|[||Tags|||||commitment, division, faithfulness, fidelity, love, primary, ranking, respect, secondary, swinging, wikipedia||]|
(NOTE: When I say "most polyamorists that I know" or "many polyamorists" or anything along those lines, I am talking about the ones I have talked to. I discuss this with about...7 people, many of them from different areas. I think any number of 4 or greater, if they are not from the same group, usually makes a relatively accurate sample.)
I just finished reading Wikipedia's article on polyamory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory It has some statements I wish to point out, especially to emphasize them. Also, did you know Amelia Earhart was polyamoral? Percy Shelley, too, but that one hardly surprises me.
"Division of love" does not really exist.
By loving many, you do not love any one person less. Love is not a finite thing. You can have an endless amount of it. You can give the same amount to three people, if you wish. You can give more to one and less to another. It depends on how much the two of you care for each other, how much you love each other. By loving Tom, you do not love Bill any less.
For example, does a parent love one child any less by having another child?
You can be faithful to all partners. To all lovers. Faithfulness is not defined by having only one partner. This definition is one I agree with, and what I think many of my polyamoral friends would agree with:
"Most polyamorists define fidelity as being honest and forthcoming with their partners in respect to their relational lives, and keeping to the commitments they have made in those relationships."
I personally see monogamous fidelity as possessiveness. I don't see how feminsts can be so vehemently encouraging of monogamy. Feminists hate to see women (or supposedly anyone) being "owned" or "controlled" by anybody else. That's what I think monogamists do who ask monogamy of each other. By *giving* it, they are not necessarily placing themselves in the other person's "control", but when they *request* it, they are asking for control.
I personally (again with the I personally) enjoy being "owned" by my primary. But that's just my personal preference. ^_~
Respect for other partners
I emphasize the fact that your partner's other partners are not tolerated; rather, they are accepted. I am made happy when I know my lover can enjoy someone else, in addition to me. Most polyamoral lovers feel this way, because if, say, Linda's lover Bill takes a partner, and Bill sees it as a joyful thing, then Linda likes it because it makes Bill happy. Respect that others are part of one's partner's life, not just "forces to be reckoned with."
You'd be surprised how much commitment is involved. As with any relationship, two people in a polyamorous relationship may choose to make a defined commitment to each other. This is not to say that commitment is synonymous with monogamy; because commitment is defined by http://dictionary.reference.com (this is the relevant definition btw, not all the other random irrelevant definitions) as: "The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons." And I swear it really does say "or persons." Look it up.
Polyamory is NOT "swinging"
This one is a sidenote, really: "Swingers" generally refers to the people in a couple who may take other partners; this typically does not involve an emotional relationship any greater than "friend." Polyamory, on the other hand, is dating Tom while going out with Bill. Swinging is more like dating Tom and screwing Bill.
Next I intend to discuss primary, secondary, etc. types of relationships. For now, I will say that some polyamorists and polygamists do level their partners. As humans, it's damn hard *not* to rank others. You do it with your friends, with your family, with politicians, with priests. Ranking happens. Sometimes intentionally.