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  #41  
Old 02-03-2012, 01:34 AM
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The things you mention are the 'universal' truths of relationships in general. The specifics, of which there are many, is what differs in poly. Take a look around this board, you`ll find all the answers you need. People come here for advice on how to 'do' poly relationships, not for a generalization, on how to treat people in general. They are given the information they need. Thread after thread.
If everything is the 'same' everywhere, you wouldn`t have mono partners, coming here to learn about their poly partners. It would just be the same ! Multiplied !
I still don't understand what you mean by "There is a very select way that poly people see the 'good' for relationships."

As far as I can tell, most of the advice I've given to people seeking help in their specific relationship is consistent with advice I would give to a person in a monogamous person, it just so happens I don't go on monogamy dating fora.

Sure, there are definitely issues that come up in poly dating that don't come up in mono dating, and so of course that requires some advice to be tailored to those situations. But I don't see a connection between that, and what qualities I refer to as "good" in a relationship.

Maybe I'm not in the majority with this and just haven't noticed... but I really do feel that the aspects of a relationship that make it "good" or "bad" are completely independent of polyamory. At the end of the day, I believe that what makes a relationship "good" or "bad" is whether or not it's working for the people involved.
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  #42  
Old 02-03-2012, 07:22 AM
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I would guess that many people who call themselves bisexual are actually pansexual, they just don't know the word exists. Just like lots of people have lived successful poly relationships without knowing there's an actual term for it.

For example, I have met many "bisexuals" who like women and men equally and also like transsexuals. After those are all crossed off your list, there isn't really much left to be turned-off by, gender-wise...
I wasn't familiar with 'pansexual' til I arrived at this forum. I have identified as bisexual since I was seventeen and discovered that girls were an option.! ('really? I can date girls too?')

In my experience, the most commonality the bisexual people have is that 'they don't like labels.' Cracked me up when I figured that out. Still makes me smile. Once I figured that, I was happy to tell anyone who sat still long enough.

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Of the other pansexuals I've spoken with, all seem to identify roughly the same way as I do. It's all about "the spark" and it's either there or it isn't, but whether it's there is independent of your sex or gender.
Sometimes, I say 'I'm not fussy.' It is the spark I'm attracted to, and I have the ability to love (and have sex with) anyone, regardless of their genital situation.

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I most definitely think of it as incorrect when people refer to me as bisexual, and I make a point of informing them. 95% of the time, they have never heard the term pansexual, and had always just assumed that's what bisexual meant. Oh, how I do love breaking people's brains...
I'm still not clear on the difference, which is why I'm joining the conversation.

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I have met a few bisexuals who understand the concept of pansexuality and have decided that no, they're bisexual not pansexual. I'm thinking in particular of my one friend who is open to romantic relationships with women, but only sexual relationships with men other than her husband. I don't know how she feels about transsexuals. In her case, she married her high school boyfriend and later discovered that she had attractions to women. She told him that she had to explore that, and if he couldn't accept it, she had to leave him. So for her, it was very much about a romantic dichotomy: to be satisfied emotionally, she feels that she needs to be in romantic relationships with one man and one woman. Since she's already married to a man, she's got that box filled, so she had to go out and find herself a woman. I suspect she's exactly the kind of person for whom this "bi-monogamous" term was coined.
That makes sense to me to use the term for her; and at the same time, it's such an odd concept to me. It's certainly not the way I would go about things.

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It seems to me, a non-bisexual, that a component of bisexuality is the desire for both men AND women... an appreciation of the uniqueness of each gender, the soft caress of a woman, the firm grasp of a man... the Motherliness of a woman, the Fatherliness of a man... Of course, it could also be all about tits'n'cock! Again, just my observations as not "one of those," so if any bisexuals want to disagree, I fully welcome it.
After reading this about six times, I might be starting to get it. Yes, I do have those desires, that appreciation.
However, I have no need to act on that ~ like to make it balance out in my life or something. I have not dated a woman for well over 10 years. I occasionally feel that I have to defend my choice to identify as bisexual, when, in fact, I have only been with men the last many years. When I lived in the lesbian community, I let myself 'pass' unless there was a conversation going around, and I spoke up. I was a serial monogamist, then, so I was trying to be tender with my girlfriends' feelings (I had two long-term lovers, sequentially). There was then, (and I don't know about now, but I suspect it still goes on) an element of announcing 'I'm a slut' as an equivalency to 'I'm bisexual.' I was not happy to identify as a slut (then) and that contributed greatly to 'passing.'

