Originally Posted by opalescent
This is from the thread NYCindie noted early. Ethical non-monogamy is a continuum for me, not a either/or structure. The lines between poly, swinging, open, casual to throw a few terms around are not always obvious.
I finally figured out a metaphor that I think works for showing how poly, open, swinging and so on can be different but have the possibility to shade into each other in real life.
Ethical non-monogamy is like water. Water has different forms - ice, liquid water, gas (steam). Those forms do not look at all like each other but they are all water. They change from one to the other as physical conditions change - liguid water turns to ice as it freezes, or escape into gas as it boils. Ice dissolves into liguid as it warms. Relationships can be very much like this. They might remain in the form in which they were created. Or they might change over time such as from a FWB into something more committed like a primary relationship. Or a primary relationship can move away from that into something more open, more casual.
Other people experience and define poly and ethical non-monogamy very differently. You see it in very black and white terms. It is this and not that. And that works for you. But you don't have a monopoly on poly defining. The structure I describe above works well for me. It provides a useful model for understanding my life.
I definitely get the "spectrum" and "fluidity" thing. I definitely understand that FWB and casual relationships may well evolve, over time, into something more. If you'll notice, I addressed the OP, who said he was looking for ways that he could interest single, new-to-poly secondaries into starting sexual relationships. That, to me, says he's looking for sexual relationships primarily and love/meaning only as an afterthought.
I'm not saying that he -- or other people like him -- won't fall for any of their partners who were originally casual, even if they didn't mean to. I'm saying he doesn't have the mindset or approach of a poly person. He's probably not completely un-poly. But he speaks much more with the rhetoric of a casual sex seeker.
Let me just give you an example. The poly guy I dated last year had gone on dates with about three women from OkCupid before he went out with me. He didn't feel connected with them enough to see them again or have sex with them, so he didn't. (It could be that they, too, weren't interested). When he met me, he felt attracted enough and wanted to see me again, and he soon wanted a relationship with me. So basically, he got involved only when he knew he wanted to love the person too, not just have sex with the person. That, to me, is a more poly way of being. If you don't agree, you don't agree. NyCindie asked me if I'd ever heard the phrase "My poly is not your poly." Sure I've heard it. As such, respect my poly, too. My poly is just as much not your poly as your poly is not mine, so don't make a big deal out of it. People here do that all the time. It's defensiveness. "Hey wait, don't say my casual sex isn't poly! Poly exists on a spectrum, and that spectrum includes casual sex that can turn into something more."
What I'm saying is...if 90% of the time it doesn't turn into something more, or doesn't last for more than a month, it isn't "my" poly. It may be YOUR poly, but it's not "My" poly.