Hello there. I've only just found this site, while randomly browsing the internet, and thought it would be appropriate to post an introduction. I'll tell you a little about myself and my status and history with poly.
My name is Carleen Ellen Cooper, but I'll soon be changing it to Carleen Ellen Kerensa Kynyav. I hate my last name, and have done my entire life, for personal reasons. After much thought I chose names that are personal to me and mean a lot. If you ever address me by my full name, I'd appreciate Kerensa Kynyav, rather than Cooper. However I'm comfortable with the nickname Carl.
I'm female, physically, but I don't really see gender as relevant and tend to act a little gender-fluid.
I'm 5 foot 7 tall and a UK size 8, although I do have a slightly muscular build, simply because I cycle, walk and do kickboxing a lot. I have bluey-green eyes and short black hair, that's kind of layered and a side fringe. My best features are my eyes, hair and shoulders, mainly my hair because it's been styled exactly how I want it. I'm Caucasian.
I live in Shrewsbury (Shropshire, UK). Which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I speak English, I got a B in GCSE French, I'm currently learning Finnish and I do speak a tiny bit of a few other languages like Spanish, but only really enough to introduce myself and ask if people speak English or know where the bathroom is. Very useful phrases. Of course I can say a few chat up lines in other languages as well, you'll never know when they could come in handy...
My religion is pretty complicated, I was raised in a family of Wiccans, and lived with some Christians for a few months, and am a very scientifically minded person. As such I tend to pick out what seems believable and leave out the bits that don't. This doesn't mean I'm picking my favourite bits, by any means, it just means I'm very interested in religion exploring other religions, but don't want to trap myself in one that seems to be riddled with faults and flaws.
Generally, I'm a nice and interesting person, it takes a lot to get on my bad side and I never hold grudges. I'd give you a great big rant about myself and my life, but I'm trying to keep this short, so I'll settle for "Friendly, energetic and fun."
I have a massive selection of interests, I love music, movies, TV, games, hanging out... Mainly I like writing and looking after animals. I wrote 51,175 words (or 282,234 characters) in 30 days for NanoWriMo last November, so you can see how passionate I am about writing. I aspire to be an author one day. I have eight cats, a dog, a goldfish and a hamster and am also looking for one of those little fish that sucks algae off the side of the bowl. I rescue almost all of my animals, only the hamster and the fish have actually been purchased from a shop.
One of the main things I dislike about the world is the prejudice, between almost every group of people, and it goes both ways (ie sexism exists both towards women and towards men). I'd love for a world where everyone could accept and care about everyone else, but I don't get my hopes up. Not that I'm pessimistic or anything.
Anyway, all of that blabbering on about myself and I've forgotten the purpose of this introduction...
I'm pansexual and polyamorous. Basically, I like people, regardless of race, gender or anything else like that. I judge people on looks and personality. When people ask me why I don't just say Bi, I point out that, for me, the difference is that Bi people like "men and women" but I like people. For me, gender is completely irrelevant.
Now, there are different types of Polyamory, or there are different types of non-monogamy, if you're being all technical. I'm not really into hierarchical polyamory, open-relationships or anything that involves sleeping around, although I'm okay with my partners being like that, as long as I know they are safe. Hierarchical polyamory implies that you value your primary partner more, where as I value all of my partners equally, because I am in love with all of them.
Basically, I have a few partners (a few being between 2 and 6 usually), and I flirt with people. But I always always ask permission before asking someone else out, or even giving someone a little kiss, from every person I'm with. Sometimes this means sending a quick text, sometimes it means telling my partners I'm interested in someone and letting them facebook "stalk" that person for a little while and make a judgement, and often it involves them meeting up.
I also make sure that if I'm interested in someone they know I'm poly and they're okay with it. In my relationships, communication and trust are key. No means no. And if someone doesn't tell, or they lie, it has to be talked out and sorted instantly. I have a rule in life that most specifically applies to my relationships and that's that we never go to bed angry at each other. Stuff has to be sorted before we go to sleep, even if that means hours up on MSN talking it out in a "group convo".
Currently I'm in a relationship. I have three girlfriends and a boyfriend, who I love incredibly, plus another two guys that I have been talking about "taking our relationship to the next level" as soon as they've met "the harem" as they've named themselves (their choice not mine, one of my girlfriends and my boyfriend decided it was fitting and asked the others, it was a funny conversation). We're very casual and happy with each other, we hang out and cuddle, even hold hands in public, usually when sitting down, since a line of five gets a little annoying on a crowded street. But when we hang out, either all together or in little groups, it's fun and friendly and it's really clear to see how much we love each other, but also how much we love just being together and acting like a gang of friends. Other people tend to be amazed how well we work, and how easy it seems for us to be together, but as I said, the key is communication and trust. Not all my partners are dating each other, in fact at the moment none of them are, one of my girlfriends has a "love interest" from the sound of things while another two of my girlfriends are acting a little interested in each other lately, which is even more brilliant.
I've been polyamorous since I was younger. In year 8 of secondary school was when I realised I was pansexual and my dating life started around then too. I've been in a lot of relationships and experimented a lot, because I knew that one day I would have to settle down and I wanted to know what I wanted by then. I think now is the time that I've finally found myself and know what I look for in partners.
My first polyamorous relationship was my fourth relationship, it was in year 9. My boyfriend cheated on me with a girl, right in front of me. I was surprised by how calm I was, I wasn't angry at her and the only thing that upset me was that he hadn't asked first. So I kissed another guy myself, mainly just to give my boyfriend a taste of his own medicine. But that just left the four of us standing there awkwardly, nobody feeling angry or jealous. And it was me that suddenly said "Why not just all go out?" It was my longest relationship until recently and it was a really really nice one, and quite a fun story I think.
After that relationship, I sort of got into the habit of flirting a lot and forgetting that a lot of partners weren't okay with that kind of thing (at that point I'd never heard of polyamory as an official term). I did cheat a few times and I felt horrible for hurting people, I told them immediately after I'd done it, I told them that I'd probably do it again and I let them react how they saw necessary.
Eventually a girlfriend told me about polyamory and I started questioning if being polyamorous was as natural to me as being pansexual, ie that I didn't have a choice in it. I tried to introduce partners to polyamory, informing them about it and asking if they'd allow me to be like that. Everyone said no.
Finally, after a really bad break up, I discovered that two of my ex's (one had been a two year relationship, the other several months and the girl who told me about poly) were dating. I wasn't ready for another relationship for a while, but as soon as I was they asked me out. It was amazing between us and I finally felt comfortable, I didn't even cheat.
When we broke up, I was heart broken, but I knew who I was. Since then I've been polyamorous. Weirdly enough, women are usually more open to it and accept it and so I tend to end up with more females than males, which is surprising to me after the typical "men love three-ways" stereotype.
So, that's me in a rather large nut-shell, I'd say a coconut-shell but I don't like coconuts. I've actually enjoyed writing this and hope that you enjoyed reading it.
I have tried to post this before and I'm pretty sure it didn't post, if it did, and I've just posted this twice, then I apologise.
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.