Polyamory refers to romantic love with more than one person, honestly, ethically, and with the full knowledge and consent of all concerned.
So, er, clickthrough to read the previous discussion.
Anna and I have a bit of a fundamental difference in the way we define polyamory, but I’m really not sure I’m doing a good job of describing it. Here’s an attempt, anyway.
Polyamory, from what I can see, is not like homosexuality etc in that it’s not purely a state of mind but includes a state of doing like its (often conflated) cousins polygamy and polygyny/polyandry.
But it’s not quite that, either. One cannot be polygamous while only being in one marriage. One can, however, absolutely be polyamorous while only being in one relationship, or by extension (what is a relationship anyway; there are kiss-buddies and cuddle-buddies and fuck-buddies and soulmates who aren’t sexually involved and…) while not being in anything defined as a relationship.
It seems to me that polyamory is both a state of doing and a state of being. Does one stop being poly because they are in a relationship dry-spot? No. It’s a mentality. But it’s a mentality that has to be perpetuated through the relationships that are present. Polyamory is not having a partner on the side, it is not one-sided; all are aware and all are consenting to the arrangement. One of the ways I’ve heard it described to a lady who wrote a rather angry post about how her husband was monogamous and assumed she was too, and that she really wanted to sleep with someone else and didn’t get why she had to sacrifice this polyamorous inclination for her husband, was that she was “poly oriented”. But she was not polyamorous, as that word generally connotes active practice and is often used to describe the nature of one’s relationships.
It does make a lot of sense to view it as an orientation. Some people just take to it, some just aren’t cut out for it at all; like sexuality and gender identity, there are in-betweens. Open relationships with a primary married couple, for example, but personfriends on the side. And in response to that woman - she doesn’t have to deny her orientation for her husband. But if she hasn’t tried to have dialogue with him, and found out if he’s open to a compromise, and she’s trying to practise polyamory while still involved with him, it’s a wee bit like (within the monogamous sphere) a non-straight person married to a totally unaware straight person who wants to be involved with other genders on the side without disclosing their sexuality to their spouse. They’re still non-straight. But they’re not in a non-straight relationship, and it would be duplicitous to present themselves as available to potential partners in a non-straight relationship without disclosure to their spouse.
 I, for example, am in a fairly mono-seeming relationship, since neither of us is currently dating anyone else. But we are poly (at various points during this relationship both of us have had or been exploring relationships [or just sex] with others), and our relationship is founded on poly principles, primarily the “complete honesty” principle that was being discussed above. (Which, by the way, I hold as absolutely essential to my view of polyamory - we go the whole hog and are open about everything from emotions to actions, but at the very least “I’m sleeping with X fyi” is the sort of disclosure I feel is necessary for a successful poly relationship-web.)
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