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Polyamory

So as to not take over the other thread.

I do have emotional relationships.  If something happened and I or my partner wasn't able to have sex, I could work around that.  If our emotional/intellectual relationship diminished, it'd be over.  For me, the "connection" is the most important thing.  Sex is important to me, but it isn't defining - although bad sex will end a budding relationship.  I can usually tell by kissing styles.  I tend to work on the "connection" with people who I think will be good sex partners, so it goes hand-in-hand.  In a relationship, for me, what makes us "us" is the overall bond.

I avoid casual sex.  There's a high probability of first-time sex being bad because partners aren't in tune with what the other person likes.  I'm likely to be sexually monogamous, because for sex to be good (for me) it takes a few times with the same person and that wanders into emotional monogamy space.  However, I don't feel necessarily tied to either casual sex or monogamy.  

I dunno why I don't have a problem with open-ish relationships.  If people continue this dicussion, it may help me put it in words.  

but i know a lot of people who have loved someone in the past but are currently in love with someone different.  when i ask them if they still love that past person, they tell me, "there will always be a place in my heart for so-and-so" meaning they currently love the past person AND the present person... they just no longer attempt a relationship with the past person.

It's a "love" vs. "in love" thing.  I mean, I sure do love some people from my past, but that doesn't mean I have any desire to be with them.  It just means that I have certain attachments to them based on our memories together, and I would be there for them if something really bad happened.  I'm not IN LOVE with them.  I don't have this hunger for them right now.

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This wasn't directed to me or my viepoint, but that's never stopped me.  I think that if monogamy was important to me and my partner loved someone in the past, it woudn't matter, because even though my partner would always have a tie to that person, it's not an otherwise an active relationship.  I think that a lot of monogamy is tied up in fidelity and even my issue, loyalty - which wouldn't be affected.

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have you (ac, kmk, anyone else who is wanting to understand) ever heard someone say this?  or have you ever said something similar?

what do you think of this?  loving the current person but still having love for the past person/people even though you've stopped attempting any sort of romantic or physical relationship with him/her/them?

Yes, I've heard this, but I think that's something completely separate from continuing a relationship/having a relationship with multiple people. Are you asking it as a different question?

I never said I didn't understand loving multiple people, just multiple people in one romantic relationship. I'm in love with/love my husband, I love my parents, I love animals, I love my family members, I love KMK and all my close friends, but this has nothing to do with the fact that I don't understand polyamorous relationships. I do comprehend that people can/will/do love multiple people at once.

I also think that if one continues to be in love with an ex (read: be in love) then this is not being faithful to the current partner. This would be emotional infidelity. If one was to love him/her in a platonic way, or a familial way, or just care about his/her well being, then that would be different, but continuing to love in a romantic way would be cheating.

eta: disclaimer: I wrote this completely independent of kmk. She posted before I finished.

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Yes, I've heard this, but I think that's something completely separate from continuing a relationship/having a relationship with multiple people. Are you asking it as a different question?
(...)
I also think that if one continues to be in love with an ex (read: be in love) then this is not being faithful to the current partner. This would be emotional infidelity. If one was to love him/her in a platonic way, or a familial way, or just care about his/her well being, then that would be different, but continuing to love in a romantic way would be cheating.

not necessarily a different question.  it's totally on topic.  polyamory is loving multiple people.  you don't have to be with multiple people to be polyamorous.  i'm polyamorous but i'm in a monogamous relationship. 

and like i said before, i don't believe in "emotional cheating" because you cannot control your emotions.  you can have emotions for someone but if your partner would rather that you don't act upon them, the only thing you can control is your behaviour.

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after rereading your question, ac, i would say that i was posing a separate question to you and kmk... but it was on topic and the point was to see where you stand in that situation to better understand a) the different ways we see things and b) maybe be able to see if i can show you an example that is usually accepted of someone being in love with two people at once.

another commonly accepted example (i used this before... maybe in the compliments thread) is if your partner dies.  when you fall in love again, you don't necessarily change your feelings for the partner who passed away.  in that case, you are in love with two people.  i don't know of ANYONE who would ever see this as wrong or "emotional cheating".  i have definitely never heard anyone tell someone to get over the love they have for their belated partner just so that they can have only one love.

and (i think i may have said this in that post) it seems the controversy seems to be when both people can be in the same room.

and you may say, "well, that's different" but the only true difference is the fact that this one is commonly accepted (probably because there's no physical threat of "cheating") and the idea of loving more than one living person isn't as commonly welcomed.

