Not sure where to start but hello.
I am a 40-something very happily single woman. I have never self identified as mono or poly, have never really given it much thought. I've never really worried about labels much and have always just lived my relationships without thinking too much about it.
I have had one long term monogamous relationship, and it kind of felt like an ill fitting sweater. In general, looking back over my life and relationships, I've found that I really prefer a relationship style of being fairly solitary, independent, and not in a very intense relationship of any sort. I would rather live that and have a few friends and lovers who I can count on to to be there for intimacy, sex, and closeness. That sort of model works really well for me, it has in the past and it has right now. I've always been in front with my partners, they know I see other people and I know they do to. I've never really wanted to label myself poly, because I am not sure what I am doing is poly, and quite honestly a lot of people I know who label themselves as poly do things so differently.
BUT, now I have found myself grappling with definition. I started dating a man who very much self identities as poly. He's very active in the poly community. And his first reaction when I said I am not poly was to just assume I am mono. So this has led to some interesting discussions, as I have to explain that I am not, in my mind, one or the other. Now, to be fair, when he said he is poly, my first thought was "this is never going to work." In my mind at that times being poly meant a whole lot of rules, structure, and labels. After thinking about things a lot and reading a lot and talking to him a lot and other people, I see that that was a pretty bad generalization to make.
But, it seems like every time I talk to poly people, go to get togethers or what have you, as soon as I say I don't label myself poly I get labelled as a mono person. Honestly, I find it a bit frustrating. I have never felt the need to impose a label on myself but, it would be helpful in some ways to be able to have some sort of definition, at least to make other people more comfortable.
I've never felt the need or desire to label my sexuality and the way I have relationships. But gosh darn it, I do like him, and don't want him to feel such trepidation. And even now, after 6 months of talking to him about this, he has told me that he still worries that I am mono deep down and our relationship will be like others in his life when he dated a mono person (pretty disastrous). Part of me wants to say, " this one is your thing to noodle out, I have explained myself so many times and you're still hung up on this?" But most of me is just trying to wrap my head around everything and come up with some definition, so he can wrap his head around things. And so I don't constantly get labelled as mono every single time I talk to people and say I'm not poly.
I just don't feel like there has to be two camps, that anyone has to self identify as mono or poly and those are your choices. There's a whole lot of get area there and personally, every relationship I have with another person is a new thing.
I am seeing two other people, very very occasionally, but this just hasn't been an issue with them. I don't even think this is a huge issue with this fella, but I di care about him a lot, and want him to be comfortable and secure.
Well Long winded intro. My apologies.... I have been thinking a lot about this stuff lately.