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  #101  
Old 12-30-2009, 04:19 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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If you want to avoid "labels" and can't agree on TERMinology (first four letters capitalized to emphasize the root word) with respect to the noun or adjective (polyamory, polyamorous), then instead of defining the relationship by what it IS or IS NOT, you might try defining a relationship by what you DO instead, of which the broadest expression would be "see other people".

"My partner and I both agreed that we can see other people" goes down much smoother than "My partner and I ARE polyamorous" or "My partner and I ARE swingers" or "My partner and I ARE NOT monogamous".

Then, you can elaborate on it if someone asks "So what does that mean?" if you want. But, I think it helps to put things in terms of action-words and -phrases even if it means being very general and encompassing at the outset. It's better to start out general and work your way toward being specific than it is to start out being very specific and having to expand your list of exceptions every time someone makes a counterpoint.

(and this is the general-you, not "you" as in a specific individual on this forum. Gaud. I should put that in my signature. I have enough Facebook friends for now...)
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  #102  
Old 12-30-2009, 04:36 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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YGirl, great point.

I think there are two things going on here - one is the way that people describe their own relationships and self-identify, the other is how we as a community (if such a thing really exists, even, and I'm beginning to wonder...) talks about itself internally and externally.

I don't think there has been one time where I have just referred to myself as poly and not qualified it in some way to describe how I/we do it. Even within the generally-accepted use of the word there is a huge variation in practices, and when describing ones own relationships, it is necessary.

But I think the broader issue is whether the poly community at large should or shouldn't have a set of consistent terminology with which it can describe itself (what it is and what it isn't) and by which it can be known. I think that this is the major point of difference that I have seen in the discussions. It came to a head recently when a group of friends of mine and I were trying to start up a local poly community and made an attempt to set the charter by consensus, rather that dictatorially (the way it is usually done) - the major disagreement was the definition of what community the forum should serve - i.e. the definition of "polyamory".

Some would like the term to be used and applied however each individual wishes, believing that by trying to tie down the term you limit its use, and create an "in-crowd" and an "outsider" crowd, and that this is inherently wrong.

Some others would like to have the terminology be generally agreed-upon within the community so that the term actually means something consistent.

I tend to fall into the latter group, as I'm sure my posts show - others fall as they may. I believe that by obfuscating the term we do the poly lifestyle a disservice by increasing confusion amongst others, rather than dispelling it. The world we live in, like it or not, runs on labels and if the idea of poly is going to get some acceptance I really do believe that we need a commonly-agreed language by which to describe the community.

However, I don't believe that there is a universal "right way" or a "wrong way" to do this, and I very much respect other's opinions on this - I just think that each way has its consequences in terms of what polyamory ends up being and the speed and fashion that it gets accepted by our systems of laws and society.
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  #103  
Old 12-30-2009, 04:44 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YGirl View Post
"My partner and I both agreed that we can see other people" goes down much smoother than "My partner and I ARE polyamorous" or "My partner and I ARE swingers" or "My partner and I ARE NOT monogamous".
I was thinking about this some more and how to apply the same terminology-caveat to a single person who would choose to not be restricted to "seeing" only one partner in any given time-period.
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  #104  
Old 12-30-2009, 05:12 PM
dakid dakid is offline
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lovingradiance, what are your feelings about the word "polyfidelity"? sounds like either that or multi-partner family describes your situation perfectly, but you don't seem happy with these phrases? or maybe i am totally misunderstanding your words, in that case i sincerely apologise.
x

cieldumatin, i really don't see that i or anyone else is "obfuscating" the meaning of the word "polyamorous" AT ALL.

the disagreement is clearly as has been stated, around meanings of the word love. some seem to think you can only love someone within a certain kind of relationship - let's call it an ongoing partnership for now. others like me want to acknowledge and include the love i/we feel for our FB's or others who we share intimate sexual and loving moments with outside of an ongoing partnership.

