I’ve resisted coming up with a specific vision or definition for what kind of polyamory I wanted to practice. To me, this was too similar to constructing the house of cards that I tried and failed to live up to before reinventing my life four years ago. This house of cards was an ideal that I couldn’t live up to. And, importantly, it was in fact never well suited for me to begin with. It was destined to cause me great misery. It did just that.
In choosing a polyamorous approach to relationships, I recognized there were important preferences that I needed to understand and make clear to potential partners. It is kind of definition. Or, perhaps more accurately, those preferences describe the ingredients that I use to define and redefine poly for myself. The first preference to note is that I’m an emotional dater. I don’t seem to have the capacity to have sex without forming attachment. I don’t do casual. I prefer emotional intensity which is reflected and reinforced in the bedroom. So, I have a bias for deeper, longer term relationships.
Because of my emphasis on the emotional side of relationships, I also have a large openness to romantic, non-sexual poly relationships. I had a wonderful romantic non-sexual relationship with an old friend, university classmate, and spiritual guide for many years. When that relationship suddenly ended as her husband came to resent our emotional closeness, I mourned that loss as deeply as any traditional romantic relationship I’ve ever had. I find these connections deeply fulfilling. Indeed, it was the way I unknowingly “practiced” polyamory for nearly all of my active dating life. I’ve nearly always had a very close, flirty, loving woman friend with whom I spent much time with when I wasn’t with my girlfriend. These women were usually potential lovers that I met at the “wrong time.” But, a few of them were also former lovers with whom the connection survived the end of the committed, sexual relationship. (more…)