1:38PM Mar 24, 2020
Welcome to the Pod Pod Cvlt Cast where we talk about life love, learning and libido and share our journey through polyamory. I'm Max.
What are we talking about? Today
we are talking about toxic monogamy culture.
What does that mean? We kept seeing a post going around I think it's an older one from Tumblr from Nanking decade that asked the question what I you know what I mean, when I say toxic monogamy culture had a bunch of bullet points spawned, or you know, maybe borrowed from a bunch of different articles that we were looking at of the same topic, one of which is from all go.org what is toxic monogamy we thought we'd discuss through and that's
just come up. Hmm. That wasn't that wasn't there before.
That was a good summary. So maybe we'll use this one day to bounce ideas off of Okay, great. So here's what I mean when I say toxic minutes. culture. If you truly love someone, you will never be attracted to anyone else. Oh,
gosh, Max. Yes. How do you feel about that statement?
Well, I've it's just truly baffling. Right, the idea that the idea that those two things are connected in any kind of way whatsoever, love and attraction, love and like cutting off your ability to be attracted to anyone else. Okay, you know, hmm. I agree with that.
And for some people, you know, that happens. And that's cool. But it shouldn't be expected of everyone. It shouldn't be. I mean, we're human beings, right? We're animals. Yeah, we're driven by hormones and chemicals and biological processes. And I was listening to Dan Savage talk earlier today. And he's talking about the fact that like, hey, we've been fucking for thousands of thousands of years. Like, we're the product of fucking, we should just embrace the fact that like, we don't like grow up and then start having sex. We grow up and start Sex starts having us. Because sex really takes over chemically in a lot of ways.
This is a podcast where we talk about love and relationships, sex and kink and Polycom issues and whatever else comes up. While we talk about those things, we'll probably also touch on stuff like abuse and violence and mental health challenges. These can be difficult topics. So keep that in mind moving ahead,
you can't turn off your feelings, feelings just happen and attraction as a feeling. Right. And to say, or to say that like, that does happen for some people, does it or is it just that some people don't act on it?
Right? No, I really think that with some people, like they'll meet somebody and like tell them they don't see anyone else the rest of their life and that's possible. But to break it down like statistically that would also be nearly impossible. Like that. It couldn't be a normative expectation. Sure.
I think that there are lots of unhealthy obsession. habits that current society really cultivates when I say that I mean things like all of the tropes about checking your partner's phone and the psycho exes and all that where somebody says with somebody, do you know what I'm saying? Am I making any sense?
Yeah, well, I mean, there's a current popular television show crazy ex girlfriend like these are these are perfectly
normalized television show called crazy. Yes.
Yeah. No idea. I will. I will
mail you a VHS what is the address of your rock? And are you in the basement or like a sub basement hunter that
live on top of the rock?
Well, I've been I've been thinking about this and I didn't know where it would fall into the outline, but I'll go ahead and jump in with it now because we're kind of talking about it. Okay. Is that this kind of toxic monogamy? I think it reinforces tropes, it reinforces roles that we're supposed to play inside of relationships, right? There's the dumb dad and there's, you know, there's the Peggy Hill mom, that has to be saved from her own silliness and there's the the other day it is the put upon dad who's the Who is the one who does the saving
and just Bundy. Al Bundy just handing out cash and Right, exactly right. Right.
You know, and I think that's all part of this right. All right. So I think Yeah, well
to crystallize that, going back to what I was saying about it being a almost statistical and possibility even though it is not likely the societal expectation has made that the norm and people have tried to adapt to that to make that fit, even though it's kind of silly.
bundle thing is though, so that you if you want one thing at a relationship, it necessarily has to come with all these others. So I think that we could all sit here and say we understand and or have experienced relationships where romantic attachment and sexual attraction, were not just a perfect package that always comes together. Hmm. We can divide those things but I I definitely feel like a lot of people just can
Well, I think You know, if we're going to talk about toxic monogamy, I think we should first say that monogamy is a valid relationship style, it is a choice, you're choosing to commit to one person romantically and sexually. And that that is perfectly valid and that is consent driven. And there's nothing wrong with that. The problems arise when it is that you believe that you're supposed to have some kind of magical thing that turns off your attraction to everyone else. And they're supposed to be this magical thing that makes your partner want to use you for everything that you are the end all be all. Erik and your episode when we were getting to know you, you talked about having this storybook idea of romance and love. Would you consider the ideas that you had fall into this toxic monogamy category?
Do you have any examples of relationships you were in? If you want to talk generally about them? How did that toxicity manifest for you?
One example would be Oh, well I've done all of these things for you. Specht, that you account for that and do all of these things for me.
Such as now I'm curious.
I moved across the world for you. Why are you being a bitch about? example?
Hmm. I think that's a pretty valid example. And that's your internalized thinking, right? I made this commitment, I made this sacrifice and
how can you say I'm not doing enough? Right and live in a whole different society for you.
Now, looking back on that relationship? How do you feel about it? Do you still have those feelings? Um, no, not really.
Because in this particular framework of an argument, No, I wasn't doing enough. And it didn't fucking matter that I moved across the world. I still wasn't pulling my weight.
So I've talked before about the fact that relationships are not investments. We're not investing in somebody so that we get a return out of them. we're choosing to spend our time with somebody because they bring out to bring us joy. That's what I view as a healthy romantic relationship. Max. Do you have any toxic monogamy from your past that you've experienced? And how did you come through it? And where are you today?
Oh, yeah, I mean, growing up with also toxic masculinity. My, my entire framework for relationship was toxic monogamy. Some of the stuff that you guys are talking about right now, like the transactional nature of a relationship was definitely a feature of some of my late teens, early 20s. I also was like, the phrases like lock it down, you know, like I, I strongly had feelings of like, Oh, I really like this person. I gotta lock this down, right? Like, I gotta, I gotta force them into a very serious commitment. So their mind and they can't go anywhere. Yeah, and you know, I can't give an example because every relationship I had was an example of that well, and we're not naming names.
