First, thanks to everyone for your comments. I didnt actually mean to press any buttons there but I was gratified that some of the things I raised resonated on some level with what is actually quite a small audience.
Is a poly relationship model possible for me?
I’ve been spending some time thinking about it and one of the things that have been highlighted to me from my last couple of years in the poly community and also from personal experience is that there’s a difference, even if it is only a subtle difference in motivation, between polyamory and compulsive partner hunting driven polyamory. I view the latter as especially damaging for me.
That leaves open the question as to what is a healthier motivation for polyamory. I’m not entirely sure and of course can only speak for myself but ideally, while in a relationship, I would expect the majority of my emotional needs to be filled by my partner(s) and friendship network such that I wouldnt feel much emptiness or loneliness in my life. It would be a reasonably fulfilled existence with the usual work and relationship hassles but one, when augmented by a good and strong sense of self, is pretty ok. Ideally, this would be the case when I’m single except of course there would be a greater but not incapacitating longing for a partner.
As an aside, I differentiate between emotional needs and sexual needs in the sense that I view recreational sex as qualitatively different from intimate emotional sex although I am currently working through my drivers for recreational sex. The line is not a clear one of course and there’s plenty of grey but I know myself sufficiently now that I can usually tell with a great degree of confidence when there isnt much more between myself and someone else other than friendly admiration and mutual sexual attraction. Anyway, to my mind, when properly partnered and sexually very compatible, recreational sex is one of those nice things to have, like going out for the occasional fancy dinner. Not having it would be a denial of my desires – after all there are plenty of scrumptious people out there – but not a big sacrifice. I’d certainly be concerned about myself and my relationship if I find myself (as I have in the past) constantly cruising for recreational sex.
Returning to emotional needs when partnered, I’m coming to think that it would be a very rare thing for me to actually meet another person who I would fall in love with if I am already happily and compatibly partnered. However, in my ideal of polyamory, if it did happen I would then be free to see how deep it goes given that I’m absolutely certain that it isn’t a result of unresolved conflict or other issues within myself or my existing relationship.
So, in summary, my ideal of polyamory when partnered is that while you don’t feel the need to go looking for new love and indeed am not looking for it being all happy in your own home, if new love does knock on the door, you’ll welcome it with open arms.