enough that it's true 99.9% of the time.

Of course, there will always be sad, deluded people who are convinced that THEIR situation is part of the .01% and their dishonest selfishness is totally cool.

It isn't complicated. It isn't like it is an enormously complex situation. It is a common, sad, horrible one that is the worst thing most people who do it will ever do. It is simply people valuing themselves above their spouse and their sex lives above their integrity.

[ August 07, 2010, 07:09 AM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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katharina
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Honestly, why are people focusing on the will-o-whisp here?

It has to be because "cheaters are selfish, dishonest, and dishonorable" is such an obvious statement there really is no discussion there. I also think people are irritated by strong, flat statements by me, in which case, *%R*&@(*#@)*. Get over it.

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dabbler
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Lying and manipulation are almost always wrong.

If we have a hypothetical couple, and one of them has sex with another person, we do not have enough data to impugn the honor of any of the three involved.

I hear that you feel it's enough data to call the person having sex with someone a cheater. But the consensus of the others arguing with you is that the answer is, "It depends."

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Raymond Arnold
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kat, do you consider swinger culture equally wrong?
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by dabbler:
Lying and manipulation are almost always wrong.

If we have a hypothetical couple, and one of them has sex with another person, we do not have enough data to impugn the honor of any of the three involved.

I hear that you feel it's enough data to call the person having sex with someone a cheater. But the consensus of the others arguing with you is that the answer is, "It depends."

Right but the overwhelming (I'd say 96%+) number of married people having sex with people other than their partner are not doing it for reasons I think anybody considers moral.
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dabbler
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quote:
Right but the overwhelming (I'd say 96%+) number of married people having sex with people other than their partner are not doing it for reasons I think anybody considers moral.
I'd say that's because they fall under "lying" or "manipulation" which are closer to universally agreed moral rules.
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Raymond Arnold
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we're not talking about the liars and manipulators because everyone agrees those people are wrong and there's nothing to discuss.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
It isn't complicated. It isn't like it is an enormously complex situation. It is a common, sad, horrible one that is the worst thing most people who do it will ever do. It is simply people valuing themselves above their spouse and their sex lives above their integrity.

Nothing is really 'complicated' when you've oversimplified people to fit squarely in moral preconceptions, and then refuse to challenge or address that.

Like, "It is simply people valuing themselves over their spouse" would certainly be a howler for many people actually in open marriages or otherwise not conforming to your (not cited and made up) statistics and claims of irrelevance, not least my own parents, who love and respect each other deeply.


quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
[QB]It has to be because "cheaters are selfish, dishonest, and dishonorable" is such an obvious statement there really is no discussion there.

Alternate (correct) answer: it's because the way that you are defining 'cheating' is wrong, and the fact that you are applying 'dishonesty and dishonor' to them categorically for opting to have sex with people outside of marriage is also wrong.

Your definitions are so hackneyed that it leaves one wondering if all threesomes are 'cheating.' Is four people in two marriages having sex only with their partner in the same room cheating? Or if it's not cheating is it cheating once anyone touches outside of the 'promised' bonds of marriage? When you remove elements of trust and informed consent from deciding whether someone is 'honest' and just say people are being 'dishonest' regardless of whether or not that's actually true, you end up with a bad, conflated definition that doesn't apply outside of the Unrevised Katharina Heritage Dictionary.

[ August 07, 2010, 11:42 AM: Message edited by: Samprimary ]

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Rakeesh
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quote:
It has to be because "cheaters are selfish, dishonest, and dishonorable" is such an obvious statement there really is no discussion there. I also think people are irritated by strong, flat statements by me, in which case, *%R*&@(*#@)*. Get over it.
It is an obvious statement, and there is no discussion there. The discussion lies in exactly who is the cheater, and how we will know it. We're none of us in a position to speak with half as much authority on the subject of who is and isn't a cheater, absent actual personal evidence.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Honestly, why are people focusing on the will-o-whisp here?

It has to be because "cheaters are selfish, dishonest, and dishonorable" is such an obvious statement there really is no discussion there.

Sort of.
The problem is not that you said "cheaters are selfish and dishonest."

The problem is that you called people who entered into polygamous relationships with the knowledge and approval of their partners "cheaters," even though this is not in fact "cheating." If you'd acknowledge that you misspoke, and that it is indeed possible for people to have polygamous relationships without "cheating," I'd imagine people would get off your back ASAP.

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