Well, and so you can name names with me. I feel like you and I came into our marriage with a little of toxic monogamy ideals, you know, I came into the marriage with this very in a box idea of what romance was supposed to be and that was formed. I call it the Cosmopolitan quiz idea of romance like if, you know, the I would take quizzes and try to predict what was happening and, and try to know everything about the person. If I knew everything about the person then then I'm going to be able to anticipate their needs, and then they're going to stay with me and never leave, or they can't fight back or they can't fight back. Yeah, yeah. Oh, gosh. So there was a lot of like, I have to lock this down with you. And, you know, since we've moved past that, how do you think we did move past that? Honestly?
Yeah, time. Yeah. It'll it will be a recurring theme that like, I haven't done hard work that you do a lot of work and you do a great job. Thank you. But personally, I haven't done a lot of hard work. And together there are ways that we have not done a lot of hard work. It's just that we like kept battling and walking through the story. Until we, you know, get to a better place.
Yeah. Yeah. I think I think that you're absolutely correct I feel I feel like individually and then our and our relationships with other people that are not you and I, I feel like you and I have grown a lot and just our view of the world and our politics and all that stuff. And I feel like that's allowed us to find to find a peace with one another where it's not possessive or clingy, or, or what have you, because you and I have always had a pursuer, pursuing the kind of relationship. I'm Hannah. Hi. Hi. You talked about being in a courtship? Yeah. And your episode. That was our third episode. Would you define the relationship ideals that you had at that time as toxic monogamy?
Absolutely. Yeah. And
purity culture really amplifies this because it's Not just you know, it's not true love and until that one person obliterates your sense of never being attracted to anyone again, it really is like that zero to 100 literally overnight kind of expectation where you know, you're going through this whole courtship, you're getting closer to somebody, and you're not experiencing or at least not dwelling on any kind of physical attraction. You don't have any kind of sexual relationship, you don't talk about these things. And then once you get married, the light switch flips, and then you're just, you know, sexually available to each other always forever for the rest of your lives and not undergo, excuse me, non negotiables. And so I think, yeah, that that really goes to an extreme of this that says, like Erik was saying, you know, you're backed into a corner. It's either This is love is real, or I have, you know, all of these other feelings and thoughts which are perfectly normal, it can't be both, I can't have to 11 less all of this just goes away. Right?
And as a as somebody who's like, a fascinating Did viewer have that kind of culture? Like there's also a kind of a sexual a sexual prosperity gospel that goes along with that? Right? Like the idea that we're not doing this now? Because later it's gonna be so much hotter?
I think that's true. Yeah, I think there's definitely a culture of saying like, your sex life will be better, and your marriage will be better in the long term because you had to wait, which is just absurd from from a practical standpoint, right? Because just like every other part of a relationship that makes it work, it requires practice it requires communicating your needs. None of that was part of the culture that I grew up in. And I want to be clear like there are there are definitely brands of Christianity that completely demonize sex and talk about it as you know, purely for procreation. I wasn't part of that. This is definitely seen as a positive thing within marriage. But there were just no tools to build that, you know, it was just either I guess, either happens or you just learn to live without it. Yeah.
One of the things that I always equate with toxic monogamy is like you said purity culture and virgin the concept of virginity as a whole, you know, and it comes back to, I think toxic monogamy. And monogamy in general just has roots in women are commodities women are the way through which we propagate the species, let's gather them and keep them oppressed so that we can control them and what they're doing and their bloodlines and all that stuff. And I think that virginity goes along with that. That was just a little side note because it's thinking about so Hannah, what else is the article talked about? Sure.
So toxic. monogamy means the relationship capital, our relationship always comes first. So this was everything in your life, everything you could possibly enjoy or experience at a hierarchy with relationship to one person at the top.
Yeah. Well, and polyamory we do have people who engage in a hierarchy with their relationships, people will have primaries and secondaries. And that's On a formal thing where they have said you were the you were the first person who's the most important. And then these other people come after you. And we also have the, oh, well, we're primaries because we're domestically entangled or financially entangled, or we have kids or whatnot. And I've seen those situations be just as toxic as monogamous situations, because basically, you're limiting relationships with other people in terms of friendships and familial relationships. And I think that those are just as important. As a relationship. We have kind of a weird situation, this group, I feel like we're all on an equal playing field. I feel like, you know, time that we spend with everybody, I don't know how to say this. You know, what I'm getting at. Can somebody help me here that, that my relationship with Erik is respected just as much as my relationship with Max is respected, just as much as my friendship with Hannah's that there's no person in charge, really, except for me, except for you're the captain of the ship.
No built in hierarchy, right or a switch. I do think it's different than a lot of ways, you know. And
there's also, again, one of those things we've grown in this has not always been the case.
Yeah, it's I think it's a lot like that because of the work you guys have done, not because it's just what it was. No, no.
Well, you know, Eric, I know, you haven't seen as many examples.
And I've seen a few examples of hierarchies that were kind of twisted.
Okay. Well, you know, can you can you share that? Because I think I think that when we talk about the things that happen in toxic monogamy, we are those are also applicable to polyamory, if I'm going off topic,
yeah, they're the exact same thing.
It's a relationship between two people. Yeah, right.
Yeah. And as long as we're sort of waffling around about this, you know, at least for myself as a peace of mind thing as a disclaimer, you know, we know a lot of people who are what I've always called polyamory evangelists. Mm hmm. And you touched it a little bit a few minutes ago, but I just want to say like polyamory is a relationship. style, it is no more or less valid than any other relationship style, correct?
