Well now…
Well now…

Comments are open! Who called it?

News: Posted May 19th, 2015 by Alina

^ 90 Comments to “Well now…”

  1. dang – I thought it was going to be a romance/dating larp

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 3:37 am
  2. TigerLily Says:

    It was one of my two guesses, if that counts.
    I don’t know what I expected Mark’s reaction to be, but I can’t say that I’m disappointed. ^_^;;;

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 3:42 am
  3. Cayne Says:

    Wonder if Dustin knows?

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 3:47 am
  4. devan Says:

    Not My first guess…

    Honestly, with dustins last outburst about mark, i thought it was some bi Thing from dustins side that would end up sving this (and making it more awkvard for mark 🙂

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 3:51 am
  5. Thot Says:

    Anyways, what will Dustin’s reaction be ?
    Having dated a poly girl myself, I know jaleousy might kick in unexpectedly, even if you’re not the jaleous kind initially.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:10 am
  6. NichT Says:

    I was hoping! I love Ravenia and I would have been heart broken if she got a bad end. 😛

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:26 am
  7. Gromnor Says:

    Cant see Mark going for it.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:31 am
  8. Fireblist Says:

    Yeeees ! At long last ! I so hoped for that !

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:51 am
  9. ele Says:

    I really hope this don’t turn into yet another soap-opera-sexual-drama.

    Imo, this (this whole arc) seem really forced for a charater like ravenia.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 5:07 am
  10. Blake Says:

    Yup! How much did I win?

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 5:09 am
  11. OneDane Says:

    I did not guess, even with the many people i know in open relationships/marriages :-P. Guess i’m too used to people just cheating.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 5:14 am
  12. D1SoveR Says:

    Quite an open declaration for this sort of activity. I thought the general population of United States considers it perverse and lynch-worthy? 😛

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 5:30 am
  13. devilflamejr Says:

    Phew, that’s what I hoped 😀 I just hope Dustin knows, but I find it hard to believe he doesn’t 😛

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 5:53 am
  14. Kyle Says:

    now the important thing is, does Dustin know?

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 5:53 am
  15. soilent Says:

    Polyamorous is dangerous for people around you.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 6:06 am
  16. Shchenya Says:

    Well she’s poly, so Dustin should know, though having Mark as a metamour would be kinda odd…

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 6:15 am
  17. Well. If Dustin knows, that’s all cool.
    At least there was a sort of explanation

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 6:24 am
  18. Razor Says:

    Yep I called it. My gf is Poly too…so…yay! It’s actually not as uncommon as most would have you think.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 6:55 am
  19. TheCountAlucard Says:

    D1SoveR: I thought this was set in Canada.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:01 am
  20. deCarabasHJ Says:

    I am in favour of this development.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:09 am
  21. Sigurther Says:

    It should have occurred to me, but it didn’t. I can still see how this might not go well with Dustin.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:12 am
  22. Wyrmbear Says:

    Figured it out a while ago, I’m with Sigurther though, I just really hope Dustin knows. I’m choosing to be optimistic and believe he does.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:43 am
  23. MrCorvin Says:

    I’m cool with it as long as Dustin’s cool with it.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:45 am
  24. maarvarq Says:

    If at least one of the people you’re sexing with doesn’t know then you’re not polyamorous, you’re an arsehole.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:55 am
  25. JOZeldenrust Says:

    @D1SoveR: They’re in a goth club in Canada, not exactly main stream America.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:56 am
  26. DocMcConvoy Says:

    I didn’t guess it. But the definition of polyamorous is that it is only poly when all involved have knowlege and consent, so Dustin must know. At the moment I’m thinking more about Katie. She is more often in the club then the others, so she at least should know, so why was she so upset when she has seen Ravenia with Mark? Is she so into bringing Sarah and Mark together?

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 8:11 am
  27. Wishmaster Says:

    Eh. Well, it’s totally different to know than to be cool with it. Dustin, and definitely Mark, don’t seem to be the kind of guys accustomed to a relationship like that. Maybe I’m just too old to understand subtle character traits.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 8:15 am
  28. RPG Hero Says:

    I think what she ment that the general Goth crowd knew of her relationship preferences, so i don’t think the gang knows about it. So expect Dustin to freak.

    Also @Razor, it depends where you are i guess, my country doesn’t have allow polygamous as a law…. (religious law but it still is enforced)

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 8:20 am
  29. CW Says:

    If it’s as well known as she says, then why did Katie react so astoundingly neagtive when she saw Ravenia and Mark kiss? I think I missed something along the way and will happily re-read something when pointed out.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 8:22 am
  30. Crimsyn Seraph Says:

    Is it just me or did Alina’s (already amazing) art improve over the weekend?

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 8:56 am
  31. Rafinius Says:

    “Thought that everyone knew.”

    …I really hate that. How can you just assume without informing, especially as a poly interacting with your new boyfriend’s friends for not such a long time. And judging from previous comics Mark isn’t the only one who doesn’t know. This kind of handling causes problems all around. Ravenia done goofed.

    Other than that the fact that we didn’t know about it despite having seen plenty of Dustin/Ravenia only scenes seems like you threw away the opportunity of an actually interesting subject (how did Dustin react/accept) just for some forced temporary drama within a immature adult’s mind.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 8:56 am
  32. asd Says:

    she really likes breaking benjamin?

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:00 am
  33. D1SoveR Says:

    @TheCountAlucard, @JOZeldenrust: I stand corrected, it is much less stigmatised up in those regions, from what I hear.

    @Rafinius, I agree entirely – it is considered poor behaviour in poly circles not to inform people you might be interested in of your approach, understandably due to people assuming standard romantic arrangements instead.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:01 am
  34. T-Wb Says:

    No Mark… she just likes crackers… lots and lots of crackers!
    So, I was right that she was putting the moves on Mark, but does Dustin not only know this but truly accept it? Even so, poly within his tight circle of friends? There still be angst ahead cap’n! Not just Marky-Mark wierdness!

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:07 am
  35. Bluegeek Says:

    Okay, so this time I think I agree with Mark’s basic approach.

    Run, Mark!!! Run!!!

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:20 am
  36. Hornet Says:

    So if a guys playing around on his girl as long as he told her he’s polyamorous it’s all good???

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:25 am
  37. Eva Says:

    As long as Dustin also knows this we’re good.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:30 am
  38. JennyDanger Says:

    I called it! It was meeeeeee

    @Rafinius, @D1SoveR – I forget all the time who knows what about me, it gets slightly tiring explaining it to new people. Aside from that, all of the people I hang with reguarily know (and we don’t get new blood often), so no one freaks out when I kiss someone I’m not explicitly dating.

    Mmmmm….new blood is exactly why she kissed him~!

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:35 am
  39. Lost Demiurge Says:

    Eh, if she and Dustin are doing it right, they had a talk about this and including Mark in her group of beaus and he’s okay with it. Can’t say I’m a fan of the “what, you didn’t know? thing, but it’s a comedy strip. Gotta have some wacky misunderstandings.

