Posts Tagged ‘nonmonogamy’

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.




Theory vs. Practice

Something I’ve been struggling with for a bit now is whether I can rightfully, honestly call myself poly if I’m not interested in forming additional life-long, or even long-term, bonds at this point.  I feel like someone who has just come out of a long-term, monogamous relationship and just wants to date casually for a while.  (Which I guess I am, except that my previous relationship hasn’t ended.)  No one would say that person wasn’t monogamous, or capable of deep love for one person just because she isn’t interested in “settling down” at the moment.

I know I’m capable of loving more than one person, and that I would like to have multiple loves in my life, so in that regard, I view myself as polyamorous.  But I don’t think that only deep, life-long love relationships are valid.  In my life I have had very dear friends whose live I shared only for a matter or weeks or months.  My care for them was no less real than the friends I’ve had for years, and even if we never meet again, they will hold a special pace in my heart.  I think lovers can be like this as well, and that is what I want at this stage in my life.  I don’t want to just have sex with people.  I am looking for some sort of connection.  And if I fall in love with someone I want to keep in my life for longer, I will.  But it’s not what I’m trying to find.  Possibly by definition, I am looking for general ethical non-monogamy for the time being.

I don’t think that makes me any less poly, even though some might not see my current love life as strictly polyamorous.  Just like I have always been bisexual, even though my relationship could be classified as homosexual.  So I’m going to continue to claim the poly label, as it fits best with my ideas and ideals about non-monogamy.