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I guess my answer is that I feel that I love both of them, but would choose my wife. My girlfriend understands this as she has accepted that if this were to not work out, that she would be left alone. Of course it scares her, but she still wants this. I think it has to do with the fact that she is romantically involved with my wife. Maybe the value she gets from loving me and being able to have that with my wife is enough to accept her place and the risk.
Assuming you haven't left out anything major w.r.t. your understanding of your place in the relationship, or your wife's understanding, then I guess the next question is, what's the problem? Do you have substantial evidence that there is a problem, or is any feeling of there being a problem just a hunch based on the conceptually plausible but no cold, hard data? I don't understand the difficulties that are based on negative reactions.

You say there is something perceptible that points to contradictions and negative evaluations; I think you ought to focus on those facts, to understand their nature. For example, you're assuming (?) that your wife accepts a non-exclusive relationship, which may reveal something about her beliefs about the nature of sex that you were not aware of (and maybe that she was not consciously aware of). The point is, if there are difficulties, then that means that someone somewhere is acting contrary to their nature, and you have to figure out what the cause of the problem is. I understand that it may be essentially impossible to discuss details at a useful level here, but as a general suggestion, I suggest paying attention to whatever facts seems to indicate that there is a difficulty, and try to figure out what causes it. What helps is that you don't have to wait passively like an animal psychologist observing the behavior of pet cats, you can actually discuss the matter rationally with your partners.

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I had to be true to myself and realized that the only reason I wanted this is because I am completely in love with my wife's best friend. She is in love with me as well. We only want to be with each other.

The whole situation sucks, but I have to go after my own happiness. So, I am getting a divorce and that's that.

Is it possible that a three person relationship can work? I won't say it is impossible, but personally I no longer think it is viable. I believe there will always be some deception, knowingly or unknowingly.

In my case, I deceived myself into believing that I loved both equally until I realized that I was just rationalizing the situation so that it would continue. I had to face up to the fact that my wife's best friend is my highest value and that I no longer have a desire to be with my wife.

How is that for an update? Look for us on Jerry Springer soon. :D

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One case where somebody misidentified their feelings for a time does not mean the whole thing is inherently flawed and can never be good and functioning. That's as good as concluding one person realized they only were pursuing engineering because they had friends in the field and that they really weren't personally that interested in engineering means engineering itself is an uninteresting field and nobody should pursue it, that it will always be bad for their lives.

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One case where somebody misidentified their feelings for a time does not mean the whole thing is inherently flawed and can never be good and functioning. That's as good as concluding one person realized they only were pursuing engineering because they had friends in the field and that they really weren't personally that interested in engineering means engineering itself is an uninteresting field and nobody should pursue it, that it will always be bad for their lives.

I may perhaps agree with the spirit of Grames's commentary to a degree, but his tone is a bit insensitive to say the least. It's nothing to celebrate over when something doesn't work out for someone.

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The following quotes are taken from The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against The Brandens by James S. Valiant:

"Branden reports that 'one of the often asked questions' following his lectures at NBI was: 'Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?' He reports Rand's own answer to students: 'It's a project that only giants can handle.'"

“Rand's answer to these questions is highly revealing. She implies that a high degree of moral character is required -- and, perhaps, that the intensity of the commitment required is equally high -- and that such demands would probably make this a rare circumstance. The situation is not inherently evil, however, as the positive implication to the word 'giants' makes plain.”

"In effect, Rand's position is 'great -- if you can handle it.'"

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On that same note, however, she also implied (I don't have the quote I just remember this) that such an arrangement would almost certainly be temporary and that a choice would inevitably be made between the two lovers (or of course you could leave both).

The following quotes are taken from The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against The Brandens by James S. Valiant:

"Branden reports that 'one of the often asked questions' following his lectures at NBI was: 'Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?' He reports Rand's own answer to students: 'It's a project that only giants can handle.'"

“Rand's answer to these questions is highly revealing. She implies that a high degree of moral character is required -- and, perhaps, that the intensity of the commitment required is equally high -- and that such demands would probably make this a rare circumstance. The situation is not inherently evil, however, as the positive implication to the word 'giants' makes plain.”

"In effect, Rand's position is 'great -- if you can handle it.'"

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If you could remember the source that would be handy, because hopefully it would include a good explanation of why a choice of one favorite is "inevitable."

I believe it's one of her Q&A sessions, perhaps at Ford Hall Forum, but I know that doesn't exactly narrow it down and I apologize for that.