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Just throwing this into the mix: I have actually met bisexuals who have said they would not be attracted to a transsexual. To me, this reinforces my belief that bisexuals are attracted to the cisgendered aspects of both men and women, rather than indifferent to gender.
My first girlfriend is now a man. I only met him once, for a far too brief moments in a parking lot. I was every bit as attracted to him as I had been to her. As I have been to any movie star that reminds of her.

Then again, I don't see transsexuals as 'not having' those masculine/feminine aspects mentioned above.

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For bisexuals who aren't attracted specifically to the Manly aspects of men and the Womanly aspects of women, but rather are just easy-going either way... where do you draw the line? No transgendered? What about cross-dressers? And where-oh-where do gender-fluids fit into your world?
I guess you're saying if I don't have a line, I'm pansexual? The longer I know anyone, the higher the likelihood that I'll find sexual attraction to them. So yah, I guess I am pansexual. I don't have quite the taste for breaking brains that I used to, so I'll likely stick with bi, when it's necessary to label at all.
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  #43  
Old 02-03-2012, 08:13 AM
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Sorry to jump in, I just wanted to ask

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I disagree. Polyamory itself is precisely the ability to love, or perhaps more accurately, to be in love (as opposed to platonic, familial, etc love) with more than one person at a time. The rest is just mechanics.

It's the very fact that you can only feel "that kind of love" for your husband that makes you not poly.
SourGirl, do you feel this is accurate? That the love (or feeling you have previously thought to be love) you felt for others wasn't or isn't really love? If that's how you see it, too, then that is correct that you are probably not poly.

However, I don't know if you can say that if person loves other people differently than they love their spouse then they are not poly. Obviously, if they themselves identify that the feelings for others aren't actually love, then they aren't poly. I just don't think it's accurate to say that person isn't poly if they don't love everybody similarly, if they still regard that feeling love. [Obviously, I think it's a good thing to recognise about oneself, and to communicate to whatever partners there may be, if it is the case that they have a special kind/level of love for their spouse that they can't feel for anybody else.]

About bisexual/pansexual terminology... I find the discussion about definitions for each a bit limiting. I think they are basically the same thing, but the term pansexual wants to recognise the plurality of genders. Sure, a person who regards gender totally irrelevant is probably better described by pansexual, but the term pansexual is not limited to those people. Similarly, a person who is attracted to extreme femininity in women and extreme masculinity in men is well described by bisexual, but the category bisexual is not inclusive of only those people.

Personally, I feel that the current categories are way too limited and exclusive to reflect the spectrum of genders and sexualities in any way. I resist any kind of further restrictions. People don't fit into them now, even less if the boxes are defined even more specifically.
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  #44  
Old 02-03-2012, 03:41 PM
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Sorry to jump in, I just wanted to ask



SourGirl, do you feel this is accurate? That the love (or feeling you have previously thought to be love) you felt for others wasn't or isn't really love? If that's how you see it, too, then that is correct that you are probably not poly.

However, I don't know if you can say that if person loves other people differently than they love their spouse then they are not poly. Obviously, if they themselves identify that the feelings for others aren't actually love, then they aren't poly. I just don't think it's accurate to say that person isn't poly if they don't love everybody similarly, if they still regard that feeling love. [Obviously, I think it's a good thing to recognise about oneself, and to communicate to whatever partners there may be, if it is the case that they have a special kind/level of love for their spouse that they can't feel for anybody else.]
Ahhh,...now somebody is 'getting it'

You are correct Rory, I never said I didn`t feel romantic love for my secondaries. I did, quite a bit. At the same level as my husband ? No, but it still was definitely a romantic type of love. I AM poly by the very basic definition of 'loves more then one'.