No. And it's specifically defined in any way.
Right? Many, many, many, many different versions, right? Everybody like means something else by when they say it. And a lot of the things that people cite these statistics about X number of civilizations through time of practice, some form of aren't really true. You know, they're sort of like, anthropological.
It's conjecture. Yeah. It's all conjecture. I think, I think that we, we take the small number of facts that we have, and we really twist them to, to meet what we think society should look like. And we always want to support what we're doing. Right. Yeah. And as just as a species, you know, we always want to go like, well, the data says, and this supports me because and I've mentioned previous episode that like the people who are big proponents of sex at dawn, and even, you know, even listening to Dan Savage earlier, he was talking about how we're just not genetically designed to be monogamous. Okay, maybe but it's still a valid choice. And you can do it in a way that is consensual and respectful and has healthy boundaries and healthy attachment styles. Yeah,
I was laughing about this the other day because I'm in a natural parenting group on Facebook. And they had posted on natural a natural parenting
and unnatural hair thing.
unnatural parenting Facebook group. And they had posted a study that have been done. That was saying that, you know, our ancestors historically breastfed children until six years old regularly as like a justification for why all parents now should do the same thing that this study was showing it historically been done. And I was thinking about our conversations about sex at dawn and all of that as like a justification or an reason to advocate doing this for all people. It just doesn't make sense. We're not those people. We're not in those mostly desperate and awful circumstances that resulted in this Behavior doesn't make sense
to us. And you know that 87.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
You're both wrong. It's 66.8. So
Oh my gosh. So this is the thing that Hannah, I think you and I talked about at one point, the fact that a lot of today's culture is based in this desperate time is based on this need to defend the things, small things that you have, because you don't have a very big patch of the world and you have to fight for constantly. We don't live in a world where we have to fight for that. Yes, there are some third world nations that don't have access to resources and goods and so forth. But as a whole sitting here in this living room, I don't have to defend my living room. I don't need to marry somebody to protect my name or my progeny or what have you. I'm not trying to keep riches in the family, and monogamy and the religious things behind it. All of that were designed to control culture, right? We can agree on that. So So We don't need that stuff today. So now I feel like it's kind of a free for all we can do whatever the fuck we want to, because there's nothing, there's no, there's no ethically superior way of having a relationship with somebody so long as you're not abusing them. And it's based on consent and mutual respect. That's the right thing to do for you.
Yeah, that time. I think we're all in this room, nobody's gonna be pleased to know.
Well, and I think but I think that the people who have to look back at statistics and pulling it, they're trying to they're trying to defend something they don't need to defend. If you make a choice, and you're hurting anybody, then shut the fuck up about it. Just go Be yourself and live your life. I you know, feel the need to be yes. Yeah,
yeah. You know, I don't know who I'm defending here. But, like, like, but we do. Like, you know, we live in a time where everybody feels embattled, and everybody is claiming to be the most oppressed group. Yeah. So everybody has to come up with some sort of justification. Well, if they want to do what they think whatever,
I'm going to go ahead and say that I have faced oppression in my life. I have lived a very, very privileged life. Yes, all of us in this room have lived very, very privileged lives, we come from a place of privilege. So, I mean, for me to get on my, on my high horse about like, well,
nobody's disagreeing with you. I know.
I know nobody's disagreeing with me. I'm just saying like, that the people that I see who are still in who are in similar situations as us who get very defensive about well, here are the statistics and here's all the data that I need to use to back up and here are the books you should read that prove why I'm right. Like why does it matter to be right, like it doesn't So anyway, I'm sorry, man.
I just yeah, I'm doing this because this is where like, yeah,
so because I like you. Yeah.
So I guess all that to say when we talk about toxic monogamy just as like, we're definitely gonna you know, talk about toxic masculinity. Yeah, it's not saying that monogamy is toxic in and of itself, right. And it's not saying that toxic relationships are confined to monogamy. It's saying that the Is the culture that we're within here the problems and we've opted out? Yeah. Or at least we're attempting to opt out of most of those things. What are some what are some other identifiers of a toxic monogamous relationship? I believe that your romantic partner needs to fulfill every single emotional, social and physical need that you have.
Well, as somebody who's dated everybody else in the room, I'm gonna have to go ahead and say that that's never been true for me in any polyamorous or monogamous relationship. I've never found somebody who was my end all be all, I don't believe it exists.
I have deluded myself into thinking that How did that work out for you? Well, it didn't is because of the societal pressures of all of these sorts of things. You know, you meet a person, you click with them a while and, and you're, I won't keep saying you I'll say me, or one can overlook all of the deficiencies and the non compatible variables. And those sorts of things to convince oneself that you have found and OBO
free frequently, that's what new relationship energy is all about. Yes, exactly. Yeah. When you meet somebody that you're excited about, and you are, as you say, like clicking with him on a on a really serious level, like at first it does seem like, oh, gosh, like they're amazing. They think all my jokes are funny. They agree with me on all of my political stuff. Like there's nothing to fight about in a relationship for the first three months. Right,
right. Well, in my experience, three months has been the honeymoon period, but also, it's been studied and the chemical reactions that happen in the body, as part of new relationship energy have been shown to happen up to two or three years into a relationship depending on the relationship and how it's fed, and how that oxytocin button is pushed. So I mean, really until you're with somebody for like, five years You don't know if you really like them or if your body just wants to fuck them.
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I think a lot of having non monogamous relationships is about the fact that we get to extend the period of relationship energy. It's like skipping stones. Yeah, yeah, because we, for the most part, most of us, except for people who like hardcore, practice solo polyamory, have a nesting partner, or in my new case, have like two domestic partners. And anybody else we date on the outside is somebody we see once a week, a couple times a month, whatever it is, and like you just don't develop the things to have serious conflict about right, as long as it's just somebody that you get to go have a nice time with every once in a while.