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I personally have doubts that a 3-way relationship can work, in the long run. I don't have any hard data as to whether thats because many people absorb cultural ideas that are very negative regarding 3-way relationships, or if its just difficult to manage / contrary to human nature period.

Is one or the other girl your highest value? Its difficult to honestly say that they are both of completely equal value to you - human beings are, of course, not identical. I would think that almost all, if not all, of these situations, the person in your position actually values one or the other person more highly than their counterpart. This is deceptive to the girl who isn't your highest value, and unfair to the one that is, for reasons that should be obvious.

Yes. So doesn't it come down to this question - can a person hold more than one person at a time in the highest value?

If that is the question, IMO reality would suggest the answer is no. The highest value is just that - the highest. How can more than one person occupy that position? One or the other will always be of different value at different times. Now figure into the equation that it's not just whether one person can do so, but whether THREE people can do so at the same time.

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No matter how justified, people involved in a three-way are in it for one reason: sex. This is just living out a fantasy, which can't be sustained in the long run.

Realistically, it's difficult enough to have a one-on-one relationship, much less split one's attention.

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I would note in response to this, that it did not turn out very well, even for the "giants."

Keep in mind though that one of those "giants" turned out to not be what the others were lead to believe when they got into that situation. What broke that up was something which could have broken up even a monogamous couple.

Yes. So doesn't it come down to this question - can a person hold more than one person at a time in the highest value?

If that is the question, IMO reality would suggest the answer is no. The highest value is just that - the highest. How can more than one person occupy that position? One or the other will always be of different value at different times. Now figure into the equation that it's not just whether one person can do so, but whether THREE people can do so at the same time.

As for values existing in a hierarchy, that things can have different values and priorities doesn't necessarily all ons its own mean there can be no ties. I'm sure I'm not the only one to ever have more than one favorite book or more than one best friend even though I do not value all books or friends equally. And also, though some people may be involved in all being romantically related to each other, it doesn't necessarily have to be so. You could have just one person with multiple mates that they value equally (assuming to be fair here though that the other two are also equally ok to get additional mates too if they find somebody else they value equally and so on.)

No matter how justified, people involved in a three-way are in it for one reason: sex. This is just living out a fantasy, which can't be sustained in the long run.

Realistically, it's difficult enough to have a one-on-one relationship, much less split one's attention.

First off, not all cases where people are involved in honest (ie, not secret cheating) romantic relationships with more than one person necessarily have to involve sex with more than one other person at a time and even if they do, they don't have to ONLY have sex with multiple at a time. Second, this isn't just about people here who have sex with multiple people concurrently (either literally all in the bed at once or else switching off one then another at different times), it is about full romantic relationships with these people. These people are no more in it just for the sex necessarily than somebody in a monogamous relationship can be assumed to always just have signed on to get sex exclusively or above and beyond all else. Third, as for splitting attention, I can understand somebody with a reeeally busy schedule just not having the time, but most people aren't THAT busy. Plenty of people in the world can devote time to more than one interpersonal relationship. Plenty of people have lots of adult friendships they take care of or multiple kids they raise. They can find time and attention to devote to many various people and/or a smaller number of people who require lots of attention and are lived with about as full time as with a mate. So why is it so darn hard to believe anybody could find the time and attention for multiple mates?

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Keep in mind though that one of those "giants" turned out to not be what the others were lead to believe when they got into that situation. What broke that up was something which could have broken up even a monogamous couple.

That's one way of looking at it. Another is that none of it wouldn't have been much of a problem if they were truly above the whole jealousy thing. My guess is it is a good deal more fun psychologically to be "the other woman" since the guy is in effect, choosing you over the old woman. When another "other woman" relegates you to yesterdays news, then it becomes another story.

Blaming Branden for his dishonesty is all well and good, but it'll be a hard sell to convince me that Frank and Barbara were overjoyed at the original idea of being relegated to subservient second choice roles otherwise. Their acquiescence to the circumstance foisted upon them does not imply happiness. neither does alcoholism and divorce. It could be argued of course, that it was their responsibility to not agree to it if it bothered them. To this I would counter that I would never even suggest something so psychologically damaging to my alleged "highest value."

A little bit of empathy would have gone a long ways and from what I can tell, there was none. Telling your highest value that you are going to sleep with someone else and that they need to leave the house for two nights a week to facilitate this cuckoldry is tantamount to saying that you find them sexually unfulfilling. Which, if true, is an indication that the relationship ought to have been ended.

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In The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against The Brandens, James S. Valiant has clearly discussed the "jealousy", "unhappiness", "alcoholism", etc. concerning the affair, which the Brandens have speculated on in their memoirs.