yours and others insistence that in doing so we are changing the meaning of the word polyamory is insulting, frankly. have you not been reading our posts?

nobody is changing the word's definition from any previous usage, we are challenging limited concepts of love is what we are doing.

ygirl i do agree largely with your points about nouns and verbs. i eat a vegetarian diet, and prefer to put it in that way rather than saying i AM vegetarian - because what i am is human actually!

however being human i do sometimes forget and lapse into majority-speak, declaring myself to BE vegetarian, which is kind of wierd but there you go.

similarly i prefer to say my beliefs/ideals and interractions are polyamorous rather than that i am, but again that is subject to lapses at times.

habits sure are hard to break sometimes!

x

Last edited by dakid; 03-15-2010 at 10:08 PM. Reason: merge posts
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  #105  
Old 12-30-2009, 05:44 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Originally Posted by dakid View Post
yours and others insistence that in doing so we are changing the meaning of the word polyamory is insulting, frankly. have you not been reading our posts?
My intent was most definitely not to insult anybody - I have said repeatedly that there are many valid opinions out there. If anyone feels insulted I apologize. I used the term to mean the sense of something being unclear, rather than clear, nothing more.

I have seen a post on another forum that posited (quite sincerely) that since the word "polyamory" means literally "Many loves", then it's perfectly ok for someone who has many friends that they love as friends, and would lay down their life for them, while only being married to one person could legitimately call themselves "polyamorous" - when challenged that the normal definition is one of the romantic-style of love, they were slammed as being "elitist".

Others have stated that "swinging is not polyamory", which others believe that one is a subset of the other (and opinions seem to be divided as to which way around it is).

I am not trying to say which is wrong or right, here. Merely that there seems to me to be a competing effort here - one side wants to nail down the definition to a narrower term, another wishes to widen it but still define it, and still others wish to make it whatever anybody using the word wants it to be. My point was simply that each approach will have different consequences and different results and that while we debate about this there is increased obfuscation - a lack of clarity or understanding. I was not attempting a value judgment on that. Apologies if it sounded that way.
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Last edited by CielDuMatin; 12-30-2009 at 05:46 PM.
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  #106  
Old 12-30-2009, 06:43 PM
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rosevett rosevett is offline
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YGirl - Yep I agree with what you said - think that was what I was trying to say...and can I use the signature line too

So how did a thread that started out a comparison of Slutdom to Polyamory end up in just a definition thread of Polyamory Terms...haven't we beated that horse enough...(stated in humor, probably badly)
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  #107  
Old 12-30-2009, 06:49 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosevett View Post
So how did a thread that started out a comparison of Slutdom to Polyamory end up in just a definition thread of Polyamory Terms...haven't we beated that horse enough...(stated in humor, probably badly)

Because the OP was wondering if her boyfriend's behaviour "is poly" or not. The thread was not hijacked.
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  #108  
Old 12-30-2009, 11:46 PM
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Ravenesque Ravenesque is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakid View Post
cieldumatin, i really don't see that i or anyone else is o"bfuscating" the meaning of the word "polyamorous" AT ALL.

the disagreement is clearly as has been stated, around meanings of the word love. some seem to think you can only love someone within a certain kind of relationship - let's call it an ongoing partnership for now. others like me want to acknowledge and include the love i/we feel for our FB's or others who we share intimate sexual and loving moments with outside of an ongoing partnership.

yours and others insistence that in doing so we are changing the meaning of the word polyamory is insulting, frankly. have you not been reading our posts?

nobody is changing the word's definition from any previous usage, we are challenging limited concepts of love is what we are doing.

ygirl i do agree largely with your points about nouns and verbs. i eat a vegan diet, and prefer to put it in that way rather than saying i AM vegan - because what i am is human actually!

however being human i do sometimes forget and lapse into majority-speak, declaring myself to BE vegan, which is kind of wierd but there you go.

similarly i prefer to say my beliefs/ideals and interractions are polyamorous rather than that i am, but again that is subject to lapses at times.

habits sure are hard to break sometimes!

x
Habits are hard to break. I am constantly trying to live consciously, aware of learned behaviors and perspectives we are indoctrinated with from a young age. I do this in order to break the cycle and not perpetuate oppression. Perhaps helping to create a more open world.