    I’m no expert, but from what I’ve observed Poly’s like playing on hard mode. If you’ve got the right people it can work out. And if it doesn’t, eh, there’s other fish in the sea.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:36 am
  40. y0rrick Says:

    Called it, or rather, stated that this was what I hoped!

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:43 am
  41. Dakhran Says:

    Poly is pretty common among certain subcultures in the US, at least in my experience the geek communities I hung out with had a lot of crossover with poly, LGBT, neopagans, goths, otherkin, and stoners. Few people were only one of the above, we were more of a multiple choice crowd (pun intended)…

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 9:59 am
  42. Vest Man! Says:

    I do feel I should have seen it coming, however I don’t think it is cool to just assume on her part that everyone knows. I hope she has discussed this with Dustin (her pursuit of Mark) as it doesn’t look obvious to everyone. Unless she have a past with Katie and that explains the sordid expression.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 10:01 am
  43. Lyrr Says:

    Ravenia’s assumption is not cool, she placed Mark in a really weird place. I hope we find out soon how informed Dustin is about her being Poly and pursuing Mark. And Mark should know it’s okay to not want to be a part of that, Poly relationships thrive on informed consent.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 10:12 am
  44. Jiqs Says:

    I had a feeling something like this was true. Mostly after the comic where Dustin and Ravenia both acknowledge that they think Mark is good looking. I’m assuming that is when there was possibly a conversation we didn’t see about this. Only reason I think that is because directly after that is when the initial kiss happened.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 10:20 am
  45. LaughingMatter Says:

    I have a hard time imagining that Dustin is not aware of this, as Ravenia clearly has no problem talking about being poly. Yeah, things might still get awkward if Dustin sort of assumes she won’t be fooling around with his buddies of all people, but that’s another issue entirely.

    Anyway, even if Dustin doesn’t know and just assumes that they’re exclusive, I still fail to see why Ravenia would be the one at fault in this. One would assume that commitment to monogamy is waaaay more requiring of a deep, heartfelt talk (where obviously Ravenia would just have said she’s not into that) than, you know, not assuming that kissing and cuddling and sexytimes and whatnot automatically translates to “not doing this with anyone except you”. If that conversation has not happened, I don’t see why Ravenia can be considered the bad guy from an ethical standpoint.

    Well yeah, from a “conforming to social norms” standpoint I can sort of see why many people would feel that way, but 1) social norms are not some sacred documents that everyone must live by; as long as breaking that norm leads to no harm to others, that norm is not something everyone has to follow without question. 2) remember that goths of all people are not really known for conforming to social norms in any case.

    I have to agree with Mark, though. Polys may want crackers sometimes, just like everyone else.


    If both parties are okay with this arrangement, why not? It can hardly be called “playing around on” “his girl” if they’re both okay with that. On the other hand, any “poly” relationship where only one party is allowed to be poly while the other is required to stay monogamous is not healthy. If the other party stays monogamous by choice, sure, knock yourselves out, but the poly party insisting on the other party being exclusive gives all the vibes of an abusive relationship to me.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 10:28 am
  46. JennyDanger Says:

    I agree that it’s not cool…but it makes for a better story and it’s more believable than having everyone do the perfect thing all of the time.

    Also I doubt Alina can ever pass up a chance to make Mark go all @_@

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 10:29 am
  47. HeavyP Says:

    @LaughingMatter – That is some eye-twitchingly bad justification there. From a storyline point, we still don’t know if Dustin knows about the poly status, but I’m sure that will be addressed. Ignoring that, I have some serious issues with your argument.

    For one, Monogamy is the American social norm. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with polyamory or any other kind of “amory”, but you have a responsibility to your partners to let them know that you operate differently from their likely assumptions. No, social norms are not “sacred laws,” but choosing to eschew the common courtesy of talking to your partner about your desire to be intimate with other people as well as them makes you an inconsiderate a**hole, no matter how you couch it. You say it’s ok if nobody gets hurt. If I was dating someone I assumed was exclusive to me (an entirely reasonable assumption here) and found out that they had similar relationships with other people, I’d be hurt – if they don’t bother to take 30 seconds to disclose that they plan on seeing other people while with me, then they don’t care about me as much as I care about them. Please note that I’m not arguing against polyamory there, I’m arguing against not caring enough to make sure your partner knows what they’re getting in to.

    If Ravenia hasn’t had that conversation with Dustin then she’s a jerk, because having differing views on relationships or belonging to a specific subculture doesn’t absolve you of being a decent human being.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 11:29 am
  48. Stephen Says:

    The thing is just because she’s polyamorous doesn’t mean that he’s comfortable with that. It’s still perfectly normal to have a problem with this situation. It doesn’t make him a prude but even if everyone in this situation were polyamorous it could still get unpleasant.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 11:49 am
  49. Riley Says:

    I think the weirdest part of the comments is everyone blasting Ravenia for saying that she thought everyone knew she was Poly. This strip is mostly written from the perspective of Mark, occasionally changing to other characters, but it is mostly his perspective. There are tons of conversations out there that we aren’t reading, so for all we know Ravenia has talked about being Poly before and most of her friends and loved ones know about it, but Mark has had all his drama going on and hasn’t. And from what I’ve seen from people in my life who are Poly, they make sure everyone knows that they’re poly and they talk to their romantic partners a lot about it.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 12:29 pm
  50. Marika Oniki Says:

    HeavyP: going by the page where she initially kissed Mark, I’d say that at the very least Katie knows, and I doubt she’d keep Dustin in the dark about that, if Ravenia made the same assumption about Dustin. Honestly, though, Ravenia’s seemed like a decent person, and may have just assumed that Dustin or someone else had said something in passing.

    Honestly, I’m willing to wait for for a page or ten, to see how this goes before deciding what to think of Ravenia.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 1:02 pm
  51. Lost Demiurge Says:

    @HeavyP: Wellp, the fact of the matter is that we have no insight on Ravenia’s private conversations with Dustin. She’s likely talked it over with him. And if she has, and he’s cool, then all’s well and good.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 1:27 pm
  52. I was hoping!

    It’s not necessary that she’s specifically discussed Mark with Dustin–as long as their relationship agreement supports it! (Hell, she may not even have a primary; poly is almost as varied as the people who practice it–though Dustin certainly -feels- primary from our POV).

    Dunno what to think about Katie’s opinions on this–but then, if she’s not in a relationship with any of the above, it’s entirely reasonable that she wouldn’t know about Dustin/Ravenia being open–or it might be something else!

