Is it ethical to be poly and only be attracted to mono people?

Inaniel

Active member
A thread I recently replied to got me thinking about this concept. I feel like there is ethical dilemma when it comes to one sided polly. I feel like we see this pretty often in this community; one person in a historically mono relationships has a change of heart and wants to peruse Poly, and the other person plays along as long as they can get some action too, only to find out they are mono and or their “poly” partner doesn’t like the idea of them seeing people after all. I’ve seen this issue be the source of much contention out of “fairness”.

I think I have a heightened sensitivity to this because of my own situation. Im a male hinge in a relationship with two women. One woman identifies as poly while the other identifies as mono. When approaching anxieties about each of them having additional relationships I have found that my concerns tend to be vastly different for each and it is based on their individual core philosophies. This hasn’t been much of an issue for us as of yet, however it has broadened my perspective.

I think we tend to see one sided poly and chastise it as unfair out of the gate. Or we fail to recognize the Many factors at play, many situations aren’t as simple as “me sleep with someone else; you sleep with someone else”

As an extreme we have seen individuals that want to go out and date, but want their SO at home being mono. On the surface this screams ethical dilemma to me, but if everyone is happy I suppose it’s all dandy. I think people that find themselves interested in poly are quick to run to their partners and say “hey hunny *lets be poly” as a way to ease tramatazation to the mono partner. It seams like the approach of “hey hunny, I want to try being poly, but I want you to keep being mono if that’s what you want”. Would be a better solution for some couples.

From an even broader perspective, would it be unethical for a poly person to be only attracted to and only seek out mono partners? It’s not like opposites attract is a new concept by any means, and this idea seems to fall squarely into that category.
 
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LibertyBelle

New member
I feel like by suggesting that poly folks *only* pursue 1 sort of partner, either mono or poly, is taking too many variables out of the equation. We are all human and with that comes our own individual set of experiences, background, emotions, etc. What works for 1 person in a poly (or mono, for that matter) relationship won't inherently work for someone else. There are simply too many factors. We all have the capacity to treat others unethically, regardless of our relationship status, yet we don't all choose to do so.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
It is neither ethical nor unethical to be poly and only be attracted to mono people. The moral rightness in all situations has to do with knowledge and consent. As long as the mono partner consents to the mono/poly dynamic, it's probably fine.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
The ethics that matter are the people involved in the grouping. If they all want and consent to a mono-poly thing, that's fine and ethical for them.

I feel like there is ethical dilemma when it comes to one sided polly. I feel like we see this pretty often in this community; one person in a historically mono relationships has a change of heart and wants to peruse Poly, and the other person plays along as long as they can get some action too, only to find out they are mono and or their “poly” partner doesn’t like the idea of them seeing people after all.

I think that is fair if both consented to an experimental or trial period time. Both were WILLING to go there in order find out if they are actually ABLE.

  • That one of them found out they are not actually able after all because they prefer monogamy? Well, they learned something about themselves.

  • That the other one found out that they actually don't like sharing their partner? They want Open for them but not for the other one? They learned something too.

NOW they get to make some new choices about how to handle this new information that was learned.

I’ve seen this issue be the source of much contention out of “fairness”.

Here's where I don't think it is right.

If these people ALREADY knew these things about themselves? They are...

  • Not willing. Not able.
  • Willing in theory but not actually able in practice.
  • Able but not really willing at this time.

And they agree to poly on both sides anyway? They keep the info hidden? That's making agreements in bad faith to me. That is not ethical behavior to me.

Like the poly person wants open for them but not the other one. Secretly just agrees to open on both sides to be able to get out to date or to assuage their guilt around really wanting open for just them. Then gets stroppy if the other does start dating or creates "problems" so the other one gives up dating. Rather than speaking plain from the get go.

Or the mono person doesn't really want to be doing this. But agrees to play along because they don't want to say what they really think/feel because they don't want to break up. They are not being honest and they hurting their own selves? That's not right. Then gets stroppy if the other does start dating or creates "problems" so the other one gives up dating. Rather than speaking plain from the get go.