I am NOT poly regarding the ability to maintain more then one loving relationship at a time. I don`t feel unconditional love like I do for my husband, and probably some of the things that put a bad taste in poly people`s mouths, is that I see hierarchy. Naturally, seeing hierarchy isn`t forced on me. If push comes to shove, the secondary goes. I also have no urge in being somebodys primary. The only way I see it being different, is if all the stars aligned, and things just slowly happened over years. I wouldn`t deny someone naturally becoming a fixture in my life, over years of time. However, what person desiring a poly relationship, is going to say " Hey, I`ll spend 5-10 years in this, hoping I have a shot at equality ?'

So the theory, vs the reality is what I argued against.

There are many kinds of poly in my opinion. But majority rules. SC being my example ( Sorry SC) but if I say I dont love my secondaries the same as my primary, ...'I am not poly.' i`ve been told that,.. A LOT. ( chastised for that too. As i am then seen as ' not treating them well.' even if the partner is ok with it.) However, many people feel plantonic love for their primary, or see them as a co-parent, life-partner, and feel romantic love for their OSO, or secondary partner, and are still seen as poly. Most poly people, on forums and off, have a very set way of how they see things being 'right' or 'good' in poly.

- Everyone is treated equal, or with the intention of progressing that way.
- Growth is not optional. It is a expectation to move and develop the relationship into 'more'.
- secondary/tertiary is defined by time and abilities, not by love.
- Communication is definitely a cornerstone, even moreso then any other relationship type.
- expectations overall, are very different in poly.

As SC pointed out, it takes 'more then love' to have a relationship.
So reasonably, it would take 'more then love' to have a poly relationship.

Which is why I believe, that it is a over-simplification, to say poly only means 'the ability to love more then one'.
I could argue until I was blue in the face, with every single person I go on a date with, that I am poly, and they need to broaden up their definitions a little more....but it would be a uphill battle, that I don`t care to force on people. It just confuses them, and leaves me hurting, from being misunderstood, or relegated into a 'poly standard'. I have dated quite a bit, and have found this to be true. When I first started realizing this, I was very bitter. Very quickly became sick of explaining myself to the millionth degree.

The bitterness about it all past, when I just started playing the game, instead of battling it.

I am very honest about who I am, and what I am capable of. So, I`d rather just label myself with what people can handle.
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  #45  
Old 02-03-2012, 05:21 PM
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I am not poly. Even if I love more then one person, it is a very different love from what I feel for my husband. To try and treat myself as poly, confuses others and hurts me. The type of love I feel for my husband is more in line with what monogamous couples describe.
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However, I don't know if you can say that if person loves other people differently than they love their spouse then they are not poly. Obviously, if they themselves identify that the feelings for others aren't actually love, then they aren't poly. I just don't think it's accurate to say that person isn't poly if they don't love everybody similarly, if they still regard that feeling love.
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Ahhh,...now somebody is 'getting it'

You are correct Rory, I never said I didn`t feel romantic love for my secondaries. I did, quite a bit. At the same level as my husband ? No, but it still was definitely a romantic type of love. I AM poly by the very basic definition of 'loves more then one'.
I apologize for my misunderstanding. When you said "I am not poly. Even if I love more then one person, it is a very different love from what I feel for my husband." I interpreted it as you feeling platonic, i.e. non-romantic, i.e. friendship love for other people. In other words, I thought you meant it was a completely different kind of love (non-romantic) rather than a romantic love at a different level or intensity as what you feel for your husband.

So here's a question, and I'm not just trying to put you in a box (or maybe I am, and if so I apologize)... But might it be accurate that you are polyamorous but just not capable of maintaining polyamorous relationships?