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 1:50 pm
  53. EvilGenius Says:

    @D1SoveR: It probably depends where you are but in the part of the country I’m from it’s far from angry mob worthy. You may get some people who look askance at you for it but I wouldn’t think that’s exactly common.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 1:54 pm
  54. Hahatzberger Says:

    I still think it is important to obtain consent. Not everyone knows what poly amorous is obviously. She should never have assumed that he knew and was comfortable with it. Her and Dustin’s comfort level aside not everyone can handle it and just kissing someone is rude in general regardless of relationship status. I can’t blame her though, the character seems to be young (early twenties) and all these relationship rules are complicated and feelings are complicated.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 2:22 pm
  55. doug Says:

    I have been waiting for the ball to drop on this topic for a while. It is wonderful to see it discussed and I’m all ears to see how it gets handled. (You have totally been toeing the poly line since the vampire larp)

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 2:50 pm
  56. LaughingMatter Says:

    @HeavyP: Monogamy being the norm has absolutely squat to do with ethics and whether or not someone is a crappy human being. Yes, honesty is important in all human relationships. Yes, practicing safe sex is essential not only for your own sake, but for the sake of your partner(s). That’s Ethics 101. But I absolutely will not accept the premise that kissing, sex or any intimate activity traditionally associated with a monogamous relationship is any kind of promise of a monogamous relationship. That is simply outdated Puritan values talking.

    A lot of the norms in our culture are based on controlling people’s behavior. Sometimes, it’s a good thing. Stuff like sharing and not cutting in line are excellent ideas that show that you’re considerate of the people around you. That’s common courtesy. Where in this ethical, everybody-be-excellent-to-each-other scenario does “I want you to commit yourself to me and only me because we did X together” come in? Seems to me you’re only looking at the problem from the point of view of someone who has absorbed an idea that has no basis in actual ethics, and who expects others to follow their value system. Of course they’re going to be disappointed when others don’t act the way they want, that’s kind of the point.

    A lot of the problems in the world are caused by people not talking about things. Relationship-related pain could be reduced significantly if people could stop placing unspoken expectations on other people and then feeling hurt when they fail to live up to those standards. If you started seeing someone and expected them to act in a certain manner without, you know, talking to them about it first, I would definitely say you have no moral high ground to stand on in your anger. You have the right to feel angry and disappointed, of course, but you do not get to control other people’s behavior because otherwise you’ll feel sad.

    In my mind, you can’t own a human being, and it’s not the people deviating from the commonly held norm that other people can somehow be their property in some shape or form who are the bad guys for not believing that they’re “yours”, any more than they think you’re “theirs” because of some intimate encounter you shared. In fact, I think it’s the opposite.

    If there existed an agreement between Ravenia and Justin that they would remain monogamous while they are with each other, then yes, I would agree that Ravenia is being kind of a jerk. But we don’t know that. What I’m objecting to is that the default setting is and should be monogamy, when really, why should it be? What is the moral justification for condemning people who do not conform or at least pay lip service to norms for no other reason than “but… but… norms!”? Where, other than in the hurt fee-fees of traditionalists, is the harm?

    And yes, there are social norms discouraging discussing certain things, including the norms themselves. Many people feel uncomfortable discussing these things because of said norms. Which is why it’s doubly important to challenge the widespread idea that norms should be followed unconditionally because shut up.

    Judging from your use of the word “partner” when referring to the various people a poly person might be involved with, your entire argument hinges on the idea that “partnership”, as in a monogamous relationship, is the unquestioned default setting. You know, the very thing that I was arguing against in the first place. So, I think it’s safe to say that we will not come to an agreement over this.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 2:59 pm
  57. BrobyDDark Says:

    Oh goodie. Now if everything can just turn out fine in the end… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 3:22 pm
  58. Micheal Says:

    Being poly, myself, I’m okay with this development, but honestly didn’t see it coming. I’m admittedly nervous about depictions of poly because there are so many personal definitions it makes my head hurt anytime the word is mentioned, and I’ve found that depictions usually focus on the worst of them to paint it all with a wide ugly brush. It’s obviously not as commonly known as Ravenia believes, and like poly in real life, is a catalyst for people who aren’t even involved to create drama. I sincerely hope it works out.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 3:46 pm
  59. Gyran Says:

    Well I could have called it but I was too busy hoping that the whole danged situation was resolved with a pie fight.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:19 pm
  60. Kyren Says:

    Ooooh! This is better. I thought she hadn’t heard the details of the breakup and was trying to build Mark’s confidence up.

    Reading the comments, I honestly don’t doubt Dustin is aware Ravenia is poly. In fact going through the valentines day arc…I’m half wondering if this was Dustin’s idea?

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:31 pm
  61. Anna Says:

    Me! I did! Woot!

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:36 pm
  62. Anna Says:

    Just to add, I’m curious about Katie’s reaction and saying she was staying away from the club due to too much drama. Maybe she’s another one who isn’t aware. I don’t see Ravenia being set up as a bad guy here. I HOPE that she and Dustin are on the same page and that’s where Alina will take it (I trust you Alina!) but then again, this is some good storytelling so…Yay!

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:44 pm
  63. zmortis Says:

    Polyamorous – aka loose with a better reputation.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 4:50 pm
  64. FirePrincessLily Says:

    I think I know why Katie was upset. It goes back to Drama in the Role Playing group. She’s worried what this might bring.The whole Mark & Sarah thing almost destroyed a portion of the Vampire LARP.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 5:32 pm
  65. Tawess Says:

    Well being in that scene. The way i read it is that most know (Dustin included.. that is how it works… You have t be very open with your primary partner) Now why Miss Pirateboots got all huffy i think is because Ravena is going after not only a outsider to the whole “thing” but also someone in a very raw and exposed emotional state. This is generally not a good idea… All manner of complications will arise… Mark being the source of most of them.

    That is how i read it any way…

    As for the whole poly thing.. It might sound fun to some… but compared to a mono relationship it takes about 10 times more honesty and communication to work. Not to mention trust. It is not about sleeping around. In fact… Not all polyamorous relationships even have a sexual component.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:20 pm
  66. Lukkai Says:

    To bring in another view on what might have been the reason for Katie’s reaction: She might just think that a relationship like this would be exactly the wrong thing for Mark at that point. Seeing as he’s still suffering from a previous break-up (heavily at that) and so far has been known to be monogamous.

    “If you started seeing someone and expected them to act in a certain manner without, you know, talking to them about it first, I would definitely say you have no moral high ground to stand on in your anger.”
    True. But it really goes both ways.
    I don’t know if that was your intention. But you sounded as if you thought it was really bad if a person automatically expected one form of relationship from a partner (that is monogamous), but absolutely okay if a person automatically expected one form of relationship from a partner (that is polyamorous).
    That’s not how it goes. Respect and communication have to go both ways. Regardless of the expectations.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:49 pm
  67. Aita Says:



    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:50 pm
  68. Mturtle7 Says:

    Wait, Ravenia actually assumed that Mark KNEW something that important?! She clearly doesn’t know him very well…

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 7:51 pm
  69. LaughingMatter Says:

    @Lukkai: No it isn’t “really bad” if you expect a monogamous relationship. You’re not a bad person for expecting that. However, you do not have the moral right to condemn a person who had different expectations of the “relationship” than you. What I’m challenging is the notion that the obligation to start a discussion about the bindings of a relationship falls on the person who rejects such bindings in the first place.

    If you go into a relationship and expect something by default, without discussing it with your potential partner, you might get disappointed. That’s life, and that’s sad, but it’s not the moral responsibility of someone who does not have the same expectations as you to read your mind and protect your sensibilities. If you haven’t talked about your expectations, you do not have the right to judge.

