260. More Mike, Jen, & Kayla: Equity vs. Equality

260

OPEN MARRIAGE
Labels are always tricky.  I don’t like the word “open” in the context of my marriage.  It infers “always open” as in, no barriers to entry and just picking up whatever the wind blows in.  It’s not like that.

It is open in this context – we are open to the concept that love is not finite nor needs to be confined to just two people.  My marriage indeed has barriers – say, four walls and a roof – it is just that the doors aren’t sealed shut.   We are open to answering a knock and evaluating whether or not we let them in.

ANSWERING QUESTIONS
As we are now open about Kayla, a few brave souls have asked questions – both people in my family and, during our vacation, some of E’s family.  Neither Mike, Kayla, or I had any qualms about answering any questions. and most were directed to me.  I think being the wife they felt I had some sort of aggrieved status that made my answers more credible, or at least more interesting.  

Many of the questions inferred concerns which fell into the same three buckets as what my sister’s expressed about my DD.  It’s degrading, it’s unfair, it’s unhealthy.  I used some of the same responses I used on my sisters as shared in Post 136. 

People seemed generally receptive.  They at least seemed to respect that I had thought through those issues and at least reconciled them for myself.  I learned if I answer their questions truthfully and with conviction, they quickly go from being concerned to simply being curious.  That curiosity often led to discussions about our views on relationships in general.

As I mentioned, I used an approach similar to that in Post 136 in answering their questions.  However, as it just so happens, I came across an additional way I can express myself going forward and I wanted to share it. 

INSPIRATIONAL CREDIT
I credit livingwithx.wordpress.com as my inspiration (i.e., I copied a lot).  I encourage you to read his About section.   I love to reflect and get all esoteric – but I know I do it in a wordy and rambling sort of way.  I appreciate his ability to be succinct.  What takes me an entire post to try to convey, he accomplishes in a few words or bullet points.

The concerns people expressed to me were often rooted in confusing  FAIRNESS with SAMENESS (which I covered in Post 136).  But it is deeper than that, and livingwithx explained it in a way that I feel was more eloquent and powerful than delineating fairness from sameness.  Their concerns were also rooted in confusing EQUITY with EQUALITY.

You can pretty much substitute his word, Equity, with my word, Fairness, as well as his word, Equality, for my word, Sameness.  It isn’t so much the labels that were powerful to me, it was in how livingwithx defined them.  

Equity is giving your relationship everything it needs to be successful.
Equality is making sure everyone in the relationship is being treated the same.

It’s simple. In your relationship, do you value success, or do you value sameness?  The answer seems obvious, but society conditions us to focus on the latter.  People are quick to identify the injustice of the smallest inequality.  So much so that they often overlook the devastation that comes from a lack of equity. 

As I illustrated to my sisters in Post 136, their drive for equality in their relationship has led to a lot of inequities.  I am not saying they are miserable — they are happy in their marriages.  But I am saying their relationships with their husbands could be more fulfilling (and they agree!).   And part of the reason is their focus on equality over equity.

Next time I am posed with a “Kayla” question, I think I will start it with a statement that in my relationship with Mike, we value success over sameness.  Then let the conversation go from there.  I believe most people agree they want the former, not the latter.  If so, then it is simply about finding what it is that your relationship needs, and go for it.  So did my relationship actually “need” Kayla?   More on that in a bit. 

WHAT DOES EQUITY REQUIRE?
Many people have relationships where they settle for less than what their needs require.

Ouch!  I think that deserves repeating.   Many people have relationships where they settle for less than what their needs require.

Why do people stay in such relationships?  At least try to invest the equity it takes to improve things.  As someone who has always been very self-reflective and in constant state of investing equity, it is hard for me to relate to someone accepting an equal relationship over one that is equitable.

I’ll admit though that my investments in equity didn’t always pay off.  Partly because I wasn’t being honest with myself regarding what I really needed and partly because I wasn’t being honest with Mike in communicating what I thought I needed (i.e. I lacked vulnerability).  Oh, and partly because Mike wasn’t in an equitable state of mind because he was also focused on “equality” plus, he wasn’t always open and honest about what he needed (i.e he lacked vulnerability).  So yeah, just wanting and seeking equity doesn’t mean you’ll get it.

So if equity isn’t about seeking everything your relationship needs to be successful, what is it?   Oh!  It is about finding what it needs to be successful.  How do you do that?  It’s a learning process.  So how do you learn that?

IT STARTS WITH YOU – YOU ARE #1
I know it sounds selfish, but first, you have to know what you want and then, you must be willing to ask for what you want.  Simply put, you need to find a partner that fulfills YOUR NEEDS.  Nothing really selfish in that.  That is relationship 101.  Why would you want a partner that doesn’t do that?

In order to have your needs fulfilled, you have to communicate them (i.e. you have to be vulnerable).  My plethora of vulnerability posts can be found in the Finding My Happiness section of my Shortcuts.

