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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Long distance runaround.

Once upon a time I was speaking with someone who is fairly prominent in the poly community and has been poly for quite a long time. They told me that their poly family consisted of their spouse, to whom they were married and live with, and a lover who lived quite a distance away. Although they communicated regularly with their lover they only got to see each other in person a few times each year.

My initial reaction to that was "Is that really poly?" After which I had to do a bit of soul searching to find an answer.

One of my beliefs about poly is that defining each relationship independently is acceptable. By that reasoning a long-distance relationship is still a relationship.
Another belief is that love comes in many forms. You can love someone with whom you never have sex. By that reasoning can you love someone long-distance? Sure you can. I would still love my Mom if she moved a thousand miles away, why couldn't I love someone else geographically separated from me?
I also believe that as long as the needs of the relationship, such as time together, are being met then the relationship is valid. Maybe the two people involved only want to spend a dozen nights together every year so again, the relationship is real.

What I ended up with was the realization that whatever the design of their relationship if they consider it a relationship then it is one. I can respect that.

For myself though a long-distance relationship doesn't interest me. Will I enjoy talking to someone online or the phone although they are a continent away? Sure. And when I see them in person I will enjoy seeing their face, touching them, and feeling their energy. Could we have a physical relationship during those times when we can be together? Maybe, but I would have more than a few questions and concerns around that. But would I ever call it a relationship or involve commitments and expectations? Nope. My brain says, "If you want to be together then be together. If you won't make the effort to be together then there isn't a strong relationship anyway".

Now, I must admit I have started a couple of relationships online. The people I was involved with lived far away from me but we did meet. I made the effort to meet them so I could find out if the relationships had the potential to be real or not. And in the future if that happens I will again insist that we meet.

So where are you at with long-distance (LD) relationships? Do you enjoy or avoid them? Do you insist on meeting in real life (IRL) at some point? Do you insist on the relationship having a regular IRL component or are you casual about when or if you get to meet the person? Maybe even more importantly; Do you meet relationship potentials online or IRL or both?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Poly out?

Although there are differing opinions and disagreements about the popularity and acceptance of Polyamory in society today it is still a somewhat misunderstood lifestyle by many people. For those reasons Poly is often lumped into the Alternative Lifestyle category right next to GLBT, Swing, and even repetitive cheating. I'm not trying to categorize or discriminate against anyone here, just providing perspective for the rest of this article.

Let's agree for a moment that Polyamory is still an Alternative Lifestyle. Like other relationship designs in that category there is generally a certain amount of assumption and discrimination against the lifestyle. This causes many people to stay "in the closet" about their true lifestyle.

Reasons for staying in the closet include; poor treatment from family or friends over the lifestyle, possible discrimination at work, difficulty acquiring work or loss of professional relationships, and even discrimination in everyday life activities.

My question here is; when do you come out of the closet?

Most polyfolk I speak with are selectively open about their lifestyle. That is to say their family might know but co-workers don't. Or maybe co-workers and friends know but their family doesn't. Maybe their online life shows their lifestyle whereas their real daily life doesn't. The combination of people who know vs. those who don't seems to be almost endless. And as with the combinations, the reasons vary widely as well.

Personally I don't go to great lengths to hide my lifestyle. I also don't advertise it either. At the same time, I often don't answer questions. For example my friends may have seen me at parties and events with one of my loves and may now see me with another. Many won't say a word about it and I won't volunteer an explanation. Others will ask, "Did you and Lucy break up?" And I simply reply "No". If they let it go, great. If they don't and imply I'm cheating on Lucy I say only "Lucy knows Ethel is here with me", and let it go. I don't avoid the question but I won't volunteer more information than I think someone needs to know.

Part of my behavior is based on a very simple belief; My personal life is my own and nobody, again NOBODY, has a right to know or judge my personal life but myself and my partners. With that in mind it becomes much easier to respond to questions in a manner with which I am comfortable.

The equation becomes a bit more difficult in my opinion when children are involved. With friends you can exercise a right to privacy and let them decide what to believe. They are adults and will probably make up their own mind anyway. When children are involved, and you are in a parenting role, it becomes more difficult. Do you want to lie to your kids about your lifestyle? And if you do what kind of message does that send to them as a parent? Nobody wants to emotionally damage their children but when they are being taught monogamy in school and it is represented as the "proper" lifestyle choice in everyday life how and when do you present your poly lifestyle without creating confusion. Add to that the resiliency of most children and their blanket acceptance of things their parents tell them (with younger children) and the question becomes even more confusing. Does your 5 yr old actually need to know technically how Poly works?

