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  #41  
Old 09-02-2009, 06:08 AM
Mockingbirdy Mockingbirdy is offline
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I can agree that I've always found the poly-literature always a bit lacking in options for singles.

I'm polyamorous by nature, but I have no interest in becoming a secondary. So where does that leave me? Kind of stuck.

My desire would be able to build a triad or a quad up from me and 3 other singles who have the same goals, because I know I will definitely want to start a family. But finding 2 or 3 likeminded people? I haven't been having any luck.
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  #42  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:07 PM
XYZ123 XYZ123 is offline
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I think what *usually* happens is that a monogamous couple (or even a couple with no agreement of monogamy) forms first and then opens up, either by agreement or by one or both meeting someone else they're interested in. And poly *usually* comes from that. It doesn't mean the couple have to be together 15 years and married and feel they need or want more. It could be a couple together 6 months with no expectations of monogamy and then one or both begin dating another/others. It just seems very rare for three or four like minded people to come together from scratch from the beginning because, well, the reason you stated. It's difficult to find that many like minded people at once. From reading posts it seems to me the equivalent of the married couple's "unicorn", which must be frustrating. But it happens I guess, as there is a poster here called sweetlivvie who did just that.

I didn't embrace my poly nature until after marriage so it's difficult for me to understand the perspective of a single poly person. Maybe be open to form one relationship at a time but with the understanding from the beginning that you wish it to remain open? I certainly wish I had done this with conviction when I was younger. Then again, I may not have my wonderful hubby and kids now.
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  #43  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:28 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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I think what *usually* happens is that a monogamous couple (or even a couple with no agreement of monogamy) forms first and then opens up, either by agreement or by one or both meeting someone else they're interested in. And poly *usually* comes from that.
I think a lot of paradigms are shifting but awareness of that shifting is a bit lagging. I've noticed that in communities that convene around the "poly" identity and label, there's very little awareness of the issues a poly single person faces. It's all about the couples and the triads and the primary relationships and the marriages. Yet I know lots and lots of non-monogamous single un-attached people. I've always found it ironic that some of the most closed minds I've encountered out there were in poly communities and groups.

I'm pretty passionate about community building and work very hard to practice radical inclusion and create inclusive, welcoming communities. One of the tenets behind radical inclusion is that people only become part of any community when space is made for them to be there. Many poly communities fail miserably at making space for single people, so it makes sense that there aren't a heck of a lot of single people to be seen, which leads to most of them thinking there aren't that many of us around when I truly think the reality is different from the perception.

Perhaps poly communities should re-examine what it means to "open up".
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  #44  
Old 09-02-2009, 10:58 PM
XYZ123 XYZ123 is offline
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Before responding I want to clarify MY personal definitions.
Single-a person who is completely unattached to anyone, having no loving relationship, on their own.
Polyamory-a love style in which a person has a mutual loving and committed relationship to more than one person which can and usually does include a sexual relationship. Commitment does not have to include marriage or a previous agreement of monogamy. It is just a word used to mean that this is a relationship based on emotions and not based on sex.

As I believe being poly is in the nature of a person, I'm sure there are many poly oriented singles out there. But it is MY feeling that, once any relationship is started, that person is no longer single (by MY definition). They may be "dating", "in a relationship", "seeing someone", but they are not "single". Therefor, to ME, there are plenty of poly-oriented singles, but no practicing poly singles.

So the idea of several single, poly-oriented people coming together and a practicing poly relationship forming by mutual agreement from that, seems like it would be a very rare thing. But the idea that an initial two individuals coming together with the agreement from the beginning to leave the relationship open to poly seems feasible. It is (in my mind) like comparing searching for a unicorn to developing a V within couples.

I wonder if many people feel the same and are simply confused by the use of the word "single" to mean something other than what I have stated. And, therefor, singles become a marginalized section of the poly community? Do you mean something different when defining "single" than I do? I'd love to have more clarity of thought process on this.
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  #45  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:48 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Unfortunately, as is always the case when dealing with diverse experiences, there is probably a range of definitions to be contended with.

