Hi Movelikewater,

I did not mean to imply that all couples are constantly bonking others over the head with couple privilege at every moment. Some, in fact, consciously refrain from wielding couple privilege. If they are poly then they are slightly less likely to identify primarily as couples and see themselves instead as connected across networks of relationships that often last for many years. They love each other for a long time (and they love other people too), probably live together much of that time, and pool their resources -- all things characteristic of couples. But they don't usually identify themselves primarily as members of couples, but more likely as individuals embedded in a social network. The more strongly people identify as couples, the more likely it is that couple privilege will come in to play regardless of whether the couple intentionally does it or not. Others will treat "Pat & Chris" as a unit because "P&C" always speak of themselves that way as well. They become patandchris or chrisandpat.

And it is OK for them to be a unit, it makes a lot of sense for a lot of people -- especially for those who are monogamous by orientation and could not comfortably relate any other way. I am not saying that no one should couple or that all couples are bad. I am saying that other kinds of relationships are good too, people in them and people who refrain from relationships in general do not have to be denigrated in order to elevate the couple. Privilege is unearned social goodies that come at the expense of someone else. Couple privilege is active when married people pay lower taxes, get better health insurance, and share their retirement funds when best friends, sisters, or unmarried partners are barred from those things.

Cheers, Elisabeth

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