What I'm curious about here is how "out" you are. Who are you out to and why? Or maybe your lifestyle has always been public and you have never needed to come out. Have you made mistakes being open about your lifestyle? What would you do differently about coming out if you could go back and do it again? Or do you think your private life is private and feel no need to come out to people? Are there situations where you always hide your lifestyle no matter what?

Tell me what you think!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Which came first, the poly or the mono?

For me this conversation falls into the "Say What?" category.

While conversing with a group of polyfolk the topic of whether or not people were "out" to family and friends came up. There was some discussion about when it was appropriate to come out, and to whom. Concerns about discrimination came up and there were even a couple of people who felt they had been terminated from their jobs due to their lifestyle.

The topic then morphed a bit into responses people get from others when they do come out. The common responses like "That's just sleeping around" were tossed about for a while and discussed. Then someone mentioned they had gotten the response "Well, how do you know you are poly?".

That's when one gentleman made a very interesting comment. "How can you know you are monogamous unless you have tried polyamory?"

At which point someone else made the comment, "You have to be gay first before you can know you are straight."

Although my initial reaction was to call the local insane asylum, I got to thinking while I searched for the phone number. They actually do have a point. I don't know I dislike beets until I eat some. I don't know a prostate exam is unpleasant until I have one. So how can I know I'm poly unless I have tried to be monogamous?

Again, while I do think they have a point, I think the reasoning is a bit extreme. Let's look at an example. With the logic above I could say "How do you know you don't like BDSM unless you have tried it?".
Simple, when I was little I fell off my bike and skinned my knee. It hurt and I didn't like it. I cut my finger on a piece of metal and didn't like it. When I was bad I got spanked and guess what, I didn't like that either. From those experiences I can make a pretty good guess that someone taking a flogger to me isn't something I am going to enjoy let alone enjoy on a regular basis. I don't need to try it to know I'm not interested. I can make what I hope is an informed decision for myself based on other experiences in my life.

The logic also fails, in my opinion, when we start to include emotions and feelings in the equation. Being a young boy and having never had a relationship before there were things I inherently knew. Looking at a cute girl in school created a definite physical response in my body. It didn't matter I didn’t know what to do with the excited part, I still knew it was excited. Looking at the other guys on the baseball team didn't create that same response. Looking at that same girl I had a strong urge to touch her. Again, not something I was interested in with the other guys. (Okay, maybe one or two of them). So did I need to actually have a physical relationship with both sexes to realize which I preferred? I don't think so. Heck, I hadn't had a physical relationship with anyone and still had a pretty good idea which sex I preferred.

What do you think? Do you have to try monogamy to know you are poly? Conversely, do you have to try poly to know you are monogamous? And what about sexuality? Do you have to have sex with both sexes to know which one you prefer?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm poly, lets make babies!!

Do I ever get tired of talking to people about Polyamory? Never! Nobody has it down to a science so a lot of conversation about Polyamory is people testing their ideas with other people to see how they are accepted. Regular readers here will know I get into a lot of conversations but what you may not know is that often I just sit on the sidelines and listen. That is probably a bit confusing since you are reading a blog of mine so you know I'm fairly opinionated on the topic of Polyamory. (I'm actually opinionated on quite a few topics but this particular blog is about being poly). Back on point, the reason I often sit on the sidelines is that I enjoy seeing where a conversation leads without being influenced by my warped opinions.

This particular conversation was about the history of Polyamory, prior even to the word Polyamory being used. The conversation started out with a simple statement by one participant that science has generally proved monogamy doesn't exist naturally. Animals and insects, he said, are more poly than mono by nature.

This led to a happy lively discussion about Polyamory in humans. One lovely lady who was quite vocal on the subject maintained that Polyamory has been a means of survival for a very long time. Long ago, she said, polyamory was a means for survival because having multiple partners meant having multiple providers and a better chance at survival. This behavior morphed in time and children were added to the equation. Being poly meant having multiple caretakers for the children and again, multiple providers to ensure survival. Much like the saying "It takes a village to raise a child". Furthermore she said, poly keeps family together focusing resources to ensure family survival. It is time-tested, historical, and natural was her conclusion.

That is also about the time my big red flag appeared and burst into flame.

