Why and how did you get into poly?

What type of poly origin did you have?

  • I've always had poly tendencies and never really took to monogamy

    Votes: 31 12.7%
  • I've always had poly tendencies and tried to be monogamous before

    Votes: 93 38.0%
  • I fell in love with a poly person and have adapted to the lifestyle

    Votes: 34 13.9%
  • I read or heard about someone else's poly experiences and thought it could work for me

    Votes: 29 11.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 58 23.7%

  • Total voters
    245

Nadya

Member
Morally, what is the difference in having several relationships one after another versus having them at the same time? This is a question I would like to get decently answered one day.

Of course this question is not valid for those who practice absolute monogamy but seriously, how many are they nowadays?
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
Nadya, that's probably going to come up when I eventually discuss being poly with my mom. Her worry/argument will be that it's detrimental to my husband/marriage, regardless of how many times MC has said he's fine with it, so I'm going to have to just leave it to him to convince her (or not) of his feelings. My position will remain that it's not much different (perhaps even better!) from my sister's divorce and subsequent relationship with her current boyfriend. If my mom can learn to deal with one (to be fair, she had a hard time dealing with sister's divorce) she can learn to deal with the other.
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
My poly, I feel, was directly influenced by my reading of Heinlein at a cusp in my development. Interestingly, it was NOT "Stranger in a Strange Land" that was my primary influence (it is actually one of my least favorite Heinlein works) but my favorite Heinlein novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" that caused me to think about the various forms that relationships can take. (....followed by "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" - which really cemented my concepts of owning my own sexuality.)

I was about 12 when I started reading my dad's (very extensive) Heinlein collection - this wasn't in the context of assigned reading for school but my own leisure reading. I wasn't as certain about the concept of "love" but I consciously chose to model my sexual experiences after my own fashion of poly (mostly "unattached FWB" - I had stuff I wanted to do, no need to get bogged down with all the "relationship" hassle). When I got together with MrS (at the age of 18), I told him that he would really have to read my (by now more extensive than my father's) Heinlein collection if he really wanted to "understand" me (more than my sexual/relationship ideas were influenced by Heinlein and other sci-fi writers - there's plenty of political/social/religious/military ideology there as well). He did (precious man!), we talked about the ideas...and continue to do so.

I was further influenced by the fact that my, outwardly conservative, parents were encouraging us to question societal norms and the edicts of "figures of authority" and find our own path and answers. (Which might explain how we all ended up so very different...and happy.)

I had read Heinlein too, but just assumed that like most concepts in sci fi that it was just made up stuff. My life is filled with sci fi's empty promises of future worlds where people live incredibly long lives, visit beautiful worlds, and of course, as equally untrue, have open relationships.

My sci-fi reading was predominantly "hard" sci-fi - to interest me the "advances" really had to be at least plausible...at least for the time they were written. I read SF with the eye of a future scientist - and threw out any concepts that flatly contradicted "known fact" - poly didn't do that for me.

JaneQ
 
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LotusesandRoses

New member
I think being polyamorous is hardwired in, like being left or right-handed.
 

Mackenzie

New member
Because I was asked to seriously consider a "poly" relationship. I am here to learn with an open mind.

Intellectually I agree with Lotusesandroses. The more I look at myself, and past relationships, the more I am starting to believe the it is hardwired into our brains.

But, that doesn't mean I believe it is for everyone.

I think that is why I am searching and trying to learn as much as I can, to see if it is for me!
 

BreatheDeeply

New member
My sci-fi reading was predominantly "hard" sci-fi - to interest me the "advances" really had to be at least plausible...at least for the time they were written. I read SF with the eye of a future scientist - and threw out any concepts that flatly contradicted "known fact" - poly didn't do that for me.

JaneQ

What's so interesting about what you said is how the advances had to be plausible to you. Now that we live in a period of time where tech advances are on an accelerating curve, most of the concepts I had written off (along with open relationships) in sci fi are now very plausible. NASA has started work on a warp drive, distant Earth-look-alikes probably do exist, people might just live for hundreds of years and polyamory might just be a mainstream option someday. So where I had viewed sci fi as just imaginary mostly, you saw plausibility. That made the difference. Now I see things in a much different light, it feels as though i am awake now (not sure if that makes sense to those of you who saw the possibilities early in life, but it's the best analogy I can come up with).

