From: UK, Manchester
The real issue is that people assume "partner" or "mate" or "sex buddy" or some other BS when I bring it up. Heck, I've even had people give me shit about a harem and stuff. Say what? Ok, sure, that could work (shared moving in time is a thing) but that's not what I'm going on about when I tell people I love them. What's more when I love someone, anyone, it's ALWAYS a different way. Because there's only one of me and one of you and therefor one of us too. No one else will ever share that. Even if they can be involved in it.
People that are romantically engaged with each other also don't have to be sleeping with each other. Hell, they can be asexual. And some people are there for their friends as well as their partners, no matter how stressful. Even when they're mono.
Worse still is that cheating can sometimes, and perhaps even often be a case of being poly without knowing. Or at least being open by nature without yet knowing. And then people often get blamed for it because they're that afraid of grasping the concept. But being silent and not talking and having another find out will only ever end badly. So if anyone has been in that position I urge them to talk about it with all involved before shit hits the fan.
Now as for me, when I say I love someone it's after they shown to be none judgmental, understanding, accepting of me and actually there for me and willing to see things from my point of view. That's all it takes for me to love someone. And I'm lucky enough to love many people and be loved back by at least as many even if I'm not sexually engaged with any. The logic is quite simple. Be there for me and I'll be there for you. That's all there is too it. And that's love to me. I don't do "distant friends" because that's not what a real friend is IMO. I can't handle "half theres" for too long even though I get to know people. I'll get to know you but then we see where things go. Love has no guarantees. Yet here I am managing to love and be loved, first the hard way and then the easy way.
The catch 22 is that you have to go through the hard to get to understand why it can be easy. I was once put inbetween people myself. Blackmailed with suicide which lead to self blame on their sides, etc, etc. Even had someone that did actually kill themselves. All that "Be there for me and not them" BS drove me INSANE. NOT a metaphor. I broke. Hard. But it's also because of that that those that survived finally understood that I do genially care for them without taking any sides. They were scared too. And had good reason to fear me at that. It was my own stupidity of trying to be "normal" that got me into that mess. Which is why I have a gripe with mono. Not because of mono itself, which can even exist with poly partners selflessly, but because mono is understood easily yet doesn't even want to listen to poly more often then not. Well excuse me for trying to be understood and accepted. Fuck those that don't listen, I'll be there for other mono and poly people that actually care enough to hear about my viewpoint and perception on things. Can't make people listen but I have no love for those that turn their backs on me.
These days I have a bit of an easier time with it. I can state things as if it was on their side of the fence. eg: Who you care about is who YOU care about. Even if I don't like them. And that I might love them but it doesn't have to be shared back right away or even at all. Others get there or not in their own time in their own way. Just don't eve expect me to change for you and leave others in the dust. Because if that's mono then I want nothing to do with it. Good job I know mono doesn't have to be that way. It means "One's enough for me". Not "I control who my partner is with because I'm afraid they won't be here". Maybe others will be here for me, maybe they won't be. Maybe someone else matters and I need to wait a bit. I'm fine with that, I can accept that. I can confide in others that care about me while I'm waiting on that. What does a mono person do if they can't be around their partner for an extended period of time and has no one else to turn too? Knowing someone might be in a bad way and that they have no one else to turn too because it might have been me of all people and having them alone? I tell ya, that scares me as much as the though of being alone myself. You can say it'll never happen but it can and chances are it will at some point. Because the ones we care about can be those we harm the most at times. Especially when you don't consider poly being a factor for others. Like with me. I didn't even know what poly was back then but I know I can never play favorites with people I care about. It might be strange, it might be different, but if you just assume shit will go according to your own plans alone then that's blatantly ignoring possible bad things popping up. Which won't even be bad if you're prepared for it and have some sort of understanding about it.
As it stands none of us knew what to make of things back then. I was never taught about poly in school, which frankly is something I think is something that should at least be touched on in the later years. I had ZERO preparation. As did others. Result? 3 exes (technically 4) and one giant clusterfuck. Fortunately things ended on the best terms possible and the two that are here (one was a suicide, the other was a car crash at midnight driving from a bar and is the ex of one of my exes) on the best of terms possible. There for each other as well as me. Cried tears of joy when that happened, for the only time in my life. Honestly did. I don't touch on being with them in an intimate manner because frankly I feel like I put them through enough. We had a bit of a talk about it and they got their own lives and I got mine. Sometimes love means putting in distance a bit. Especially then actually. People get scared and do stupid shit BECAUSE they love and care. Not because they don't care. Know what happens when I no longer care for someone? I no longer feel anything for them. At all. No tears, no pain, no joy and no sorrow. And I know all too well what it's like to no longer "feel" at all. Took the exes being there for me to care again. And after we put each other through hell too.
Don't have to go through hell though. Talk to someone. Share life stories. Share perceptions. Done. It's honestly that easy now. It's called getting to know each other and finding out and not avoiding each other for it. Which is something done all too often in general. Just accept difference itself and BAM, done deal for me.
And you know something, that's all fine. All of that I can deal with. But you know what I CAN'T deal with? People ASSUMING things are going to go mono and then blaming me for it. I don't hold a grudge about that with the people that did it with me because now they get it. They been there and cared enough to know why I lost my mental shit. But people in general? Tch. How many people actually TALK about things and actually discuss these things before "hooking up" or something? Think communication is a relationship thing only? Hell no! I love easily because I go out of my way to talk and listen and understand and be clear. In public threads and group things I make a bit of a jackass of myself because right now I can't exactly do that with someone on a person to person bases, but if this was a message we'd be asking things. I'd be asking questions like "Do you love who you cheated with". Which has actually gotten mono people to actually thing about if they're poly or not after they wanted to listen. And I made it very clear that such a thing was something they'd have to want to listen about first beforehand.
Anyway, I'll stop there for now. I've harped on enough. But that's poly to me. To love you for just accepting me and being here for me. Which will make me want to be there for you. And often I'm the first there because if I don't give people a chance why would they give me one? And I always do that regardless of how many others I might already know.
Kinda been holding that in my system for a while. But it's like... who else will listen, let alone understand, you know.