Showing posts from May, 2014

Strong love is not codependency

In various places on the internet, people like to give relationship advice. One type of advice people like to give is about what kind of love they think is healthy. Sometimes, a person seeking help with their relationship might describe their feelings about their significant other as follows: "I couldn't live without my SO." "I can't imagine life without my SO." When a person writes that, someone will inevitably respond: "It's wrong to say you can't live without someone. Saying that is giving them power over your life no one should have. This is unhealthy codependency." No. It isn't. First of all, what the person is saying isn't: "I am 100% for sure going to kill myself if this relationship fails." What they're saying is: "This relationship is very valuable to me, and losing it would be very painful. Ending this relationship is not an option I will consider at this point." Phrasing this as "

The perceived threats of non-monogamy to children

A significant number of people think that parents being polyamorous, or swingers, or in an open relationship, is somehow harmful to children. When parents are divorced, this is often used to keep children away from a parent involved in completely ethical non-monogamy. In a recent /r/polyamory post, someone asked what grounds people have to maintain this prejudice. This is the kind of question for which it's difficult to find a rational answer. One must resort to asking people who actually have these opinions, and figure out their thought process based on their evasions and non-replies. To many of us practicing some of these lifestyles, it's obvious there's no danger at all. But try to explain that to people whose range of opinions might include that homosexuality is an abomination, and that gay people should not adopt children - presumably because they'll raise them to be homosexual, or tolerant of homosexuality, which they basically consider just as bad. If you

The three kinds of sexual risk tradeoffs

In my 10+ year experience discussing this issue, I find there are roughly three kinds of people, according to their chosen sexual risk vs. sacrifice tradeoff: The reckless. These are a small minority who don't care about consequence, at all. They might engage in behaviors such as unprotected receptive anal sex from strangers. These behaviors spread serious diseases, such as HIV, and make all other STIs more frequent. The practical. A significant proportion of the population chooses what they consider a reasonable risk vs. sacrifice tradeoff. They don't expect to go all their lives without a cold sore, but they still care about their health. People in this group will avoid risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex with strangers; but they are willing to let down their guard if they have reasonable evidence that their sexual partner is safe, such as recent negative STD test results. The anxious. A substantial proportion of the population is extremely concerned about any kin

The doghouse: Costa Rican employment bureaucracy

Finally, and for the first time ever, we have a full time maid, and a good one at that, and - gah, it's amazing! But there are also downsides. One is, well - it's even harder to get sympathy if I ever complain about anything to anyone. "Ah, life must be tough for you, with your house clean all the time..." Another is that we now have to deal with the employment bureaucracy in Costa Rica. Specifically, the Social Security office, CCSS. I hate having to deal with bureaucracy. Fortunately, there's an excellent law firm that I like to work with, and they were kindly willing to help me with the registration needed for the domestic employee. Today, I get a phone call from the lawyer on my mobile. It went something like this: - Hello Mr. Bider. How are you doing? I am at the Social Security office. They are asking if you have a land line in your house. (In Costa Rica, everything's a house. Our apartment is a house.) - (Hoping in vain I can dodge th

The doghouse: Vibrator import, part 2

Last month, I wrote about the difficulties with an online order of a simple vibrator that we ordered online from the US, for delivery to Costa Rica. Wanna know how that turned out? We got the vibrator. But it took a week to get it through customs. We had to provide the following documents: Just in case you don't speak Spanish - the rightmost document is a required translation of the contents of the shipment. It says: "Vibrator - personal massager. For use with the clitoris. For the feminine orgasm." Fortunately, FedEx made this easier by sending the forms by email, and they sent a messenger to pick up the documents, which was convenient. The whole process involved duties and fees totaling USD 135. Depending on your perspective, that might be a lot; it nearly doubles the cost of the order (originally $189). However, Costa Rica doesn't tax my foreign income, so for me, it's a happy compromise. I'll take even a high consumption tax any time ove


Can't believe it! Greek yogurt made in Costa Rica, found in the wild at Walmart! Update - October 28, 2015: I have to undo this endorsement. I have stopped buying Nikkos because, in my experience, the quality is too inconsistent. It's rarely tasty and sweet; most often, it's sour-ish; and quite frequently, I'd say 5-10%, it has gone bad even before its consume-by date. I have to say that Nikkos has definitely taught me to appreciate the tasty consistency of US brands. Fortunately, stores have been better stocked recently. I most prefer Fage and Oikos, followed by Stonyfield and Dannon. I have not yet seen Chobani here.

The conscience of bigots

I learned something interesting today. There was a Facebook conversation, which I reproduce in its entirety below. (As of the time of this post, anyway. It later continued.) It started with general statements about love, but devolved to pretty heavy verbal abuse as soon as I disclosed that I'm in an open relationship. If you read the whole thing, never mind my feeble attempts to offend them. I'm not very good at it. :) I'm happy I participated in this conversation, because it turned out to be educational. The two people sparring with me, Caomeng (the Asian letter guy) and Nadia , appear to be deeply prejudiced not only against open relationships, but also against homosexuality. Sensing that there's something to be learned from this, I kept challenging their views, and they ended up making some serendipitous revelations. What I learned is that: The guy feels jealousy when he thinks of his partner with someone else. This is normal. (Though there's nothing wr