Poly: Choice or Predisposition?

BillNIndy

New member
Hi everyone, my first post here and I've come here because I'm pretty sure that I am poly and I've always been poly. What I'm looking for is:

From your personal experiences, do you believe that you were born poly or do you think that poly is a life choice that you conciously made?

For me, I think that (looking back on all previous relationships) I've always been a person that seeks the deeper emotional connection over a physical connection. I've always been the kind of person that develops deep care for others (love in many cases) without having any control over it.

I think that I was predisposed to be polyamorous. I don't think that it is something I have chosen, even though I have made the decision that I will not refuse myself of the opportunity to live a poly lifestyle any more. I know that living mono just doesn't work for me.

So, what do you think, are you born poly or do you choose to be poly?

I appreciate everyones input on this. It is really something that I've been trying to figure out for myself and now that I THINK I have it figured out, I want to know what everyone else felt like.
 

opalescent

Active member
I chose to be ethically non-monogmaous. Within that category, I also choose to be open and poly.

I'm not someone who finds this question useful. I experience my relationship and sexual orientations as very fluid. Also, I strongly feel it is a false dichotomy. We are always being influenced in ways that are obvious or subtle by genetics, by experiences, by our upbringing, by our past or present environment and so on.

I also find the related argument (which the OP did not make) that if something is innate and can't be changed, then that is additional weight for pushing for acceptance and some level of civil rights respect. I call it the 'I can't help myself' argument for gay rights. What this does is set in stone a 'normal' and an 'abnormal' - where the 'abnormal' may be accepted but is always secondary, and always defined in relation to the normal. It does not allow for the civil rights argument that I exist and therefore deserve civil rights, regardless of my genetic code or expression of relationship preferences.

And anyway, this turned into a bit of a rant.
 
I was born and raised to be a monogamous. I tried living my life that way and it contradicting inner feeling I had. It led to causing pain for a mono partner. I mostly didn't realize I was poly because I didn't know it was an option in the first place. Everyone I knew has either been mono or secret about alternative sexuality to the point I assumed them mono. So I was afraid that I was the only person in the world who felt like me and it took me decades to discover I wasn't the only one. But yeah, I think it was always in me. Being raised in a nuclear family really does suppress it efficiently.
 

BillNIndy

New member
Thanks. I think my situation is similar in that I was always raised to be mono.

I came to a point in my life with my ex-wife, where I knew something was missing and she was "fairly" open minded about things, so we tried swinging. While it was fun and all, it still didn't quite fit what I felt I needed. When we found a specific couple that we became "regular" partners with, I began to have feelings grow towards the wife of the other couple and she did with me as well.

That was the end of that arrangement, my wife was completely OK with me having sex with someone else, but not with me having feelings for someone else.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Both. I am poly by nature, even in 1st grade I had an interest in two boys and a girl.
But I choose a poly lifestyle, at other times in life I have chosen a mono lifestyle because it worked for the moment.
 

nycindie

Active member
In my opinion, people are, well... just people. I don't believe or give credence to any hypothesis which states that people are inherently polyamorous or monogamous. I disagree with the notion that poly is an orientation. I view polyamory as simply a structure or approach to relationships that we desire or choose to practice - or not. Even if one feels predisposed to practice poly, even if one remembers having multiple crushes way back in kindergarten, it doesn't mean anything other than that is how you feel. But feelings aren't facts. It's still a conscious choice one makes to be in a poly situation, and that choice is influenced by many factors such as upbringing, societal influence, and a variety of personality traits.

I always find the question "Am I poly?" rather useless and a waste of energy. And I've seen many instances where people use the idea that they are "wired" poly just as an excuse to run roughshod over their partners so they can get their jollies with others.

There are numerous discussions and debates on this topic here and on every poly forum out there, if you do a simple search. I don't really see the point. People spend lots of time trying to figure out if they (or someone they're interested in) are poly or not, but all you really need to do is cultivate self-awareness, ask yourself what you want in life, and see if you can create ways to make it happen with consideration and compassion for the people you care about.
 
