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Is Poly a Choice?

There’s been some debate recently, spurred by sex columnist Dan Savage, who identifies himself as monogamish, about polyamory being a choice. That you choose to act poly, not simply are poly. Savage had expressed his opinion that it was a choice, and was soundly thumped by members of the poly community. There are a few great letters from poly people in his column that he handed over for rebuttals.

For us, we’ve come to the realization that we are poly, the same way I’m bisexual, and you might be straight or gay or asexual or something in between. Do you feel wired to want the love of just one romantic partner? Does the thought of your partner being in love with someone in addition to you not compute in the slightest, or fill you with white hot jealousy and rage?

We’re not wired that way. We’re wired to accept and give love from more than one partner, if the opportunity arises. This doesn’t mean we need a half dozen relationships on the go, or that we can’t be happy with just a single relationship or are unable to have a long term relationship.

A commentor on another of my blog posts here wrote that, “The sign of a real commitment and a true marriage is that we don’t act on it.” referencing not stepping outside marriage for love or intimacy. That’s simply not my description of a real commitment and true marriage at all. I know plenty of faithful couples who treat each other with disrespect, aggression, condescension or anger. Sure, they don’t sleep with other people. But is that a true marriage? Not in my books.

For me, a true marriage is one in which honesty and respect are core values of the partnership. Where there is honesty, there is plenty of talking, there is kindness, there is care and concern, there is respect. The monogamous might choose to add sexual and emotional exclusivity to that list. I just … don’t.

Ultimately we should all strive to achieve our own vision of a real commitment and true marriage, no? I’m sharing my vision, that’s all. I’m not justifying or recruiting, just sharing.

Reese :