I am cheating by pasting this essay in from previous work, but I think it largely satisfies the request for an overview of my views on polyamory.
First, let me say, I believe there is a major verbiage problem in explaining open relationships. Namely, that the vocabulary surrounding such ideas is limited and limiting.
Here is a dictionary definition from Webster’s:
the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time
To me, the subjectivity of the phrase “Open romantic relationship” allows for a host of varying interpretations. Some people focus on sexual aspects. Now, many of those people feel that they are strictly ‘swingers’ and not ‘poly.’ Others dismiss ‘swinging’ as somehow inferior because it lacks emotional depth. And, while I see the distinction at both ends (sex focused vs. romantic love focused) I am not sure that it’s really as binary as all that. And, I certainly would not presume to say that one is better than the other. Because each couple has (or should have) a specific set of beliefs and limitations, there can be no true and absolute definition of what any given couple actually is. My own needs are for emotional connections, whether sexual or not.
As I understand it, having an open relationship (some might call this dyad polyamory) is the way that most couples falling under this large tent of polyamory participate in it. In this type of open relationship, there is a nuclear relationship of two individuals. (A ‘primary’ relationship.) Its members are free to engage in romantic, sexual, and even committed relationships with others. (Secondary relationships) They may also have relationships with people they see rarely or for a short time… or for some specific common interest. (Tertiary relationships)
As to my personal participation in polyamory, my beliefs are less arbitrarily structured, and more need-based. Natural balance is fairly easy to achieve here, as long as there is emotional honesty and cooperation. When we focus our energy on getting everyone to where they need to be, it becomes far less important who gets there first.
I first began self-identifying as polyamorous a few years ago. I had gone through one of many recent personal metamorphoses in the months leading up to that. I decided that my life was better served by conscious decisions than be simply subscribing to societal norms. Among the other choices I made during this period was the decision to set aside Christianity, and religion altogether. It was in the context of this period that I challenged my thoughts on societal roles on love and sex and monogamy, as they seemed closely tied to religious dogma. I undertook to understand the human as an animal. To strip away the cultural programming, and understand what it is that people do by nature, and by instinct.
I decided it was my assertion that humans are not necessarily meant to be monogamous. They are certainly not in error to choose it, if that’s what works best… but, it’s no an absolute. Then came extensive discussions about the emotional impact of non-monogamy on relationships. I discovered that I might actually enjoy it if my partner were to engage in relationships with others. (This has actually proven to be the source of great joy.) Over time, theory gave way to practice and it has become utterly clear to me that this is not only a lifestyle, but rather, an identity. I have an unlimited amount of love to share, and an equally unlimited want to share it. My only concern is that I not take on more than my time allows. I want to be a good partner to those who choose to have me in their lives, and recognize that trying to be there for too many people at once means not being there for anyone.
The bottom line is this: nothing makes me happier than seeing my partner happy. …and, I am not so egocentric (or insecure) as to believe that I am the only person who can make that happen