24 December 2008

Definitions

Polyamory: [as taken from Wikipedia] is the desire, practice, or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Polyamorous perspectives differ from monogamous perspectives, in that they respect a partner's wish to have second or further meaningful relationships and to accommodate these alongside their existing relationships.

Monogamy: [also from Wikipedia] is the custom or condition of having only one mate in a relationship, thus forming a couple.

Why, you ask, did I feel the need to find these definitions and put them up here? Good question, and one I shall answer, after finding a much better definition of monogamy.

Monogamy: [from the Macquarie Dictionary] 2. the practice of remaining faithful to a single sexual partner.
3. Zoology the habit of having only one mate.

Ok, I am poly, James is poly, my girlfriend is poly, Scott is monogamous. This seems to be a bit of an issue for some people (and I am relationships with all these people if that wasn't clear). Their reasoning is:
  • If someone is in a relationship with someone else who is poly and that first person is actively poly, then the second (third/fourth/etc) person must also be poly.
And I think that this reasoning is flawed. Its flawed because it removes the option for someone to self identify (which has its own range of problems [I'm not going to enter the "I'm a lesbian who has sex with mostly men" debate here]) and also assumes that monogamy and polyamory cannot coexist in the same sphere, that they are mutually exclusive.

Clearly I'm shooting this reasoning and theory in the head. I'm poly and in a relationship with a monogamous man. I'm not someone who identifies as poly who is currently acting monogamous and in a monogamous relationship, because that's a different game again. I am actively poly and yet one of my partners is monogamous.

You see, as long as he doesn't mind that I see other people, which he doesn't, then my other relationships are mine and have no impact on his sexual or relationship orientation. With the definitions above (minus the definition of monogamy from Wikipedia which is rather useless), there is nothing stopping Scott being monogamous and in a relationship with me while I'm being in a relationship with him and other people, that is being poly.

If Scott later decides to dabble in the pool of polyamory, which at this point he has stated he has no inclination to do, then that's his choice and I will respect that and probably encourage it (as well as be supportive and a good partner). If he chooses not to, if he remains monogamous for the rest of his life, I will also support and respect his decision.

See, monogamy and polyamory can coexist side by side in the same sphere and work.

1 comment:

Toni said...

So being poly is fucking whoever you want, good good I must be poly then but it seems my poly relationships are quite short-term. I know some of my past poly relationships have been with people who were in relationships with monogamous partners, but it would have been bad form for me to discourage their poly lifestyle, even though their husbands were probalbly unaware of the poly element in their relationship. I guess it is the responsibility of the poly partner in a monogamous relationship to inform her partner. It would be socially awkward for me to introduce myself as the fellow who is fucking his wife!