.
 

Cleo

New member
Thanks for all the replies! Still thinking about it, and talked about it with some poly friends..

I've used "Why not?" in the past, but I don't really like it. (I've also used "because I can", which I like even less now). I don't know, it seems... too easy?

I know there are so many different kinds of poly, which is why some of the answers on this thread would not work for me.

The point I would like to get across, when asked, is: that this is an adventure, a journey that has taught me more about myself and relationships and love than 20 years of monogamy, a challenge, an opportunity for growth, a chance to intimately get to know amazing people. But if I say that I sound like a thrill seeker or a someone who thrives on drama, while this is not the type of challenge I mean at all...
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
distant Earth-look-alikes probably do exist

I sometimes feel like I'm the only person who's always taken this for granted. Out of the million billion billion (10^24) stars in the observable universe, it was inconceivable to me that only one of them would have Earth-like conditions and be populated with intelligent organic life. I've always "known" that the universe is teeming with life and believed those who thought Earth was special to be incredibly arrogant. I have no proof of course, just like I have no proof that other people have consciousness, but it just always seemed self-evident.

I remember when my husband got all excited and was like "They discovered a planet around another star!" I was like... "Yeah, so?" Now bear in mind, he's a railroader and I'm a physicist. This was actually a pretty big deal in the physics world. PROOF of another planet. But to me, it was like "we just proved that 1+0=1" (which, by the way, we actually did in 4th year Set Theory, and it was about as exciting as it sounds... which is to say, not.)
 
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nycindie

Active member
It's a good question. Not sure I have a good answer for it... but I'll throw this out there:
"I prefer autonomy-based relationship rather than possessive-style relationships"

And to the jealousy argument, which is usually the pinnacle for monogamists, I like to remind people that jealousy is just another emotion to be managed, like anger. We don't tell people not to drive because they might get angry at the other drivers, we tell them to manage their anger better.
But...

Monogamy does not necessarily preclude autonomy in relationships. Conversely, polyamory does not automatically guarantee autonomy.

Same thing with jealousy... Monogamy does not automatically guarantee jealousy; nor does polyamory insure against it.

The existence, avoidance, or management of all those things are up to the individuals involved and are not determined, necessarily, by the structure of their relationships!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
The point I would like to get across, when asked, is: that this is an adventure, a journey that has taught me more about myself and relationships and love than 20 years of monogamy, a challenge, an opportunity for growth, a chance to intimately get to know amazing people.

If that is what you want to say, how about just speaking your truth?

But if I say that I sound like a thrill seeker or a someone who thrives on drama, while this is not the type of challenge I mean at all..."

Let them receive the information however it is they receive it.

How does your statement make you seem like a thrill seeker? I'm not seeking it.:confused:

Galagirl
 

ladyslipper

New member
But...

Monogamy does not necessarily preclude autonomy in relationships. Conversely, polyamory does not automatically guarantee autonomy.

Same thing with jealousy... Monogamy does not automatically guarantee jealousy; nor does polyamory insure against it.

The existence, avoidance, or management of all those things are up to the individuals involved and are not determined, necessarily, by the structure of their relationships!

Good point nycindie, but that has been my experience and those are my reasons..

I think autonomous living and jealous control happen on a spectrum.

I think monogamy as a social institution and jealous control are a mutually reinforcing system - the one begets the other, they need eachother to exist.

I think there's a difference between being monogamous by default - because you only have one partner and you don't particulary wish to seek out more partners, and being monogamous because you've promised someone else you would.

I think there's a difference between being jealous and managing it yourself and being jealous and asking your partner to manage it by way of modifying their behavior as the object of jealousy.

The statement is a springboard for discussion and questioning.
 

LastLion290

New member
I've been in a number of region and nationwide nerd culture organizations, LARP clubs, subcultures, et cetera, all of whom accept and work to help people that live alternative lifestyles. I've been a LGBT supporter for decades, and generally have a strong liberal mindset when it comes to social issues.

As a result, it wasn't so much one moment that the concept of Polyamory really came to me - I think the first time I ever heard the term was some MTV special back when I was in high school, but I didn't give it much serious thought. Later on after my first few years out of college, I got to a weird point in my relationships and started realizing that I was in love with several people, even though I was only "with" one at a time. So, research began and it started dawning on me that this might just be my thing.
 