So for those who seek the truth about the arbitrary claims the Brandens have made in their books, I would suggest Valiant's book.

Given the moral character of both Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, which is also discussed in Valiant's book, no honest person (Objectivist or otherwise) could or would trust the Brandens' distorted version of what actually happened.

Edited by rameshkaimal
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In The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against The Brandens, James S. Valiant has clearly discussed the "jealousy", "unhappiness", "alcoholism", etc. concerning the affair, which the Brandens have speculated on in their memoirs.

So for those who seek the truth about the arbitrary claims the Brandens have made in their books, I would suggest Valiant's book.

Given the moral character of both Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, which is also discussed in Valiant's book, no honest person (Objectivist or otherwise) could or would trust the Brandens' distorted version of what actually happened.

I haven't read that and unfortunately will not have time to do so for awhile. Do I understand you correctly that, according to the book, Frank and Barbara were totally on board with the extra-marital relationship and completely content to sit on the sidelines and watch? Lacking all jealousy and concern? Leaving the particulars aside for a moment, I see no way of correlating that with the sum total of every human relationship I've seen, including several in swinger situations.

And for the record, I do not view those issues as anything more than appropriate responses. Once again, empathizing, if my highest value came and told me she needed to sleep with someone else to be satisfied, I'd poor a couple strong ones myself. Aside from the credibility of the source is the credibility of the claim. The claim that all were satisfied in a situation like that is patently absurd, short some self-esteem issues or psychological disorders, no matter who said so. What possible value could there be for Frank? Assuming the Hero Worship thing is the basis of their relationship, it is even more difficult to imagine.

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aequalsa,

Since you haven't read Valiant's book, I would suggest that you read it when you do find the time. I think some of the questions you have raised in your post are answered in the book.

I think Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden is such a private aspect of her personal life (unlike her musical tastes, for instance) that it would be totally inappropriate to speculate about it in a public forum for discussing her philosophy, such as this one.

Having said that, I think it's possible for an honest married woman to be in love with two men at the same time and to be in a temporary state of conflict about the issue so as to enter into an affair with one, while remaining married to the other, where the affair is known to, and is with the consent of, the other.

Such a woman is honest on two counts. Firstly, she is honest enough to recognize that there is a conflict, which is what leads to the affair. Secondly, she is honest enough to have the affair with the knowledge and consent of her spouse.

Usually, such a conflict ultimately gets resolved when either the woman goes away with the man she is having an affair with, thereby ending her marriage, or comes back to the man to whom she is married (if he accepts her), thereby ending her affair.

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In The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against The Brandens, James S. Valiant has clearly discussed the "jealousy", "unhappiness", "alcoholism", etc. concerning the affair, which the Brandens have speculated on in their memoirs.

So for those who seek the truth about the arbitrary claims the Brandens have made in their books, I would suggest Valiant's book.

Given the moral character of both Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, which is also discussed in Valiant's book, no honest person (Objectivist or otherwise) could or would trust the Brandens' distorted version of what actually happened.

Seeing you're recommending one book, written by James Valliant, I have no hesitation also referring its readers to another - "The Passion Of Ayn Rand", by B.Branden.

Then, to balance out the vitriolic 'PARC' by Valliant, I strongly suggest Neil Parille's series of articles titled "The Passion Of James Valliant's Criticism". This I found to be soberly and very impartially written.

However, he did end it by saying: "PARC's mistakes and distortions are so systematic as to render it seriously flawed...." (vis-a-vis both Brandens' published views of the events ).

This ongoing villification of the Brandens as 'immoral' or as 'traitors', is terribly unjustified in my opinion (after the research I have done).

But let every Objectivist do their own reading, and make up their own minds.

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aequalsa,

I think Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden is such a private aspect of her personal life (unlike her musical tastes, for instance) that it would be totally inappropriate to speculate about it in a public forum for discussing her philosophy, such as this one.

Having said that, I think it's possible for an honest married woman to be in love with two men at the same time and to be in a temporary state of conflict about the issue so as to enter into an affair with one, while remaining married to the other, where the affair is known to, and is with the consent of, the other.

Such a woman is honest on two counts. Firstly, she is honest enough to recognize that there is a conflict, which is what leads to the affair. Secondly, she is honest enough to have the affair with the knowledge and consent of her spouse.

Usually, such a conflict ultimately gets resolved when either the woman goes away with the man she is having an affair with, thereby ending her marriage, or comes back to the man to whom she is married (if he accepts her), thereby ending her affair.