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I have never said that there's something WRONG with polyamory. I believe if all parties are truly satisfied in a polyamorous relationship (just like any other), then there's no harm. It doesn't matter to me. Once again, I understand (meaning comprehend) the situation that Cali has described, but I still don't comprehend it beyond that (beyond the desire to gain things from different people). That aside, we shall just disagree on the emotional cheating thing. Again, I don't have any problem understanding/accepting that people CAN love more than one person at once.

GOD (or whatever) FORBID that I ever have to experience what it would be like to have a belated partner (SHUDDER, WHIMPER). I can only speculate as to how that would be. Well, really..I don't even want to talk about that! To me, that's kind of like the "we can never really be vegan b/c we live in houses, etc...so why not do ___" Well, yes...BUT

Again, my inquiry has nothing to do with acceptance, or not understanding that people can love more than one person.

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hm.  maybe i misunderstood you and kmk.  it seemed like you two felt that there was no way to truly be in love with more than one person.  or at least it wasn't possible for you two.  and if you thought you might be in love with multiple people, you would reevaluate to see which one you "actually" love (which to me sounds like you still think you can only be in love with one).

if i misunderstood your position or hers, i apologize.

but if you are agreeing that you can be in love with multiple people, then why do you disagree with being involved with all people who you are in love with?  (not "disagree" as in think it's wrong in general... but simply think it's wrong "for you")

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also, can i ask about your position on "emotional cheating"?  i'm so curious.

when i think about "cheating" i think of it as something that someone knowingly and intentionally does even when they have the ability to not do it.

which is why i have a hard time understanding "emotional cheating" since we cannot control our emotions.  if someone had feelings for someone else, how would they avoid "cheating" in your case?  say they still loved you the same, but realized they loved someone else too but had no way of controlling it and didn't realize it was going to happen until it did?  in that case i could see where they would choose to limit contact with the person or something to hope that the feelings fade... but from what you're telling me, they unwillingly cheated already and there's no undoing it.

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but if you are agreeing that you can be in love with multiple people, then why do you disagree with being involved with all people who you are in love with?  (not "disagree" as in think it's wrong in general... but simply think it's wrong "for you")

No, I never said there was no way for it to happen, I was just trying to understand the different reasons for wanting it. As I have said, the only reason I could come up with, was wanting to have multiple things from different people (as Cali explained). I wouldn't be in love with multiple people, because that would be selfish on my part, and it doesn't appeal to me. I love the relationship that my husband and I share, and I love that it is ours alone. I wouldn't become in love with someone else, because I wouldn't allow it to happen. I'm able to control the situations I put myself in. I have absolutely no doubt that it is possible to have feelings for another person, because there are so many individual traits that no one person has. For example, I might develop a "crush" or some shallow feeling for another person, because I like certain things about that person. That doesn't mean I want to risk the complete relationship I have with my husband to have something with the crush. This is not to say that other people can't explore multiple relationships if they all agree on it, but it's not what we want. I have developed a strong, committed relationship with my husband, and that's all I want. I don't place myself in situations that might jeopardize any of it. I have everything I need in my husband, and I don't need anyone else to give me anything, romantically.

also, can i ask about your position on "emotional cheating"?  i'm so curious.

when i think about "cheating" i think of it as something that someone knowingly and intentionally does even when they have the ability to not do it.

which is why i have a hard time understanding "emotional cheating" since we cannot control our emotions.  if someone had feelings for someone else, how would they avoid "cheating" in your case?  say they still loved you the same, but realized they loved someone else too but had no way of controlling it and didn't realize it was going to happen until it did?  in that case i could see where they would choose to limit contact with the person or something to hope that the feelings fade... but from what you're telling me, they unwillingly cheated already and there's no undoing it.

This is similar to what I was just discussing. If a crush developed, and didn't disappear, I would remove myself from that person, and let it fade. Now, if I didn't remove myself, and my feelings continued to grow (ie falling in love), then I would be cheating by continuing the relationship. Chemistry/crushes are going to happen for most people, but that doesn't mean we act on them (emotionally or physically). Emotional cheating, to me, is having romantic feelings for another person/being in love with another person/talking about these feelings with that other person, etc. I agree that there is nothing to do about an initial "crush" type feeling for someone, but you can definitely remove yourself from that situation. Say the feelings did not diminish at all, then it would be time to evaluate what to do about the situation. Continuing with strong feelings for another, but staying with the partner would be emotional cheating.

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Regarding the "emotional cheating"...