Just didn't have a name for it.

The term polyamory didn't come into my life until I was in my late twenties. I had always just used the term "lover" to explain the structure of some of my relationships. FWB was never a term that I used, because I loved my partners - lover seemed to fit, and had a vaguely European flair that appealed to the romantic in me. I had sketchy fantasies about living with a couple, and did some internet research about it. I found that a LOT of couples were looking for that, and found sites with the poly symbol. I ordered The Ethical Slut online and read it with a voyeuristic curiousity. I found other websites. I guess that up until that point I hadn't given much thought to the concept that other people might be doing what I was doing. Didn't feel like I needed to "identify" as anything; I was who I was, and had always accepted that, and been the best person that I could be to the people I was involved with (honesty, communication, etc). A lot of it didn't sound at all like what I had been doing, or wanted to do, but it was interesting to come across terms to explain what I had been doing for my entire sexual life, and titillating to read other people's stories.

I really question whether or not I indentify as "poly". Increasingly I am drawn to the word Queer ("odd, unconventional, somewhat eccentric") to describe my style of relationship and sexuality. In some ways, I feel that EVERYONE is poly - we all love more than one person in our life (parents, siblings, friends, etc), and attaching sex to it actually doesn't change much for me; I don't feel like sex always defines the level of romance/connection in a relationship. Trying to align myself with a larger social group/norm has always been tricky for me; I believe in living individual truths and learning from those experiences, and while there is certainly lots to learn from reading other people's stories, I don't like preconceived blueprints or ideals being laid on my life very much.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re:
"'Why poly?' -- What would you answer?"

As far as fun, smart-alecky answers ago, there's always ... "Why not?" :)

Re (from hyperskeptic, Post #11):
"It neatly and succinctly shifts the burden of proof back on the person asking: I don't need to justify being polyamorous nearly as much as they need to justify the normalization of monogamy."

Exactly.

Re (from ThatGirlInGray, Post #12):
"I've been wondering, though, if 'Why not?' opens the door too easily to the endless list of anti-poly sentiment. I can already hear in my head some possible responses like jealousy, lack of commitment and faithfulness, insecurity, damaging to children and families, immoral ..."

True, true.

I guess it might be a sign that the person asking, "Why poly?" is just asking a rhetorical question and really wants to vent (about how much poly offends them). Maybe if I'm in a patient mood I'll endure their venting. If not, then, "Because it works for me," should deflect their venting.

Re (from Cleo, Post #1):
"Because I can."

Good one. :D

How about, "Because I want to have my Kate and Edith too?" Nobutseriously ...

Re:
"Why do I want to live my life this way?"

I can't speak for you of course. I want to live my life in the poly way I do because I want my romantic life to have more freedom than strict monogamy allows. That's my (somewhat awkward) answer, and you're welcome to use it if you so desire.

As it happens, I didn't find myself in a poly situation until I fell in love with someone who was already married. Research and long heart-to-hearts (e.g. between her and her husband) followed. We "became" poly. So the longer answer is, I'm poly because I found myself in a poly situation. But on a deeper level, it's really the greater level of freedom poly offers that seals the deal (for me).

Re (from JaneQSmythe, Post #8):
"Because love is a rare enough thing in this world that I don't think we should let *any* of it slip away without consideration."

Ooh, good one.

Re (from ladyslipper, Post #13):
"I prefer autonomy-based relationship rather than possessive-style relationships."

I agree that people shouldn't own one another (regardless of if they're poly).

"And to the jealousy argument, which is usually the pinnacle for monogamists, I like to remind people that jealousy is just another emotion to be managed, like anger. We don't tell people not to drive because they might get angry at the other drivers, we tell them to manage their anger better."

Well-stated.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Why do I want to live my life this way?

I put high value on my independence and autonomy. Monogamy is a relationship agreement which, at its core, runs contrary to these ideals.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Monogamy does not necessarily preclude autonomy in relationships.

This discussion has been of particular interest to me of late.

As long as we are using monogamy to mean: romantic exclusivity (sexual and emotional), I disagree that monogamy does not preclude autonomy.

