Originally Posted by YGirl
However, there are certain definitions that are accepted by "the community". You don't get to come on and say "Wet means dry now because I'm here and I say so" and expect people to incorporate that into the existing milieu.
Actually, I'm not so sure there are certain "community" accepted definitions. I think there are certain types and styles of relationships that are more common here, and those styles seem to have the majority voice, but that's not the same as an agreed community definition.
(I'm probably going to get it for what I'm about to say)
Personally, I don't feel I have the right to tell the OP whether or not his relationship is poly. I've heard it quoted many times on these message boards "There's no one right way to do poly". I tend to agree with that. If the OP has a relationship that involves being open to relationships with other people, even if they're just sexual connections, there's no reason he can't call that poly.
Honestly, I feel sometimes people can be way too precious about the definition of poly. If someone doesn't disclose ahead of time, that's NOT poly. If someone cheats on their partner, that's NOT poly. If someone isn't openly communicating, that's NOT poly.
All of these things could very well be poly. It may not be HEALTHY, but it can still be poly. Poly people cheat. Poly people sometimes don't communicate well. Poly people screw up. Being poly isn't about subscribing to a set of prerequisites or rules or standards. It's about a certain structure of relationships. There are lots of ideals that are held up as poly ideals- open communication, loving connections, radical honesty etc. These are not ideals exclusive to poly relationships. These are ideals to healthy relationships. Not all healthy relationships are poly and not all poly relationships are healthy.
I also realize for some poly is also an identity that can be claimed, not just a structure of relationships. That's probably a discussion for another thread. But honestly, why would it hurt if one person calls their relationship poly with one structure and someone else calls their relationship poly with another. I appreciate that for some, coming into the relationships and success they have are the result of many dues paid and a hell of a lot of hard work. But that's no reason to belittle another person's use of the word in a different context or to feel belittled by that persons use of it in a different context.
Poly is just a word, not a religion.