    Here’s the thing: A person who is poly doesn’t have expectations for how you should act in regard to the “relationship”, so no, it doesn’t go both ways. In such a scenario, you really are the one responsible for speaking your mind, and the other person is not the bad guy, since they do not expect you to stay exclusive either. I’m all for the poly person taking up the subject if they want to, but they do not have the moral obligation to so so. You do.

    So yes, I’m basically saying that if you’re looking for more than what seems at first glance, you are responsible for communicating that to the other person. You do not get to expect others to cater to you because the values you support happen to fall in line with social norms. That’s a very entitled mindset.

    Hope that cleared things up.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 10:01 pm
  70. Deebles Says:


    “Here’s the thing: A person who is poly doesn’t have expectations for how you should act in regard to the “relationship”, so no, it doesn’t go both ways. In such a scenario, you really are the one responsible for speaking your mind, and the other person is not the bad guy, since they do not expect you to stay exclusive either. I’m all for the poly person taking up the subject if they want to, but they do not have the moral obligation to so so. You do.”

    No, both have the moral obligation to do so. Letting yourself get close to people opens up two risks – hurting yourself, and hurting them. Clear and honest communication is essential in helping prevent such harm. And being poly does not entitle you to any special privileges to hurt people.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 11:09 pm
  71. Death Proof Says:

    …and then they all f*cked.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 11:22 pm
  72. Kelly Says:

    I was thinking we were going to get a sudden reveal of Dustin and Ravenia have broken up, or we’d misinterpreted their relationship and they weren’t actually together. This is much better.

    Ravenia has just identified as polyamorous. She’s previously been portrayed in a positive light. Assume the best of her, folks, not the worst. Until otherwise explictly told so, I’m going to assume her and Dustin are in a consensual, non-monogamous relationship. And to the folks saying you should out yourself to everyone, all the time, phhht. No. I’m both non-monogamous and bisexual, and it gets so tiring to have the same conversation with every single new acquaintance. I’m not hiding it, I’m just not interested in being everyone’s 101 to Sexualities and Relationships. I’m not interested in getting hit on by every man and his dog. There is more to me than that and I’m not going to open up a conversation with new folks by saying ‘Hi! Nice to meet you! I’m queer and non-monogamous, and I’m on the prowl!’. There’s no nice way to come out, and you have to do it again and again.
    So I don’t buy the ‘she should explictly state her relationship status to everyone’ thing. As to whether I think she should have mentioned this to Mark before she made a pass, well, probably, yes. I can’t remember the original panel where they kissed, but I’m thinking there was a bit of drinking, fun, flirting, I can definitely see how a kiss might have just happened, but going in for the second time, yes. They should have had the conversation.
    We’ll see what happens, but so far I’m looking forward to this story line. I mean, yeah, I ship Mark and Sarah, but this is still lovely. And with the addition of poly, now I can ship Mark and Sarah, and Mark and Ravenia, and Ravenia and Dustin, and so on, all at the same time 🙂

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 12:27 am
  73. Augur Says:

    “So yes, I’m basically saying that if you’re looking for more than what seems at first glance, you are responsible for communicating that to the other person. You do not get to expect others to cater to you because the values you support happen to fall in line with social norms. That’s a very entitled mindset.”

    And expecting monogamous people to cater to you because your values do not fall in line with social norms is any less entitled?…

    Seriously: when I am outside of the norm, being it a relationship model or anything else, and my actions are in danger of hurting people who expect different, it may not be my “obligation” to tell those people up-front about it, but I’d be an asshole if I didn’t.

    Regarding the comic:
    I find this change quite sudden and am curious after how this plays out. Most webcomics I read and which have touched the topic of polyamory either did so from a very high horse (poly > everything else, monogamists are idiots/fascists/…, etc.), or in a manner that seemed very forced and unnatural for the cast. I’m all for delivering messages over the medium, that is what should be expected from every work of art to some degree. I just hope that this story about Ravenia won’t be handled hamfisted. At the moment it seems quite out of the blue.

    By the way: anyone else doubts that Dustin knows about this?

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 12:55 am
  74. Gene Wirchenko Says:

    LaughingMatter: “If you go into a relationship and expect something by default, without discussing it with your potential partner, you might get disappointed.”

    Apply that to Ravenia. Did she communicate with Mark in any meaningful way? She has put him on the spot. That is rather irresponsible and dishonest of her.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 12:55 am
  75. Augur Says:

    ” And to the folks saying you should out yourself to everyone, all the time, phhht. No. I’m both non-monogamous and bisexual, and it gets so tiring to have the same conversation with every single new acquaintance. I’m not hiding it, I’m just not interested in being everyone’s 101 to Sexualities and Relationships. I’m not interested in getting hit on by every man and his dog. There is more to me than that and I’m not going to open up a conversation with new folks by saying ‘Hi! Nice to meet you! I’m queer and non-monogamous, and I’m on the prowl!’. There’s no nice way to come out, and you have to do it again and again.”

    Heavens no! That would be a terrible conversation starter. 🙂
    I don’t think that anyone is expecting this or that this was the point discussed. I interpreted it more like this: when a polyamorous person comes together with a person he/she knows to be monogamous and things are starting to get serious, he/she should tell her new partner “Hey, I’m seeing other people beside you. Will that be a problem or can we talk about it?”.

    It’s both just common courtesy and being nice, since the polyamorous person has to expect that a monogamous person might not be OK with a relationship under these circumstances. Going along with the relationship without telling like that is both selfish and can end in hurting the new partner quite a bit.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 1:00 am
  76. Alastor Says:

    Well, this wasn’t very much expected (even if much discussed) !
    So in the end, Alina wasn’t messing with us … Am I the only one to be a bit disapointed ?

    Still, seeing Katie’s reaction, I can very much see how it could go wrong ! Even if Dustin knows and is okay with that (which I’m gonna assume).

    And I don’t want to feed the troll (which feeds itself enough already anyway), but I very much think that when you enter a serious relationship with someone, no matter what kind of relationship, you absolutely should bring up the discussion about what king of behaviour each partner expects from the other and what kind of behaviour each partner is okay with following.

    If you don’t you are not necessarily an arsehole, but you can very much be considered irresponsible. Especially if you plan on behaving in a way that you suspect your partner is not okay with.
    Then if you do, I think you have a moral obligation to follow the agreement you’ve come up with. And if you don’t, then you definitely are an arsehole.

    On that ground, the only difference between polys and monos, is that unless you know for a fact that someone is poly or knows you are (and dates you), you should statistically always assume that you new partner might not be okay with you being poly.
    It might very much be a burden if you are poly, but be reassured, even if you are mono, you should discuss that. Me and my GF are both monoamorous, and we still had this discussion, because it’s something important to us !

    Then again, to come back to the story, Dustin and Ravenia seem in a pretty serious relationship, and I would assume that they discussed it. That seems to be the sensible thing to do, and unlike Mark, they seem to be sensible people.
    Yet, it doesn’t mean that none around them will run away with false assumptions and accusations, wich might very much lead to drama.

