I ran across a post not too long ago asking how one could know if one were polyamorous or not. I break a bit with a lot of the poly community who see being polyamorous as something of a genetic condition rather than a personal taste. I see where they’re coming from and all, but I’m not sure it’s as ingrained as all that. I think it’s a spectrum. There are polyamorous people who cruise happily along with a single partner much of the time. There are polyamorous people who aren’t dating anyone at the moment. There are polyamorous people who are miserably unhappy unless they date lots of people most of the time. There’s a wide range out there. I’d say that if you’re open to the idea of more than one sexual/romantic relationship, you’re all good with self-identifying as poly, if that takes your fancy.
Other than enjoying one’s relationships, I’m not sure that there really is some acid test that’ll tell for sure whether or not one is poly. I also think a more useful question to ask, rather than, “Am I polyamorous?” is “Are my relationships working?” Being polyamorous is not a Get Out of the Human Race Free card. Sometimes you make mistakes in relationships, even when you’re poly.
There are some basic things you can look for when you’re thinking about
- You’re Happy
I want to separate “happy” from “things being perfect”. Life is never perfect. But if you’re enjoying your relationships some majority of the time, that counts. You love your partner(s), enjoy spending time with them, and are fine with dealing with life as it comes to you.
- Your Partners are Happy
If you’ve got a partner up in the bedroom crying most of the time about something, Things Aren’t Working. Either there’s a depression issue that needs to be dealt with, or your relationship(s) aren’t working – or both. That happens, too.
But when things are working, your partner(s) are going to be happy with you.
- You’re Focusing on Living and Relationships Rather Than Polyamory as a Concept
Unless you’ve made a vocation out of Thinking About Polyamory, there’s a lot of stuff you won’t notice. If your husband’s girlfriend has a flat tire and you go help, then get on happily with your day, glad she’s not stranded by the side of the road, yep, that’s a good sign things are going well. If you’re checking in on everyone’s schedule, not because you’re grinding your teeth about the complexity, but are just making plans, yeah, that’s another good sign. If you’re in the mindset of “I don’t have a lifestyle, I have a life” then it’s probably a good sign that your relationships are working out for you.
I really do think that at the end of the day, it’s not about “Am I Polyamorous?” It’s about having the relationship or relationships that work for you and make you happy. You ensure this by choosing partnerships where you’re good for each other, and is less about relationship form. It’s the people involved that count.
But that’s awesome, because relationships are about people, not theory, right?
 And even those of us who do have a tendency just to live our lives and forget about that after awhile, ya know.