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Thoughts.. - Portrait of a Young Man as The Artist — LiveJournal
A conflict:

A driving concept in an open relationship is that one person can not be everything for another; thus, we cultivate multiple relationships. How then is there any possibility to overcome feelings of inadequacy when we are, in effect, saying that all are inadequate?

x-posted to compersion

Current Mood: thoughtful introspective

20 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
abmann From: abmann Date: September 21st, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Explain further. How do family networks makes us feel capable of being enough for a person?
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: September 21st, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't understand what you're saying.
(Deleted comment)
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: September 21st, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah. ok... that makes sense then.
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: September 21st, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hegel would suggest that only collectively can we reach the end of history. That is, social evolution (think enlightenment for the hippies out there) can only be culminated as a group effort. Within that paradigm, there is room for individual growth, and indeed, the world history-makers are out there and will continue to shape the events of tomorrow, but one can not overcome all problems through self-evolution. Another way to consider what Hegel was saying is to take the simple version of the thesis model he sets up. If we were to assume that indeed the entire course of history is a series of sythesises, then at a point, any individual, extracted from a social enviroment, would reach a termination of sythesis. That is, there's nothing new for them to encounter and learn from. They would have reached the culmination of possible knowledge and experience, however, they will not have reached the culmination of all possible knowledge and all experience. Their "end of history" is an artiface.

At least, that's what Hegel would say. The Greeks would point to a dozen or so myths in an effort to show that you're wrong, and the complete human is one paired with their other birth-half.

Me? Well I'd point out that you're committing the fallacy of hasty generalization. Just because a subset of individuals fall into "those in open relationships who feel that they and/or their partners are inadequate", doesn't mean that the whole of the catagory "persons" can be concluded as being inadequate.

Though Hegel is a bit more romantic than I am.
abmann From: abmann Date: September 21st, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
So the flaw lies with my reasoning that all are inadequate. Fine. How do I deal with "I am inadequate" when in context of an open relationship. one in such a context is confronted with numerous others that replicate your function within the relationship. The assumptions made is that all patrners in the realtion ship to one given person are there to fulfil similar purpose. What, then, do we do to not feel inadequate when seeing other people there to "bolster" your effect in the relationship.

Does the problem actually lay within the lack of understanding one's purpose in the relationship, the "why am I in this relationship" aspect that no one ever talks about?.

It is apparent in a monogamous relationship hwat our role is supposed to be (as the boy-loving Greeks would apparently say, according to your coment) and that is to complete a man-woman diad.
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: September 21st, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure it makes sense to assume that all persons in the relationship are performing the same function for your partner. If that were true, then there would be no reason to have an open relationship. Well, actually, the conclusion that would arise is that every suitable person (i.e. every person who would be a person in that relationship) would be adoquate. Since that is clearly not the case, then the emotional feeling of inadoquacy will forever subsist dooming us all to an endless wanderlust. That seems, in the scheme of things, to also not be the case.

It makes more sense, at least I think so, to view each person as containing a unique set of characteristics which sate your partners' desires to a certain degree. So then, if we assume that you're not wholely fulfilling, and neither is your partner for that matter, then that is not to also conclude that you have no fulfillment-value. It's like if adaquacy was a vessel and you're a liquid of n mls. You're only going to fill the vessel so much. For some, you fill it all the way. In your case, or the case of open relationships that you've identified, you're filling it to some degree, but not all the way. Thus you go find another person and so does she, to keep on filling it in the hopes that one day you'll all reach a state of fulfillment.

It's really just an alternative to the way most people search for happiness in their lovelife. We try and fill up our vessel, realize that person X doesn't work, dump it out, and try again. You're just not dumping it out.

Now, if your real question is about how you feel in relation to having someone else poured on top of you, then that, my friend, seems to be the big psychological hazard of open relationships. And towards that, I got nothin'.
thecoweyed From: thecoweyed Date: September 22nd, 2005 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
First of all, the Athenians were the only ones with the complex system of boylove (though there seems to be some evidence for a similar system of girllove in Sparta).