I talk to a lot of poly people, including you folks online. I regularly ask people how or why they became poly and get a variety of reasons. Generally the two common answers are people either accidentally became poly because of a relationship they were in, or they have been poly as long as they can remember. Not once, ever, can I recall someone saying they chose Polyamory as a lifestyle to ensure their survival. I've never heard anyone say they became poly for economic purposes. Nor have I heard anyone ever say Poly provided them a way to raise their child. And never have I had someone say to me "I'm poly for procreational purposes".

Is it possible she is right on some level? I believe so. It isn't hard to believe that the cavewoman found a new caveman when the one she had been with wandered off for a while. And when he came back maybe there was some type of sharing situation with the three of them. But is that polyamory?

Later in history it became more common for men to have mistresses which they took care of financially and (somewhat) socially. Could that have been a means of survival or elevating their social class for the women? Very possibly. But again, is that polyamory?

In my opinion those two examples are making a lifestyle choice for survival. Even if they could be called poly they weren't for purposes of love. The people probably weren't poly out of a desire to love multiple people, it was about survival. I have a hard time calling that polyamory and think 'parasite' might be a better word to use. And I don't think it relates to our current definition of the word Polyamory in the least.

Tell me what you think on this one. Do you think survival polyamory is the same as our current definition of polyamory? Do you know people who follow the polyamorous lifestyle for financial, survival, or procreational purposes? Am I off my rocker for disagreeing with the woman's statements mentioned or is she mixing apples and apricots?

Can you define that for me please?

Just a quick note that some new words have been added to the Definitions page on this blog.

I'd love feedback on the Definitions, good or bad!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Word Up!

I love talking to people since I always, always learn something. Sometimes they make me think about things from a different perspective I hadn't previously realized. Other times I simply find that my view of things may not align with common social perceptions of a topic.

This is where the disclaimer is presented. I'm going to use some language here that may be offensive. I don't intend it to be but by default current social connotations may cause offense. The language I will use is purely for example and not intended to offend anyone.

I recently found myself in a conversation about the history of polyamory. There was general agreement that polyamory has existed for quite some time though it wasn't defined as polyamory. The word Polyamory is generally believed to have been created sometime in the late 60's or early 70's though there are plenty of disagreements about that.

One fine gentleman expressed the opinion that although polyamory as a concept has existed for a long time, validity of the lifestyle came about with the creation of the word and definition; Polyamory. His reasoning seemed to be that prior to the word being created the lifestyle was undefined and often grouped in with open relationships, swinging and even more fringe styles incorporating GLBT elements. With the word and definition the time for Polyamory has come!

This was where I started to disagree. I do believe that defining the lifestyle to exclude elements of swinging, open relationships, etc. with the word Polyamory has lent some credibility to the lifestyle. By default, this has eliminated part of the social stigma associated with Polyamory. But I don't agree that creation and definition of the word itself has driven social acceptance. I believe that although Polyamory has gained a lot of credibility and acceptance in recent years it may still not be accepted into mainstream social psychology as an acceptable relationship design.

Here is the basis for my reasoning which is also where some may be offended.

At one time it was acceptable to call colored people 'negro'. At some point that word got mixed with 'nigger' which was obviously offensive. Though I don't have the history down, the words 'Black' and 'Colored' were also acceptable then became somewhat less acceptable. I believe the term now is 'African American' (unless it changed again while I was writing this article).

Likewise the homosexual lifestyle has had its share of labels; Gay, Fag, and Homo. Each one being at one point acceptable, then becoming offensive, and a new word taking over.

My point is that being African American is not new. Being homosexual is not new. And the creation of new words to define those groups of people are not what validated their existence. The groups existed and have struggled for a long time to gain acceptance. What I believe has happened is this; when a group of people are not being accepted into mainstream society the word used to define that group acquires a certain negative social stigma. In an attempt to break that stigma and better define themselves the group will over time acquire a new word and definition. I think that cycle continues until social acceptance is achieved at which time whatever word is currently being used is the one that sticks.

I don't believe that cycle with polyamory has ended yet. I don't believe polyamory has been socially accepted to the point that Polyamory will be the last word used. I think because it isn't yet widely accepted that negative social stigma will slowly attach to the word Polyamory, at some point necessitating a new word and definition.

Another reason I say that is because of the definition of Polyamory. As the joke goes, "Ask 10 poly's their definition of Polyamory and you will get 10 different answers". If a word is so loosely defined within the community that uses that word to define themselves I have a hard time seeing the word survive over time.