In my case and the case of most but not all of my single friends, single is a broader definition to mean a person who is not in a long-term committed partnership. A single person may be dating, or could be seeing someone, etc. In a poly context, that definition is often expanded to a person who has no primary relationship, though many secondary relationships can be both long term and committed.

The trouble is that this is something somebody self-identifies as. It's not a list of conditions that must be met in order to qualify. The marginalization you speak of comes not from taking a definition other than the one you describe, but by taking that very definition you are describing and dismissing anything that falls outside of that definition.

Quote:
So the idea of several single, poly-oriented people coming together and a practicing poly relationship forming by mutual agreement from that, seems like it would be a very rare thing. But the idea that an initial two individuals coming together with the agreement from the beginning to leave the relationship open to poly seems feasible. It is (in my mind) like comparing searching for a unicorn to developing a V within couples.
I'm not sure I get that last sentence about comparing unicorn hunting to developing a V. Could you elaborate on that?


Other than that, I think several people coming together to form a poly group is only one of many models a person can start a relationship with. I've known at least two triads and one quad to begin this way, and I have no idea how they managed it, but yay for them! For myself, I am interested in building loving open, one to one partnerships.

Unfortunately, most poly communities are full of couples who are unicorn hunting or people in couples looking for secondaries. I'm in a couple of secondary relationships, but as I said in my OP, it doesn't change my feeling of being single. It doesn't change the fact that I am seeking a primary partner (I honestly wouldn't mind getting married, and would love to have the option of raising a family) and poly communities tend to be the least likely place to be able to find one because they are dominated by couples already in primary partnerships. I went to some different poly discussion groups and ended up giving up on them. When bringing my situation to discussion groups, I rarely get feedback that indicates any awareness or sensitivity to my journey as someone who is un-partnered. And in many cases, there were people considered me "just a swinger" and would say just as much.

I think a lot of these responses are just due to the fact that the pervading culture in these poly communities is a culture of couples. Many of these people have never approached the world of poly without a partner already and so they simply don't get it from a single person's point of view. And unfortunately, they rarely leave room for it to be discussed. (even this thread had to be redirected back from a discussion about triads, etc.) So most of the poly-oriented singles I know pretty much stay out of local poly communities because it just ain't worth it.

Many of us have just decided to drop the label of poly altogether because the pervading culture just doesn't seem to apply to us. Labels are a pain anyway, as the whole collision of definitions over "single" can illustrate. I've never called myself poly anyway. I consider myself open to a variety of relationship styles and I know that monogamy isn't my path for that. But I'm a very community oriented person and it's a shame that it's so difficult to find a community that has room for this very important part of my experience.

Hmmm...maybe the self-identified poly (or open) singles should holla and we could form our own community.

Last edited by Ceoli; 09-03-2009 at 12:21 AM.
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  #46  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
But I'm a very community oriented person and it's a shame that it's so difficult to find a community that has room for this very important part of my experience.

Hmmm...maybe the self-identified poly (or open) singles should holla and we could form our own community.
Why not, instead, help to enlighten the polyamory "community" about the perspectives and needs of single folk? As a rule, the poly folk I've interacted with are quite open-minded and open-hearted. Maybe the single poly folk need to get a good deal more vocal and active within poly-circles?
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  #47  
Old 09-03-2009, 12:09 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Why not, instead, help to enlighten the polyamory "community" about the perspectives and needs of single folk? As a rule, the poly folk I've interacted with are quite open-minded and open-hearted. Maybe the single poly folk need to get a good deal more vocal and active within poly-circles?
Well, that's kind of the trouble with marginalization. People tend to be very open-minded as individuals, but when together as a group, it's harder to make room for those differences. I am and have been very vocal about the issues within community groups, but generally find that when space isn't provided for them, they tend to get set aside for the things that are more relevant to the dominant culture. Or people assume that I'm asking for advice or help when all I'm asking for is space and understanding. (this is really true for anybody who's experienced marginalization in any type of group). It just gets plain exhausting after a while if people aren't open to it. But hey, it hasn't stopped me in the past and probably won't for a while. Besides, isn't that what I'm kinda doing by starting this thread?