Second of all, my question, and the question that I EXPECT any Ancient Greek hearing your complaint would have, is as follows:

Why are you equating your worth as a human being to your love life? Young man, pursue bravery in battle, the chilling rush of Ares. Employ yourself in the crafts of Athena and Hephaestus the lame, becoming wise in them. Become best in counsel among men as wide-thundering Zeus among the gods. Allow Apollo to make you mantis. Don't hand over all your hopes of glory to Golden Aphrodite. The last man who did that was a fellow named Paris... and we all know how that ended.

ocarina_justin From: ocarina_justin Date: September 22nd, 2005 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was awesome.
thecoweyed From: thecoweyed Date: September 22nd, 2005 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Meep. Actually, the only 'person' who ever talked about soul mates was Plato's 'Aristophanes' in his Symposium. And that was really REALLY weird and out there, as per Greek standards.

Most Greeks, in terms of love, seemed to espose a system of serial monogamy, wherein they felt the exstatic thrill of 'being in love', then found someone else to have that thrill with, leaving the previous lover/beloved in the dust.

There's only one real attested Greek example of two people being in love with one another and being together in that loving relationship for their entire lives. Unfortunately, I can't think of their names right now. But it was considered really weird.

nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: September 22nd, 2005 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)

I just got Greek Served...

you got me.
thecoweyed From: thecoweyed Date: September 22nd, 2005 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I just got Greek Served...

Didn't mean to be eruditic and/or bossy. I sort of wanted this to be a buildup to the comment I made above, which was that the Greeks didn't necessarily see love as something necessary to being a good person, or something integral to the soul.

nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: September 22nd, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I just got Greek Served...

Just poking fun at you. No worries. ;)
thecoweyed From: thecoweyed Date: September 22nd, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I just got Greek Served...

You ought to update soon about where you are/what you're doing/where you're staying/how you're getting on/what your plans are. There are people who are worried about you. There are other people who have a morbid fascination with people in difficult situations. There are yet other people who are simply nosy. You can totally satisfy all three at once. :)

guardian852 From: guardian852 Date: September 21st, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

This has nothing to do with your post.

Hey Will, good news! I managed to find a photo of you back from 2002. Here it is as well as Iris from 2000.

abmann From: abmann Date: September 22nd, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: This has nothing to do with your post.

Whoa.. I look so different...

I remember that day though. I totally schooled dream_speaker in Golden Eye.
guardian852 From: guardian852 Date: September 23rd, 2005 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: This has nothing to do with your post.

I believe you. I only reget now having photographic evidence to back it up.
guardian852 From: guardian852 Date: September 23rd, 2005 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: This has nothing to do with your post.

I believe you. I only reget *not* having photographic evidence to back it up.

I'm a bit drunk right now, and too lazy to actually log in and delete my original reply.
grimreaperess From: grimreaperess Date: September 22nd, 2005 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
My relationship isn't about my partner not being everything I want.
He is everything I want in a person, but I like having more than one person.

It is not possible for him to be more than one person. :)

I understand what you're saying though.
ocarina_justin From: ocarina_justin Date: September 22nd, 2005 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I mostly agree with TCE above, though in a less classicist (as opposed to classIST) way. Basically, it seems obvious that one person shouldn't be able to be "everything" for another - hell, I wouldn't even want to try. That's why we have outside interests - interests that do not involve, or only tangentially involve, the other person. Role playing, philosophy, law, cooking, and learning Go are good enough for me. The fact that you, and only you, cannot satisfy every single need that another person might have doesn't make you INADEQUATE, it makes you human. But think about it - would you really want to be someone else's entire universe?

Adding other people probably makes this analysis less obvious, but I think it remains fundamentally correct - your other interests are just other people. And I agree with Nathan - I am highly skeptical of the idea that you are all filling the same "role" in the relationship-web. It seems much more likely you look for people who will fill a DIFFERENT role. After all - once you've discovered chocolate ice cream isn't enough to fulfill your ice-cream related needs, are you really going to get more chocolate?
annan_dum From: annan_dum Date: September 25th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps it isn't a matter of being UNABLE to "be everything" for one person, but whether or not it is logical to be so. Human beings are capable of incredible feats, so I have no doubt that Partner A COULD "be everything" for Partner B, but at what cost? Time? Money? Safety? Identity? Sanity?
Monogamy demands compromise, and perhaps for some the necessary compromises would be detrimental to the self. This does not mean one is inadequate, but rather that the alternative to such a feat as "being everything" for ones partner would bring greater happiness.
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