I agree with you, rd, in that all your emotions are valid.  You can't deny an emotion, it just happens.  I don't think it's cheating if you have fond thoughts of another person.  I do think it is immoral to have feelings for another person and then act on them in spite of your current partner.  But a passing feeling is nothing to be ashamed of.  This isn't 1984--no thoughtcrimes.

The other thing here is, love happens in stages.  The general model for this, as studied, is that the first stage is the infatuation stage.  It's the "puppy love" or "crush" stage.  Deeper love takes bonding time to develop, on the other hand.  Sometimes we mistake infatuation for love (we've all probably experienced that).  So, I personally think it is irresponsible to divert affection from a deeply loving relationship to an infatuation.

Now, what if the third person is, in fact, deep romantic love?  Well, that has to happen with time, and I guess I wouldn't spend enough time with that third person to allow it to develop to that point.  Because, like many of you, I do believe it is possible to fall in love with more than one person, if there is enough time for attachment-building.  Otherwise I would never have one relationship after another.

And why wouldn't I allow myself to fall in love with a third person?  Because I do believe that love is finite.  The emotion is infinite, but the actions which build and sustain love are limited.  There are only so many hours in the day, and when I love someone, I want to devote all my affections to that one person.  I want to spoil him.  I don't want to be spending some time in some other bed.  That doesn't appeal to me.  

Now if the third person were a male friend--someone I had already bonded with--then it might be possible to already be in love with him.  So I would have to re-evaluate my priorities and my relationships.

So, my main feelings are:
- Yes, you can fall in love with more than one person
- Deep romantic love requires spending some time together
- While the emotion of love is infinite, acts which communicate and develop love are limited
- I want to spend all my bonding time and energy with my current partner.  I want to spoil him.

That's my whole thing.  It fits pretty well with a lot of the understandings we've been talking about.  Now, I don't know about third partners who are just like sex partners.  That's something different.  Here I'm talking about more than one LOVE.  And I'm using a specific idea of love and what that feels like to me.  And I can't really qualify that besides to say that it means that I have given myself entirely to another person while still retaining myself.  Limiting myself to one person isn't an inhibition of love, it's an expansion.

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thank you, kmk.  i think i can agree with a lot of what you said, actually.  i do believe deeper love takes bonding time to develop.  and of course i agree that there are limited hours in one day, although i don't think that means that the actions to build love are limited (for me, at least).  and i can agree that love is infinite, and that emotions just happen.  while i don't feel that it's "immoral" to act on your feelings IF your partner agrees and understands (otherwise, yes... i agree, it's cheating if you are dishonest and go against your partner's comfort zone), i know that this is a common feeling and it is what makes you on the monogamous side of this issue. 

"And I can't really qualify that besides to say that it means that I have given myself entirely to another person while still retaining myself.  Limiting myself to one person isn't an inhibition of love, it's an expansion."

i have a lot of respect for this statement.  while i don't agree that limiting MY love is an expansion rather than an inhibition, i can understand your point here.  i don't know why, really, but this last part really made sense to me in trying to understand your side.

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Thanks!  It took me a while to organize my thoughts about the topic.  I'm glad that makes sense.

I'm disappointed more people aren't discussing though!

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I'd discuss it more, but I don't seem to get it out right.  So, whether people get or don't get what I wrote, it's not quite what I meant.  Or, occassionally, it's exactly what I meant.  *sigh*

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hh, i think a lot of people were "getting" and "understanding" you!  i sorta felt like no one was getting me!

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I think people got what I wrote.  And I wrote what I meant.  But there's so much to think about with this topic and I miss writing so much that I'm the one not doing a good job of communicating.  I don't think there's a right or wrong side, but maybe I don't know where my "x" is on the continuum.

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i'd say that you are somewhere in the grey area in between.  physically poly, emotionally monogamous.  is that a correct analysis?

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Mostly.  It's the area outside of mostly that I don't know how to word.  Or, more accurately, put my finger on.

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try!  i'm interested in what you have to say.

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I'll think on it.  Maybe I'll have something by the end of the week. since Wednesday and Thursday are going to be braindead days for me.  (I'm getting up at 3a on Wednesday, so I expect to be non-functioning on Thursday.)

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How I feel about open physical relationships for me.
How I feel about open physical relationships for my partner.
How I feel about open emotional relationships for me.
How I feel about open emotional relationships for my partner.

Those I can answer.  But there are nuiances floating in between them.  Like, what about an emotional relationship with someone, other than my partner, but who lived a distance away, so never challenged the loyalty/time issue?  That's analogus to casual safe sex.  If that's okay, then I have to rethink emotional monogamy in general.  It's shuffling around the variables so they all follow one concept that is true to me that's hard.

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