Right. And for anybody who hasn't checked out previous episodes, and this is your first time coming in. I'm married to max. I live with Hannah as well. Max and Hannah and I live together and Erik is binary partner who lives across town. And so an Erik and I have talked about the fact that if you know that we would probably have conflict if we lived together. That's a really good thing that we don't live together. But it's a it's a boon in our relationship, because there are good, real boring real fast. So I get to see the exciting parts.
I mean, you know, tests on the human eye, and the first couple years that we were dating didn't really have conflict. It wasn't until the period where we were moving towards living together having a serious, serious, forever commitment that we started having, like serious, angry at each other conflicts over real life issues.
Well, I think it was you and I didn't start having conflict until it was important. So yes, I would agree with that. Yeah. I would definitely agree with that. And that came down to things like, you know, do we have the same values is this relationship we really want? You know, and I think that you and I, and we've talked in previous episodes about sort of our fucked up journey together. I think that you and I grew up a whole lot, and we were just too dumb kids sort of duking it out to very stubborn people to probably not neurotypical people.
No, I don't believe that for a second don't believe what, but both of you were just normal. Yeah.
I can't tell.
Oh my gosh,
okay. I really leaned heavily on this point, whenever I was a little baby I am and trying to explain to my family what was going on and I was like, I'm just, I'm just too loving and too big hearted to be contained. No one person can be responsible for all of my emotions. And all that which is true, when neglects the point that we were just talking about, which is the opposite of toxic monogamy is not polyamory. The opposite is a healthy relationship that has good boundaries in it. So their response, which was very reasonable was like, well, you can have friends, you know, you're happy to lean entirely on your romantic partnerships, which is also true.
Very true. It is very true. And I think I've talked about this prior that it wasn't until I had a good solid friend support network, that I started feeling healthier in my relationships, because I wasn't leaning on my partner all the time. And, you know, I have a lot of emotions to Hana. There's a lot of me to contain, and one person just can't deal with that. I agree with that. I think that there's a there's a fallacy I'll call it a fallacy that comes about with polyamory, where it's that one person can't meet your needs. So you find the other people to meet your needs. And that's not about that. There is no there's no thing that max does that fills holes that Erik doesn't do and there's no thing vice versa. Well, I mean, I'm sure Erik is filling. Erik, Erik is definitely filling some holes that max isn't but but they're you know, they're you two are actually very complimentary in terms First
audible blush now and CJ
are actually very complimentary in terms of skill sets and outlooks on life and, you know, just the life that you're living right now. You're both blue collar. You're both kind of weirdos. You know, there are a lot of similarities. So
types right like we're always gonna look Yeah. Similar I have a table
you know? Yeah, it might my type is weirdo nerds like all of you are just fucking weirdos. I love you but you're so weird. But you're very cute so
you like it's like so weird.
Like so weird.
and that that that sort of sentiment is the thing that in our in our poly am Facebook groups is meme right like these things about like there's just so much love to give.
I think that's still lean. So like the puzzle piece there like some of us are really dumb, boring puzzle pieces who just need one thing to complete them. And some of us are super complex, difficult puzzle pieces that Need a dozen people to complete them? When the whole point is, nobody's here to complete anybody I'm I'm 1000
piece puzzle of just a clear blue sky with no clouds. And I don't need that much to complete me. I complete
myself as a piece puzzles that you put together and then you lay the image on over when you're done.
Oh yeah, I'm just blank puzzle pieces.
If you're enjoying the Pod Pod Cvlt Cast, check out our podcast show notes at podpodcvltcast.com or keep up with us on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook at @podpodcvltcast and Instagram @cvltwithav . love us. Rate us on Apple podcasts or help us continue to make this podcast possible by becoming a patron. Head to patreon.com/podpodcvltcast . Remember that's cool with a V. patrons get access to exclusive content like our cult cast media club. This month we're talking about Paris is burning the vagina Bible The musician Liz, thank you so much to our patrons, Jenny, Sydney and Kate.
One of the things that has helped me through the things that I feel come up and toxic now I mean, we talked about jealousy and we talked about lack of boundaries, boundaries and codependency. The thing that's helped me is learning to love myself and learning to like spending time with myself, and engaging in self care and realizing like, hey, if, if my partner's not doing something for me, what is it that I need? Why do I think I need it from them? And can I engage them in a way That asks for their consent to do this, or can I just take care of it myself? And there are a lot of things I can just take care of myself.
And there are some things I can take. There are some things I can't do myself. Yeah.
How about this one? toxic monogamy is believing that sufficiently passionate and true love will always overcome practical incompatibilities.
So the idea that if it's if it takes work at all, if it's too complicated, and it's too hard, then it's not real love. almost the opposite of that. Is that as am I right? And
because it's true, these things don't really actually matter. When a lot of times they do.
It's a double edged sword.
Either your loves not true enough, or our problems aren't real. We'll just left them out.
I don't think you can love out a problem.
That's a motherfucker whether you love each other or not, yeah, nothing. Yeah, you need to handle that shit.
Yeah, um, gosh, I I have Have a firm belief that in a relationship, it's always going to require work. Sometimes that work feels like work. And sometimes that work feels like fun. And I don't think that my love can fix stuff.
I mean, nor is it supposed to, I guess
but we're all kind of taught that that's a very,
I mean, I like you an awful lot. But if there are fucked up things like we're gonna have to work that out. Right?
Right. Are you saying Love does not conquer all?
No, love doesn't conquer all.
I think that's a real nice thing on a bumper sticker.
I think that love. Love facilitates the desire to want to work on it. The desire to go through what are you guys familiar with the phrase growth frustration?
