Right to protest
We understand that jealousy is mainly related to the sex-sentimental realm. But agamy aims both to disentangle these two components, as to de-signify them, redistributing their importance among the rest of the areas that constitute a relationship.
So I replace the sexualized and stigmatized term "jealousy" by the more neutral "indignation" and, therefore, leave in suspense whether it should or should not be stigmatized again. What I can positively anticipate is that I am not going to sexualize it.
We call "indignation" to the emotional reaction caused by what is perceived as an injustice.
It's obvious, therefore, that its rating is subordinate to whether our perception is accurate or not; whether the injustice is or is not. We will discuss about two basic types of indignation: legitimate and illegitimate indignation.
Indignation leads to the exteriorization of indignation, to the articulation of its meaning, to the expression of its reasons. And it is at that moment that the question is whether it is legitimate or illegitimate. It is almost superfluous to say that indignation valued as illegitimate should be "returned" to the individual. This one will be assigned with the task of correcting her/his perception of what is unfair or indignant.
As for that indignation which is valued as legitimate, it would seem logical that it leads to a task, in this case to be made by the person who provoked indignation, which consists in correcting her/his behavior.
Very easy so far, even in practice. And very familiar. Exactly what we do, or we would like to be wise to do with any conflict, with anyone.
But what happens when we find one of the two cases in which the conflict is not resolved?
Same thing: To act as if we were not talking about love. As if we were agamians. As if agamy were part not only of our entire non gamic life but also of the other.
The first case of unresolved conflict is one in which the indignant behavior is repeated, despite being sentenced as unfair by both parties. It is evident that in non gámic relations (beware not to mistake non gamic with agamian relations. Non gamic relationships are those that within the gamic paradigm do not produce gamos. What we colloquially call "friendship". The agamaian relationships are all those involved when the gamos has already been fully rejected. We could say, though, that almost all relationships are, to some extent, agamian, since virtually everyone expresses more or less explicitly some kind of reluctance or disbelief in the philosophy of love) this circumstance leads to an adaptation or reformulation of the relationship which may be more or less substantial.
If our friend is unfair with us and, after having recognized, s/he is unfair again in the same way, it is our responsibility to reformulate our relationship, which does not compulsively need its category rethought, vague as it is, but the way it is performed. What's normal is that the change has to do with aspects of the relationship which are dependent of the behavior which has been evaluated unfair.
The opposite case is feasible too, that is what is repeated is the indignation at a behavior assessed as fair by agreement. The behavior to prevent, then, will be the repetitive and unfair expression of indignation. If the one to experience indignation decides to express it despite the evidence of its illegitimacy, is the other who becomes legitimated to do what is in her/his hand in order to avoid resubmitting to the effects of the first indignation.
The second type of conflict unresolved is that in which the parties fail to agree on the assessment of the conduct; in which no consensus on whether or not this should be modified occurs. Although this situation has always has a horizon of resolution (like any other, by the way), we will not always get that resolution to occur within a reasonable time. What happens when someone thinks that the other’s behavior damages her/him unfairly and the other considers that there’s no such damage, or the damage is not unfair? Obviously the same as in the previous case: change the relationship so that is not affected by this behavior.
Note that we refer to modification of the relationship, not mutilation of the involved part of it. If my friend cheats me playing table-tennis, the only alternative is not to stop playing table tennis with my friend. It is possible that the quality of our common activity deteriorates to some extent, but also that the most effective adaptation to that obstacle is not the complete suppression.
And, so far, all perfectly logical, more than evident and more than popular. What is the point, then?
Well, part of that point is to bring ethics to gamic relationship (which, of course, is impossible. It is necessary to start from agamian paradigm). But the real breakthrough will be in the construction of indignation, in the sense of justice. The key issue is the creation of expectations which are also legitimate because they are reasonable.
The construction of our social life requires the formation of stable bonds. This anathema, which looks more like a heteronormative precept that a universal law of socialization is actually obvious. I leave for some other time disquisitions on the concept of positive and negative freedom. Let us simply recall that for the achievement of any shared action I need to know that the other is going to do it with me. If I go to dinner with someone, I need to know that person will attend the event, and that will not interrupt it, and that will even offer a mood suitable to a meeting. Some things require a very secure stability (drive carefully), and others a very long one (writing a book), and others, as the example of the dinner, will be less demanding.
