You know... I think it really comes down to personal preference and I loved reading your current thoughts and feelings on it.
I don't believe that poly is a more enlightened way of life (though it can be a catalyst for becoming a more developed person)... I believe that some people feel more fulfilled as single people, in mono relationships, closed poly, open poly, or whatever else in-between.
However, I don't believe in the ownership that can come from from monogamy. I'm not into things being forbidden or off-limits. Honestly, I think people should be able to act how they want to act.
But... 'want' is a complicated term.
I can 'want' to strip the clothes off this sexy teacher who keeps making eyes at me across my toddler's music class
It doesn't mean I have to. Firstly, it might be a tad inappropriate. But, let's say I want to make a move now that my toddler has stopped going to that class. If my girlfriend wanted me to take it slow, or do certain small things to increase her comfort for a while, I would have two 'wants'..... the 'want' of stripping this sexy woman... and the 'want' of having my girlfriend remain my girlfriend.
So where does couple-centric start and end? Am I a 'we' because I 'want' to consider her? Or am I an 'I' because 'I' make whatever decision I make; even if that decision takes her opinions into account?
Maybe it partly comes down to genetic makeup, or developmental history and past-experience? Maybe individual needs to be in a couple are still individual.
For example, looking at my girlfriend (oh shit, I'm being coupley... hahaha
)... she dates more and is a little bit more focused on her personal immediate 'wants' than I am. They drive her more. Though, she is still largely focused on the couple-centric 'want' and her current discovery is how to balance her genuine 'want' for coupledom and her 'want' for freedom. She didn't have a great deal of love in her childhood and seeks the attention of multiple people in abundance. She is also very capable of loving multiple people. She hasn't always had the freedom to explore what she wants. So, for her, she's finding herself most fulfilled
with two primaries that love and support her (love and support part being fulfilled), who also promote her freedom (freedom part being fulfilled) with other people (need for lots of attention and praise being fulfilled). If she was single, or more individually-focussed, she could fulfill her need for attention and freedom, but would struggle to find the stability and support that she needs. I wonder if that makes sense?
I do agree that poly, for me, is about my relationship with myself... but for me... this currently means learning about myself through the relationships I have. Could be a late twenties thing? Or could be my history, experiences and needs? I don't feel the need for attention from many; but do feel the need for stability and support. I've always been independent and still crave that, whilst still feeling that I have something steady and strong to be part of. Through the type of poly I am living, I am learning to be more secure, worry less, think about how I effect other people and what kind of person I want to be. I've learnt to analyse myself more. I am poly because I don't believe in the ownership that comes with monogamy. I believe in having the choice to act on an attraction if I want to. I believe in many things related to poly. But I don't necessarily 'need' multiple partners.
For me, as an individual, it's currently important to have at least one special person to share my life with. At least, I've met a very, very special person and want to continue having her in my life. She fulfills many of my needs. Not because she's my girlfriend and I need a girlfriend, per se... but because the individual she is seems to make me a better individual. I like having that influence around. Because that personal desire is so strong (to have her in my life), I am happy to compromise to achieve that where necessary. So, my individual need to have this other individual in my life drives my actions.
Perhaps that makes me couple-centric.... or perhaps I am focused on myself.... focused on what *I* want... which is to share my life with this amazing person who helps me discover myself... but still have the potential of others who might have a positive effect on me.
In conclusion... I feel that I am a person, choosing not to be monogamous and one of my relationships is currently a longterm, committed, non-monogamous one that benefits what I feel I need as an individual.
Whooo... complex.... thanks again Cleo, for a great thread!