I've considered myself poly for 2 decades even though my only long term sexual relationships outside of my marriage were FWB (until Dude). With them I am friends first and the "with benefits" secondarily - with long breaks if their situation warrants it - geography, primary partner that is not on board, etc. These breaks don't affect the underlying friendship, just the "benefits" part. There is no expectation of these relationships "progressing" in any way - they are what they are.
When discussing poly with my bestest friend several years ago - she decided that if my relationships with these FWBs, who I wasn't as close to as her, counted as "poly" then SHE counted to (even though there is no sexual component to our relationship) since she is emotionally closer to me than anyone other than my husband - she decided she was my "platonic girlfriend". (I talk about this some in my blog here). If it makes her happy to assign herself that label - more power to her! Her use of a label doesn't change our relationship in any way. I guess I see all relationships as a branching maze of connectivity - some bonds are stronger, some weaker, some involve sex, some don't, some are romantic, some are more emotional, some are more recreational, some last a long-time, some don't, some are family, etc. For some combinations of these (and other factors) we have labels - GF, lover, boyfriend, lover-friend, FWB, mom - etc. But just because we don't have a distinct label doesn't mean a relationship isn't there - and each of these individual relationships is unique unto itself - none is "equal" to another because people are not interchangeable.
Was I not "really" poly until Dude came along? Who knows? Who cares? My poly is not your poly. These words and definitions are just...words and definitions. We use them as shorthand so that we can, hopefully, convey our thoughts to others. They can be used to "describe" a relationship but they don't need to "define" it.
For anyone that I am involved with, flirting with, having sex with, who is not my husband - it is always "friends in public" - my job and profession could be jeopardized otherwise. Nobody has objected yet - nobody's business but ours.
Just my experience.
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (23+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (4+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
Lotus: "it's complicated"
SLeW: platonic girlfriend + BFF
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.
My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 03-28-2012 at 09:05 PM.