*No offending intended! – Just the course our discussion developed and what we ended with later on. I know that there are other opinions on this, this is just how it works for me.*
Yes I know, standard question somehow, but surprisingly the answer isn't as standard as I would have thought. After redpepper opened the discussion 'lifestyle vs identity' (thanks for the food for thought) I began to think what this means for me. And I discussed it with Sward and Lin. Our answers were way different than some given in the thread.
Maybe my answer could have been different some month ago if I would have been asked. But after experiencing this poly-mess and -challenge during the last months, I can say that love is a force. A force I do not have control over. I was unable to guide it, or exert the slightest influence on it. And that it can vary in level or degree but not below this point.
In my opinion the matter of choice is a major one here. I can choose how to act on different things, but I can never choose how I feel. Lin and Sward often tease me that my emotions are showing on my face all the time, that I am readable like a book. My emotions do have control over me and I wouldn't be able to make them defer or bend to me just because I want them to.
I know that when I first saw Sward on this day when we returned from Lithuania from a school trip, that there was this 'spark'. That I was interested and later on, that there was this “mine”- thought and I choose to act on my feelings. Maybe you could call this the choice some spoke of. But what about Lin? I felt the spark and I choose to not pursue it. To defend myself against this feelings. Where did it lead to? Obviously my choice was naught. And my answer is clear: you can't choose how you feel.
In favor of the lifestyle I have to admit: Maybe you can choose to live that way. As you can choose to live monogamous. But that doesn't always clarify what you are. A person living monogamy doesn't have to be monogamous. Maybe because there have been relationships before (like serial monogamists or choosing to live that way despite being polyamorous because of a partner who cannot cope otherwise). A person living polyamorous doesn't have to identify as such if there is just the physical aspect to most of his/her partners and no love involved above the level of fondness and sympathy. But I wouldn't call this love, I would call it friendship.
And this is the reason why I have a hard time accepting that 'choosing the poly lifestyle' could work. I think there can be something like a polyamorous lifestyle, but for this one to be a real polyamorous lifestyle, it should require love. Therefore the person living it has the ability to love more than one at a time. The person, waiting for “the one and only” to come along, who is internally monogamous and just going through the options, would choosing this lifestyle mean different levels of fondness and sympathy in a friends with benefits arrangement, waiting for the spark to come along to end it.
Lastly, this would mean: to choose to love. At least as far as my understanding of polyamory is in the picture. And as far as I am concerned: impossible. But I think it is interesting how different opinions on this topic can be. I was really surprised by some of the possibilities. Again: life is funny