Ask Polyamory Paradigm

Check out my new question and answer blog!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My poly is better than yours!

I'm not an expert on Polyamory. I don't pretend to be and don't want to be one. I simply desire to share what I have learned and offer some concepts that may be useful to others. I hope that I succeed with that and would feel satisfied if there were many people who followed my writings, but I'm also a realist and know that I will never agree with everyone.

I enjoy learning about Polyamory and relationships in general so I spend a lot of time on message boards, blogs, forums, and in real life social groups. Lately I've been amazed at the level of conceit some people have with respect to their lifestyle.

Personally I feel I'm fairly well grounded, maybe even overly conservative, when it comes to my opinion about "experts". Because you have read every book about Polyamory does that make you an expert? Aren't those books really just opinions by others? And what qualifies someone as an expert on Polyamory?

In my mind there are very few, if any, experts on Polyamory. If Polyamory is a lifestyle then to be an expert you would have had to live the lifestyle perfectly. In other words, you would have never had a failed relationship. Then again, how do you learn without making mistakes? So is it the person who has had lifetime lasting poly relationships who is the expert, or the person who has had a large number of failed relationships?

I keep seeing people posting online and referring to popular books (such as The Ethical Slut) or organizations (such as Loving More) or others (Polyamorous Misanthrope or Cunning Minx) and using those references as "experts" in support of their opinions. Interestingly enough, those same authors and organizers freely admit to having had failed relationships and made mistakes. Knowing some of them personally I know without a doubt that many people completely disagree with how they practice Polyamory or with other aspects of their poly lives. I'm one of them.

Who you believe is an "expert" on a topic is completely subjective. If you agree with someone you may qualify them as an expert in your mind, if you don't you will think them an idiot. Yet those two people may have the exact same amount of experience with the subject.

I could quote opinions and writings here all day long supporting my opinions but it doesn't really matter much. If you don't agree with what I'm saying then you probably aren't going to agree with any sources I use either. No amount of scientific jargon or $10 words are going to change that. So why do some people insist their way is the best way and feel that because they can quote an "expert" their superiority is validated?

Maybe they fear that if they admit to making a mistake they will be a failure? Maybe because if they don't ferociously defend their lifestyle it will shatter, leaving them without guidance in life? Maybe they are trying to hide the fact they don't understand it better than anyone else?

I don't know. What I know I don't enjoy is having someone take a superior attitude about their lifestyle. Personally I prefer to try and understand perspectives and experiences different from mine. I question, suggest, and offer my experiences or opinions but I try very hard not to preach or profess knowing the absolute right way to live.

What I hope to find here is a sharing of knowledge, ideas, thoughts, and concepts. Maybe we can all help each other find our way down the bumpy road of life. But when the fork in the road is reached don't try to tell me which way to go. I won't try to tell you which way to go either. In the meantime, let's disagree and see if we can learn something!!


  1. Thanks for this post.

    I was recently told I am "too normal for poly" by some more "experienced" poly folk. It hasn't sat well with me, but I have come to understand that their expertise is not that relevant to my poly life.

    It's good to keep in mind that even the more popular polyamorous people can't always give us the answer we are looking for.

  2. Xray,
    I'm glad the post resonated well with you, and thanks for your comments!

    "Too normal for poly" eh? That's one you don't hear often. When I have heard it before it has been when a more "vanilla" looking (like myself) person has been hanging out with a more alternative (Goth, BDSM, Pagan) looking crowd. It always makes me think of the "judging a book by its cover" saying.

    I hope you find space here to be yourself and ask questions or talk about things as you need.


  3. I have a problem with others thinking their poly is the "right" way to do it. I feel poly is for each person a personal experience and if what they do works for them then so be it. Obviously, if it isn't what I feel I could work with I couldn't be in a relationship with them but it doesn't mean either if us are wrong or right.

    As far as an expert on the subject, I doubt there is one. I'm often asked advice for some reason from new poly people or those involved in an issue. I tell them I can only share how things have gone for me. What my thought processes were and such. I'm very clear that these are just my opinions. I think that's basically all any of us can do no matter the topic.

    Failed relationships aren't really a failure in my opinion if you gave it your best. You have the capacity to learn from all your experiences.

  4. Lovingmorethanone,
    Nice to hear from you as always!

    I love and live what you said about not viewing relationships as failures and always trying to learn from them.


  5. Yes, it is strange being called "too normal" for poly but I guess it's because I don't really "fit in" anywhere. I am too abstract for the "normal" world and too "vanilla" for the poly world. It's almost as if society doesn't have much space for those of us who are bisexual with minimal jealous issues but don't dye their hair florescent pink. I know who I am, so I guess that's all that matters :)

    Thanks for your blog, I enjoy reading it. And I will let you know if I have some good questions!