Nov 22, 2012
commented on Savage Love
Dan, I'm going to STRONGLY disagree with your assertion that "poly" (as short for polyamorous) is not an orientation, but rather a behavior. I was more than a little surprised by it, actually, because it is exactly the same rhetoric that has been used as an argument for the repression of gay and lesbian sexuality for years!
I identify as polyamorous. I cannot imagine not falling "in love" or being attracted to someone simply because I am already "in love" with someone else at the time. Yet, I have often (and am currently) CHOOSING to be sexually exclusive with my primary partner. That doesn't change my sexual/affectional orientation any more than conversion therapy changes gay men into straight ones.
So while your advice to Polyamorous Polymath was mostly sound (he does have to decide if this is for him) I wish you hadn't taken the effort to marginalize him; he was asking if he could hope to be happy with a "monoamorous" partner, not about your prejudices toward his sexual identity.
That said, my experience is that a "poly" can be happy with a "mono" as long as there is clear communication, trust, and mutual agreement on the expectations everyone is holding. I have one long-term partner with whom I am sexually active and another equally long-term partner with whom I am not. I love them both, and consider myself to be in relationship with both, even though I'm only sexual with one.
PP should take some time to explore his needs with a therapist who is poly-friendly. Then he can discuss them with his partner(s) and decide, together, if their relationship can accommodate everyone.
Finally, I acknowledge that much of the controversy here is based on language and personal definition. My primary partner identifies as monogamous and bristles when I say that we are not. Her definition of monogamy is based on sexual activity alone, and she found it pretty easy to accept my needs for multiple partners (emotional/affectional) as long as I accepted her limits (sexual exclusivity). I've had partners in the past who were open to multiple sexual relationships but found it unacceptable to be "in love" with more than one person. Whatever the definition, I've found what works for me.
Nov 22, 2012
joined My Stranger Face