IT THEN TURNS TO THE NEEDS OF THE OTHER
While it starts with you, it doesn’t end with you.   Equity requires that you focus on the needs of the relationship, which means – others in the relationship.  In order to have your needs fulfilled you have to be willing to fulfill your partner’s needs as well.  It is through that emotional and physical investment of fulfilling each other’s needs that you create EQUITY.  It doesn’t matter if the emotional and physical investments of each person were not EQUAL.    

In our case, there was a change in what I needed from our relationship and my life.  That change happened to involve DD.  I had to understand it first, then had to communicate it – that is, I had to ask for it.  That understanding/asking is laid out in my first half-dozen or so posts.

I was then fortunate enough to have a partner in Mike who was willing to invest his equity (efforts, emotions, actions, ) in fulfilling my needs as he saw that there was potential for my equity (efforts, emotions, actions) to fulfill his needs.   And what if there is a situation where partners don’t agree on the equity?   That’s where communication and give and take have to come in, and in our case, Mike’s role as HOH comes in.

What if you are having too many situations where we can’t agree things are equitable?  To me the result is that the relationship can’t be fulfilling.  Someone – maybe everyone – is settling for less than their needs require.  You can only do that for so long before resentment builds, leading to a downward spiral that self destructs the relationship.

DID MY RELATIONSHIP “NEED” KAYLA?
You can’t always define everything your relationship needs. It is more about addressing each of life’s situations and opportunities as they come.  So we didn’t “need” a third and then go looking for one.   Instead, our relationship has a need to remain open and honest about everyone’s wishes and desires.  This leads us to be open to life’s possibilities…in this case, the possibility of a third, such that when the right situation presented itself, it happened.  

Does that mean we are open to a fourth?  Why stop there.  A fifth?  Well, sure, why not? I don’t foresee that happening, but I know our relationship will take whatever path it needs to take to ensure success.  I can’t imagine how more people would add to our success, but frankly, I could have never imagined how Kayla could have done so.

So that is my long-winded way of laying out my thoughts on my marriage.  I don’t know that I specifically answered how it is that Kayla fits in to our “equity”  Or how say, John & Donna, or our overall sex life,  Matt, nudism, and oh yeah, and Domestic Discipline – how does all of that fit into our “equity?”    I think the simplest answer is, “It just works for us.”  Wow. This entire post could have probably been just those 5 words.  

With that settled. . . what of my inference to Mike’s Dominance perhaps evolving beyond where I would like it to be?   Well, that all makes for a good next post!

NEXT: 261.  A bit more on Kayla

15 thoughts on “260. More Mike, Jen, & Kayla: Equity vs. Equality”

  1. Blush! And I don’t easily…. I appreciate the high praise, thank you!

    I LOVE your graphic for equality vs equity. A very nice and simple way of showing the value of considering the importance of equity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Methinks some people see the phrase “open marriage” and immediately fear the worst right along with not understanding what this really means. In my first marriage, I went through the “process” from being monogamous to being open to being poly and it was one hell of a trip and experience and while no relationship is immune to the problems inherent in having a relationship, it is about equity more than equality and, as I like to say, being able to adopt a mindset where the relationship is about “us” and not about “me” so much.

    And while you can never discount individualism in any relationship, being open is about everyone involved working toward the same goal and with the same shared vision. It’s certainly about the core relationship and the mindset of, “What can we do to make our lives together the best it can be?” and then doing whatever that entails and, importantly, remaining vigilant and determined to make it work.

    By the time I got to poly, my god, I learned so much about love, sex, and relationships that it wasn’t funny just as I learned that living and loving like this is actually harder than being monogamous – in this, you only have one person to deal with as opposed to dealing with two or more other people in the mix. I learned that you cannot treat your partners under the auspices of equality – that’s a nightmare waiting to happen that, um, sure, I’d wish that on my worst enemy and it would serve them right for being dumb enough to think that equality, as we understand it, can be easily established. Being open/poly is an investment that requires equity and creating an environment where one and all can flourish and as comfortably as humanly possible.

    It’s still not easy to do… but it can be done and once you’ve learned how to live like this, you never want to go back to being monogamous if you can avoid it.

    When people would question how and why we were living the way we were, the answer was always, “Because we want to and it just works for us and it makes the most sense.”

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          1. You’re welcome! I spent over 20 years in an open and poly relationship and it was both insane and so wonderful that I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be monogamous. And if ya think managing such a relationship is cause for reaching for headache relief, wait until the people around you start wondering what you’re into… then try explaining it to them (if you’re of a mind to, that is)!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. So this morning I received your post 161 and thought I haven’t seen 160 yet… but then 161 didn’t show up on your blog nor on WordPress. Still hasn’t I think. So I read it and wondered when I’d see it again and also where 160 was. Now I’m so caught up with you I’m ahead of myself. Woo hoo!!

    Like

    1. hee hee. I think you meant 260 and 261. Yeah, I had accidentally hit publish on a post I am still working on (261). I sometimes have so many thoughts running through my head that I have two or three drafts of posts going at the same time. Or, find that one is just getting too long so I cut it into two Whatever the case, I messed up and published 261 before it was done, so deleted it, then published 260. 261 is coming soon! It’s a good way to see whose paying close attention to my antics — thanks for being one of those who are!

      Liked by 1 person

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