I have had friends who were great at falling in love but were terrible at relationships, mono or otherwise. It's not that they were failures at life, or cruel to their partners, they just didn't have what it takes to make things work with a partner. I wouldn't describe them as "non-amorous" simply because they can't maintain relationships. They are very much amorous, they can love as deeply as anyone I've met, they just can't make heads or tails of the mechanics of relationships. What works for many of them is to reject the label of "boyfriend/girlfriend/partner" and simply enjoy the company of the people they love. That takes off the pressure to "do it right" and lets them focus on just feeling happy.

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I don`t feel unconditional love like I do for my husband, and probably some of the things that put a bad taste in poly people`s mouths, is that I see hierarchy. Naturally, seeing hierarchy isn`t forced on me. If push comes to shove, the secondary goes.
I don't feel unconditional love for people other than my husband (and family) either. I don't think that's a prerequisite for polyamory. I also see nothing wrong, objectively, with primary/secondary arrangements, provided all people involved are aware of what specifics that entails and have agreed to those circumstances. From this forum, I've learned that there are people who actually prefer secondary rolls and are happy to see themselves as "disposable" because it takes the burden off being someone's sun and moon. It's not a way that I, myself, could ever live, but I'm the last person to claim there's only one way to do poly.
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  #46  
Old 02-03-2012, 05:55 PM
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I apologize for my misunderstanding. When you said "I am not poly. Even if I love more then one person, it is a very different love from what I feel for my husband." I interpreted it as you feeling platonic, i.e. non-romantic, i.e. friendship love for other people. In other words, I thought you meant it was a completely different kind of love (non-romantic) rather than a romantic love at a different level or intensity as what you feel for your husband.
I get that. I don`t have a problem with anything you thought or said. You were reading the literal words from a decision I have made for myself.

I guess my point is more that 99.9% of poly people have responded to me the same way, without me saying 'I`m not poly'.
That part, has come from experience. Times I have said, 'I AM poly' and gone on to explain how I see it, I was constantly told ' That`s not poly'.

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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
So here's a question, and I'm not just trying to put you in a box (or maybe I am, and if so I apologize)... But might it be accurate that you are polyamorous but just not capable of maintaining polyamorous relationships?
This is what I initially thought too. Here I was, trying and trying to meet in the middle. Things didn`t work. I felt like no matter how much I gave, it wasn`t enough. Therefore, I must not be good at it. After some time, it didn`t make sense. I was good with monogamy, I was good with friendships, I was good with business relationships. What was different with poly ?

However, as you mentioned with the removal of labels.....it`s funny how other people change, when expectations of how to do poly 'right' are not on the table.
Without the poly label, the boyfriend label, the girlfriend label, I have found I have the components, and the tangibles of those secondary relationships, just fine. So I can do outside relationships, just not in the way poly prescribes many times.

You know that joke about how everything changes once someone eats the wedding cake ? That has been my experience in poly. Once poly prescribed labels came into play, then everything good, changed. I don`t blame poly.
I think it comes from that deep-seated learning experience many people had with monogamy. Taught to have a desire to want the 2.5 kids and a picket fence. It is a habitual tendency. It then gets shifted, and applied to poly. People come to poly trying to figure out how to do it.....they are told they should want this or that, and that 'most poly people' don`t accept such things as ________. ( fill in the blank, with any page off the board.) So, as knowledge of this spreads, so does 'one way' of doing it.
Good intentions, but the outcome is the same.

One of the main reasons I am not bitter anymore, and don't have a problem not labeling myself as poly, is because of how I see poly overall. Really, the understanding of it is still in it`s infancy stage. People make mistakes and cling to labels, and prescribed ways of doing things, simply because much is still uncharted territory. There is still a lot of learning and understanding even amongst people that have been living it. It doesn`t have the western history, that monogamy does.

Someone younger, or with less on their plate might want to swing a bat, and prove all the nay-sayers wrong. I guess I`d just rather say fuck-it, and go my own way.

