May 21, 2008

Being Poly and Learning Poly

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 7:20 am by Kathleen

Polyguy responded to one of my posts (on whether poly is something you are born with) with a blog about his own feelings, which are that he was indeed born to be poly.

I do think that some people are wired to be poly from the start.  That just seems to be the case with some poly people I know.  On the other hand, poly can successfully be learned.  Being gay, tall, or blond, to my knowledge, cannot, which is why I say that it is not necessarily something you are born with.

I’m trying to make myself clear… I do think you CAN be born poly (or  born wired that way, anyway), but I do not think you HAVE to be born with that wiring to BECOME poly.  I hope that clarifies some of my thoughts for the people who were leaving comments.  I was not saying that you have not “always” been poly, but rather that I have not, and I am somehow learning it anyway.

Polyguy says that his wife is not learning poly so much as she is un-learning monogamy, but I feel like maybe it is a little of both.  Monogamy has some value, and there are pieces of it that I will probably hold on to forever.  I am not dismissing it so much as I am allowing it to morph into something bigger.  I prefer learning something to un-learning anything.

I do believe that sexual orientation is something you are born with – sorry fundies.





  1. polyguy said,

    An old instructor of mine used to ask us “Practice makes what?” to which some new student would eagerly answer “perfect”.

    And, at that point, my instructor would slam his yard stick on the new students desk and tell him “Wrong! Practice makes *permanent*”!

    And his point was this: If you do something one way, over and over again, you’re going to have a very difficult time doing it *any other* way. And it’s very possible that the way that you are doing that thing is *wrong*.

    It’s very difficult to un-learn something, no matter what it is. And when it comes to monogamy vs. polyamory we’re talking about two very different ways of life. We are taught monogamy early on. For example, girls are often taught to expect Prince Charming to show up one day, sweep her off of her feet, and live happily ever after. No one ever mentions that Prince Charming may have a handful of Princesses that he happens to be in love with.

    When you learn polyamory you have to adjust your way of thinking a bit. And in order for you to really learn it, you have to un-learn lots of what you learned early on. The idea that you can truly love more than one person goes completely against what monogamy teaches us, for an example.

    Knowing something and being something are completely different things, though.

    My wife, for example, has learned a tremendous amount about polyamory in the past couple of years. She has a much better understanding of it and she is extremely accepting and open minded. That does not, however, make her any less monogamous as a person. She understands it, at times she lives it, but that doesn’t make her polyamorous.

    Does that make sense?

  2. Jerry said,

    I’m inclined to agree with Polyguy here on the basis that if, as you posit, you are learning polyamory as opposed to having been born with such an inclination, it could be said that you are not actually Poly until you have had a poly experience and dealt with it in the expected productive manner. In the same way that I can begin the process of apprenticing to be a carpenter, I cannot justifiably call myself a carpenter until I have made it through my training process and have gone ahead with a project as the lead.

    Kathleen, please understand that I’ve drawn many fine points from your blog. You’re well read and baldly honest about how you present your feelings on the topic. This comment is not meant to belittle your strides towards such an honest and open-minded relationship with your husband. It’s meant to gently remind you to check where you stand. It’s impossible to take the road of “I wasn’t born poly, I’m learning it,” and yet claim the title and the lifestyle as your own without having actually practiced it yourself. Sometimes, depending on the day and what you have to say, it almost seems as though you desire a mostly monogamous relationship with your husband, but with the perceived freedom to express yourself openly to others.

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