Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

April 11, 2018

"Straight men need to stop using polyamory as an excuse to manipulate women into casual dating"

The Independent, one of the UK's major dailies, gives a Pink News reporter space to send an increasingly necessary message:

Straight men need to stop using polyamory as an excuse to manipulate women into casual dating

It’s easy to see why someone interested in dating multiple women with zero commitment might see this as the perfect excuse, but polyamory in fact requires more commitment and trust than monogamy does.

"If men have no interest in a serious relationship, and are looking to casually date multiple people, that is absolutely fair and their choice, but that is not polyamory." (iStock image)

By Jasmine Andersson

Something unsettling is happening in heterosexual dating.

It’s beyond the tactics of submarining, ghosting and whatever the hell you name a person’s lack of commitment when it comes to being a decent human being, but it’s in the same ballpark.

It would seem that women are experiencing a unique curveball on the dating scene, in which men who do not want to commit to a relationship are explaining away their dishonesty as “polyamory”. In the past six months alone, four men I’ve dated have used this as a way of masking their attempts to shirk commitment, and tried to pressure me into agreeing to an arrangement I had no interest in.

There is a clear difference between a polyamorous person saying they’re polyamorous on the first date, and a guy who just doesn’t want to settle down using it as a shield to hide behind.

People who identify as polyamorous sometimes argue it is a sexual orientation akin to being gay or straight, while others see it as a lifestyle choice. Either way, polyamorous relationships are typically characterised by an intense sense of commitment – both to one’s primary partner and any additional relationships. It is about constant communication and respect, which allows for the fact that there is such a thing as ethical, consensual non-monogamy.

There has definitely been a shift in the way that straight people consider monogamy. As apps such as Feeld, designed for non-monogamous people, flourish, so do the ever-increasing gender identities and relationship requests that can be listed on the likes of OkCupid.

Google searches for polyamory are on the rise, and a 2016 YouGov poll found that 31 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men believed their ideal relationship to be consensually non-monogamous, so it's easy to see why someone interested in seeing multiple women with zero commitment might see this as the perfect way to convince their partners to want the same. What casual-seekers have also failed to realise though, is that polyamory in fact requires more commitment than monogamy.

Polyamory rejects the notion that loving, committed relationship must by design feature just two people, but it’s very different to an “open relationship”, which involves committing to just one person while allowing for sexual experiences with other people. And it certainly has almost nothing in common with dating – and sleeping with – multiple people at the same time without ever really committing to anyone.

As someone who wants a monogamous relationship, I decided to chat to someone who identifies as poly. He explained: “I see cis-gendered, heterosexual men looking for an excuse for the same old cheating douchebaggery that they have always indulged in. ...

A pseudo-poly bro who tries to convince you that your thoughts, values and feelings are un-progressive, and that you just need to be a bit more “open minded”, is about as far from the values of polyamory as it’s possible to get. ...

Pseudo-poly bros need to stop exploiting an ideology that thrives on love and commitment, and single women must stand by their values and not allow themselves to be manipulated into a one-sided “relationship”. ...

Jasmine Andersson is a reporter at PinkNews.

Read the whole article (April 10, 2018). She also discusses the equalizing effect of the dating app Bumble, which "aims to empower women to make the first move when it comes to dating."

● Also, a couple days ago in a Silicon Valley episode review in the Palo Alto Daily Post:

In the low-lit atmosphere of the scene, it almost felt like Ben was about to say he practiced ethical polyamory, a romantic philosophy that has a number of Valley adherents, and that can be principled but is also a favorite cover for some garden-variety sleaze.

The more we call out such misuse of the word by predators and sleazes, the more people will see through their bullshittery and the less we will be tarred by it. A couple more examples:

● As early as six years ago, by author O. M. Grey: Successful Polyamory, or Poly vs. Amory (Nov. 7, 2012)

Although every definition I can find on polyamory emphasizes the honesty, openness, ethics, integrity, commitment, and love, my experience is that the bulk of people who identify as polyamorous are not practicing these basic principles.

The word polyamory has come to mean any type of non-monogamy, ethical or not, as I’ve learned, and this deeply saddens me. If a word has too many meanings, then it has no meaning at all.

A rose by another other name may smell as sweet, but when I say the word “rose,” you know the type of flower I’m talking about. If I say “rose” and I mean “steaming pile of dog shit,” that rose doesn’t smell as sweet, because it’s not really a rose. It’s a steaming pile of dog shit. You can throw up gorilla dust, beat your manly chest, spout spiritual-sounding words about radical inclusion, and demand that it is a rose and “your truth,” but the reality is that it’s still a steaming pile of dog shit. Even if you call it a rose.

● An advice columnist for Flagpole, the alternative weekly paper of Athens, Georgia, goes out of her way to make the point in responding to a letter titled My Manager's Girlfriend Stole My Boyfriend (Jan. 24, 2018):

Polyamory is a real relationship model that involves plenty of commitment and compromise, but your boss and her partner are terrible at it. Calling oneself “poly” isn’t an excuse to wreck homes and treat staff like a harem. Behavior like theirs is the reason people associate the polyamorous relationship model with selfishness and dishonesty. They shouldn’t use the label or involve others in their messy shit until they know how to be respectful and responsible to their potential partners.

Once again: we need to defend, loudly, the meaning of the our key word against bullshitters, pickup artists, and other fakers. Go for it, and send me the link when you do: alan7388 AT gmail.com . I hope to post a collection of your work.


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Anonymous Paddywack said...

Gresham's Law: "The bad drives out the good." Don't let it happen to us. Call out the creeps and manipulators when you see them. As for the clueless, educate them gently.

April 11, 2018 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Why the gendered language? In Portland, 'poly' is basically code for 'only looking for casual sex' in the college-age crowd. Look on OKCupid, where 80% of women AND men list themselves as poly. It's very very sad, and waters down something beautiful. Still, I'm pretty miffed at your focus on men vs women here, it's pretty infantilizing.

April 12, 2018 6:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Since this post is an article round up, the blog really has no control over the gendered characterizing done in the original articles, many of which are opinion pieces written by people not really familiar with polyamory on any deep level. Go to the sources and give *them* a lesson; people reading this blog probably already agree with you on this.

April 13, 2018 7:27 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

The writers of all these articles are saying that bad actors are using "polyamory" as a piece of bafflegab, a hip-sounding way of avoiding honesty -- when they think they wouldn't get far by saying "I'd like some good times now and then, not a relationship. You in for that?" Which would be fine.

BECAUSE polyamory carries a meaning of ethics, respect, and caring among those involved, bullshitters know to use it to impress their dates as being better people than they are.

Hence the dilution of the word.

April 13, 2018 8:38 AM  

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