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  #1  
Old 12-29-2013, 04:04 AM
Becca Becca is offline
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Default Basic Principles of Poly

I have had some experience in poly (3 years in limited consensual non-monogamy, then 4 years poly), so I'm not a newbie. I am, however, in a position right now where I'm really analyzing *why* I've been poly. I'm trying to figure out the basic principles that made poly resonate for me.

For example, I'm a feminist. Monogamy is a practice that is closely associated with patriarchal control of women's reproduction, and monogamous marriage has historically meant the ownership of women as chattel. Rejecting monogamy felt like rejecting that cultural attitude towards women, rejecting the idea that being in a relationship is all about owning a person.

Also, as a feminist, I have strong feelings about bodily autonomy. I haven't wanted a person in a relationship with me to presume they could control what I do with my body (so long as I am taking reasonable steps to protect their health through safer sex practices).

What else? What are the principles on which you base your decision to be poly?

(In full disclosure, poly is not something that resonates so strongly with me these days, which is why I'm trying to break it down and look at it at all the different angles.)
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:32 AM
london london is offline
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Simply because I want to have multiple, simultaneous romantic relationships.

I'm a firm believer in equal rights for the LGBT community. I'm straight. I can still support people from the LGBT community and issues that affect people who identify as LGBT without identifying that way myself. I can still feel their relationships are valid and promote that ideal whilst having the heterosexual relationships I desire.

Last edited by london; 12-29-2013 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:32 AM
Becca Becca is offline
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London, thank you for replying, but I guess I'm looking for the next step beyond "because I want to." Unless you are poly simply because it best serves your particular individual desires, and that's totally valid.

Did you mean that "personal desire" is the reason you are poly, nothing more, nothing less?
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:37 AM
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Hi Becca,
Have you tried doing a search? There is an existing discussion (from merged threads) where people have shared, and continue to share, their viewpoints and experiences on this. Perhaps you will find it illuminating - feel free to add to it:

Why and how did you get into poly?

As for me, I discovered an acquaintance's blog about her practice of poly and I thought, "Oh, I think polyamory would work for me." So, I embraced it - but I could also be very happy to practice monogamy with the right person. For me, it's the dynamic between myself and my lovers that is most important. I did not get into polyamory to seek out any specific configuration or make some kind of political stance - and I like being in relationships with people for what they teach me about myself because, well, relationships are about relating, not making a statement.
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Last edited by nycindie; 12-29-2013 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:46 AM
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I'm not sure if this will address your specific situation, but these are some of the conclusions I have come to:

Just as we idolize many characters in stories we watch/read about, because we love their unique contribution to a story, we also can love a variety of personalities in real life. Different people endear us for different reasons.

I think each person's romantic drives are very individualized, and don't necessarily fit into a neat category for the entire human race. What may work for a person may not even last that person's entire lifetime as needs change. Because of that, I think a more free-flowing system of love is more apropos for me. I want to enjoy the present, and if needs change and I need something less committed than poly, I will cross that bridge when it comes.

I retain some kind of romantic love for pretty much all my exes. I was finally able to reconcile these nagging feelings when I accepted about myself that it's okay to love more than one person. I don't just get over the unique contribution that someone made to my life romantically. I become so attached to people I care about, it just isn't in my blood to discard them away completely.

Due to previous experience, I have felt monogamy to be too repressive in some regards. I felt I had to "will" away non-monogamous feelings, when I wanted the freedom to explore them. I have always had a personality of deeply desiring to express myself freely in one outlet or another.

The poly community seems to attract some intellectuals that are similarly philosophical, so I do find I am drawn to that. It's not a deciding factor, but it certainly helps me feel more like I fit in somewhere.

I feel that humans should have the freedom to sculpt their lives as they see fit. As long as it is healthy and consensual, I think any manner of lifestyles are fine.

I think that's it. =) Hope it helps.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:38 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I know you asked about reasons that people choose to be poly and I can't answer that but I wondered if thought processes going the other way might be of interest to you? Ignore if it's not. I feel like writing right now and thought it might be of interest to somebody.

I was intrigued for a long time when my partner told me about poly. He spent years being non-monogamous and feels that it fits with his personal beliefs. I started researching it and considering it and talking to friends who have been poly and friends who never have been about it. I was keen to understand more and the thought of being open to having multiple relationships resonated with me. I wanted to experience more sex, more love, to have more new experiences. I developed a crush on a female friend of mine and felt attracted more and more often to women. So long as safer sex practises are followed, I believed that could just be a fun activity between friends it was that way for years when I was younger. The theory attracted me and I felt quite excited by it.