My possibilities in society and the possibilities of society itself, grow to the extent that I establish appropriate linkages that increase my freedom, and decrease to the extent that these links are inadequate or simply do not exist. In other words: my freedom increases to the extent that I can count on others.
There is a polyamorous and anarchorrelational current which considers the complete non-generation of expectations to be the proper way to end jealousy: the other will always do what s/he wants, and our responsibility is not to expect anything in particular, so that we avoid subsequent frustration and the feeling of injustice that the disappointment of a relevant illusion produces. You get to talk about elementary commitments, common sense, civility (do the washing up, do not steal ...), but nothing more, especially in regard to the intimate life.
The intuition that leads to this thought is that any compromise is a threat to freedom; and is correct. But we see that the norm which it embodies in is contradictory. This polyamory would speak of a complete lack of inner freedom (an absolute inability to do anything with anyone except by coincidence), for example, since in this area, we could never at all count on others. It would go back to the dreaded starting point for the heteronormative monogamy: the sex-sentimental cage.
My freedom increases, I said, to the extent that I can count on others. But, what could I count on others for?
A legitimate expectation is formed based on what we can reasonably expect from the other, either because that is determined by our sense of justice or because the relationship between both produces an implicit agreement.
I do not need an implicit or explicit agreement to expect from the other not to attack me. My sense of justice tells me s/he cannot. When doing so will I claim asking for justice, and if my protest is useless, if the aggression is repeated, or this was originally abusive, my claim will turn into indignation and I will need to take action which disempowers the other. Better or worse, the law usually gathers these measures. Or at least it should.
So that an implicit agreement occurs I need, however, to refer to the relationship. There will be implicit agreements where it is well understood from a realistic observation also judged realistically. Whatever the relationship, in practice, does not tell me, I cannot infer. If I assessed from the relationship an agreement which could not be deducted from the relationship, if I created an expectation from that agreement, if the agreement was not met and I get indignant, then my indignation is illegitimate, because the expectation was also so; because that was unreasonable.
Let's look at it going back to the example of the dinner.
Individuals A and B have dated for a dinner, and individual C dines by her/his own at another table. The latter has a minimal relationship with them, which can refer to a general idea of social respect. We know: no scandals, no burping, pay her/his bill ... While it may be that the very low relation favoured by dinner produces implied deals (if C frees his side of the hanger, A and B may occupy it without expecting, suddenly, C decides to use it to put, for example, her/his shirt, although, in fairness, that side of the hanger corresponds to C).
Between A and B the deal is broader, but not complex or unwieldy. They both assume that dinner will run until its end, and it will be provided with the various attentions corresponding to the reason of the dinner, be it a celebration, a token of gratitude, or an appointment for A vent to B a problem. If both have led to generate a reasonable expectation on the proper flow of the dinner (if both know that the other is not a spoilsport in whom you cannot trust a successful night), failure to the implied deal by any of the two will generate in the other, protest or even indignation. If the protest is not addressed and satisfied, will be the responsibility of the indignant to modify the expectations of the relationship and thus, the relationship itself (surely it will somehow affect their next dinner, if it ever takes place).
For this simple mechanism can act as fluently as it would be desirable, it must show a radical difference to the gamic relationship: I'll call it "selflessness" as in the kantian judgement, even at the risk of mistaking with something like "carelessness ". Unlike gámic relations corrupted by disturbing desire to preserve them and make them grow at any price, the agamian relations should be free to evolve with the reasonable expectation that they will set in their evolution. Both growth and retraction must be the result, not of the desire, but of the most appropriate in each case. That will be the way to optimize them.
If we had been talking about friendships, in other words non gamic relations, within the agamian paradigm, we would have not obtained far more than a vulgar description of its dynamics. Nothing by which we could improve them except, perhaps, some clarity.
However, from the moment we transfer indignation to gamos, we appear in Saturn without any kind of previous interplanetary travel.
I said above that one of the biggest obstacles to rationally judge our expectations is our induced need to conserve gamos. Because, above all, we don’t want to lose it, we accept what common sense tells us that must no longer be accepted, making useless protest into extreme indignation with no way out.
But the gamos itself is a major obstacle, while constituting an expectation that it would be mild calling unreasonable, because it is actually absolutely preposterous. What we expect from the moment we set the gamos, from the moment when we begin to see the other as a project of partnership, defies all common sense. No need to go find these excesses in the alleged romantic love. Any depiction of love, which purports to be egalitarian, will fill our heads with a priori expectations, standardized and independent of the circumstances of our relationship and the person with whom we interact.