BTW, talking so much about myself on here, is quite the experience.
I`m struggling, but trying to explain.

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I don't feel unconditional love for people other than my husband (and family) either. I don't think that's a prerequisite for polyamory.
This part is still in debate in my mind. I might yet get to a point where I agree with that statement. Time will tell !

Edit to add : I have been in a couple of talks recently, explaining this privately. One person who has known me 11 years, thinks I am more of a modern libertine. That I grow close to people, and want to experience them in whatever ways life allows. Making me someone who just resents 'The Man'.

Last edited by SourGirl; 02-03-2012 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:43 PM
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However, what person desiring a poly relationship, is going to say "Hey, I'll spend 5-10 years in this, hoping I have a shot at equality?'
Reading this, I realized that it pretty much perfectly describes what I'm doing in my secondary relationship with my married girlfriend. The thing is, I'm not doing it *just* because I hope for co-primary-ness some day and I would in no way consider it to have been a bust if that never happens. I think co-primary-ness would be awesome but I know that it's not the right time for it now and I'm happy to enjoy what we do have.

But I *do* hope to have a shot at equality some day, and could easily see myself investing 5, 10 years going down that road, because it's enriching both of us along the way. And if we're never "more" than we are right now, either I'll keep loving what we've got or maybe one day I'll wake up and realize it's not making me happy any more.

The trick for me, I've found, is to be brutally honest and realistic with myself, and to make sure I'm still living my life fully and not making plans based on a reality that doesn't exist yet and might never exist. For instance, I'm considering moving in with a man who could be a primary to me, even though I know that might make co-primary status with the gf down the road less likely... because I know to do otherwise would lead to unhappiness and resentment on my part.
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  #48  
Old 02-03-2012, 09:13 PM
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Reading this, I realized that it pretty much perfectly describes what I'm doing in my secondary relationship with my married girlfriend.
But I *do* hope to have a shot at equality some day, and could easily see myself investing 5, 10 years going down that road, because it's enriching both of us along the way. And if we're never "more" than we are right now, either I'll keep loving what we've got or maybe one day I'll wake up and realize it's not making me happy any more.
The trick for me, I've found, is to be brutally honest and realistic with myself, and to make sure I'm still living my life fully and not making plans based on a reality that doesn't exist yet and might never exist. For instance, I'm considering moving in with a man who could be a primary to me, even though I know that might make co-primary status with the gf down the road less likely... because I know to do otherwise would lead to unhappiness and resentment on my part.
I`d say your gf is lucky to have you then. That is the right attitude. Don`t let yourself feel restricted or 'waiting' for her, just live life, without pushing an agenda. Good stuff !
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:40 PM
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I`d say your gf is lucky to have you then. That is the right attitude. Don`t let yourself feel restricted or 'waiting' for her, just live life, without pushing an agenda. Good stuff !
Thanks, SG! Good on you, too, for figuring out what works for you.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:18 PM
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SourGirl:

Reading your posts I could tell something was bothering you and that worried me. To tell the truth, when my husband and I began our move into poly we started reading, listening to certain podcasts, and discussing. I don't quantify how much I love someone, mostly because I have such a hard time putting things in words anyway! However, we have NEVER made it a secret that my husband is my primary and I am not looking for a relationship on that same level. Sure I am open to someone being around that long but as we've been together 20 years I don't see it happening without many years down the road!

We have run into the same problem with the 'poly community' at large not agreeing and have actually gotten into some heated debates with some people that consider themselves authorities and write a lot of articles and blogs for others where they have made horribly insulting and superior comments to my husband and myself and then written lovely little articles and flounces they then block from comments on the idea that they are allowed to be rude and condescending without any rebuttal if they want. Personally, I end up steering clear of 'those polys' and their articles. Which is a shame since I'm sure some may be very helpful but considering the attitudes given I'm not interested in finding out.

TL;DR = You are not alone in your feelings and I still consider myself poly. As long as everyone I'm involved with agrees I say screw the rest and their definitions.
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