Originally Posted by nycindie
I know Ariakas has referred to the "poly machine" more than once on these boards. I think that perhaps calling polyamory a lifestyle or lovestyle is a way of pandering to this machine, or some misguided way to feel included in something bigger, rather than acknowledging that it's all up to us as individuals to define what poly means for us and creating the lives we want to live polyamorously, based on who we are. Maybe there's some fear connected to its use of those words. Does that make sense?
I think this makes a lot of sense. I know a lot of my unease in opening up my relationship is feeling very ungrounded and that there are no relationship "rules of thumb" to look toward. In a mono relationship, there are some basic guidelines like the "third date rule" or how long is normal to wait before moving in together, etc, etc. There's a standard trajectory that the relationship "should" follow. Even if you don't follow those rules, you know when you are breaking them and what that signifies.
Poly relationships are so outside the normal relationship storyline that it feels like none of those basic rules apply and that you are flying blind. It can feel overwhelming, especially when you are new to it. Even if you come to realize that the freedom is a good thing, I think it's understandable to want to identify some group or set of values that you can belong to and take your cues from. Even if there is no real poly lifestyle out there, the idea of one can be comforting.
Even if I think "lifestyle" is a poor choice of words, I don't think the idea of a poly culture is all nonsense. A shared unique vocabulary is a strong indication of a unique subculture. I doubt words like "compersion" or "metamour" would be understood by most non-poly people.