The practice, however, made me pause. The more I read about it and the more I spoke to people about it and the more I watched what happens when people do enter into multiple relationships in a world that is set up for monogamy, the more doubt I felt. I see it as very difficult to behave ethically toward other significant others while in a relationship. Or toward a partner. Choices have to be made.

People do manage it but I think it's hard to do. I understand why poly people want a relationship and I think it's a very good idea to treat all close relationships as special. I believe that it is very hard to balance that with having more partners and all people involved being treated ethically in the world we live in. In different worlds, with different expectations, I don't think there would be any reason for worries over ethics.

I have come to the conclusion now that for me non-monogamy is something I might consider if ever I'm at a point in my life where there is nobody in it that I would call a partner. I think that solo poly is something that makes the ethics less problematic for me. If I'm friends with somebody and work to maintain the relationship at that level (a friend of mine and a friend of her's do this beautifully), then I think there is less risk of causing harm to others. This goes for my partner too. I'm not willing to be mono with a poly partner. The work that any partner of mine would have to do to make that work would wind up making it much more likely that they would have to behave unethically toward somebody they were closely involved with. I have no interest in being part of something that carries that level of risk.

So I remain monogamous and also focus lots of time and energy on being present and available with my friends. Thankfully I am part of lots of groups of friends and everybody I am friends with has lots of other friends or a close, romantic partner so nobody depends entirely on me for emotional support.

My partner and I do talk about this fairly regularly and I work to make it clear to him that if he feels strongly that he wants to be poly again, he can tell me and we can work to shift our relationship to one of friendship. So far he doesn't want to do that but he is free to any time that he wants.

For me, monogamy within relationships is not about being owned or controlled it's about taking responsibility and living my life in a way that attempts to do the least harm to myself and those that are close to me.

I remain open to changing my mind in the future but for the moment, this is where I'm at.

IP
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:05 AM
london london is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becca View Post
London, thank you for replying, but I guess I'm looking for the next step beyond "because I want to." Unless you are poly simply because it best serves your particular individual desires, and that's totally valid.

Did you mean that "personal desire" is the reason you are poly, nothing more, nothing less?
Yes, of course it serves my individual desires to have more than one romantic relationship. It wasn't a political move, something I did to be part of some crowd or any other reason than because I want to. Having multiple romantic relationships is my personal desire.

In my opinion, things get murky and confusing when people do it for any other reason than because they want to, because it's the relationship style they want to have. You can't organise your love life just to fulfill some political agenda you support and that's what some people do. That would be like me starting a relationship with a woman to show my support for the LGBT community.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by london View Post
Yes, of course it serves my individual desires to have more than one romantic relationship. It wasn't a political move, something I did to be part of some crowd or any other reason than because I want to. Having multiple romantic relationships is my personal desire.
Same here. I just tend to crush and fall in love easily. Also, I have a high sex drive and one person can not meet my needs.

I am a feminist, I certainly do not want to be legally owned as chattel, but in a way, I do like feeling possessed. Now, one of my partners is female, and one is male but married to someone else, so I am not legally owned, and have no desire to marry my female partner.


Quote:
In my opinion, things get murky and confusing when people do it for any other reason than because they want to, because it's the relationship style they want to have. You can't organise your love life just to fulfill some political agenda you support and that's what some people do. That would be like me starting a relationship with a woman to show my support for the LGBT community.
Off topic rant:

As for the above statement, just a pet peeve, but, as a queer, I hate when transpeople (which is an identity) are lumped in with gay or bi people (which indicates their sexual/romantic interest). I normally just let it go, but since you mentioned it twice, it bugged me. If you met a MtoF person, she might be straight and have no interest in you romantically. If you met a FtoM person, he might be gay and have no interest in you romantically. I hate how transpeople are tacked onto the end of the LGBs like an unwieldy caboose. "Gay marriage," the rallying cry of the so-called Queer Community, does absolutely nothing for transpeople. The ability to use the correct bathroom/locker-room, to dress as one pleases, to have sexual reassignment surgery covered by insurance, are issues barely touched by law at this point. </rant>
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:49 PM
london london is offline
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I get what you're saying

My point was simply that you don't have to same sex relationships or change your sex/gender in order to show support or acceptance of transpeople or homosexual people and opposition to the inequalities they face
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:23 PM
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Ha, changing your gender when you are comfortable with your birth identity would be radical and even sick, indeed.

So, being poly when you really aren't capable of loving more than one at a time, just to be anti-patriarchy, pro-female independence, would be likewise needlessly radical.

Now, being in a committed couple, but keeping one's independence in various ways, including eschewing marriage, makes more sense, if one isn't wired poly and doesn't naturally love more than one at a time.
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