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-   -   Not mono but not poly, what is my poly identity? How do I "label" my relationship? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=65701)

SparklePony 11-29-2013 11:53 PM

Not mono but not poly, what is my poly identity? How do I "label" my relationship?
 
I believe in Abundant Love, but I'm not sure how to define my poly identity. In fact I may not be poly at all. I do not feel any needs or desires to have multiple partners and can be completely satisfied in a monogamous relationship.

However I wouldn't consider myself "mono" because I am with a poly man and I embrace, encourage and enjoy the fact that he is poly. I hardly feel jealousy, can feel strong compersion, and enjoy bonding and (when possible) sex with him and his partners in three or moresomes. In fact I am probably responsible for him breaking from his pattern of serial monogamy and exploring his poly identity. I encouraged him to see other women and (since his last girlfriend was the jealous type) I "untrained" him of his preprogrammed behavior so he could feel comfortable hitting on other girls and talking about his relationships with me.

I've been wondering if I would be attracted to other men while in this relationship but it hasn't really happened yet. I'm not sure if this is because subconsciously I know that my man would not be comfortable with me being with other men. In past mono relationships I often would feel attracted to others but would not pursue my attractions. But just because he is poly doesn't seem to make me want to pursue outside partners.

Neither of us knew the word "polyamory" until now, 4 years into our relationship. We just called it "single together" and we did not call each other "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" because we assumed those labels implied sexual exclusivity. We've been resisting labels for so long but this means I have a hard time explaining my relationship to others, and they take my confusion as a lack of confidence. This has been my biggest struggle with being in a poly relationship as people think I'm being taken advantage of and letting my man run around because I have low self esteem. In fact it is my very high self esteem that keeps me from feeling jealousy. For the most part I have learned not to care what other people think (and since my man and I are very public characters in our community people do think and talk a lot). But still I want to find confidence in the right way to represent our relationship.

What am I? For the sake of convenience, how do I "label" myself and my relationship? Words of wisdom and experience welcome! Thanks!

Lauren

BigGuy 11-30-2013 03:16 AM

What you describe is typically identified as a mono-poly relationship.

SparklePony 11-30-2013 03:51 AM

From what I've read monos are hard wired for monogamy seem to have a hard time accepting poly. But when I started reading about poly it all made a lot of sense to me and seemed natural... Left to my own devices I probably wouldn't go through the extra effort it takes to bring new partners into a relationship. However if I think about the girlfriends we've had, I truly cherish these relationships, wouldn't trade them for anything, and am open to new ones. So part of me does wants to identify as poly...

Perhaps I'm "polycomfortable?"

SchrodingersCat 11-30-2013 04:37 AM

I can certainly empathise with your resistance to label yourself. I don't find it adds any value in my life to stick a tag on, except when I really am "confused" and the label helps me find people going through the same struggles. But I find that in those cases, the label is more of a "signpost" that I use as a stepping stone towards better understanding, rather than something that becomes part of my identity.

For example, I recently heard the term "gray-A" and asked what it meant. I was told it referred to people who are more-or-less asexual -- that when it comes to sex, they can take it or leave it -- but they're not wholly adverse to sex and they can enjoy it without needing it. That description really resonated with me, and the term gave me something to Google so I could learn more about it. But after going though that process, I didn't feel the need to identify as gray-A, it was just enough to know that it was "a thing" that I could relate to.

I see nothing wrong with just saying that you don't resonate with any labels, but that you'd be happy to explain your relationship dynamics to someone who's interested (if you are interested, of course; otherwise, choose your version of MYOB). If you just need a quick reference to get the ball rolling, something like "poly-ish" could be useful.

As an aside, nothing prohibits people who identify as mono from coupling with people who identify as poly. We are not defined by the people we date. But whatever reasons you have for not identifying as mono are perfectly valid.

TheRealDeal 11-30-2013 05:05 AM

18 4680866
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SparklePony (Post 250873)
I believe in Abundant Love, but I'm not sure how to define my poly identity. In fact I may not be poly at all. I do not feel any needs or desires to have multiple partners and can be completely satisfied in a monogamous relationship.

However I wouldn't consider myself "mono" because I am with a poly man and I embrace, encourage and enjoy the fact that he is poly. I hardly feel jealousy, can feel strong compersion, and enjoy bonding and (when possible) sex with him and his partners in three or moresomes. In fact I am probably responsible for him breaking from his pattern of serial monogamy and exploring his poly identity. I encouraged him to see other women and (since his last girlfriend was the jealous type) I "untrained" him of his preprogrammed behavior so he could feel comfortable hitting on other girls and talking about his relationships with me.

I've been wondering if I would be attracted to other men while in this relationship but it hasn't really happened yet. I'm not sure if this is because subconsciously I know that my man would not be comfortable with me being with other men. In past mono relationships I often would feel attracted to others but would not pursue my attractions. But just because he is poly doesn't seem to make me want to pursue outside partners.