At the heart of this relationship structure is the prohibiting of freedom to act. "If you want to be in a relationship with me you may not have sex with or fall in love with anyone but me". This denies autonomy right out of the gate.
 

Tonberry

New member
I think it depends on the point of view. Sure, you can think that "I want to be with someone who is with nobody else and therefore I will leave you if you have another relationship" is limiting your autonomy. But then again, saying "I want to be with someone who won't leave me because I have someone else" is limiting theirs, too.

You can make rules which decide what the other person is allowed to do (You are not allowed to date others) or you can simply state your needs and boundaries (because I'm not comfortable with you dating others, if you do I shall leave), and that's the case in monogamous relationship, and in poly relationships too.
I think many mono people aren't interested in limiting their partners as much as their interested in finding a partner who is compatible with them, which includes a common wish to only have each other.

In polyamory, some people might say "you have to use condoms with other people". That's limiting their autonomy. Saying "I'm not comfortable fluid bonding with other people through you, so while using condoms with others or not is your decision, if you choose not to, I shall use them with you to protect myself" isn't.

One problem is that many people think of it as blackmail or a threat, when really it's just about letting someone else know how you feel so that they can make an informed decision. If I tell someone that I'll use condoms with them if they don't with others, it's not a threat. It's a fact. They might decide they prefer to go bareback with me, and as a result use condoms with others, or they might decide they want to be bareback with as many people as possible, so using barriers with just me would be acceptable to them. Either way, it's their decision and not something I'm imposing on them.

Yet, one could think it threatens their autonomy, in that their actions in regard to wearing condoms will influence whether they'll get to keep having unprotected sex with me or not, in a similar way than being in a relationship with someone else will affect whether you get to keep having a relationship with your monogamous partner or not.

It's about boundaries, and I think everyone has some of them, and we all need to decide if we're fine with our partners', or if we're just not compatible.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
"I want to be with someone who is with nobody else and therefore I will leave you if you have another relationship" is limiting your autonomy. But then again, saying "I want to be with someone who won't leave me because I have someone else" is limiting theirs, too.

Again, I disagree and I don't believe it is merely perspective.

"If you fuck/suck/lick/cuddle/love anyone but me I will leave you" is prohibiting the autonomy of my partner. It is setting a rule for them to follow.

"If you try to run my life, tell me what to do with my time, rule me, oppress me, I will leave" is telling my partner that I am an individual adult and am not applying for a job. It is telling them how I am going to act and that if they want to be in my life they must not restrict me. It is setting a boundary.

These are two very different principles and I hope you see why. One is determining the actions of my partner, the other is determining the actions of myself. One of these is respecting autonomy, the other is not. Note that I am not trying to make a value judgment on what actions are being prescribed, simply that they are rules set to limit actions of someone else.

You can make rules which decide what the other person is allowed to do (You are not allowed to date others) or you can simply state your needs and boundaries (because I'm not comfortable with you dating others, if you do I shall leave)

You just restated the same prohibiting order. The wording does not change it in the least.

and that's the case in monogamous relationship, and in poly relationships too.

On this we agree. Restricting someones autonomy is not an exclusively monogamy issue. This is something that happens in permission based relationships (as opposed to "right" based relationships). I have the right to live my life how I choose, spend my time on what I care to, love who I wish. I have this right and do not require permission to live my life.

In polyamory, some people might say "you have to use condoms with other people". That's limiting their autonomy. Saying "I'm not comfortable fluid bonding with other people through you, so while using condoms with others or not is your decision, if you choose not to, I shall use them with you to protect myself" isn't.

Exactly. One is deciding how I will behave, the other is deciding for someone else how they will behave.

It's about boundaries, and I think everyone has some of them, and we all need to decide if we're fine with our partners', or if we're just not compatible.

Boundaries are decisions about protecting myself. I don't want genital warts so I protect myself. I don't want to be controlled so I don't get involved in permission based relationships.

What you are trying to lump into "boundaries" is also prescribing the actions of my partner. This is not a boundary, this is a rule set by you which decides for them how they need to behave.
 

Malfunktions

New member
Because I enjoy the different flavours
Because I enjoy the discovery of new partners.
Because I enjoy the bonds.

Most of all?
Because I am not a wh+door-do+e. I am simply mixing my own 57 ingredients.
 
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