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Old 04-23-2011, 06:28 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Default What is this "lifestyle" you mention?

Seriiously, folks. I keep seeing references to some supposed poly "lifestyle" and I simply don't understand it. The only thing polyfolk can expect to have in common with other polyfolk is that they engage in multiple romantic relationships. That's it.

I have to wonder what sort of things I'd have to be doing to qualify for this "lifestyle" that keeps getting mentioned. Attend potlucks every second Thursday evening? Attend an annual Many Partners Ball? Buy a pair of assless chaps for parades? Join a fundamentalist religious cult?

What is this "lifestyle" supposed to be?

As far as I can see, loving multiple people is in no fashion linked to any lifestyle. One can have multiple relationships while living in a small rural town or in the 'burbs or in a city. One can have two or three or twelve partners. One can travel far and wide regularly or one can stay at home. One can dress in the latest styles or old jeans and a t shirt. One can ride motorcycles or race hot rods or eschew motor vehicles for a favorite bicycle.

What is it?
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:11 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I agree!

I was going to respond to someone's reference to a "poly lifestyle" today, as a matter of fact. It actually made me go and look up the word lifestyle, just to make sure I wasn't overreacting.

According to Dictionary.com: "the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group."

From my trusty ol' American Heritage dictionary: "A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes or values of a person or group."

Basically, it's a manner of living, but there are so many varying lifestyles of people who practice polyamory that it truly is impossible to define what a polyamorous lifestyle would be. How poly is practiced depends on the individuals involved, and there is no One True Way and, therefore, no poly lifestyle.

I often do hear people refer to poly as a "lovestyle," though. What do you think of that term? It kinda bugs me, too.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:22 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
From my trusty ol' American Heritage dictionary: "A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes or values of a person or group."
About the only thing in common among polyfolk is the insistence on being forthright and honest with all partners. As that's also a trait shared by many monofolk, it's not really something on which to hang a "lifestyle."

Quote:
I often do hear people refer to poly as a "lovestyle," though. What do you think of that term? It kinda bugs me, too.
I don't find that term accurate or useful, either. Polyfolk don't love any differently than monofolk--we just allow for loving more than one romantic partner at a time.

I suspect that the urge for people to try to set off polyamory as something substantively different than mono romance works to the detriment of polyfolk. Claiming poly is a lifestyle or lovestyle cheapens poly in much the same way that saying homosexuality is merely a lifestyle or lovestyle, something that can be readily discarded.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:29 PM
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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?
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The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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  #5  
Old 04-24-2011, 07:25 AM
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detritus detritus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
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.
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  #6  
Old 04-24-2011, 01:27 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Default There is a difference

...between people in the 'lifestyle' and those who are just curious !

I just refer to people as 'not in the lifestyle' to mean they are people who don't identify as polyamorous (until perhaps now).

In my blog I berated myself for flirting with Sweetheart although I knew full well that he was 'not in the life(style)' with his wife. So no potlucks necessary , what I wanted to convey was that they had been mostly monogamous thus far and are currently in-transition. A whole different set of issues to dating someone who is 'in the lifestyle' and looking for new partners with the full consent and oft enthusiasm of their current partner(s).

I welcome any suggestions that would convey the same difference but would set fewer people off.

After all, BDSM folks have the 'scene'. Can we have something similar?
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:38 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Before people accuse me of NOT doing it, let me assure you that I HAVE read through the whole of this thread before adding my 2p. However, I choose to quote from the very first 2 posts:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
Seriiously, folks. I keep seeing references to some supposed poly "lifestyle" and I simply don't understand it. The only thing polyfolk can expect to have in common with other polyfolk is that they engage in multiple romantic relationships. That's it.