    And i expect that many polyamorous people around there might know exactly what I’m talking about from experience …

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 4:29 am
  77. DocMcConvoy Says:

    Maybe something interesting hit my mind reading other comments:
    Marks relationship with Jess broke, cause Mark wasn’t honest with Jess. Just to think about: What would happen, if Mark gets to open up and be more honest – with himself also with others – by getting linked in a poly-relationship? As far as i know poly is long ways about honesty.

    Well, thinking about it, I don’t think Sarah would be fond of poly, or Mark being poly, maybe that’s a mistake by me, but I think Sarah is somewhat oldfashioned when it comes to romance, so I don’t tend to believe in a relationship-chain Dustin-Ravenia-Mark-Sarah, even if Mark would be able to do a character-developement which would turn his behavior nearly 180°.

    About the discussion if Ravenia is the bad in here, my thoughts are “in dubio pro reo”. I think she didn’t know how dense Mark is most times, since sometimes he surprises me, for example at the end of the last vampire larp scene, where he seems to know, that Sarah has a crush on him. Ravenia should have said something before the first kiss, at least after that, but thats something going by “humans make mistakes”.

    I like the idea of Dustin as the initiator of Ravenias approach to Mark. He knew from the start she was interested in Mark, and he really knows Mark, so maybe he thought, it would be best for Mark to learn some honesty. And to be honest, Ravenia is great bait for dragging Mark into learning honesty, don’t you think?

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 8:43 am
  78. Bookwyrm Says:

    To those who say Ravenia should have discussed this with Mark before smooching him. It’s entirely possible that Mark was part of a group discussion about it & he either 1.) spaced out & missed it (definately happened before) or 2.) didn’t understnad & didn’t want to ask (then spaced out. She saw him in the group duirng a discussion & assumed he was paying attention…

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 8:55 am
  79. CW Says:

    I’ve been reading these comments as they pour in for the last day, & I think everyone has missed one thing. It’s not the intricacies of poly/mono relationship types. It’s not whether or not Ravenia has told people (including partner Dustin). It’s not even whether or not she’s a good person. One thing, I think no one has really touched on, (and if I’m wrong feel free to show me where I missed it.) is whether or not Ravenia took into account that Mark is one of Dustins best friends.

    Lets say her & Dustin have had that talk about her being poly, and he is very supportive. That could change when he sees her with his friend. The possibility is there that Dustin could start to become jealous that Ravenia wants to also pursue Mark. He may be ok when it’s people he doesn’t know, but when it’s someone he interacts with on a daily basis, that could change.

    It even applies if Dustin and Ravenia, (for some reason) never did talk about Ravenia being poly. It applies even more so in that situation. Dustins character is very easy going, and laid back. He seems to be accepting of everyone and everything. Dustin would probably be very supportive, even if he just now learned that she has a different lifestyle than he does. However, that all could easily backfire if he just learned about it now and found out she also likes Mark. He could start questioning why she started seeing him (Dustin). Was it only so she could be close to Mark and she was waiting for him to become single? He more than likely wouldn’t care that she was poly. He wouldn’t even say she was lying about that fact. He would just question her specific motive for dating him (Dustin).

    I personally think my first scenario is the more likely situation, since I think Ravenia would have had this conversation, by now, with Dustin. And yes, there is one more scenario to play out….. How Mark would handle everything.

    Let’s again say that Dustin already knows, lets also say that Ravenia has even already told him that she likes Mark and wants to pursue him. We’ll add that Dustin is completely ok with it & won’t ever become jealous about it. I will go as far as to say that it is revealed that Dustin is also poly, so he has a 100% understanding with Ravenia. With those in place we’ll shadow Mark:

    Up to now, Mark has been shown to be very monogamous. Though he does have a thing Sarah, he never really acted on it. (He believes everything that happen via The Masqurade was all fictional narative.) Mark may be up for a relationship with Ravenia and everything would be fine, at least for a while. Being that he very monogamous, he would more than likely want more and more of Ravenias time and affection. This would lead to him becoming jealous of Dustin and the fact that she is also with him. That in-turn, would eventually lead to an Anakin going Sith blow out. Which will destroy all his relationships with the group as a whole. This wouldn’t be burnt bridges that could be repaired one day down the line. No, this would be nuking the thing from orbit levels of destroyed. I say that because, Mark has an extremist personality type. Things are either as gentle as a spring breeze or as powerful as a force five hurricane. Just look how he’s handled; his relationship with his ex, his relationship with Sarah after the break-up, dealing with his break-up, and now with kissing Ravenia and learning she’s poly.

    On the other side of the coin, however, there is also the possibility that all parties are completely fine with the situation. That from here on in, for the rest of this comics life, that Ravenia has healthy relationships with both Mark and Dustin. No ill effects, everything, “filled with lollipops and icecream”, (to quote Team Four Star Vegeta.)

    To be clear, I’m not saying any of these will happen. I’m just saying that there is the possibility they could happen. I’m also saying that I’m surprised that no one, that I’ve read so far, has mentioned this. I personally think that this a more important (& albiet more interesting) conversation, than the “ethics” of poly/mono relationships.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 9:55 am
  80. LaughingMatter Says:

    Okay, wow. Did not expect this. Let’s go through this one at a time, in no particular order:

    @Alastor: I assume you were referring to me as ”the troll”. That is your right, though rest assured I did not come here to stir shit or try to get a rise out of people, far from it. Frankly, I’m surprised at how geeks of all people are so hostile to the idea that the majority (a.k.a ”the mundanes”, as they’re so aptly called in the comic) should call the shots in society, and that people who fundamentally disagree with certain social expectations are somehow morally obliged to follow them in some form nevertheless. Change in attitudes does not come about by kowtowing to the majority opinion. Still, I don’t know where the other commenters are from, but I’d wager people must be pretty damn used to non-monogamous relationships where I live if the difference in reaction is any indication. But I digress.

    If you ever do come around to reading the discussion, you’ll see that one of my points is exactly that talking about your relationship expectations is a good and necessary thing. What I object to is that a person expecting one specific form of relationship should be exempt from starting this discussion, as if their preference was just sort of ”assumed”.

    @Deebles: Again, on what moral imperative are you basing the assumption that a person who is looking for the most inclusive form of relationship and has no expectations towards their ”partner” whatsoever is the one responsible for the other party’s feelings, when the latter is the one expecting total monogamy from someone who has not been informed about these expectations?

    Please, this is crucial. You give a statement of fact (”both are responsible”), yet do not give any reason why the poly party making the assumption that since the relationship has not been discussed (yet), there is nothing binding either party to each other is morally obliged to take up the issue, while the mono party placing very definite expectations on the other party is assumed to be morally ”safe”, as in they don’t need to explain anything and do get to feel moral outrage when their expectations are not met. I fail to see the logic in this. And no, appeal to tradition/popularity is fallacious and does not count.

    Yes, heartache and disappointment stink. But they’re kind of unavoidable when dealing with other human beings and expecting things from them, and heartache does not fall into the same category as physical or mental harm.