Yeah, when I was 17.
Yeah. So growth, frustration. So anytime you learn a new skill, growth, frustration is the practice time. So you know, say you're
the montage in an 80s movie.
Exactly. This is the montage. So um, you know, Erik, you played violin, you had to practice day in and day out to get to a place where you were you felt confident and where it was second nature. But that practice is boring. It's boring learning how to play an instrument, I
would have been a much dentist if I actually practiced.
Yeah. So growth frustration is this is this feeling that you get when, like, Yeah, I know the steps. I'm doing the steps over and over again, but it's still not coming naturally. And I'm not where I want to be with it. But I'm also not at the beginning. I know a little bit about it. So I think that the same is true of relationships. Like there are things that you learn about the other person that require that sometimes it's just important shit that you have to get through. Like,
and the whole love conquers all true, I think kind of implies that. If it is that kind of work, well, then it's not love or on the other side is the opposite. It's Well, it's because there is work.
it's not. Yeah, and and maybe because things don't always work out. that's taken as a sign that it was never real to begin with, which I think
is really damaging all relationships and all relationships. And was that this morning? So the three of us, Max, Hannah and I, we ate breakfast outside. are we sitting outside drinking coffee and talking about rejection this morning?
Yeah, yeah, we were talking What does it take to be resilient to rejection? Exactly. People socialized away from it
What it takes to be resilient to it is to be rejected. Yes.
fail to change and grow like failure is the opportunity for change.
But we were talking about that, especially in the context of toxic masculinity because I think we're, we're socializing you know, half of all of the people to say that, you know, rejection says something about you as a human being it it makes you a bad person or reveals your badness. When that's just not the case. It has nothing to do with you. I'm going to now a reference the Four Agreements for this episode I'll try to do so once every episode before agreements. Don't take it personally. Don't make assumptions. I'll always do your best and be impeccable with your word. If you're not taking it personally and realizing that it's not about you, it's so much easier to live your life.
Max, you look like you've been doing some work over there, what you got for us,
I'm gonna throw a curveball monkey wrench in because we keep talking about these things in this framework of this word, love. We're not but we're not talking about the word love. And there's a thing that, you know, crosses various platforms every once in a while that crossed something I was reading yesterday. And that is the seven kinds of love according to the ancient Greeks. Oh, right. So then, yeah, you know, I'm not real smart. So I'm not going to try a couple of these words. But arrows, like sexual love filio, which is like brotherly love, you know, strong friendship. You've got ludas I guess playful love? Yeah. pragma underslung laughs Love, a golf a love of the soul which is strongly associated with religion. I believe that a lot of good vibes. Yeah. The love of the self, which we've been talking about filling our own holes. I like to fill my holes and parental love the love of the child. Yeah, well, that does a little bit better job. We're still not talking about what this word love is. Well
Max, what does love mean to you? When the concept of love the feeling of love, describe what love is for you?
Well as a deep, deeply broken person who can't just like who has to overthink every goddamn thing. Like, I don't know, I really don't know. Is it a force? Is it a emotion? Is it something bigger outside of ourselves that floods us and then flows outwards? I really don't. I really don't know. I mean, I know that. I mean it deeply when I say I love you casting. I love you Hannah. I love my sister. I love have our kid but I don't know, is it? Is it just chemicals? You know? Like, it's really and that that sucks? Do you like I wish I could be a person who just you know who didn't think about it, but I do. I do think about those things I think about where it comes from, I think about what it means I think about what it means to have it for another person or have it for yourself or to have it for the Detroit Tigers.
Sad for boys.
So, gentlemen, you're taking too long.
Yeah, there's. So there's a book I've talked about before called how emotions are made. And it talks about how experiences when we're younger, and the inculturation we experienced as children growing up in a Western society. All that stuff helps us come up with concepts of emotion and what emotion means. And so that things like what anger is and what sadness is and what love is, our concepts formed by society and sort of given to us and I think that chemically Think that when you have new relationship energy, it is your brain trying to establish a new pattern of being and a new way of thinking about somebody. So when you love somebody, and you love somebody long term and that oxytocin isn't releasing anymore, the brain is still remembering those patterns of behavior from when there was a lot of oxytocin. And when you did feel really awesome, and there was excitement, and everything they did was great. So I have a very cynical idea of love. I think love is a chemical reaction. And then I think after that chemical reaction goes away. Love is a habit that we have built through work and time. I struggle to feel love 100% of the time. And that could be because I'm autistic. It could be because I have a really fucked up past.
Do you mean specifically, you struggle to feel love from other people, or for other people, or from other people?
I don't I I know that my son loves me. But I can't feel that.
Well, that I mean, that's particularly difficult with children. Yes, it is children, but
I but I've never been able to feel his expressions of love. I apologize. I don't know why that's so emotional. Um, are you kidding?
That's emotional. Yeah, if you were to say that without emotion.
So, so, you know, I know everybody in this room loves me, and in their own ways, but there are very specific things that I have to hear in order to reinforce the idea that I'm not just lying to myself about because all my life, I
grew up with this idea that I was not lovable.
And that comes from a completely different place. And that comes from trauma and abuse and self esteem issues that result from that. So Love is a very complicated thing that I have a lot of trouble feeling. And when I speak openly and honestly about this with people, it freaks them out. Because they're like, Oh my god, you can't feel love. Like what's wrong with you? And I don't think anything's wrong with me. I think I just don't understand what it's supposed to feel like. I know that I love. I know that I have love for other people. I have compassion and caring, and when they're hurt, I feel hurt. When they're happy, I feel joyous. I can feel all those things but, but I struggle to feel this return sort of warm, fuzzy feeling that just doesn't happen in my body. I get feelings of love from physical contact. I get feelings of love from praise, but those are feelings of love from me loving other person not me feeling love from them. It's just sort of like, okay, it's still okay to love them. It's still okay to be vulnerable because they're doing all the things right. I guess, if that makes sense. I don't know. I feel like in any I don't like it when I cry suddenly.