Last edited by Ceoli; 09-03-2009 at 12:12 AM.
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  #48  
Old 09-03-2009, 12:36 AM
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It just gets plain exhausting after a while if people aren't open to it. But hey, it hasn't stopped me in the past and probably won't for a while. Besides, isn't that what I'm kinda doing by starting this thread?
Indeed, it is! And it's a valuable service to the "polyamory community". Insofar as any such thing exists. (I think what we really have is more like a "polyamory discourse," which sometimes manifests as community, here and there. If that "discourse" is often dominated by couple-think and "truple"-think, as some single poly folk are experiencing, one way to begin to address that problem is for both the singles and the couples and the truples, etc., to make common cause -- which shouldn't be too hard to do, considering that we're all poly folk.

It isn't fair to single poly folk when couples, truples, quads and whatnot go about behaving as if the single polys weren't poly folk! And I think it is equally incumbent upon all of the above to work toward the sort of inclusivity you desire. So, maybe you/we have to find allies to help expand the "poly discourse" so that poly folk generally recognize the exclusionary process you're describing? We're very far from a centralized anything, but there are magazines, websites, etc., that allow for the evolution of the "poly discourse" -- which is a pretty new phenomenon, really.

There's a story about the Dalai Lama and Buddhist women which your story reminds me of. The Buddhist women were trying to get the Dalai Lama to understand the plight of Buddhist women, who were tended to be treated as quasi-outsiders and inferiors in the Buddhist "community". When the Dalai Lama finally "got it" (understood that plight), he held his head in his hands and cried! I think of this story when I think of the various kinds of blinders people wear -- and sometimes transcend. It's remarkable both that the Dalai Lama was blinded to this plight and that he was able to see through his blinders in a very human and Earthy sort of way -- and be humbled by his awakening to the terrible exclusionary process in his "community".
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  #49  
Old 09-03-2009, 12:58 AM
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Do people find the world of poly to be a bit of a harsh environment for single people? It's almost like trying to jump into a jump-rope game that's already going really fast where everyone on the inside is singing their jump-rope song and enjoying a great rhythm. It's flowing great on the inside and next to impossible to join.
This would seem to be true in several respects. And it's a fine analogy!

In the respect I have had experience with, as part of a couple wanting to open to someone outside our jumping rope play, I found it difficult to get across the understanding that this other person would not have to function as a "secondary" --, but could join as an equal -- even though coming late to the play. Later, much later, it was aparent that he neither wanted that nor was he capalble of it -- but I KNEW that I was capable of it, and that my already jumping rope partner was also capable.

If everyone involved is okay with "secondaries," fine. But that's not the way my heart works. My jumping rope practice wants to open to the fullness of love, without insiders and outsiders, prioritization, ranking.... But we're not all in this same boat, and I'm okay with that. I don't seek to impose my desires on others in this jump rope play.

I hope this sheds some light, somehow, on the other respects in which the jump rope play continues -- in our desires for creating community, belonging, and love.
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  #50  
Old 09-03-2009, 01:40 AM
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As I continue to read in this thread, with full acknowledgement that I've blundered in without having read the whole thread thouroughly before spouting off, I keep thinking that -- for some, at least -- the problem amounts to the whole idea of "secondaries".

Some may enjoy and appreciate their "secondaries," and vice versa, and all can be happy in that PolyLand, but some "secondaries" or would-be-"secondaries" may not like to come in second -- and, frankly, I can't blame them. Who wants to be second when you might like to come in an equal first?

An equal first? Why, sure! Why not? Can't there be a tie?

What does it mean to love and be loved? It seems to me that it cannot mean that someone is "second best" or "secondary", if it is to be complete love, and isn't complete love what we desire?

Maybe some of us don't even know what complete love might be? Or why love must be complete for it to be love?

"Oh, sure, honey, I love you, but you are my "secondary," and I must love my "primary" just a little moreso." <----- Not an arrangement I'd sign onto if I wanted complete love, and what good is an incomplete love?

[Running for cover.]
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