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RichardInTN

Member
I believe that all humans are "hard wired" for poly but not in a "you WILL be poly" sense. I believe it's more of a "hallway with infinite doors" type of thing, and the software (social upbringing) either only allows one to open at a time (raised mono) or allows combinations of doors to be open at any time (raised poly). Some people can break their software programming and open those doors though. That's why poly people can come from mono upbringing.
 

bookbug

New member
My personal theory - for what it's worth - is that the predisposition (or not) lies along a spectrum. Some people cannot function as anything but poly; others can't function as anything but mono; and the rest is in between. Me? With the right people - meaning those with excellent relationship and communication skills - I can function in either configuration. Right now, I am in a mono relationship with a guy who has had some poly experiences and is open to it, but our time is so constrained, we barely have time for one another, much less additions.
 

belleamore

New member
I think that while raised to be monogamous, and taught that any sort of relationship that isn't monogamous is bad, I am predisposed to being polyamorous. It's gotten me in trouble in the past, when I didn't understand that's how my heart worked - I thought that having feelings for more than one person was bad and wrong for the longest time, due to my upbringing, but that didn't stop it from happening. It took the help of a couple of very close friends of mine to realize that having feelings for multiple people is not bad, and I'm not a bad person for feeling the way that I do. My best college friend put it best when he said "You just have too much love to give to one person, you have to share it around - and that's not a bad thing".
 

Icewraithonyx

New member
I think people have an inclination along the mono / non-mono relationship spectrum. (Does single / plural work better?) But I think a person can be plural inclined but CHOOSE to have affairs, or CHOOSE to be ethically plural.

So my answer would be I think polyamorous is more of a choice as to how to realize a plural nature.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
I think it's important to clearly define what you mean by "being polyamorous." Do you mean "having polyamorous relationships" or do you mean "having the capacity to love multiple people simultaneously?" One is a choice, the other is innate.

I have the capacity to love multiple people. I can choose to have polyamorous relationships. By analogy, I have the capacity to eat meat. I can choose to eat meat or I can choose to be a vegetarian. As it turns out, I really enjoy eating meat and if for some reason I wasn't allowed to, I would find life just a little bit less satisfying.

Humans are incredibly adaptive. We're able to survive (in a basic "not dying" sense) in an incredible range of environments. However, in order to thrive and be happy and fully express our potential, we have a need for autonomy and self-expression, and this means being able to do the things we want to do. So if we want to love more than one person, our need for autonomy and self-expression means we'll be most happy and satisfied if we're able to have relationships that support this multiple love desire.

Every act that any person does is a choice. Everyone who practices polyamory does so by choice.

However, some people have tendencies towards certain choices, and having these tendencies is not itself a choice.

There's a difference between choosing to practice polyamory and choosing to have a tendency towards polyamorous feelings. We don't choose whether to have the capacity to love more than one person romantically, just like we don't choose whether to have the capacity to understand math equations at first glance or to reproduce musical works after hearing them once. Some people can practice and practice until their fingers fall off, and they'll never learn to play the guitar.

For some people, the monogamy option is so stifling and oppressive that it's not really an option, insofar as everyone wants to be happy and fulfilled in life. But that does not equate to a "need to have polyamorous relationships." Rather, it's a need for autonomy, and having polyamorous relationships is a strategy for meeting that need.
 
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InsaneMystic

New member
For some people, the monogamy option is so stifling and oppressive that it's not really an option, insofar as everyone wants to be happy and fulfilled in life. But that does not equate to a "need to have polyamorous relationships." Rather, it's a need for autonomy, and having polyamorous relationships is a strategy for meeting that need.
This. *nods*

Describes me to a T - I can be happy alone, I can be happy with one partner or with several partners; however, I know that I cannot be happy in a mono/closed relationship, for lack-of-autonomy reasons. If I'm with one partner - as I currently am and have been for 5 1/2 years - is just a result of situational lack of opportunity (there are very few folks with partner-compatibility to the complicated human being I am, so that opportunity hardly ever arises. That's okay. ;)), not because of any stifling relationship contracts denying me the right for being with more than one.
 

Tonberry

New member
I don't believe it was a choice I made. However, that doesn't mean I think I was necessarily born with it. There are many things you don't choose that aren't necessarily genetic either.
 

Eponine

New member
Completely agree with what SchrodingersCat said.


I can be happy alone, I can be happy with one partner or with several partners; however, I know that I cannot be happy in a mono/closed relationship, for lack-of-autonomy reasons. If I'm with one partner - as I currently am and have been for 5 1/2 years - is just a result of situational lack of opportunity (there are very few folks with partner-compatibility to the complicated human being I am, so that opportunity hardly ever arises. That's okay. ;)), not because of any stifling relationship contracts denying me the right for being with more than one.
Yeah, me too. I don't need to have multiple relationships, but it's a non-negotiable that any relationship of mine has to be poly.

