[I cut out some stuff for focus; click here to read it.]
Also, how does asexuality and aromanticism work with polyamory? That sounds contradictory.
For context, go-blondie-go is referring to this bit from my profile: "asexual, aromantic, very connected to polyamory. For the moment, anyway."
It seems you’re familiar with the working definitions, go-blondie-go, but just in case some readers aren’t:
- asexual - does not experience sexual attraction
- aromantic - does not experience romantic attraction
- polyamorous - is able to engage in multiple loving (usually romantic or sexual) relationships at once
To begin with, I am definitely not monogamous. But I am also very cautious about calling myself poly, because I share your skepticism. I went as far as coming out as not-poly on my poly webcomic. But the thing is, everyone responded and said that I fit under the poly umbrella anyway.
I found the wikipedia page on Romance to be helpful. But the way I try to wangle it is this. Do I have any relationships that a hypothetical stereotypical monogamous spouse would have an issue with? And I find that the answer is yes. I’ve got one partner (and I’m not even sure that’s the right word!) who lives a billion miles away and is married, but there is definitely a thing there that I cannot define. I love her a lot and we are occasionally (and I mean occasionally) sexual but that doesn’t make it “more” relationshippy. I even hope that we have sex again because I like feeling that way with her. I don’t want her romantically or sexually, but when I check internally I still want her a LOT. This has been a subject of bafflement for both of us, but we’re just going with it to see what happens, and have been doing so for many years.
And then there’s the person I spend most of my time with; we are very close, we do most of our stuff together for disability support stuff, but we are also sometimes very cuddly and smooshy in a way that is just very physically affectionate. It is not, however, romantic. We don’t have what we call the “bargains” that most romantic couples do; there is no promise that we will continue to spend time together, and no assumption (that we will always be up for cuddles or talking about stuff that requires trust, or even that we will trust each other). But if I had a husband or wife, they would be extremely pissed off at the amount of time we spend together, the amount of information I trust them with, the snuggling we sometimes do, etc.
My hypothetical spouse would no longer feel special or necessary, because I can get so much of what I need from others.
And on top of all this, my closeness with these people and my hypothetical spouse does not change how I approach the world, which is with openness. I never ever wonder, when meeting someone, if I should behave differently because of any existing friendships or intimate relationships, and if I meet someone I want to be close to, I will not be happy to let myself be trusting and open with them until they know that they’re not the only person I’m intimate with and they’re comfortable with that.
Poly people see all of this, and they call me polyamorous. I’m okay with this! :) It’s a great umbrella to stand under, and the company is good. I don’t tend to call myself polyamorous, but I do have a significant connection to polyamory. Denying that would be foolish, I think.
I just know that someone’s going to ask how it’s not romantic or sexual if it is intimate. So I will answer it preemptively. ;) There are ways of being intimate that involve neither sex nor romance, and everyone will experience this differently. It takes me a very very long time to trust someone, for example; both of my relationships that I call intimate involve a lot of trust. Both relationships involve a physical and behavioural ease that I don’t experience with most people. And then of course there’s the love, which I reckon there’s a lot of. But I don’t have with either of them “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love”, or “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life”, which is what appears when I google romance definition.
Sure, a lot of romantic relationships have what I have with these people, but there’s something the romantic folks have that I don’t.