The gamos, that standard contract, through the philosophy of love that gives it content, puts away from view the person with whom we are related, and puts forward a full-length corset in which s/he has to fit. The gamos blinds the relationship, becoming potential illegitimate indignants; pathological jealousy time-bombs.
When modifying our expectations, the gamos will not leave us any choice either. One step back is the end. There are no couples who are "a little less coupley”, or that regress, or "open". All this is called "failed couple" and is the prelude to the separation. This is the word of the gamos: Or you are with him in his racing gallop, or you stay out, the train passes, and you view it from land. You're already alone again. Completely. Back to square one.
And its expectation par excellence is, as we all know, this extravaganza called "sexual exclusivity”. The rest of expectations have their foundation in it, what means that they will make sense to the extent that there is exclusivity (the gamos without exclusivity is not so, while having exclusivity, even a bad gamos, can be counted on its existence). The sexual non-exclusivity may appear as a previous phase which approaches the exclusivity of no return, surrounding, fencing, conquering every inch of aperture until the cage is closed. In non-monogamous models love will require, at least to part from the forms of exclusivity to build freedom. And it will do so because it knows that this way is impossible. To the a priori expectation of exclusivity of the gamos, a maze of rules, covenants and agreements that seek to replace what is irreplaceable will be added. To the extent that sex substantially escapes from the gamos (ie, to the extent that sex with capital letters is carried out outside) the gamos goes with it. The “gamos-catcher" is an empty sorcery; a fraud with which the couple without gamos pretends to prevent that the destructive force of the melancholy of gamos is unleashed.
The reasonable expectations and, of course, the legitimate ones, fall outside the requirements of the philosophy of love. A relationship in which sexual exclusivity can, not only take place, but in any way benefit the people involved, is hardly conceivable. The rest of the demands of the gamos, either emotional or cohabitational, which accompany and follow sexual exclusivity, are equally sterile. Transient chance of being successful does not legitimize expecting them. Outrage over its failure is illegitimate because even though there is an express commitment, that commitment is unfaeseble.
What is expectable at the highest forms of development of relations is not quantitatively above or below the gamos, but something completely different. What the gamos offers when its expectations are to be fulfilled is frustration in fullfilment, because those expectations are not the purpose of the gamos, but the means by which it reaches reproductive family, which is actually obtained.
To summarize: In agamy jealousy is replaced by indignation, a protest of content not limited to sex-sentimental stuff.
The way indignation works, unlike jealousy, prevents the latter from becoming a chronic source of suffering and, of course, from forcing sexual exclusivity.
Our expectations towards someone have a real basis, so it is difficult to suffer a serious disappointment (womanizing is completely disabled as a source of jealousy, because my expectation is determined when the personality of the womanizer is known or when I understand that I will not come to know it so I can adapt to this circumstance). In the event that the disappointment comes, our expectations in the relationship are modified, so that the relationship itself is modified, which normally does not even have to involve significant destructive changes.
At the same time, expectations do not restrict freedom, since they are designed from the realization that freedom is a good. Those expectations limiting the other’s freedom in a way that the other may need or want to make a more important use that the one we make of their limitation are obviously illegitimate, and our sense of indignation will just point out that we must correct the expectation.
This change is key in preventing the formation of gamos. But the big question is how this applies to an already formed gamos or, as expressed in the environment of non-monogamous models, how to "open" the couple.
While avoiding the gamos comes to settle, it is clear that for some people is too late, and these expectations are already taken and incorporated structurally to life. Some people already live in a gamos, and what they need is to find a way out of it without suffering becomes unbearable.
In that case you should seek a simultaneous gradual way out. Building emotional supports to provide social integration outside the gamos must occur at a coordinated rate. What each losses in her/his gamos (the meaning that s/he gives to the other’s dedication) has to be replaced by the sense that is obtained by other links. As sex is incorporated into this replacement, the freedom to dissociate the release rate of the gamos will be higher.
Open gamos’ lock requires a combined movement. Both members of the gamos must turn the key at the same time, because they start from a very particular circumstance that involves them in the same thing. That is the only way to escape. Any movement of my individual initiative turns the other in, while I escape, to the dogs of jealousy. Although we seem to be the ones who are better off, dogs are bigger and faster if we leave them so well fed. And, to a large extent, our future freedom depends on our wounds do not bleed.