I've heard some mono people say they're mono because it's rare for them to develop feelings for even one person, let alone more than one at the same time. That reason doesn't make sense to me at all. No matter how rarely I'm attracted to people, a mono relationship would still be denying my autonomy. Whether I end up having multiple partners or not isn't important, but I need to know I'm free to love whomever I want.
 

Spock

New member
Completely agree with what SchrodingersCat said.


Yeah, me too. I don't need to have multiple relationships, but it's a non-negotiable that any relationship of mine has to be poly.

I've heard some mono people say they're mono because it's rare for them to develop feelings for even one person, let alone more than one at the same time. That reason doesn't make sense to me at all. No matter how rarely I'm attracted to people, a mono relationship would still be denying my autonomy.

It makes sense if you've never had the context of poly, though.

If you think of a relationship like moving to a new city, where you have to build a new internal map of the area, create a time-wise map of the traffic patterns, locate new places to eat and shop and hang out, meet new people to do the above with, get a new job, a new place to live, etc, then a mono person might be like that:
1) Want to find a new apartment rarely (so that the overhead cost is minimized)
2) Move to a new city rarely (so that some retained information can be reused)
3) Move states once in their whole life (so that laws, taxes, registrations, etc don't have to be relearned)
4) Don't even want to get a new job more than once every 10 years

Where a poly person would be:
1) I move to a new apartment every six months when my lease is up
2) I move to a new city every year because I love exploring
3) Move states every other year when a new job is in a different state
4) Go out of my way to look for jobs in different states so I can try new things, find new place, meet new people

Whether I end up having multiple partners or not isn't important, but I need to know I'm free to love whomever I want.

That's exactly the same as a mono person, the difference being that the mono person has picked exactly one person to love at a time, I think.
 

nycindie

Active member
No matter how rarely I'm attracted to people, a mono relationship would still be denying my autonomy.
Monogamy, in and of itself, doesn't deny anyone's autonomy. It's just one way to have relationships, just an approach. In your autonomy, you can choose and agree to be monogamous... or polyamorous and open... or polyamorous and polyfidelitous... or without any love relationships at all.

That's what autonomy is - self-government, or being your own person and determining how to live your life. Something inanimate can't take it away. One's autonomy and individuality are what a person utilizes to choose the type of relationship structure they want for themselves. I was always an individual making my own autonomous choice to be a monogamist. Now at this point inmy life, in my autonomy, I choose polyamory. If I choose monogamy again in the future, being in a monogamous relationship would not negate my autonomy.
 
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Oldpolyman

New member
In my own case, I certainly chose to enter into a plural relationships, however I think that everyone has the inate capacity to love more than one person. Wither we do so one person at a time, or multiple partners at the same time depends on a variety of conditions, beliefs, life experiences, and or societal/religious expectations.
Hugs :rolleyes:
>
Cat Wrote:
I think it's important to clearly define what you mean by "being polyamorous." Do you mean "having polyamorous relationships" or do you mean "having the capacity to love multiple people simultaneously?" One is a choice, the other is innate.
 

FullofLove1052

New member
It was a choice. Like I told our marriage counsellor, "I am not wired or predisposed to do anything relating to poly." My upbringing had nothing to do with my polyamorist tendencies. I dipped into poly when I was a teenager. If I had never met my ex, I would have been in a mono marriage because I was never going to seek another relationship. We have been married almost 12 years and not once did I ever date or feel any attraction towards anyone but him or her. She is out of the picture, and he is still the only one I want to be with.

SC made some valid points, and her post resonates within me and where I am today. There is a difference between the two. Case and point. I love more than one person right now, so I suppose I could be classified as having polyamorous feelings. However, I do not want to practise polyamory or be romantically involved. I have opted not to act on said feelings towards her. With that understanding in place, she knows there will never be a romantic relationship between us.

If I had some predisposed "need" for poly, it is being met simply by me acknowledging that there are romantic feelings for someone outside of my DH.
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
...I've heard some mono people say they're mono because it's rare for them to develop feelings for even one person, let alone more than one at the same time. That reason doesn't make sense to me at all...

That one confuses me too...I do NOT develop "feelings" for people easily (it's happened twice in my life - once with MrS, and again with Dude) but still considered myself poly even when I was with MrS (and various FWBs :D). (To be perfectly honest, however, I can definitely experience "sexual attraction" for people that I don't have "feelings" for - which is not universal.)
 
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