It kind of does. Not that it doesn't make sense. It does make sense, okay. But it's also not at all how I think about it. And in a very, very broad sense. What I would say is that and also glossing over all of the things that you've tried to intellectualize max. Not that you can't, I just mean you listed off a bunch of things and said yourself that you'd don't fully understand them in a very overly simplistic way. Love is basically just the things that make me feel gratitude. Whether that's outward or inward or reciprocated, even, it's the things that I'm like, Ah, no, that's pretty awesome. I'm glad that's the thing.
Hmm. Okay, I can see that
I identify with that I feel like
the people that I've had love for have all been people that I find value, I believe that they are worthy worthy of my time where I get my energy worthy of my devotion. And that for me, it felt like a really solid like tangible thing where sometimes the the butterflies and the emotions didn't come readily, or you know, weren't consistent, but I always felt like oh, this is really solid because I see what this person is working towards and their goals and in life and their motivations and and I find With which type of love with was that? Which Greek word was that?
I got a, I got a
That's a GAVI.
That's officially off the rails.
very trying to define love or that solid footing for the relationship. And I found another list. I love my list. I like to listen to basic rights in a relationship. And obviously, like listing out rights is a very baseline like level of what you should expect, not necessarily what we think of as love. But I, when I read through this, I felt like it provided that groundwork right with the level of security we need to relationships to then feel the feelings and have the emotions that we want to have. So according to this and maybe would have some disagreements or some clarifications on any of these, but the list that I found The basic rights in a relationship are the right to receive goodwill from the other person. The right to receive emotional support, to be heard by the other, and the right to be responded to with courtesy. The right to have your own view even if your partner has a different one, to have your feelings and experiences acknowledged as real, to have a sincere apology for any jokes you feel are offensive. To have clear, informative answers to questions that concern what is legitimately your business. The right to live free from accusation and blame the right to live free from criticism and judgment, to have your work and your interest spoken of with respect. The right to receive encouragement to live free from emotional and physical threat, to live free from angry outbursts and rage to be called by no name that devalues you, and the right to be asked respectfully rather than to be heard. record
that was pretty comprehensive. Yeah,
is and I would agree with nearly all of it except, except I'm live free from criticism and judgment, that sort of thing.
Just the fuck out of you
know what in in a realistic nature to have a good and healthy relationship somebody's gonna have to every once in a while call you on your shit. And this kind of implies that that shouldn't be part of it.
I think it's just the way they're using the word criticism.
Well, it wasn't just that one. It was a similar sort of thing. Which one was it? I actually don't see it now. But basically, it was it was kind of a the tone of that list. is uh oh, well, no, no, no, you're you're, you're good. Nobody should really question that you have a right to have that self described, I don't know, identity and who you are in this relationship. And nobody should touch that,
oh, I saw a video this week where a speaker was using the word contention to describe a really healthy relationship where people build each other up and challenge each other. And I think the point was really good. But all of the comments, were just picking on the word contention, because nobody wants to be in a contentious relationship, right? I think we have the same connotations with criticism, that criticism is negative, and about tearing people down. Whereas, you know, I really thrive on critical feedback, I'm positive.
I think, I think the ability to take feedback and also to give constructive feedback, those are skills that you have to develop, those aren't things that come naturally. And I think that there are times in relationships when we need to offer some constructive feedback. Because if we see an issue we should be able to speak to our feelings on the issue. And and talk about it. It doesn't have to be like, well, you suck. It can be like, you know how a
thing called tact
Yeah, she got to attack in keeping in our with our theme of lists our Patreon supporter Kate, thank you so much Kate just sent me a text message with this article is called committed to you on fluidity and relationships from mine crush calm. And it has three principles that it's really talking about. The first one is that feelings don't require getting, it's okay to want. Just because you have the feeling doesn't mean you get the response to it or what have you. compatibility is complex. Don't take it personally if you're not compatible. And relationships are team sport by definition. They can't be more than any one person desires.
Mm hmm. I think that goes back to what we're talking about with rejection. Yeah, it's so hard not to hear rejection and say oh, well what I wanted in the first place was wrong. And if I want to hear yes next time, which would make me feel good and I have to change what I my equity. Are instead of, you know, I think working with hope that you'll find what you actually need. Yeah, I think that
culturally, we really take issue with people changing their minds. You know, consent is not a blanket consent thing, we can decide that we don't like something or something is not for us. And, you know, there have been situations where I've been involved with somebody and I was really, really into them. And then I go, you know what, this is not what I want, and I've gone, okay, gone, you know, this is, this has to come to an end. Now, I no longer feel like being part of this relationship. I'm done with this relationship. I don't consent to being part of this relationship anymore. And that person comes back and says, like, what you told me, You loved me. That doesn't have anything to do with how I feel now.
Yeah, that's the hardest part about any breakup about being on the other end of any breakup, right. going like, Well, yesterday, everything was fine. Well, typically yesterday, everything wasn't fine. Yeah, typically, yesterday, there was some just weren't like making a big deal out. Exactly.
Hannah, you said Something when the last time we were we were talking about your story coming up through polyamory. You said that, you know, there were all these problems, and I was just quiet about it. And because I was quiet about it, they didn't exist for other people. And then when I stopped being quiet about the issues I was having, it was like a sudden new, a surprising thing for everyone. But it wasn't new and surprising. For me, it was new and surprising for them because they hadn't heard it before. I think that happens a lot in relationships. We let things fester and we don't talk about things. Because
conflict is harder that way, status quo.