Neither of us knew the word "polyamory" until now, 4 years into our relationship. We just called it "single together" and we did not call each other "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" because we assumed those labels implied sexual exclusivity. We've been resisting labels for so long but this means I have a hard time explaining my relationship to others, and they take my confusion as a lack of confidence. This has been my biggest struggle with being in a poly relationship as people think I'm being taken advantage of and letting my man run around because I have low self esteem. In fact it is my very high self esteem that keeps me from feeling jealousy. For the most part I have learned not to care what other people think (and since my man and I are very public characters in our community people do think and talk a lot). But still I want to find confidence in the right way to represent our relationship.

What am I? For the sake of convenience, how do I "label" myself and my relationship? Words of wisdom and experience welcome! Thanks!

Lauren




LOL why r u so concern and want to label yourself? U said you are content-happy being who you are. Plus maybe you are the one who made the man becomes poly? So why sound as if you are stressing yourself to be labelled? I wonder? Dont go chasing waterfall you might fall over. After all if you are so happy why even bother want to be wearing a label. Just continue being married and free or what ever u use to reffer to it-you as? You say you dont want even want to persue outside partned? Yet u seem to be otherwise within yourself? Then again if you are for real behind the wall? Why are you working so hard to be labelled? Chill...

SparklePony 11-30-2013 05:20 AM

Thanks SchrodingersCat,

Yes I totally identify with you say about labels helping find clarity in times of confusion. I resist labels but they are often necessary for communication. I work with brand development so choosing what labels you want to identify with can be very important. An extra tricky element of my poly relationship is that my partner and I work together as entertainers on stage and the gossip spreads quickly so in some ways it is hard to separate our relationship identity from our brand identity. As a public figure, I need to prepare a quick and easy-to-digest label for when people ask about our alternative lifestyle choice. If I am poly (or even mono in a poly) I want to be so with confidence and clarity so I can help represent this lifestyle appropriately.

When I was experiencing relationship problems I realized I had few friends to turn to whom I could share with and be understood. Finally I googled "open relationships" and "swinging" (my partner and I tried swinging but realized quickly that we are not into the whole sex with strangers thing) but it finally led me to find the word "polyamorous" which is a label that totally opened doors for me and I am so thankful to find this community to share with. <3

SparklePony 11-30-2013 05:58 AM

Oh and another label I guess I'm working on is Bi... and I feel about the same way towards Bi as I do Poly...I definitely like it but I probably wouldn't do it on my own.

I've always been attracted to men, but as I'm still young I've been exploring my sexuality with women. I've only been with other women sexually in three or moresomes, and the idea of just me and a woman is intimidating. I def like a man around b/c he knows how to take care of her better than I do. But I am very sexually attracted to women.

I've had lesbians tell me I'm not "truly" bi... and I probably wouldn't choose to date women on my own, so I guess that leaves me somewhere in between hetero and bi. And in the same way I feel somewhere in between mono and poly.

AnnabelMore 11-30-2013 04:51 PM

How about heteroflexible and monoflexible?

SchrodingersCat 12-01-2013 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SparklePony (Post 250973)
I've had lesbians tell me I'm not "truly" bi...

lol, what do lesbians know about being bi? :P

A lot of people subscribe to the "spectrum" view of sexuality, that everyone falls somewhere along the line between homosexual and heterosexual, with all the grey area in between being varying degrees of bisexual or pansexual.

I've previously proposed a similar metric for poly/mono. Some people are like "I absolutely have to be able to pursue any love interest I want" and are firmly poly. Others are like "when I'm dating someone, I don't even notice other people" and are firmly mono. But lots of people are able to relate both ways, depending on where they are in life, whom they're dating at the time, etc.

I identify as pansexual, meaning that gender has no influence on my attraction to people. I don't really care about sex (the activity), and bodies are just as cuddly no matter what's between your legs.

I also find that some people's sexual orientation differs from their romantic orientation. That is, they might be able to have romantic, "more than friends" relationships with one gender, but not sexual relationships. Gralson identifies as bisexual, but he's never dated a man romantically and expresses no desire to do so.

Likewise, some people are romantically mono but sexually poly. I enjoy making up words, so I've described those previously as "monoamorous" and "polysexual." Conversely, someone could also be polyamorous and monosexual. In all those cases, I think it would be important to distinguish between those being part of your identity, versus making agreements to uphold certain behaviours. For example, someone could agree not to have sex outside the relationship without identifying as monosexual.

thas 12-03-2013 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnnabelMore (Post 251080)
How about heteroflexible and monoflexible?

Using the word heteroflexible cleared a lot of things up for me; I'm a male who isn't generally attracted to other men romantically (well, unless 'bromance' counts) or sexually, yet it's not out of the realm of possibility that I might end up comfortably and happily involved with a male partner. Since your orientation towards polyamory seems analogous to my orientation towards bisexuality/homosexuality, you could use the word "monoflexible" with me and I'd quickly understand where you were coming from.

I apologize for this post being more about me than you, SparklePony, but this is the first time I've run into the word heteroflexible outside the classroom (I'm a college student) and I'm kinda excited by that.


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