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  #1  
Old 01-02-2010, 04:13 AM
quila quila is offline
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Default No such thing as polyamorous relationship?

I knew that would get your attention... ;) Don't worry, I'm not here to attack anyone! :)

I've just been sitting here reading & pondering, and some things occur to me...

I believe that it's the PEOPLE, not the relationships, that are monogamous or polyamorous. Relationships themselves are exclusive or non-exclusive.

If a monogamous person falls head over heals in love with a polyamorous person, and the poly person says "look, I love you too, but I'm not going to give up my lifestyle to be with you" then that monogamous person may choose to enter a non-exclusive relationship. This does not make that person polyamorous.

If a polyamorous person falls head over heals with a monogamous person, and the monogamous person says "look, I love you, but I can't be with you if you're going to see other people" then the poly person may agree to enter an exclusive relationship. This does not make that person monogamous.

They're both between a poly person and a mono person, so how do you call one relationship polyamorous and the other monogamous? It makes more sense to me to call one non-exclusive and the other exclusive.

Putting aside the obvious fact that neither of these relationships is likely to last forever, neither is a total write-off. I've always been polyamorous, but I've been in both exclusive and non-exclusive relationships, depending on where I was at the time. Both types have been successful, meaning we had fun while they lasted and things ended on positive terms.

It seems that this approach side-steps the whole business of "our relationship is polyamorous because of this or that feature, but yours isn't because it lacks this or that feature."

If a relationship can be said to be polyamorous, I think it's because BOTH PEOPLE in the relationship are polyamorous, whether or not they're currently in love with any other people or having random sex with strangers. But I believe it's the presence of two polyamorous people in a relationship that makes it polyamorous, and not their relationships with other people.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:34 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Yeah, I'm going to disagree there.

Monogamy and polyamory can certainly be part of a person's identity (being wired to seek monogamous or poly relationships). However, for me, these terms are principally descriptors of relationship structures. They are parts of agreements between people who have relationships with each other.

In the case of a mono/poly relationship, there are two different relationships being described. When looking at all of the people attached to the relationship including metamours, it can certainly be described as poly. However, the nature of the relationship of the monogamous person to their partner can be described as monogamous from that person's POV if it doesn't involve anyone else for that person.

Again, I don't dispute that identity can play a part in this for many. But for me, the trouble is that when we tie too much of our identity into our relationship structures, it starts to create false divides between people and suggest more differences than there actually are.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:36 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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That is a terrific breakdown and one that I feel is accurate. I simply identify as being in a multi-partner relationship, but you did a great job!
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:43 AM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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I would tend to agree with you, Quila - my monogamous partner would never ever self-identify as polyamorous or polyfidelitous (is that the right word?) but we are in a non-exclusive relationship. When I have tried to use the term poly to described our relationship she has been very strongly against that.

I think that what you wrote there does a great job of describing my reality, and has helped me sort something out that had been bugging me.

So thank you!
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:44 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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I guess I just don't see how the structure of one's relationship infringes on how they identify. So why the need to not use the word to describe the structure?
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
When I have tried to use the term poly to described our relationship she has been very strongly against that.


So thank you!
A kindred soul LOL! How do you guys deal with us monos?
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:35 AM
jasminegld jasminegld is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quila View Post
I believe that it's the PEOPLE, not the relationships, that are monogamous or polyamorous. Relationships themselves are exclusive or non-exclusive.
I disagree. A non-exclusive relationship can be non-exclusive for different reasons. It can be non-exclusive because the couple swings. It can be non-exclusive because one or both partners is cheating. It can be non-exclusive because both partners agree that emotional non-exclusivity is agreed to in the relationship. This last version is a polyamorous relationship, even if only one partner has any interest in the non-exclusivity.

It is valuable to be able to communicate the mutual acceptability of additional emotional relationships.

A polyamorous person can enter a monogamous relationship by choice. The person is still a polyamorous person. The relationship is still a monogamous relationship, as long as the monogamous agreement remains in effect.

A monogamous person can enter a polyamorous relationship by choice. The person is still a monogamous person. The relationship is still a polyamorous relationship, as long as the polyamorous agreement remains in effect.