The whole sight is not dedicated solely to philosophical inquiry. This thread in particular is about 3 person relationships. The coincidental fact that Rand was involved in one seems to make it pertinent. If she is to be considered a role model of her philosophy, then how she lived her life is relevant. Especially since it is a "philosophy for living."

I agree that it is possible for an woman to be in a state of conflict over who they want to be in a relationship with. If that was the case though, then it is not an example of a successful polyamorous relationship but rather an example of an emotionally confused woman.

As to the honesty, I agree completely. It was honest. Just not very kind. I would suggest that it could have been handled better. I've never been convinced that you can't make a decision about who you like without taking them for a sexual test drive. If after getting to know Brandon, she chose him, then cutting Frank loose might have been more considerate of him. Keeping him on the back burner strikes me as having your cake and eating it too. She never left and came back. That's a considerable difference.

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That's one way of looking at it. Another is that none of it wouldn't have been much of a problem if they were truly above the whole jealousy thing. My guess is it is a good deal more fun psychologically to be "the other woman" since the guy is in effect, choosing you over the old woman. When another "other woman" relegates you to yesterdays news, then it becomes another story.

Blaming Branden for his dishonesty is all well and good, but it'll be a hard sell to convince me that Frank and Barbara were overjoyed at the original idea of being relegated to subservient second choice roles otherwise. Their acquiescence to the circumstance foisted upon them does not imply happiness. neither does alcoholism and divorce. It could be argued of course, that it was their responsibility to not agree to it if it bothered them. To this I would counter that I would never even suggest something so psychologically damaging to my alleged "highest value."

A little bit of empathy would have gone a long ways and from what I can tell, there was none. Telling your highest value that you are going to sleep with someone else and that they need to leave the house for two nights a week to facilitate this cuckoldry is tantamount to saying that you find them sexually unfulfilling. Which, if true, is an indication that the relationship ought to have been ended.

First, generally even a person who supports polyamory doesn't support cheating. Cheating is breaking the relationship rules by being dishonest. Dishonesty is not something good to have in a mate even if you can have other ones too. That is why I do not think one needs to be jealous to want to kick somebody to the curb who would cheat on you. Second, I do know of people who enjoy the thought of those they care for having other mates too, so long as those others still add to the quality of their partner's life and aren't treating them, the original partner, badly either. It's seen by some as no more a negative thing or meaning you must mean anything less to the person you care about then if your best friend made another equally good friend. As I said before, I don't see how caring for one person must mean caring for somebody else any less, making them necessarily a "second choice" or "subservient" to the other choice(s).

"Telling your highest value that you are going to sleep with someone else and that they need to leave the house for two nights a week to facilitate this cuckoldry is tantamount to saying that you find them sexually unfulfilling." I think this is making an unstated assumption here that there is some sort of minimum or maximum on your happiness perhaps, at least in romantic matters, and that either somehow the person you are with isn't meeting a minimum for you and you are seeking out a "supplement" or else that you've already hit the maximum permissible amount of happiness romantically and how dare you be a greedy bastard and seek even more. I don't think how I assess one person necessarily must imply any kind of impact to my assessment of another person. I don't think if somebody used to have the only perfect score in the class and be alone at the top that if then somebody else comes along and gets a perfect score too that now the original person at the top is any less intelligent and successful or any less worthy of admiration for what they have achieved. I wouldn't want to be with two people because "one wasn't enough" but instead because I thought both were worthy and I didn't want to deny that worth of either or be without them as long as they both valued me too. If either wasn't "enough" on their own then they don't gain worthiness by having somebody else there, instead now you've just got even more insufficient people cluttering the place up.

The claim that all were satisfied in a situation like that is patently absurd, short some self-esteem issues or psychological disorders, no matter who said so. What possible value could there be for Frank? Assuming the Hero Worship thing is the basis of their relationship, it is even more difficult to imagine.

I think of myself as quite a good person indeed and who will achieve many more and better things over time in the course of my life, in short, that I don't have self-esteem issues, and also I am one of the most rational people I know and have never had any diagnosed psychological disorder. I though do not feel jealous if somebody I deeply care for values somebody else, even as much as they value me. If they care about that other person that much then I'd want them to have that great value too. Asking what value there could be in this for me seems like asking "What value could there be for me in it, as somebody who isn't as big a fan of dogs as cats, if my dog-loving mate gets a dog?" As to hero worship, does the existence of multiple heroes in the Marvel universe mean that any one or all of them can't be recognized as heroes anymore? :pimp:

Edited by bluecherry
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