And just because I'm having all of this internal conflict and know that things have to change eventually doesn't mean that I'm ready to admit that all of this was a lie, and I never had true love. Yeah, you know, because we're still living in that false dichotomy that says, hey, if this didn't last forever, then I guess they just weren't the one my love was somehow flawed.
I don't believe in the one that
should be looked at as flawed or failure. It's just that time is running
every every relationship and be it through mutual decision, the decision of one party or through death, or other means, and I think that going into relationships with the idea that okay, this can end someday, how can I make it end in a healthy way? How can I leave this person better than I found them? How can I, you know, work on myself so that I leave better than they found me? What?
What a wonderful thought, because I feel like so many times we're in situations that are painful for everyone. Yes. And it seems like the only possibility is to just burn that bridge. So then we won't have to suffer doubt. It'll just be destroyed, just burn it to the ground. And then there won't be anything left to pined for, when we could be finding the way that
you build each other up being angry about it is so much.
And there's also a thing that happens when two people end a relationship. The person who ends the relationship and makes that decision to pull the plug suffers just as much as the other person. That person has agonized over that decision that that person still is going to miss the person they're breaking up with they're still going down they still have feelings feelings aren't we're not faucets, we don't just turn our feelings off. You know, I can love somebody very, very much and recognize that it's just not right for me to be with them.
Yeah, actually the end of my my last monogamous relationship kind of had a bit of that to it. And that is because I had to go back and and pick up all of my stuff like a couple of months later. Yeah. And when I was there, she she actually she thanked me, because she was like, I really didn't know what to expect when you were coming back here. And you were this was so much easier than what I expected. Thank you. And it was just because in the time that I've moved away and was waiting on my stuff, I was like, Whoa, you know what? She was right. I get it. I also see everything that she was, you know, the kind of emotional gymnastics she was going through, to be able to be the one that honestly was the stronger one to say, Hey, this is you know, we kind of done here. And the only reason that it hadn't happened sooner because neither one of us had really been strong enough to say, but to call a spade a spade.
Like, we don't always have the opportunity to sort of reflect on what happened and then come back and have that closure. Yeah.
Well, I mean, Hannah, you and I have had exactly that, though. I mean, you and I dated for six months, and I ended the relationship. And you and I live together and now and we're really good friends. And I enjoy spending most of my time with you. And, and we have gone back and had those circle back kind of difficult conversations about like, Look, this is where I was, and this is where you were, and I could see this and this was hard at the time, and here are the feelings I have and here are the feelings I don't have anymore, and yada yada yada. And I feel like that you and I have done a good job of being able to reflect on it in a healthy way. And that could just be me I could be making all this up. I don't
I don't know if that would have been possible. If If you hadn't been able to say, Hey, we need to put a freeze on this right now. Yeah, and step back, because I just didn't have the tools at that time to say, stepping back from something and having less intimacy and less conversation about it can be a good thing and can save our friendship if we let it. That wasn't where I was at the time. And so yeah, consider that a really big blessing. It's a skill set that I'm trying to build, you know, whether it's on the, you know, the relationship scale, or just the individual conversation, to be able to say, hey, what if we took that moment, had a reflective period and then came back whenever you're better equipped to Yeah, to work through it? Yeah. Hi, Max. Hi. How you doing over
there. When you think about NASA,
do we have another bullet point? Yes. I mean, we couldn't go through a whole conversation on toxic monogamy and not talk about jealousy. Oh.
The belief that jealousy and possessiveness are an indicator of love. Here's my big confession of The episode, Max it for the longest time would bother me that I would have all of these feelings of possessiveness and all of these insecurities and things like that, about you being with other people. But you didn't seem to have those on the flip side at all, and I know that you did. But it seems like you know, but but he's just not jealous about me. And, and this is something that, you know, culture has told me like, Oh, well, if you're not if you don't if you don't feel possessive if you don't feel jealousy, then it's not love for you.
Yeah. And that's that that was exactly what I was thinking reading this bullet point was that that is just programming. Yeah, that is just what we see in in TV shows and movies and stuff and that we are led to believe that we are supposed to be jealous. We are supposed to be possessive. And if our partner is not jealous and possessive over us, they don't care then they're jealous and possessive over somebody else. Oh, yes,
yes, yes. Yes, exactly.
They're not scared of losing you then. You're not a real treasure.
Right? Yeah, better. Who's
that? Yeah, that's a great way of putting that.
Yeah. So and and I am as guilty of this as at least any other dude probably, at least as any other person as a what a 15 to 24 year old Where? Yeah, it Turner's where you work where, you know, you're you got your little treasure, you want to lock it away in a box where nobody else can get into it, because somebody else is gonna get to it.
Yep. Yep, I have that T shirt.
And I think that that it goes both ways. It goes both ways that like, we are taught that we're supposed to be that way over a partner, but they're also supposed to be that way over. Right? So in some ways, I think that and maybe I'm just justifying my behavior and just find my emotions. But in some ways, I think that occasionally in relationships, I was acting out a role. Hmm. I was acting Our role as the possessive boyfriend, when,
like, because that's the model that we have. That's the model that every romantic comedy that every, you know, SNL sketch about relationships that every article that every Cosmo quiz has. It's all about like, are they possessive of you? Do they care enough to end to come home again to talk that masculinity, right? Also that you're, you know, a caveman dragging her home by her hair? Mm hmm. And you're not a real toxic femininity is you're not a real woman unless you let them right. How is jealousy played a role in your relationship, Tana?
