Friday, September 3, 2010
A while back I wrote an article about a concept I called "Accidental Monogamy". Basically it is the concept that a polyamorous couple in a long term relationship where neither has had another partner in a while can in effect become, or be seen as, monogamous.
Here I want to take a look at the other side of things. An opposing concept I will call "Accidental Polyamory".
This concept came to mind after hearing about a few swing quads who had closed their relationships. The result was a fidelitous quad. What interested me was that the members of these quads were now describing themselves as Polyamorous. In most of the examples I heard about there was physical interaction between all members of the opposite sex and often between the women. In a few examples there was also physical interaction between the men.
Now, the simple definition found on my Definitions page is as follows:
1. Any of various practices involving relationships with multiple partners with the knowledge and consent of all involved.
Holding a fidelitous quad up against that definition seems to prove that the quad is indeed practicing Polyamory. The key in my mind is the fidelitous part of the relationships. Once you allow for one of the quad partners to continue swinging I find it hard to apply the term Polyamory to the relationships anymore. Of course there are plenty of arguments out there that someone can be Polyamorous and Swing at the same time.
My definition of Poly differs though and I have a hard time considering a swing quad that has become fidelitous as Polyamorous. For me, polyamory inherently includes the concept that loving others should not be limited by a number of partners or the design of a situation. In other words, polyamory is the freedom and ability to love others as your heart desires. Applying fidelity to a relationship, a quad in this example, as a means of limiting the partners involved in the relationship contradicts my definition of Polyamory because at that point the freedom to love outside the quad is prohibited.
Now, I'm not saying a fidelitous quad is a bad thing or even that it can't function. I think it is a great way to define a relationship and still provide some variety and freedom for the quad members. I believe it is a completely viable relationship design.
That leaves me with the question of the day; Do you believe that any relationship design which prohibits new partners doesn't qualify as Polyamorous? More to the point maybe; Do you believe that making a swing configuration fidelitous automatically qualifies as polyamorous?
And here is the definition I have added to my Definitions page:
Accidental Polyamory (This one is still a concept in progress).
1. Finding yourself in love with multiple people at the same time.
2. The closing of a previously open relationship with multiple partners by redefining the relationship as fidelitous.