18 January 2010

The One and the Many

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Photo by Eric Francis.

Our current definitions of relationship models — monogamy and polyamory — make distinctions between whether a person supposedly has one partner or more than one. A model that I am developing suggests that every relationship is based on each partner’s inner relationship to self, and that this is the most significant factor to consider in how they relate to others. Further, all relationships with others are one-on-one relationships, no matter what their apparent style; and these one-on-one relationships, whether sexual or not, whether ‘monogamous’ or ‘polyamorous’, each exist as part of much wider and far-reaching social networks. Interpersonal relationships can support or hinder one’s relationship with oneself to varying degrees. Relationships are either supported by communities where they exist, or not; relationships support community, or not. Our prior dichotomy between relational styles, i.e., ‘monogamous versus polyamorous’, is neither descriptive nor useful at describing how real-life relationships work, since in effect, all relationships have important elements of both concepts. This presentation explores these real-life factors in our contacts with other, and how they relate to our wider social experiences.

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