I found this comment by an insightful stranger very telling and deserving of thought
every definition I looked up on the internet and books said ‘multiple romantic relationships’, every poly person I spoke with did not use the word ‘romantic’. They used emotional, intimate, affectionate, loving … but not one of them (and there were a few!!!) used romantic
So I began to think about separating the “romance” from the “love” part of polyamory (which I’d gone ahead and done without thinking, silly me!)
Love is oddly- even dangerously at times- ambiguous.
In English, we have only the one word. In Spanish, they have “te quiero” and “te amor” (both translated as “I love you”). Similarly to the English language having “house” and “home,” there are nuances between the two phrases. The Greek have five different kinds of love.
Polyamory is translated directly as “many loves.” But what kind of love? The love for your romantic other(s)? The love for your chosen family? The love for your deeply intimate friendships? The love you possess for humanity?
I practice polyamory in my romantic relationships, yes, but it isn’t really about that for me.
Don’t ask me how many “loves” I want. I know you mean Romantic loves. I don’t know how many “loves” I want. Besides, my “loves” are not limited to the ones that I sleep with, that I have children with, that I love wholly and beyond thought.
Don’t ask me how many loves I need. I don’t think anyone needs a lover, though having a number of them can be quite pleasurable.
What if we spoke of love as more than romantic love, especially within the context of polyamory?
Where polyamory meant nothing more than a philosophy which supported loving openly and freely, rather than assuming additional (or any) romantic partners?
Polyamory, as a philosophy, might be about all the loves (referencing Greek terminology here). Eros, absolutely. But also, philia (affectionate love), agape (selfless, universal love), storge (familiar love), ludus (playful love), pragma (enduring love), philautia (self love), and even mania (obsessive love).
Relationships could just be…relationships. As wonderful or inane as we felt like. And if we didn’t have our One or Ones? That wouldn’t mean we were alone.
I sit in my thoughts and wonder…could we live in a society that operated in such a manner?
I could theoretically love two partners romantically and still be just the same as anyone else in my neighborhood. Just like my neighbor wouldn’t see me as different than themselves, simply because I have three children and they have two; or another neighbor having a dog and me having none. As I’ve never felt polyamory in itself made me special, the thought brings me comfort.
In such a world, I could sleep with a friend without it changing anything (unless, of course, they and I wanted that). I could connect with an amazing woman at a bar, without feeling the need to throw myself into sex and dating in order to keep from losing her interest as “just a friend.”
I feel like I could be very normal. In that world. How nice.
Now, what do I even begin to call this?