I do like the word Polyamory and I sincerely hope I am wrong. Not just because I like the word but because I hope the time for acceptance is here.

Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why should I?

I heard an observation the other day that I absolutely loved.

During a conversation about "coming out" to people about the poly lifestyle a lesbian mentioned she had come out to her family recently about her sexual orientation. She had been lesbian most of her life and now as a 30-something adult she felt it was time to tell her family from whom she had kept her lifestyle hidden.
Her family responded, "Why didn't you tell us sooner?" and were actually quite upset with her.

The woman's response to her family, "You never came out to me as being mono, why do I have to come out to you as being a lesbian at all?"

I loved that statement! She is so right!

As we are raised does anyone ever actually sit us down and say point blank "Guess what, I'm monogamous."? Not that I have ever heard. Instead it is assumed or understood by their actions. Maybe they were married to the same person their whole life and were never seen acting affectionately with another person. Maybe they had a succession of relationships but again, were only affectionate with one person at a time so monogamy was assumed. But they never came out and said that is what they were.

Now to be fair the woman mentioned sounded as if she had hidden her lifestyle from her family. The general assumption is heterosexual monogamy for most people until proven otherwise. Not that I think that is fair, it is just the way things work right now. By hiding her lifestyle from her family I think she created the need to "come out" herself.

At the same time I think her comment very nicely illustrated how assumptions are made about sexuality all the time. Most people don't even realize they are making assumptions it is so deeply imbedded in their psychology. Until that embedding is gone and people have to directly question the sexuality of everyone, I don't think the assumptions will change.

When being raised did your parents ever sit you down and explain their sexual orientation and relationship design to you? Do you think allowing the assumption of heterosexual monogamy is okay or would it be a good idea for parents to start (at the appropriate time of course) "coming out" to their children?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The end of the world is near!

Life throws us curves. You can plan, plot, control, schedule, analyze and compromise and still every once in a while things don't go the way you want. That's true for relationships just like everything else in life. And just like all the other curves, the question is how you navigate the challenge.
Part of successfully navigating a curve is seeing it coming. Just like driving a car. If you don't see the curve coming you are going to be well into it before you turn, making for a rough ride or even a trip off the side of the road. If you see the curve coming you can start your turn early, slow down if you have to, making for a nice smooth ride. The hard part is seeing the curve coming. Fortunately when driving, some nice person has usually put up a sign telling us there is a curve ahead.
But what about seeing the curves in relationships? There are usually signs but many of us ignore them, hoping the curve won't really materialize. Maybe you argue more frequently with your partner. Maybe your sexual relationship cools off or expires completely. Maybe communication stops. Or is it something else? Is there a sign you usually see? Even if you ignore it at first, do you always realize the sign was there later?

All of that was really leading up to the heart of this article which is all about endings.

Do you see signs that tell you the end of your relationship is near or is it always a surprise? Maybe you don't quite see signs but you have a feeling in your gut, or a hunch, that something isn't quite right. How do you notice?

And then, how do you navigate the curves? Do you try anything to save the relationship? Do you allow that the relationship is over but just try to maintain a friendship? Do you scream, yell, and fight to the bitter end or just quietly let it die?

For me, the signs aren't really signs. Or if they are I'm just to ignorant of them to ever notice. Instead I start hearing little voices in my head saying things like; If we break up can we still be friends? This doesn't feel right anymore, what's happening? Or the worst; What kind of conversation will I need to have with my partner to redefine our relationship.

For a lot of guys, myself included, there is an urge to just run away when we want a relationship to end. Maybe we don't like to make girls cry. Maybe we avoid confrontation with women. I really don't know but the "flight" urge hits pretty hard when contemplating a break-up. Personally I hate that I feel that way so I fight the urge all the way. I won't say I'm perfect or anything, but I do try. Part of it is that I dislike the idea of losing a friendship and think there is a big difference between "being in love" vs. "loving someone". Once I have been in love with someone I find it very hard to stop loving them, so I usually don't.

So how do you manage a breakup? Probably avoiding screaming, yelling, and petty bickering would be at the top of the list if you are trying to have a calm ending. There are all sorts of tricks to stay calm from breathing to applying the "Will it matter in 5 years?" question.

I think a lot of people become manipulative during a breakup as a way to defend themselves. Do they need defending? Probably not. They aren't really being attacked but a breakup usually creates feelings of rejection or that the other person was insincere. Those things can put people on the defensive.

