Sometimes in polygyny you hear of the initial couple having a “fail-safe” of sorts, where, should any feelings change about this lifestyle at some point in the future, they will revert back to their monogamous relationship. The fail-safe is made due to the fact that the couple in question is knowingly getting into uncharted territory, and are unsure as to whether or not they’ll like it once they get in it — so they are attmepting to reserve the right to stop it and revert to monogamy simply based on if polygyny becomes emotionally stressful on them.
Sometimes this reversion happens when the couple is about to add or has added another wife to the family. This fail-safe, when enacted, has the potential to leave the subsequent wives/wives-to-be SOL. It doesn’t hinge on whether or not the subsequent wife has done anything wrong — it hinges on the feelings and desires of the initial COUPLE (which isn’t always based on reason and logic). This fail-safe indicates that the relationship between the husband and the initial wife is the most important, and that the relationships between the husband and any other subsequent wives is less important.
“Couple’s privilege” is something the polygynous world has yet to define. Polyamory/Non-monogamy/open-relationships have already established this as a “thing” that is in existence in some situations.
Let’s look at the definition from “those people” (lol) and convert it to relate to us polygynous folk, shall we?
Because it’s here, already. Whether explicit or implicit — it’s already here and for some of us seeking polygynous relationships, it is an active part of these relationships.
This is the base definition from this blogger “Solopoly.net” — Couple’s Privilege is “The presumption that socially sanctioned pair-bond relationships involving only two people (such as marriage, long-term boyfriend/girlfriend, or other forms of conventional intimate/life partnerships) are inherently more important, “real” and valid than other types of intimate, romantic or sexual relationships.” (http://solopoly.net/2013/02/05/couple-privilege-having-it-doesnt-necessarily-make-you-an-asshole-but-it-can/)
… “couple’s privilege” runs rampant in our “first-generation polygyny” community. Those of us that were not raised around polygyny, but are accepting of it or want it for ourselves, see this exhibited in our circles all the time — women who thought they were wives are kicked out because the first wife as pulled out her couple’s privilege card at some point during the family’s polygynous journey, and the husband has responded and has asked the other wives leave. Or a sister is being courted seriously by the husband in a family, then the husband cuts it off because — no matter how he likes her — the existing wife has pulled out her card, woman-be-damned.
And OFTEN, the existing wife doesn’t feel WRONG, the husband doesn’t check her in her wrongness, and a wife/potential wife is left out there like — what happened, who did it, and why.
Subsequent wives/potentials are expected to UNDERSTAND why this would happen, and are made to feel as if they are in the wrong for feeling hurt and betrayed (OFTEN by a man who’d said he LOVED her…).
The existing wife sometimes uses this privilege as leverage in the selecting of other wives, using it as a tool that allows HER to decide which woman she’s going to “let” into “her” family.
What she’s actually doing is leveraging someone ELSE’S marriage, whereas her own was never done like that — no one was there to successfully change the husband’s mind on the existing wife’s marriage to him, based on “feelings” and “emotions”.
How, then, can the incoming women be sure that this will never happen to them? Can she ask if the couple has this fail-safe in the deck for a J.I.C. (just in case) situation BEFORE she gets in deep with them? And will the couple be HONEST about having such a thing?
Because to have that sort of agreement does not benefit an incoming wife and her security in HER relationship with this man, or her position in the family, AT ALL.
It’s unfair. Subsequent wives/potentials are asked to consider the existing wife’s stance, when the other woman’s/women’s stance needs to be considered as well.
It’s like everyone initially seems kind and good and loving and selfless —
— until the situation gets a little uncomfortable —
— then people find they aren’t so kind.
They are not so selfless.
This should be discussed! Is it EVER a good thing?