Originally Posted by mercury
Call yourself polyamorous when you actually practice polyamory.
Something that you may want to consider is that some people consider "polyamory" an orientation - like being gay, straight, bi, pan, whatever. So would YOU say that a man who is sexually attracted to men, fantasizes about gay sex, has no interest in women is not "gay" if he is a virgin or celibate? i.e. that he does not have a sexual orientation until he actually acts upon it. OR if he tries to deny his "gayness" and forces himself to have sex only with women whiles still being only sexually attracted to men - is he therefore "straight" because he is "practicing" heterosexual intercourse?
Other people consider "polyamory" a relationship structure that they choose (or not) to participate in - they might agree with you and consider themselves poly only when involved in a poly-relationship. But they STILL may disagree with your definition - which seems to be that only full-on primary-type leading-to-living-together-and-raising-children relationships constitute "love" (as an aside - the concept of "love" to me is a MUCH more confusing and poorly defined concept than "polyamory")
For me (once I had reluctantly come to the conclusion that "love" even existed in the world) it seemed axiomatic that if I was capable of loving even one
person, then I could be capable of loving more than one
person. That the feelings I have for one person (whatever they are, however you want to define them) are the feelings that I have for them
, which in no way dictates the feelings that I have for someone else.
So I was always open to allowing my feelings/relationships with people to develop on their own merit. Never "looking" but not excluding. So for me "polyamory" is more of a philosophy than either an orientation or relationship structure.
When you have an invented word like "polyamory" that has only been around for only 20 years - and you have a void in vocabulary (lots of people pursuing multple many-natured relationships without a good way to talk about it with each other) then people are going to use it as the "best fit" where it seems to apply. Many people were "practicing" polyamory before there was a word for it...does that mean it wasn't poly?
For me - my personal definition is way looser than yours. I'm ok with FWB "counting" as poly - my longest FWB relationship is only 1 year younger than my 20 year relationship with my husband. My best friend, with whom I share NO sexual chemistry but dreams of setting up house and "taking care of" me as we grow old together and loves me more than anyone (with the possible
exception of her husband) wants to "count" as poly as my "platonic girlfriend". Hey, if that makes her happy...(I am almost as restrictive in my definition of "friend" as others are in their definition of "poly" - most people I know that would consider me their friend I would consider only an "acquaintance").
Who cares? It's all good. Encourage the love where people find it - the big love, the little love, the middle love. Don't let the semantics get in the way.