At the same time one or both of your hearts are breaking. That kind of pain can often lead people to act unusually. They might be less patient or understanding, or more aggressive. In the middle of a breakup it is hard to take a step back and allow for unusual behavior but that is a good way to keep things calm. Gently questioning the other person when unusual behavior is noticed may reveal they are just striking out blindly and don't mean what they are saying.

I could go on and on as there are dozens of different things people do during breakups and every person is different. In my experience, staying calm and gently questioning abrasive or other unusual comments and behavior from the other person will usually calm them down while at the same time letting them know you still care.

How do you handle a breakup? What actions do you take when you see a breakup coming? What triggers you to anger or irrational behavior during a breakup?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ouch! It hurt when I pushed you!

Let's talk. . . .

Typically I'm a pretty good communicator when it comes to relationships. I'm not blowing my own horn here, I've had several partners over the years tell me that my communication levels are very high or that they have experienced a level of communication with me they have never had with anyone before. I'm telling you this simply to set the context for the remainder of the article.

When communicating I try to be very deliberate. My word choice is considered ahead of time. Location and timing are important. Anticipating questions and being prepared with answers is part of my process. Preparation for a variety of moods and responses by the other person is contemplated. I try to be very thorough and consider all possibilities and perspectives. I like to be an informed and prepared conversationalist.

All of that is likely the exact reason that when I am ready to have a conversation I need it to happen. Someone telling me they need time to think or aren't prepared to have a conversation at that moment is very, very difficult for me to accept. Often I will find myself pushing for the conversation despite their desire to talk later. I have to consciously be aware that I do that and stop when I realize it is happening.

But I realize all of the above is also a shortcoming of sorts. Taking a look from the opposite perspective, I don’t do so well sometimes. In other words, when the prepared conversationalist approaches me cold and I'm not ready for the conversation, I don't do so well. I either respond badly or end up asking if we can have the conversation later when I am prepared. Something which I know is frustrating for them.

Yet another scenario is the "What's bugging you" situation. As I am preparing to communicate with someone I tend to withdraw slightly. When they notice the withdrawal is usually when there is a problem. The person will often start probing to find out what is happening. Perfectly natural since they are concerned and don't know what is going on. And sometimes the other person won't accept a response of "Let's talk later". They push and probe and being unprepared I often respond with a poor choice of words in a rather blunt manner. This situation is not conducive to productive communication in my opinion and the other person often ends up feeling hurt. Funny since they pushed for the information but sad in the overall scheme of things.

What I'm getting at is this; some people can respond to a topic immediately and well. Some people respond to a topic immediately but poorly. And some people like a bit of time to prepare so they can communicate effectively. Although it may be difficult to let a conversation sit for a while, or tempting to respond to someone who is responding badly to you, effective communication is largely about recognizing the communication needs of the other person. If you can do that your conversations will go much better and involve a more intelligent exchange of ideas and opinions.

What other things have you noticed about communication? What communication tools do you use? What do you think leads to communication failure?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh my! I couldn't do that!!

Every year I take a week to myself and head to a small festival. I've been a part of the festival since inception, watching it grow with new faces and ideas every year. I'm also happy watching myself grow as this group challenges me in new ways every year and I become more and more involved. Believe it or not, in real life I'm quite social but prefer to travel on the edge of circles rather than being under the spotlight in the middle.

Because I am fairly social and love the festival, I invite new friends every year. It was also a festival challenge the first year to invite a few new people every year and I've tried hard to meet that challenge. I think I've done pretty well and feel directly responsible for a few of the folks who attend.

While inviting people this year I noticed something interesting. Probably because I invited a lot more people this year than I have in the past. More than a few people have understandably had questions about the festival when invited. As I answered their questions I noticed a trend. Many of the people assumed the event was poly oriented, had a large attendance of poly people, or was sexually focused.

At first I didn't think much of the questions and just answered them as best I could. After hearing the same questions a few times though, I started to pay a bit more attention. The festival is intended for a more open minded type of participant so of course I was asking my more open minded friends. Many of whom are poly. Could that explain the trend?

The festival itself is technically pagan and there is a lot of emphasis on wine, rituals, Greek tradition, and yes some sex. But these people didn't know that before they asked, and the festival name isn't suggestive so why the specific questions?