My first few relationships I was really possessive of of people's time. And I was definitely like the kind of girlfriend who always expected the immediate text back. I was in relationships where we would talk on the phone like from the time I got off from work until I fell asleep at night like multiple nights it was obnoxious. Yeah, So that was kind of a standard that I held for like whether or not someone's paying me sufficient attention. So the culture shock was a, it's been interesting. But I do feel like I just kind of flipped that. And then I was like, Oh, well, I don't experience feelings of jealousy anymore. So that makes me morally superior to the right. I've conquered this in my life, completely missing the point that jealousy is not about being right or wrong, or bad or good. It's just the way that I'm feeling that's probably trying to tell me something. So I probably shouldn't just like stuff it and not talk about it,
that jealousy is sort of that like, hey, you've got some stuff going on. Just look at it. This is the feeling you're gonna have and this is what you need to look. It's like
this little cue for self examination. So just always getting into
it. Yeah, that's not how it ever
was Chelsea played a role in your relationship?
Well, no in the most toxic of ways.
I may have inadvertent Well, I may have caused a guy to move out of his apartment because I was a little over protective of him talking to a chick that I was dating for a long time. Okay, I did creepy things. I left it I left a note.
A creepy note. It was a creepy creepy you better find another place to live No, no. Okay, no no,
no no it sounds kinda like that's what the note said.
No, it was just like hey I don't like what you're doing kind of thing. And it was because of the note that he moved out
are you sure he moved out because no Did he say that
word got back to me.
Well, I guess this is my conversation to nitpick on words. One of the things that we talk a lot about in our our superiority as as non monogamous people That jealousy isn't jealousy, right? Like jealousy is an umbrella
term for insecurity or other emotions. Yeah.
Yeah, that's really what it boils down to.
Yeah, I am a very jealous person. I'm extremely jealous, extremely possessive person. But I try to act on those feelings in healthy ways and recognize that those feelings come from past experiences that have nothing to do with the present. I call them historical thoughts, historical feelings, when I feel insecure and relationship and start having, like, Well, why are they getting this and I'm not those usually come usually boils down to, I have a need that I'm not expressing and I need to express that need, and see if my partner consents to it. yada, yada, yada.
Yeah, I think I tend to be less anyway at this point as a 41 year old, like old man, I think I tend to be less jealous and more envious. I tend to envy what other people have or what other people are getting and less jealous over someone else's over a partner or a friend or whatever it is. Their behavior important distinction is with your cat ears you look like one of those clocks you know the the clocks for the cat
two is the
pendulum so to sum this one up toxic monogamy says if you truly love someone you will never be attracted to anyone else the relationship always comes first romantic partner needs to fulfill every single emotional social and physical need that you have sufficiently passionate and true level always overcome practical incompatibilities jealousy and possessiveness are an indicator of love, all based on love as a zero sum game, which is not
which is not Um, so, you know, I've been sitting here thinking like, what's the cure? What's the cure for toxic monogamy? I mean, obviously, a cultural shift has to change. But I think that right now we have sort of the wellness movement and the self care movement and people are looking at emotions and looking at their ownership of their own emotions, and really More than it's more talked about regularly, I think. And it used to be, for me that like being able to set healthy boundaries, being able to identify that jealousy is a feeling within me and not a thing happening to me, not something somebody is doing to me. And engaging in obtaining consent in relationships, enthusiastic consent. If I asked for something, it's always okay for me to ask for whatever I need. I'm not owed that I deserve anything. But I'm not owed anything, if that makes sense. So if I want something, I should ask for it. And that person gets to decide whether or not they can consent to give it to me. And then if they can't give it to me, I get to can decide whether I consent to continue with a relationship at that level. Like it seems really common sense to me on paper, but it's not so easily lived. But it's not easily lived because of the patterns of communication that I've had been bred into me.
Yeah, it doesn't feel simple, right? It sounds simple whenever you lay it out that way, but the bottom line is you always have choice. You don't always get what you want, but you always have a choice.
And other people's choices don't necessarily have anything to do with you.
Are you saying don't take it personally.
Don't take it personally, which is like the third agreement or the second agreement. I don't know. It's one of the four agreements, please repeat agreement.
The new podcast The Four Agreements.
But I'll read an essential, quiet, sexy,
polyamory is not the solution to monogamy, or it's not the solution to toxic monogamy. The solution to toxic monogamy is having a healthy relationship with boundaries that is, is making a gesture like mutually consensual, consensual basing consent. Yeah. Yeah.
And a big part of having healthy relationships is having a healthy relationship with yourself.
Yes. Yeah. It's absolutely having a healthy relationship with yourself, which I think we'll probably touch on in our next episode. We you Our first couple of episodes, we were really talking about who we are as people and how we got to where we are as a family. And now we're sort of, I think shifting into a place of discussing emotional wellness and relationship health. I think that's where we're going. Yeah. So are we wrapping this one up? Does anybody else have anything else to say?
No? Yeah, very good. I have to have to do a correction. Okay. Really bad about it. Okay. It's a correction from our from our release day QA. Okay. Sydney is not the capital of Australia. Canberra is the capital of Australia. But to our friend in Sydney, I say Canberra can suck it or be fucking rude. But our friend
is not in Sydney. Our friend is in Oxford and his name is Sydney. I do have that right. And send me Sydney right to me. Sydney is one of our beloved Patreon supporters and indicated that Max, you have a sexy voice
camera. It's sucking. All right.
So on that note, toxic monogamy not good. We'll put all the articles that we pulled from in our show notes. You can visit our website www. podpodcvltcast,com , and we'll see you next Tuesday.
You've just heard the Pod Pod Cvlt Cast with your hosts, Max, Hannah Chastain and Erik our theme music is Spencer Blues by Lobo loco, our break music is Goberino from YouTube, subscribe and review on iTunes or check us out on your favorite player visit our website at podpodcvltcast.com to find all of our show notes and follow us on social media. Thank you so much for listening