I have been identifying as poly since before I was married 11 years ago. I entered into a poly marriage with every intent of living up to the values that my husband and I agreed upon for OURSELVES. We didn't follow any socially constructed agenda on how marriage should be done and we are all the happier for it. There were years when we tried. We had a child and it felt natural to focus all our attention on him for a time. It made us unhappy and near divorce. Eventually we decided to open our hearts to other people again and now I live with my husband, my boyfriend, have a girlfriend and a very close community of friends that all practice poly values as we have decided they should be for us. It works. No one can say otherwise, as I see it working. Its my entire life. I know no difference from this and find people in traditional monogamous marriages confusing and strange at this point.
Monogamy doesn't have to be followed as it has been dictated to us by the culture we live in. Its possible to follow and practice a different form of monogamy based on abundant love, integrity, open and honest communication, empathy, consideration and consent, just as it is with poly. Poly is not holding fast to this way of thinking and making it its own. The only different between poly relationships and monogamous ones is the number of possible love partners. Some people even have friends that are just as close as what others consider partners. It all depends on what you feel comfortable with and what language you wish to use. You can easily be in a monogamous marriage and have really close friends that you connect and are intimate with and not call it poly. Its all a mind set and what some of us have chosen to call ourselves.
By the way, and "open relationship" is quite commonly referred to by people who have sex outside of their marriage rather than relationships. It is sometimes used by people to explain what it is they are entering into as it has become mainstream, but if you are seriously looking at finding other loves in your life and wonder why poly people might not want to date you, this could be why.... different use of language really. You might need to explain what it is that you are looking for so everyone is on the same page.
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