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PQ 9.12 — Am I asked to “respect” my partner or her other partners, but feel that this respect is not reciprocated?

·312 words·2 mins
Polyamory PQ Series

PQ 9.12 — Am I asked to “respect” my partner or her other partners, but feel that this respect is not reciprocated?


There’s a great quote that has been flying around the Internet the past couple of years about respect:

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority.”

And sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me, I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority, I won’t treat you like a person.”

And they think they’re being fair, but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

I originally saw this in conjunction with online groups expressing concerns regarding police brutality. But as time has worn on, I’ve seen this pattern play out in a myriad of other ways.

And one of those? Has definitely been in polyamorous relationship hierarchies.

I see it all the time in poly forums. “I don’t know what her problem is, his new girlfriend. She needs to _respect _what me and my husband have.”

While meanwhile, she’s constantly interrupting her husband’s dates with this new person via texts:

I miss you, baby.

How are things going?

Or even worse: Pleas to come home because of a manfactured “emergency.”

“If this woman could just respect me, I’d respect her,” she says. And on a surface level, it seems fair enough.

But in practice it really means, “If she doesn’t respect that our relationship always comes first, then I won’t respect their relationship at all.”

And that’s not exactly fair, is it?


This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.


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