It's just kicking the can further down the street. Still will have to deal with all that eventually. Usually with other people in the mix at that point getting hurt because the original two didn't have it together and not honest with each other. That approach is not ethical to me. Other persons are not collateral damage.

I think we tend to see one sided poly and chastise it as unfair out of the gate.

I don't think it is unfair out of the gate. If that's what that grouping wants? They can do that.

I think people that find themselves interested in poly are quick to run to their partners and say “hey hunny *lets be poly” as a way to ease traumatazation to the mono partner.

Or it's said to ease their guilt for having someone waiting in the wings already. Like jumped the gun. That's not ethical to me.

Or it's used as a soft exit from the relationship. They want the new hunny lined up before dumping the old hunny because they don't like being alone in the middle. That's not ethical to me.

It seems like the approach of “hey hunny, I want to try being poly, but I want you to keep being mono if that’s what you want”. Would be a better solution for some couples.

I would think "Hey honey, I want to talk about trying polyamory. Is that something you are willing to consider or participate in? In what sorts of open model? Or is that all just a total a deal breaker to you?" is even better because it lets the mono person speak for themself and does not assume anything.

They signed up for one kind of deal. Now the partner wants to talk about making a new deal? Well, that doesn't automatically mean the mono person even wants this new deal. Or... they may want to hear terms first.

Framing it like the poly person "premanaging their presumed trauma" -- why are they doing that? Can't the mono just do their own emotional management? They could dump this poly person that brings trauma to their door and not deal in ANY poly-related trauma at all! They don't need the consolation prize of "And you get to date too!" to assuage their assumed trauma.

Framing it like "I want to try being poly, but I want you to keep being mono if that’s what you want” assumes the mono person still wants to be here. They could just as easily say "Well, I want to be mono AND be free of any poly stuff. So thanks for the new deal offer, but no. I don't want this new deal. I rather break up." They don't need the consolation prize of "and you can be how you want." Well, they can be how they want all the time! Sheesh.

The way you frame it is odd to me. Like that poly person cannot even see the option of not being together any more.

Where I think the poly person could realize that mono person's consent belongs to THEM. They can end their participating here. They don't HAVE to date other people so it is "fair poly" and they don't need the poly person's permission to "keep being mono."

To me that kind of stuff is the poly person still wanting to keep the partner around. Doesn't really acknowledge the mono partner's voice in the matter or their agency.

Would it be unethical for a poly person to be only attracted to and only seek out mono partners?

I think they can be attracted to whoever. It's not unethical to feel attraction.

It also doesn't mean the mono person are gonna return the attraction and be interested in dating the person and signing up for whatever dating offer they are presented with.

Galagirl
 
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Emm

Stealth Mod
Familial or friendship-type relationships, sure (and that applies in mono-mono and poly-poly relationships as well), but a monogamous person - by definition - doesn't want more than one romantic/sexual relationship.
 

RichardInTN

Member
Ethics don't enter into the equation of to whom one is attracted to.

Ethics only enter into things that we have a choice about AND how they affect others. For it to be an ethical dilemma, both criteria ("choice" AND "affect others") MUST BE met
 

KC43

New member
In my opinion, as long as you're open and honest about all of it, yes, it's ethical. If you're having plenty of discussion with the mono person, making sure they know what kind of relationship structure they'd be getting into, making sure they understand that poly isn't a "phase" you're going through and you aren't going to someday decide that they're you're one-and-only, and as long as they *enthusiastically* agree to it, it's ethical.

If you aren't clear about it, if you let them have the impression that you might "settle down" and be monogamous with them in the future, or if they say, "I don't think I like that idea but I guess we can try it" (or something along those lines), it isn't quite as ethical. And if you don't tell them about you being poly until *after* the relationship has begun, it's definitely NOT ethical. They can't give informed consent to the relationship if they aren't fully informed about what they're consenting to.
 

George

New member
my wife's handsome ex who is divorced enticed her towards open marriage

it's has led to years of pain. meanwhile he's living a life of little attachment and a rotation women for sex. I suspect he's got a deeper love attachment to my wife but doesn't want to appear responsible for being a home wrecker or the real catalyst. He may or may not like the idea of giving up his rotation of women for my wife if that opportunity opened up.

horrible stuff.
 
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