I realized finally, after asking a few questions of my own, people were assuming that since I am poly the event must be poly oriented as well. It made me realize that a lot of folks define me by my polyamory. And if their perceptions of poly are wrong, such as thinking poly folks just sleep around casually with everyone they can, their perceptions of my life are probably wrong. Those assumptions probably explain why a few folks I invited, whom I really think would enjoy the festival, gave me a flat out "No thanks, I don't go to *those* type of things." or "Oh no, I couldn't go to THAT!" without asking me any questions about the festival at all.

Although I haven't explored this much yet I am very curious about it. I wonder if many of my non-poly friends assume that because I am poly most of my life is poly focused. If I have a BBQ on the 4th of July will they assume it to be all poly folk? If I have a dinner party will they expect it to turn into an orgy after 8pm if they have those kind of assumptions about poly? Do they think that everything in my life in which I participate and initiate is poly focused?

What about you? Have you had these type of assumptions from your non-poly friends before? What about casual acquaintances rather than familiar friends? Do you see more of an assumption about your lifestyle from them?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Seriously Casual.

Recently I reconnected with an online friend I have known for almost 20 years. We had lost touch for a few years as online friends sometimes do but easily picked up right where we had left off. Although she knew a lot about me she didn't know about my poly lifestyle. Without going into detail, she didn't know because we had a sort of business relationship in the past and I didn't feel it was appropriate. That situation has changed and now I can be open with her about my lifestyle.

Now that you have some background we can get to the interesting parts.

As we reconnected and I explained my poly lifestyle she had a lot of questions. I answered them as I always do, giving her a picture of my lifestyle and showing her that I'm still the same person she has always known. Being a fairly open minded woman she quickly became comfortable with my polyamory while at the same time, as many do, stating she didn't understand how I could live like that. Her feeling was that she could never live a polyamorous lifestyle because she wouldn't want to share her partner. Furthermore, she felt having multiple partners was much like having casual sex which she doesn't care for either.

Despite those differences we are still friends and both of us have always felt that if we someday met a romantic relationship would probably develop rather quickly.

At the same time we were discussing my lifestyle she was also telling me about a man she had met online. They usually talked several times a day on the telephone but had yet to meet and had only known each other a couple of weeks. He lived several hundred miles away so they hadn't had a chance to meet in person yet and she was excited about the possibility so they made plans to get together. They would both travel to meet somewhere though they were staying fairly close to where he lives. Long story short; they met, shared a hotel room for the weekend, had sex, and he took racy pictures of her. She came back home and the first phone call she got from him he was telling her that she was "to much for him" and he "needed to think about things".

Is anyone else as totally surprised as I was? (Yes, that is sarcasm).

Needless to say their conversations tapered off and finally ended completely. She got a few of the pics he took but not many. Of course she cried some tears, thought there was something wrong with her, and finally realized the guy was a jerk and probably never had any intentions of starting a relationship with her.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and she has found a new guy. Met online again, this one lives much closer so they were able to meet much quicker. After knowing him for 9 days guess what happened? Yep, they met and shared a hotel room for the weekend, had sex, and he took racy pictures of her. So far they are still talking. She is also helping him to start an internet business. Yep, I have a bad feeling about this one as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention. About the middle of February she left her husband. The divorce isn't final yet.

What I found interesting was that this woman said she couldn't do poly because she wouldn't want to share her partner or engage in what she considers casual sex. I actually think she has been sharing and doesn't know it. I'd bet a dollar the first guy she met has a wife hidden somewhere and that is why they met at a hotel close to where he lives.

As for casual, she has had more partners in the last month or two than I have had in the last year or so. Thinking about my last few partners; one I knew for over a year before we had sex, one for several months, and one for over 20 years. Of her last two partners she knew one a couple of weeks and one 9 days. Now I know that is longer than what some would consider "casual" but to me that is definitely casual.

I find it ironic that for some people the concept of polyamory becomes an issue of morality. The stigmas associated with poly let them believe it is somewhat morally unacceptable. Yet those same people will live a life, when judged by those same morals, that is questionable at best. It seems they can justify their lifestyle with two simple concepts; 1) Though they have a lot of partners they are monogamous, 2) Having sex with someone you don't know well is okay if you think you are falling in love with them.

Where do you sit with that last paragraph? Do you think the lifestyle of my friend that I've outlined here is acceptable or do you feel it is morally questionable? Of course I believe in live and let live so I'm not trying to judge my friend, I was just a bit surprised when the contrast struck me. Do you see the irony as I do, or am I playing with shadows on the wall that should just be ignored?