Not poly after all?

I would consider myself and my relationships polyamorous.  Others, however, apparently would not.  They would say that I am improperly defining the word and thus diluting its power.

Alan at Poly in the Media writes:

We risk losing our defining word, one that refers to something different: the radical subset of non-monogamy that’s open to good heart connections all around among three or more people. Even if those connections are merely good will and caring behavior among friendly acquaintances.

The problem is this:  While C and E fall in the “good heart connections all around” category, W and I most definitely do not.  We’ve never met, and she is still looking for an exclusive relationship with E (which he doesn’t really want, but I think he’s afraid that actually telling her that will lead her to end things).  While I am more than open to having a “friendly acquaintanceship” with her, she is not.   So I guess that makes this NOT POLY.

Why, then, do I want to claim the poly label?  Because it is truly the best fit both for my relationship and for me individually.  I suppose I could grab the “openly non-monogamous,” but that implies more sex and less relationship than I currently enjoy and strive to maintain.  And poly by the above definition is what I want to have.  It’s just not exactly what I have at the moment.

What’s a girl to do? I work very hard to have the most open, connected, mutually-caring relationships I can.  But it is not appropriate for me to dictate the terms of someone else’s relationships.  That would not be in the spirit of poly at all.  Therefore, I cannot control how my metamour interacts with me under the terms of a relationship I am not part of.  Strict poly ethics would say that, if I cannot have friendly, open relations with my partner’s partner, I should call it off.  That that is not poly at best, cheating at worst, and cheating is not to be tolerated.  I don’t like it and would like it to be different, but I am not about to throw away a relationship that is good in most every other way for the sake of strict adherence to a definition.

Poly ethics are like any ethics. (I’ve been reading a variety of ethical writings for class recently.)  Too much righteousness is obnoxious and unrealistic.  The world is full of imperfect people, imperfect relationships.  If it didn’t, there would be no need for ethics in the first place.  Intent has to count for something in a world of openness and freedom, because in such a world, a person can choose not to interact.


One response to this post.

  1. Eh, claim the poly label. Tell ’em I said it was okay.


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