Something irked me just now.
I was reading an article. I won’t link to it here. It’s one of many that discusses polyamory only in the context of couples opening their marriages, and makes it seem really edgy and scandalous. It was pretty blah, but then I know that they’re not writing those articles for people like me. Those articles are for super monogamous folks so that they can point and think about how weird that is. So, you know, fine, whatever.
But in the comments section there were a bunch of folks who were sharing their stories about opening up and dating and whatever. And a common theme throughout all of them was their references to the poly “lifestyle”. How they were happier now that they were living the “lifestyle”, or that they had found the “lifestyle”, or that they had chosen the “lifestyle”. Like they had decided to start RVing or scuba diving or going to raves or something.
I know that some people choose poly, after reading a book and thinking about it, or talking to people and having it conceptually make sense. And I think it’s totally cool to take your life and critically think about assumptions and choices. That introspection is super important to me, and I’m happy when other people have that same level of engagement. I totally support those folks.
But I’m stuck in my brain here, and in this body of mine, and it runs polyamorous. Even before I had the word for it, even before I totally understood what these feelings were, even before I totally understood what was going on, it was in there lurking around. There wasn’t a choice. Instead there was a revelation when I discovered that I wasn’t alone in feeling and thinking this way, and an acknowledgement that these others were my people somehow. The choice for me was always trying to shove myself into monogamous boxes where I didn’t belong. And, unsurprisingly, I suffered because of my terrible decision-making skills.
Seeing polyamory described as a “lifestyle” made it feel portrayed as something disposable. Like there was a “normal” setting, and these people were operating somewhere outside of their normal, and maybe they’d get tired in a bit and just transition back to their “normal” life. Like it was a societal indulgence. And it made me think that there’s a ton of people who think of me and the way that I see myself as silly, or something that I’ll naturally choose to drop at some point.
And I wanted to pick a fight with these people real bad. But it’s the internet. I don’t do internet fights, because I don’t have enough energy to correct people on the internet when my “lifestyle” is so busy. So boo on them. Whatever.
But I wonder if I am the only one that gets irked by this label. I know that swingers sometimes refer to it as a lifestyle, and I know that poly can get lumped in under the “alternative lifestyle” label. Maybe I’m just being pissy about some little thing? Maybe I’m not seeing it straight, and I’m projecting a lot of my own issues on to this word? I’m not sure.