I have to wonder what sort of things I'd have to be doing to qualify for this "lifestyle" that keeps getting mentioned. Attend potlucks every second Thursday evening? Attend an annual Many Partners Ball? Buy a pair of assless chaps for parades? Join a fundamentalist religious cult?
[...]
One can have multiple relationships while living in a small rural town or in the 'burbs or in a city. One can have two or three or twelve partners. One can travel far and wide regularly or one can stay at home. One can dress in the latest styles or old jeans and a t shirt. One can ride motorcycles or race hot rods or eschew motor vehicles for a favorite bicycle.
Tell me something: Is "dressing in the latest styles" a lifestyle, as far as you're concerned? Is "riding motorcycles"? Is "living in a small rural town"?

Just WHAT - AFAYC - constitutes a "lifestyle"?
Whether or not I live in a small rural town or not, whether I dress in the latest styles or not, whether I ride motorcycles or not... NONE of these questions are as important to me as whether I choose to live my life in such a way that I REFUSE to limit another person A's freedom to love WHOMEVER they want, B+C+D... (whether I am personally emotionally involved with A or not, whether I think that B is an absolute arsehole or not). I also REFUSE to allow A - or B,C,D... - the power over me to tell me whom I'm allowed to love.

That's a fundamental question for me - the freedom to love whomever (and however many) one wants. I allow that freedom. I demand that freedom for myself. I live my life according to those principles.

Seems like a pretty good candidate for being called a lifestyle to me.

A lifestyle DOESN'T mean that every single member who follows it has to be exactly like every other, or do everything that every other member does. A "small rural town" lifestyle doesn't OBLIGE you to watch Andy Griffith re-runs every night.

So wear your religious-cult-approved arseless chaps to your bi-monthly potlucks... or not. It's all (as the Germans would say) Scheiss Egal to me. Polyamory isn't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
According to Dictionary.com: "the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group."

From my trusty ol' American Heritage dictionary: "A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes or values of a person or group."
A concept doesn't have to match up with every single word in a dictionary definition to qualify for acceptance as a valid example of the word being defined.

Sorry, nycindie, but you're messing here with Mister Pedant Man "CHANG!!! KAPOW!!!" Let's rip apart your first definition: "the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group." Notice that word "attitudes"? Would you agree that not EVERYBODY of a randomly-chosen (non-poly) "lifestyle" HAS to have the same "economic level" to qualify? How about "tastes"? Does the fact that I can't stand the colour green disqualify me from a hippy lifestyle? My ATTITUDE towards the freedom of loving whom (and however many) one chooses to, added to the fact that I put my principles into practice, allows me to talk about my "polyamorous lifestyle". (I believe that this attitude is shared by most sincerely polyamorous people. Hence a possible common "polyamory lifestyle".)

On to your 2nd chosen definition: "A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes or values of a person or group." Let me draw your attention to that little word "or". It's used 3 times. So if I state that my polyamory is "A way of life [...] that reflects the attitudes [...] of a person (me) [...]" [not to mention my values], how can you argue with my saying that - for me - polyamory is a lifestyle? You wanna argue with Mister Pedant Man AND your "trusty ol' American Heritage dictionary"???
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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson

Last edited by MrFarFromRight; 04-24-2011 at 11:21 PM. Reason: grammatical correction and clarification
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:57 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Calm down and have a chill-pill. No one is "messing" with you or your multiple personalities. Looks like your imaginary friend is "messing" with NYC from here.

Last edited by NeonKaos; 04-24-2011 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:09 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonKaos View Post
Calm down and have a chill-pill. No one is "messing" with you or your multiple personalities. Looks like your imaginary friend is "messing" with NYC from here.
I'm as chilled as you like. I don't get het up about other people choosing to use words like "lifestyle" if they so wish. And you're rather stating the obvious. Of COURSE Mister Pedant Man is messing with NYC! Do you honestly believe that anybody could use an identity like Mister Pedant Man without being tongue in cheek (and poking fun at themselves at the same time)??? I'm laughing about such a storm brewing in such a small teacup.

It's not me that needs chill-pills.
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If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:49 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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So no one can poke fun at you but you?

I'll write that on my list of important things to not forget as soon as i'm through poking fun at you.
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