    Also, I’m not sure you understand what ”privilege” means in sociological terms. It’s quite fascinating and rings very true, I suggest you look it up.

    @Augur: ”And expecting monogamous people to cater to you because your values do not fall in line with social norms is any less entitled?…”

    That is not what entitlement means, though. You can’t, morally speaking, be entitled to another person’s time, their company, their body and what they do with it etc. That is controlling behavior and entitlement of the worst degree. A person who has no intention of tying you to them or forcing you to do anything while only expecting you to treat them with the same decency everyone should treat everyone is not entitled. Again, you have the right to be angry when things don’t go the way you planned, but you do not get to take out that anger on others, nor call someone who is not doing what you want ”entitled”.

    Also, I know you didn’t aim this at me, but ugggh: ”I interpreted it more like this: when a polyamorous person comes together with a person he/she knows to be monogamous and things are starting to get serious, he/she should tell her new partner “Hey, I’m seeing other people beside you. Will that be a problem or can we talk about it?””

    No. Just… no. That is not what was being discussed at all. At no point was there an assumption that the polyamorous person knew about the other person being monogamous. If you read that into my comments (by accident or due to poor wording on my part), then I can understand why we’re not seeing eye to eye on things.

    Disclaimer: If the polyamorous person knows the other party has a preference for monogamy, then pursuing the mono party with no intention of taking up the issue is indeed shitty behavior from the poly’s part. All this time, I was operating under the assumption that the polyamorous person did not know the other person’s preferences, and I was objecting to the notion that the poly party is the one morally obligated to take up the issue, while the mono party can stay silent and go around making all kinds of assumptions about the relationship while still maintaining the moral high ground, thus putting all the responsibility on the person looking to control the other party the least. Glad that got cleared up.

    Anyway, assigning ill intent to someone whose life choices you disagree with, plus your comment about a smaller group not wanting to be forced to follow the majority’s expectations as somehow being ”catered to” and ”entitled” reminds me of certain arguments terrible people make towards certain people, so excuse me if I just want to drop this now.

    @Gene Wirchenko: Ummm… I’m not seeing how that has anything to do with the comment you quoted. Maybe clarify a bit? Saying that ”you might get disappointed” was not meant as a moral imperative, just as a statement. And anyway, this was really about Ravenia and Dustin (Dustin, dammit! Why did I remember his name as Justin? Gah), not Ravenia and Mark. Let’s not go off on a tangent here, this is complicated enough as it is.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 10:43 am
  81. LaughingMatter Says:

    Some additional, hopefully clarifying thoughts:

    Some people seem to think that heartache and hurt feelings are the same thing as being physically or mentally harmed. Not so. ”I shall not physically or mentally harm other people” is great advice. ”I feel hurt when other people don’t conform to my expectations” does not a sound moral imperative make. Human relationships are complex, people are attracted to people who don’t like them back, people have different expectations from different people, and often, things just don’t work out the way we planned it in our heads. This is a sad fact of life, but do know that everyone goes through this. And I mean everyone. Assigning some sort of moral blame on the other party when they didn’t turn out the way you expected them to is not the behavior of a mature, adult person. And assigning ill intent (”they were leading me on!” etc.) to the other party because of said hurt feelings is just… immature.

    Personal anecdote: I once knew someone of opposite sex who I thought was a great friend I had a lot in common with. We flirted a lot, yes, but that’s all I thought it was, innocent flirting between friends. There was absolutely no joy involved when I finally found out (not from them directly, because Cthulhu forbid they could have just told me) that said person had actually, honestly been in love with me, and I just saw them as a friend, nothing more. I felt like throwing up for weeks. It was awful, and I blamed myself the entire time for being so blind and unintentionally insensitive. Was I the bad guy for not reading their intentions correctly? Was I the bad guy for flirting with them when I wouldn’t have done so had I known? Was I the bad guy because I couldn’t make myself feel that way about them? Today, I understand it was unfortunate, but that there was no one to blame there. Neither could read minds, neither could control how they felt, and there was no bad guy. However, if said person had reacted by calling me names and blaming me for things not working out the way they had planned, I would say that they were being the entitled asshole here.

    Which leads me to the question at the end of my massive rant: If the person not automatically assuming monogamy is responsible for discussing said issue, when would be the proper time to take it up? An earlier commenter said when ”things are starting to get serious”, but nobody has given anything concrete to go by. Is it right when you meet, even before either has expressed any interest in the other? Is it when you’ve had a conversation together? Is it before you start flirting? Is it before you go dancing? Is it before you go on a date? Is it before you touch for the first time, innocently or not? Is it before you hug? Is it before you kiss? Is it before sexytimes? Is it after a certain number of dates and/or sexytimes? When is the correct time? I suspect the answer might be somewhere close to ”when does it turn from ‘having fun’ to ‘cheating’ to someone in a monogamous relationship?”

    Personally, I’d say this is a trick question, since there is no one true answer. Everybody defines their own kind of relationship boundaries. So, in closing: Why not expect the person with the clearly defined relationship boundaries to voice them when those boundaries come up (something like ”Just so that you know, I only kiss people I want an exclusive relationship with. Are you willing to make that commitment?”, only less awkward)? If the free spirit agrees to this and later doesn’t abide by this agreement, then yes, they’re an asshole alright, and morally responsible for betraying you. But is it really reasonable to assume that someone who likes hanging out, kissing, holding hands, sex etc. with different people will automatically know where the other person has decided that ”things turn serious”, if they do not speak up?

    And yes, I am asking these things quite sincerely. People often seem to have strong opinions about how other people should behave, yet have not thought about clear guidelines. In real life, nobody can read minds.

    You are allowed to disagree with all this, of course, this is a discussion about morals, not personal preference. Everybody has the right to look for the kind of human relationship they prefer, and, I must stress: despite the fact that I’m trying to make mono people ease up on the expectations they place on polyamorous people, I absolutely do not think monogamy is a bad thing in itself. Many people are looking for a monogamous relationship, and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they find a partner who truly wants the same thing. Trying to force, trick, guilt or otherwise manipulate a person into a relationship arrangement they do not want to be a part of is awful, awful behavior coming from anyone (do note that not explicitly stating your own preferences is, by itself, not manipulative; what follows is the key).

    I also very strongly object to the idea that people who deviate from the norm (as long as they’re not harming others) should have some kind of responsibility to the majority. That way lie bad things.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 11:22 am
  82. Deebles Says:

    You make some good points, and pose some good questions, and I may have been a little harsh in my assessment earlier. But there are a few points that niggle, too, which I’ll get to.

    When is a good time to have a talk about where a thing between two people is going? Generally, imho, either: before the second time things get physical (kissing upwards), so that you know where people are looking to go, and what their expectations are from there; or if you really think you want things to go further between you and someone else than they currently are, it may be a good idea before the first time.

    The point which most niggles is where do you draw the line between mental harm and hurt feelings?

