On Wednesday, May 9, I hosted the second meeting of the Occupy Austin Conscious Relationships discussion group. I formed this group when I kept having discussions at our gatherings about some of my lifestyle choices, particularly my choice to practice nonmonogamy. However, I did not want to start just another polyamory discussion group; that seemed too limiting. Instead I decided to form a group to discuss making more conscious and deliberate decisions in our intimate relationships, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or preferred relationship style.
Our first two meetings have seen lively discussions about a variety of topics. We agreed at the first gathering to have themes for future nights. Our second meeting was about Assumptions — the assumptions our culture makes about what a relationship should look like versus what we do in practice or what we really desire. Here are some types of assumptions we identified:
- Commitment / fidelity — What is commitment? Are only monogamous or “conventional” relationships serious?
- Bisexuals all want 3somes
- Amount of time & attention — are you required to spend a certain amount of time with a loved one or lover?
- “Cute” — When minorities or disabled people date it’s not taken seriously
- Other assumptions about disabled — i.e. they don’t want sexual relationships, they can’t date normally, etc
- Assumptions based on age — older people want to “settle down,” younger people are always looking for casual sex.
- Assumptions about Success — what makes a relationship successful?
- Failure — When a polyamorous (or otherwise unconventional relationship) fails, its always blamed on the polyamory, not any other problems they might have had.
- Everyone wants marriage.
- Everyone wants children.
- Everyone is looking for their “one” true love.
- Assumptions about queerness — what a LGBTQ person looks like, acts like, or wants
Obviously, this only begins to reveal the many ways we are taught to make assumptions about what “normal” relationships look like.
The next OccuQueers meeting is Wednesday, 5/16, 6pm at the Q, 3408 West Ave.
The next Conscious Relationships discussion is Wednesday, 5/16, 9pm at Dominican Joe, 515 S. Congress. The topic will be Gender Roles.