The individuals' identities and the relationship structure are different things.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:48 AM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
A kindred soul LOL! How do you guys deal with us monos?
I have to say the woman my wife and I are involved with could identify. While we are still working on building this relationship, and I haven't opened up a lot here yet, we go out, hang out, cuddle, have sex and truly care moving to love for each other (heck she is even talking of moving in with us in the near future).

However she is "searching" for a mono relationship and wants kids etc.

She is adament against calling what we have polyamourus, or even a relationship. We are just having fun with perks. We don't intend to debate what it is, we just want to keep communicating and try and figure out a way to make this work
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  #9  
Old 01-02-2010, 07:19 AM
quila quila is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
Yeah, I'm going to disagree there.
Good! Life is boring when everyone agrees on everything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
Monogamy and polyamory can certainly be part of a person's identity (being wired to seek monogamous or poly relationships). However, for me, these terms are principally descriptors of relationship structures. They are parts of agreements between people who have relationships with each other.

In the case of a mono/poly relationship, there are two different relationships being described. When looking at all of the people attached to the relationship including metamours, it can certainly be described as poly. However, the nature of the relationship of the monogamous person to their partner can be described as monogamous from that person's POV if it doesn't involve anyone else for that person.
So I'm guessing you would describe the exclusive mono/poly relationship as "monogamous" and the non-exclusive mono/poly relationship as "polyamorous" ?

Actually, when you say it out loud, "my relationship to you is monogamous, and your relationship to me is polyamorous" DOES make perfect sense... but I don't think it follows that "our relationship is polyamorous." I love analogies, so I'll use math... the relationship of 3 with respect to 4 is "smaller".. the relationship of 4 with respect to 3 is "bigger"... but it makes no sense to say "the relationship between 3 and 4 is bigger."

I do agree that when you're describing three+ people in some combination of romantic relationships, it makes more sense to talk about "the relationships" being, as a whole, poly... but I think when you're just talking about one couple of individuals who both self-identify as poly, and may or may not be "expressing" their polyamory, it makes more sense to talk about the people being poly than the relationship itself... IOW the collection of relationships become polyamorous as a whole, but no single pair-wise relationship is, by itself, poly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
Again, I don't dispute that identity can play a part in this for many. But for me, the trouble is that when we tie too much of our identity into our relationship structures, it starts to create false divides between people and suggest more differences than there actually are.
But I'm pretty sure the mono people here would say that there ARE some very real differences between themselves and their poly partners. And the differences are innate to the people, not a product of the relationship structure.

I guess it's a "chicken or egg" situation... if you say "I'm in a poly relationship, therefore I am poly" it's much different from saying "I'm a poly person, and I'm in a relationship, therefore the relationship is poly" ... Yet, neither statement is true. It's not like the poly person is going to say "you identified as monogamous when we started dating, so you have to stay monogamous throughout our entire relationship" (unless they're a hypocritical jerk). Nor is the poly person going to say "You're all I desire at this point in my life, but I identify as polyamorous, so I have to go find another girlfriend."
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  #10  
Old 01-02-2010, 08:09 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quila View Post
I knew that would get your attention...

I believe that it's the PEOPLE, not the relationships, that are monogamous or polyamorous. Relationships themselves are exclusive or non-exclusive.

.
I agree with this statement in many cases. I find that the idea of mono/poly wiring does in fact dictate some peoples behaviors within and toward relationships. I also believe that social conditioning and conscious choice can dictate this as well.
The genetic proof based on recent studies is re-enforcing my own belief in genetic dispositions for monogamy and non monogamy in some people therefore I am more and more convinced that for many people relationship behavior is predestined as is sexual orientation in some cases. http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...p?t=722&page=2

I like this take and prefer it to many I have read. Thanks for broadening my perspective in this and adding a valuable opinion to a healthy and interesting discussion.

I am editing this just to add I am actually a little blown away by how simple and yet personally "perfect" I find your idea to be. WOW! Hope you don't mind me steeling this train of thought!

Peace and Love
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Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 01-02-2010 at 08:27 AM. Reason: Giving credit for a broader mind
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