Saturday, January 30, 2010

Needs in a Poly Relationship

There's this song by Momus called 'I Want You But I Don't Need You'. It's really interesting and I think it characterizes the need vs. want struggle within a relationship well. I've noticed how some people react to being wanted or wanting someone and being needed or needing someone. "Want" is more of a healthy approach to the relationship while "need" is a more obsessive one. When you need someone, it means you cannot function normally without him; you need oxygen to live, you need food to live...but do you need your lover to live? Another example I can think of is the novel Wuthering Heights where Cathy and Heathcliff are so obsessed with each other that not only do they destroy their own lives, they also destroy the lives of the people around them. They don't want each other, they need each other.

Which brings me to one of my points in a very round-about manner: polyamory because of unfulfilled needs. Some polyamorists choose their partners based on the needs that their other partners might not have. For example, if I have a boyfriend who knows how to cook but doesn't know how to play cards and someone who can play a wicked game of whist is important to me (in the sense, I need that quality in a person to have a relationship with him), I might date a girlfriend who can play cards. A person cannot be perfect and a person cannot fulfill all one's needs. However, one can look for the lacking attributes in one person in another. Is that ethically right? Is the process of simply choosing partners for the qualities that the other partners don't have but that are nevertheless important to the person right? To me, it seems like just picking the good fruit from the bad fruit in a container and moving on to the next and doing the same thing.
A criticism to my opinion is that someone does not necessarily discard the "bad fruit" (the lack of certain qualities) but that one actually tolerates them,  accepts them,  and perhaps embraces them. However, when someone else with the qualities the first person lacks comes along, what would be so wrong with having a relationship with him?
Now, the reason why I used the term "needs" instead of "desires" is because when one desires an attribute in a partner, one would like that attribute to be there. However, one doesn't need that quality to have a successful relationship with the person. If one needs that attribute, one cannot under any circumstances have a successful relationship without it.

And my second point, hierarchy of poly relationships which has not much to do with needs but is still again, very (very) loosely connected to them.
Some poly relationships have the hierarchy of primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. The primary relationship is the one where the most attention and care is given, the secondary the not so much attention and care, and so on. Example: primary could be wife, secondary could be girlfriend, and tertiary could be casual sex friend.
Personally, I don't agree with that placing of people in a Pyramid O' Importance. Each partner of mine would have the same degree of importance. I'd treat each with care and affection, with the appropriate and proper amount that the relationship asks for. If my husband desires more attention and my other partners are alright with his decision, then he will get his request. However, if my casual sex friend is having a personal problem that I am able to help with (and he is willing to accept the help), then by all means for that period of time while my casual sex friend is having that problem, I will pay more attention to him instead of my husband (provided he doesn't have anything going on either).
Every person in a relationship is a person. Each has feelings, emotions, and desires that each would like to be accounted for and fulfilled. Everyone has problems and rough spots to get through. Neither the duration of my relationship with the person nor the title the person retains (husband, girlfriend, etc.) is important to me when in a poly relationship. I intend to treat each with the same amount of affection on my part, providing they are willing to receive it.

Now for the lyrics:

I like you, and I'd like you to like me to like you
But I don't need you
Don't need you to want me to like you
Because if you didn't like me
I would still like you, you see
La la la
La la la

I lick you, I like you to like me to lick you
But I don't need you
Don't need you to like me to lick you
If your pleasure turned into pain
I would still lick for my personal gain
La la la
La la la

I fuck you, and I love you to love me to fuck you
But I don't fucking need you
Don't need you to need me to fuck you
If you need me to need you to fuck
That fucks everything up
La la la
La la la

I want you, and I want you to want me to want you
But I don't need you
Don't need you to need me to need you
That's just me
So take me or leave me
But please don't need me
Don't need me to need you to need me
Cos we're here one minute, the next we're dead
So love me and leave me
But try not to need me
Enough said
I want you, but I don't need you

La la la
La la la

I love you, and I love how you love how I love you
But I don't need you
Don't need you to love me to love you
If your love changed into hate
Would my love have been a mistake?
La la la
La la la

So I'm gonna leave you, and I'd like you to leave me to leave you
But lover believe me, it isn't because I don't need you (you know I don't need you)
All I wanted was to be wanted
But you're drowning me deep in your need to be needed
La la la
La la la la la la la la la

I want you, and I want you to want me to want you
But I don't need you
Don't need you to need me to need you
That's just me
So take me or leave me
But please don't need me
Don't need me to need you to need me
Cos we're here one minute, the next we're dead
So love me and leave me
But try not to need me
Enough said
I want you, but I don't need you

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