I am in complete agreement with you dakid.

I have encountered this insistence in other places as well. I believe love is broad and encompassing of many things. There are those who seem invested in sitting in judgment of relationships which do not take the form of their own and say "this is not poly. This is not love." I have witnessed the definitions of various forms of non-monogamy being heavily policed and restricted just for the purpose of excluding those individuals whose relationships sit at non-monogamous intersections and include activities some poly folk would not include in their lives. I find it insulting as well but more counterproductive and divisive than anything.

I find the reclamation of the word slut interesting, sex-positive and affirming of the different forms love can take.

I enjoyed Tristan Taormino's opener on Polyamory in her book Opening Up. I feel grateful that there are those who do see polyamory in a broader context and full of possibilities as to the forms polyamory and love can take.


Quote:
To distinguish polyamory from swinging and partnered nonmonogamy, poly relationships are usual characterized as "sexual and loving," a shorthand way of saying that polyamory involves not just sex but emotional relationships. But based on my research, "sexual and loving" doesn't capture the nuances and complexities of polyamorous relationships, or the way in which polyamory not only rejects mainstream models but expands our ideas about what constitutes a relationship. I would define polyamory as the desire for or the practice of maintaining multiple significant, intimate relationships simultaneously. These relationships may encompass many elements, including love, friendship, closeness, emotional intimacy, recurring contact, commitment, affection, flirting, romance, desire, erotic contact, sex, and a spiritual connection.

Now, some swingers and partnered nonmonogamists might argue that while their outside relationships are primarily sex- or BDSM-based, there is also an emotional connection or some other element from the list above. Setting up false dichotomies such as sexual versus emotional, casual versus committed, or playful versus serious just gets us into a huge heap of trouble. Some people I interviewed conceptualized and constructed their relationships in all the ways I've just discussed but say they aren't polyamorous. Two people may define their relationships in very similar ways, yet one calls herself nonmonogamous and the other polyamorous. Remember: don't get stuck on the labels if they feel confining to you; define your relationships on your terms.

"Polyamory" Chapter 7 Opening Up by Tristan Taormino
~Raven~
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  #109  
Old 12-31-2009, 09:15 AM
dakid dakid is offline
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thank ravenesque i like that quote a lot and am definitely going to seek out further words from this writer now you have inspired me.

the woman credited with first using the word "polyamory" in public did not set out limits on what type of love or relationship she included so i do find it funny that those of us with broader definitions are the ones being accused of moving the goalposts! the definition of the word has never been as exclusive as some on this thread are trying to make it, so it seems to me if anyone is making changes it is they. or trying to, anyway...

ho hum!

x
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  #110  
Old 12-31-2009, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakid View Post
thank ravenesque i like that quote a lot and am definitely going to seek out further words from this writer now you have inspired me.

the woman credited with first using the word "polyamory" in public did not set out limits on what type of love or relationship she included so i do find it funny that those of us with broader definitions are the ones being accused of moving the goalposts! the definition of the word has never been as exclusive as some on this thread are trying to make it, so it seems to me if anyone is making changes it is they. or trying to, anyway...

ho hum!

x


*grins* You're welcome and I am definitely in agreement dakid. Without a doubt. I am grateful we are within a forum where various views can be expressed and shared on polyamory. There are some forums where the definition of polyamory is laid down quite as exclusively as you see here and beware if you have a differing view.

~Raven~
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~Open up your mind and let me step inside.
Rest your weary head and let your heart decide. It's so easy.
When you know the rules.
It's so easy. All you have to do is fall in love.
Play the game.
Everybody play the game of love. Yeah...~

Last edited by Ravenesque; 12-31-2009 at 09:34 AM.
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