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 3:40 pm
  83. Anna Says:

    Not to say that all these things aren’t important for discussion in poly vs monogamous relationships, however I think the bigger issue is that…this is a story and things are done for stories that move the story along. A story can start the conversation (as it has done, obviously) but a story is not required to be the beginning, middle, and end of that conversation. Nor is it required to follow the conventions of what is appropriate in real life. Somebody pointed out up-thread that Ravenia’s reaction about “I thought everyone knew” was done for comedy and I think that’s really important. This is a comedic story with jokes and gags and things done for laughs, which means that sometimes it’s not going to look exactly like we think a REAL poly relationship will look or what a REAL best friend would do. Not that Alina should tap dance on anyone’s feelings, but in the comic I would much rather see the joke than a five page exposition on the appropriate way to conduct a poly relationship.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 5:23 pm
  84. Gleeful Grognard Says:

    Consent, confirmation and clarification.

    Please follow these three tenets folks.

    Personally I have no interest in being in a poly relationship and stated that to my fiance before we started into a relationship four years ago. Being a Psych major puts a damper on these things -laughs-

    Honestly I have a feeling that Alina is winging it a little and doing “what feels right” atm, and that is okay.
    Ravina is a fictional character yes, but that doesn’t mean she has to be perfect. Kissing Mark without confirming or asking for mutual interest while he is drunk is actually rather off. But that is it, fictional characters can be flawed too and this is all part of what helps spur on the author’s imagination.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 5:45 pm
  85. Lukkai Says:

    “Here’s the thing: A person who is poly doesn’t have expectations for how you should act in regard to the “relationship,…”
    And that’s where you are wrong in my opinion. They do. You name them yourself in your second to latest comment.

    That’s why I said and still say that both partners in a relationship should speak about this. And both are equally responsible for that. Regardless of whether both are monogamous, one is poly and one mono, both are polyamorous. It doesn’t matter what they are. They are responsible of communicating their expectations for the state of the relationship and how the partner will act to him/her. If they don’t, if they are pushing their expectations onto their partner without talking about it, they are inconsiderate or egoistic at best.
    And again: It doesn’t matter if your views are along the usually accepted social norm or not. Neither entitles you to eschew the responsibility.

    As for the correct time however: There is really no way to answer that truthfully for everyone. Different people will have different feelings about this. “Before it gets serious” obviously, but what does that mean exactly. For most people it will be somewhere before the first night spent together. Apart from that… Try to get a feeling for your partner and then play it by ear is the best advice I can give here, honestly. And rather do it too soon than too late. Hurt feelings might follow in both cases, but they’ll certainly be worse in the latter.

    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 6:48 pm
  86. LaughingMatter: “If you go into a relationship and expect something by default, without discussing it with your potential partner, you might get disappointed.”

    Apply that to Ravenia. Did she communicate with Mark in any meaningful way? She has put him on the spot. That is rather irresponsible and dishonest of her.

    @Gene Wirchenko: Ummm… I’m not seeing how that has anything to do with the comment you quoted. Maybe clarify a bit? Saying that ”you might get disappointed” was not meant as a moral imperative, just as a statement. And anyway, this was really about Ravenia and Dustin (Dustin, dammit! Why did I remember his name as Justin? Gah), not Ravenia and Mark. Let’s not go off on a tangent here, this is complicated enough as it is.

    What tangent? Communication keeps getting mentioned in this thread. And it is about all of the people involved in the issue.

    Posted May 21st, 2015 at 1:54 am
  87. Xavian Says:

    Ravenia, I like you, but I gotta side with Mark on this. Even if you’re polyamorous, Mark is Dustin’s friend. Your GF hooking up with other guys is not the same as your GF hooking up with your close friends. Plus it obviously makes Mark uncomfortable. Draw a line!

    Posted May 21st, 2015 at 9:33 am
  88. LaughingMatter Says:

    @Deebles: Hurt feelings happen when a person you have certain expectations for doesn’t turn out the way you imagined, when they want different things than you. Here, there is no breach of personal boundaries, just two different people being two different people. There is no bad guy.

    Mental, i.e. psychological harm is way, way worse. Here, we’re getting into abuser territory, where the other person is looking to control the other party by means other than outright physical violence. Methods include gaslighting (making the victim doubt their own memory and sanity by outright lying about and denying things that have actually happened), guilting, undermining the victim’s self-esteem, assuring them no one else will ever love them, controlling their comings and goings and their behavior, the way they dress and so on. The abuser will try to isolate their victim from their friends and family in order to prevent them from getting positive influence that might empower the victim enough to realize that they deserve better. The abuser wants to put the victim in a position where they are alone and at the mercy of the abuser. On their non-abusive moments, the abuser might try to assure you that they’re just trying to protect you from yourself, but don’t be fooled. It’s all about the power and control they have over the other person.

    Abusers have learned to identify and exploit their victim’s weaknesses and insecurities in a manner that makes the victim dependent on them. That is psychological abuse that causes lasting mental harm. In some ways, it’s even wore than physical abuse, as it can leave scars that last a lifetime, and may put the victim on the road to another abusive relationship even if they manage to escape.

    If anyone reading this recognizes their relationship, don’t listen to his or her bullshit. It’s not going to get better, and it might escalate to physical violence. If you feel you can do so safely, find yourself a place to stay where they can’t find you and get out. Get help now. Please.

    @Lukkai: You keep saying ”both”, but what does that even mean? What moral imperative is this based on? And what expectations is the polyamorous person supposedly ”pushing” on the mono person? Hanging around, enjoying each other’s company, kissing and having sex is not ”pushing” anything on anyone. Certainly not an agenda.

    Besides: ”Who should go first?” is basically the question we have been asking the whole time. Many people said ”poly”, I disagreed and said ”mono”. You can’t say ”both”. That’s a cop-out and makes no sense whatsoever. Both can’t start the conversation at the same time, so the question remains, who is morally responsible for bringing up their preference? Come to think of it, an acceptable answer could be ”neither”, as long as the mono person is not expecting a mono relationship by default and getting pissed when it doesn’t work out that way.

    Once again, if you want someone else to act in a certain manner, you need to take it up with them. Since the poly person doesn’t expect you to begin acting differently from before, they don’t have to take it up. Since the mono person feels the other person should only date them, they are the ones who are responsible for saying so. This is not rocket surgery.

    Anyway, you’re getting into theoretical abstracts (”you can’t be poly and mono at the same time, one absorbs the other”, basically) that can’t be applied to real life in any meaningful sense. While the metaphysical applications of moral imperatives might be fun to discuss under different circumstances, I don’t have the time or the patience to humor you at this time. I also feel like you’re approaching human relationships from a power struggle angle, where one relationship type conquers the other, which is not what healthy human relationships are based on. Above, I discussed at length what the belief ”I must dominate, lest I be dominated” mentality ultimately brings about: abusers. I’m not going there anymore, I feel too ill.

    @Gene Wirchenko: What I mean is that let’s not complicate the issue by bringing up Ravenia’s behavior as if it was relevant to the more general conversation at hand. She is not the spokesperson of polyamorous people, she is a flawed human being written very well by a talented writer. Her behavior is not indicative of the behavior of all poly people.

