?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Marriage and Divorce - Queue — LiveJournal
June 21st, 2002
11:51 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Marriage and Divorce
What does marriage mean in a polyamorous context? What does divorce mean?

Traditionally, marriage means you've found the one person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Traditionally, divorce means that you've realized that you don't want to spend the rest of your life with that person.

In a polyamorous context, however, people can get into extremely long-term relationships, without the thought of marriage, since one or both of them is already married, or because they have other partners and don't want to marry just one, or for any number of other reasons.

Now, in my particular situation, I was married first and discovered polyamory later. Would I have gotten married if I had been polyamorous first? Quite possibly not. However, what would getting a divorce mean at this stage? It could mean several things. It could mean a dissolving of the legal formality and a continuation of what had been before. It could mean a change in the relationship. It could mean an end of the relationship.

Even if it were intended to be simply a dissolving of the legal formality, what would be the emotional fallout of that? It's actually something I've been thinking about for a little while. I was inspired to write this since I found out that a married, polyamorous friend of mine is getting a divorce. It sounds like things are still a little fuzzy right now, but it definitely appears to be more than just a dissolving of the legalities.

I see no reason for me to get divorced right now, but I guess I also don't see much reason to be married (other than health insurance benefits for when one of us isn't working, which has been useful in both directions in the past). I guess the lazy path will win out, but it's interesting to speculate about. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later. I really should finish up this lesson, which is almost done.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:cthulhia
Date:June 21st, 2002 09:44 am (UTC)

poly or not, marriage means...

(Link)
someone at some time thought you were worth being their lifepartner, worth being their most significant other.

Some of us have never been worth that to anyone.
[User Picture]
From:hrafn
Date:June 21st, 2002 01:07 pm (UTC)

Re: poly or not, marriage means...

(Link)
I like Mark Morford (he writes for the SFGate). Here is what he has to say on the subject. Not one of his most entertaining columns, I must say, but his last definition of it is about right, I think.
[User Picture]
From:surrealestate
Date:June 24th, 2002 09:13 am (UTC)

Re: poly or not, marriage means...

(Link)
That ending really sums up my feelings pretty well, in a way that as of yet, I hadn't managed to do.

However, my strongest reaction to this whole discussion is to be very impressed that the two of you can not only have it, but also have it in front of all of us other folks.

"...and it's all coming up because it's the spring/summer wedding season, cranking out hot puffy connubialities like a Krispy Kreme machine on meth."
[User Picture]
From:hrafn
Date:June 21st, 2002 10:20 am (UTC)

Besides the insurance . . .

(Link)
There's also the house. I don't know what sort of legal pain-in-the-ass dealing with _that_ would be . . .
[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:June 21st, 2002 10:25 am (UTC)

Re: Besides the insurance . . .

(Link)
Yeah, that too. Although, if we don't change our names, and we're both continuing to pay the mortgage, would they care that we're not married? We bought the house as two individuals, not as a couple, right? I'm not sure that it would necessarily be too big of a pain. But it would probably still be some kind of pain.
[User Picture]
From:hrafn
Date:June 21st, 2002 10:56 am (UTC)

Re: Besides the insurance . . .

(Link)
I think we may be down on the papers as married - if I recall correctly there were several ways we could have been listed; I forget all the technical terms, but I think we would have to do _something_ if our legal relationship changed. But then we'd have a lawyer who would know all that fun stuff.
[User Picture]
From:slinkr
Date:June 22nd, 2002 03:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Besides the insurance . . .

(Link)
My first question when I got to the bottom of your post was "didn't you two just buy a house?"

Kelly recently went to a talk on GLB financial issues which covered some of the difficulties of buying a house as an unmarried couple. I don't recall all of the legal implications, but they were significant. For example, if one partner dies, their half of the house is part of their estate. That means that the surviving partner has a big tax liability which wouldn't happen if they were married. It also means that it's at risk if the deceased's next-of-kin contest the will (if there is a will).

When we buy a house in a few years, we'll probably each need to hire a lawyer to make sure that our mutual interests are protected. Unless the state of Massachusetts comes to its senses and lets us get married before then.
[User Picture]
From:zzbottom
Date:June 21st, 2002 11:11 am (UTC)
(Link)
hmmm, This made me think of some stuff I hadn't considered in quite some time. I remember back in the day when Jillian and I were first considering a polyamorous lifestyle (we called it, of all things, a "Heinlein-ian" relationship, we hand't heard of the word "polyamory") we talked about the idea of what our eventual partner (at the time we were the relatively standard "MWC seeks single, bi female for lifelong bliss) would need/want in terms of equality. We decided at the time that if she needed the emotional comfort of feeling like a truly equal partner, we'd consider a paper divorce so that we'd all have the same degree of involvement. I we just thought it might pay emotional dividends in terms of not placing one aspect of the triad above the others.

As for marriage in general within the scope of a poly relationship, I still like it. I tend to work from the angle that if there exists a love that's significant enough, marriage is a logical step. This includes the idea of multiple-marriage. Unfortunately, for me, our legal system doesn't yet make allowances for such a philosophy. :)

As for defining divorce, I tend to take the definition of it being an end to something. Friends can divorce just as significantly as spouses.
[User Picture]
From:treacle_well
Date:June 21st, 2002 02:58 pm (UTC)

If you wanna talk about this

(Link)
If this is something you'd want to talk more about at some time I'd be willing to listen. It's also an issue of interest to me and of some significance to me in general because someone close to me (and I don't think it's the person you mention in your entry as a friend, but I s'pose I could be wrong) is going through this. I don't get many of the details but, well, it hasn't been a very simple thing emotionally for at least one of the parties involved.
My Website Powered by LiveJournal.com