    I am not defending Ravenia as a person. The forced kiss on Mark was unacceptable, even though from a narrative perspective, it was good for drama and for making Mark uncomfortable again. She seems pretty young, though, and alcohol might have had something to do with it (not that it makes it okay, but it makes it understandable). At least she’s learning; the second time she wanted to kiss Mark, she darn well propositioned first. And that’s all I’m going to say about this subject.

    Posted May 21st, 2015 at 1:05 pm
  89. LaughingMatter Says:

    Final thoughts, regarding consent:

    From the general consensus, I get the impression that some people see a poly person as the same thing as a ”pickup artist” or the like. That is untrue. The male subculture of pickup artistry thrives on exploiting the insecurities and the cultural gender expectations hammered into women to trick them into bed. They try to subvert consent (turn a ”no” into a ”yes”, basically) whenever they can. This is the behavior of a sexual predator, and I recall there was a Criminal Minds episode about it. These men treat women as challenges to be overcome and interchangable objects to be used, not full human beings with their own personalities, dreams and desires. As far as I’ve seen, bragging about their ”conquests” to other men is the most important part of the whole process. And that would just be sad if it wasn’t so pathetic.

    Poly people, and I’m generalizing here, approach people as people. They are not out for notch counts, they just find different things attractive about different people (in the case of Ravenia, just look at the difference between Mark and Dustin: Mark is good-looking and fairly athletic, but naive and utterly oblivious to most things while Dustin is a laid-back, very intelligent bookworm who is physically a real cuddly teddy bear). Largely due to this, they don’t want to tie themselves to a single person. But since they honestly do care about the people they are with, they’re huge on consent.

    When you consent to a kiss, you consent to a kiss, nothing more. When you consent to sex, you consent to sex, only this one time (and certainly not to all the acts you might have seen in porn). Consent can also be withdrawn at any time, at which point the other person is required to stop the activity as well, and they will if they truly care about the person they are with.

    You can’t consent to a monogamous relationship without discussing it since there is no single act that brings with it the promise of a monogamous relationship, purity myths be damned. Touching, kissing and sex are acts. A monogamous relationship is not. You cannot consent to not doing certain activities with someone else by doing them with one person. That is not how consent works. That is why if it is important to you that the relationship is exclusive, you bring up the subject with actual words. If you don’t, you don’t have a right to blame the other person for not living up to your imaginary standards.

    Also, remember that not everyone who prefers monogamy as a general rule is monogamous all the time. People who have gotten out of a long relationship are often not instantly looking for a new ”the one”, just people to have fun and enjoy life with for a while. That often involves sex. And, despite monogamy still being a popular thing, the sexual revolution and the last decades have opened people up to explore other options as well. So no, I don’t think it is reasonable at all to just assume that a given person wants a serious, exclusive relationship by default. People are different, and people change. And even a poly might at some point in their life be open to a monogamous relationship. At which point, I maintain that it’s their responsibility to talk to the person they want that relationship with.

    If there were two things I wish I could change right now, it’s 1) the idealization of common and mundane activities like sex and dating. Romantic love will not magically fix low self-esteem issues, and sex is not some sacred sacrament where two people are joined in body and mind to become one flesh and so on. It’s just sex. 2) the idea that morality is some kind of a weapon to be used against others whenever you feel the need to justify your outrage and hurt feelings. That’s the antithesis of being a good person. Moral imperatives should always apply to yourself first and foremost, and should not work as an excuse to bash others. Most of the time, we don’t know the other person’s intentions, but we do know our own, and controlling ourselves is the better alternative to trying to control others. Being a good person is not a state of mind, but a journey. A good person always strives to become an even better person, and that does not happen by wallowing in anger and self-pity and by blaming others for feelings of isolation and disappointment. If people could stop projecting their own feelings and thoughts on other people, I’m pretty sure most social ills would be cured quickly. Your feelings may or may not be justified, but they are your feelings and you have the right to feel them. Just remember not to take them out on others.

    And with that last note, I’m gracefully removing myself from commenting. The comic is moving on, and so shall we. I rather enjoyed the majority of this spirited debate (I could have done without being called a troll, that is the one thing I did take personally) and I feel like there could be still fruitful discussion to be had from this subject, but there is nothing I can say that I will be able to say better in the future, and frankly, the various painful memories this has brought up have left me too emotionally drained and way too tired to continue. I hope someone got something to think about. I certainly did learn a lot about what things like norms, morality and relationships mean to different kinds of people, and that is always a good thing.

    Posted May 21st, 2015 at 1:34 pm
  90. Lukkai Says:

    “Anyway, you’re getting into theoretical abstracts (”you can’t be poly and mono at the same time, one absorbs the other”, basically) that can’t be applied to real life in any meaningful sense.”

    Could you please point out to me where I came even close to that? Because I don’t even see it implied in anything I wrote.

    I also feel like you’re approaching human relationships from a power struggle angle, where one relationship type conquers the other, which is not what healthy human relationships are based on.
    And same thing for this one, please.

    Honestly, it feels a bit as if you did not even try to understand my point of view or what I wrote and were just conveniently pigeonholing me instead.

    “Once again, if you want someone else to act in a certain manner, you need to take it up with them.”

    That’s exactly my point the whole time.
    And even though you try to deny it. Fact is a poly person does that just as much as a mono person.
    One is expecting the partner to have a relationship of that kind just with him. And that doing acts that fit into such a relationship bring a certain commitment with them.
    The other is expecting the partner to accept he will not be the exclusive partner. And that those acts do not bring a commitment of such a kind with them.

    You say that one should not automatically assume the first, just because of it’s wider acceptance as a norm. That’s true. But one should not automatically assume the second either and you seem to promote that view. A view that is just as wrong as the first one in my opinion.

    And whether one of the two expectations is more restricting than the other doesn’t matter. They are still both expecting their partner to act in a certain way. So they should check if they know about this and whether they are okay with it.

    To me you seemingly also did not say the mono person has “to go first” as a counterpoint to those saying the poly person has to. But said the poly person doesn’t have to tell at all, it’s all on the mono person’s shoulder.
    I wasn’t sure of that first, as I said in my first message, but you kept confirming it in any answer later on.
    My point here being that it doesn’t matter whether one is poly or mono. And that regardless of whether the two persons involved in a relationship are both mono. Or one of them is mono and one poly. Or both of them are poly. Both share the same amount of responsibility to talk about this.

    And no, not being the one to start that conversation does neither make you irresponsible nor a bad person (or your partner the better). As long as you don’t shy away from it then. Obviously it’s, well not impossible, but very improbable for both to start it at the same time. And finding the right moment, as I admitted, is tricky. So again: As long as you don’t wait too long, there is no shame in not being the one to “go first”. (And if you are waiting too long, the blame goes both ways to the same amount.)

    Too long too read version (of basically all my comments):
    There is no “He has to go first!” and/or “He doesn’t have to tell at all!”
    There is just “They have to talk about this!”
    And if they don’t, both are at fault. To the same degree.

    Posted May 21st, 2015 at 7:25 pm