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Polyamory for the Practical

A Poly-English Dictionary

by RDB (plus two by Vamp)

Poly phrase: "I don't use primary/secondary terminology, since I don't see my relationships as hierarchical."
English translation: "You're a secondary."

Poly phrase: "For me sex is about energy, so breathing and heart connection are more important than ejaculation."
English Translation: "I'm more sophisticated than the guy over there, please sleep with me instead."

Poly Phrase: "I see polyamory as being more about relationships and intimacy, while swinging is just about sex, and sex without intimacy is just not where I'm at right now."
English Translation: "I'm more sophisticated than the guy over there, please sleep with me instead."

Poly Phrase: "The most important thing to me is keeping agreements."
English Translation: "If you start seeing someone else and I'd feel unsophisticated just saying that I'm jealous, then I'll reinterpret one of our agreements until I'm able to say you broke it."

Poly Phrase: "Even secondary relationships for me aren't just about sex."
English Translation: "Secondary relationships for me are just about sex."

Poly Phrase: "Right now the most important things to me are building poly family and intentional community."
English Translation: "I'm getting concerned that I won't always be able to easily find new partners, plus I'm tired of driving from place to place, and oh yeah, I'm more sophisticated than the guy over there, so please sleep with me instead."

Poly Phrase: "In our household the most important things are open communication and open process."
English Translation: "Expect to be abused with passive-aggressive 'I' statements."

Poly Phrase: "I don't feel that we communicate on the same level, and that you aren't supporting me emotionally."
English Translation: "I'm tired of you but it would make me seem less sophisticated and hence reduce my opportunities for further sexual relationships in this community to actually say that so bluntly, so I'll make this about vague failings on your part instead."

Poly Phrase: "I think we should each have veto power."
English Translation: "I want to reserve the right to veto each of your partners, no matter how much they respect our existing relationships, so that you're de facto limited to monogamy while I play the field."

Poly Phrase: "I think that we should focus on each other for a while."
English Translation: "I'm having more trouble finding partners than you are, time to clip your wings!"

Poly Phrase: "I want you to always feel OK telling me what's really going on in your life, and asking for what you need in this relationship."
English Translation: "Ask for what you need, and express hurt feelings, at your peril."

Poly Phrase: "I'm not angry at you, I'm angry at myself, for not having recognized sooner that we weren't right for each other."
English Translation: "I'm angry at you for not making my life perfect, but rather than taking responsibility for setting and meeting my own goals I find it more satisfying to shift the blame to you while superficially appearing to do the opposite."

Poly Phrase: "Out of respect for our primary bond, we normally only see other people together."

Poly Phrase: "I think we need to process the end of our relationship and get closure."
English Translation: "I'd like to kick you while you're down."

Poly Phrase: "We obviously need to work on our relationship."
English Translation: "We're through, I just want to vent a little more so that I can feel a little more self-righteous once you know it's over too, OK?"

Poly Phrase: "The idea of line marriage has always appealed to me."
English Translation: "The idea of having sex with people younger than me has always appealed to me."

Poly Phrase: "So, which conventions do you like to attend, what kind of books do you like to read, what are your spiritual beliefs, and what is your ideal occupation?"
English Translation: "Which science fiction conventions do you like to attend, who is your favorite fantasy author, what form of neo-paganism do you ascribe do, and where in the computer industry would you like to work?"

Poly Phrase: "I'm needing to do some inner work, and instead of dating anyone would rather just work on my relationship with myself."
English Translation: "I'm tired of you, but since I don't have anyone else lined up right now I might as well get some mileage out of the personal growth angle."

Poly Phrase: "Well, I'm only theoretically poly, but I already have plenty of firmly-held beliefs about how it could be done in real life!"
English Translation: "Hi, I'm an idiot."

Poly Phrase: "Swinging would be way too crass for me, I'm more about relationships and emotional intimacy."
English Translation: "I've always wanted to go to New Horizons, could someone give me a ride there and guest me in, as long as I don't have to ask publicly?"

Poly Phrase: "All of my partners are equally important to me, and they're all primary."
English Translation: "I'd rather not explicitly spell out what the heirarchy is, but trust me - you'll know when you run into it."

Poly Phrase: "Our friendship is more important than anything else."
English Translation: "Once you've told me that we're done fucking, you'll never hear a word from me again."

Poly Phrase: "I'm willing to take this slow as well."
English Translation: "I intend to act like a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) and put as much pressure on you to put out as possible."

And additions by RJ Johnson, [email protected]

Poly phrase: "I've had to do a lot of work on that issue myself in my other relationships, and I'd be glad to help you with it if you want."
English translation: "I've tried blaming all my other partners for my shit and they won't put up with it anymore."

Poly phrase: "I really admire the way you are able to speak up for your boundaries in your relationships."
English translation: "If I'm going to get you to sleep with me, I'll have to be a cagey, manipulative bastard."

Poly phrase: "My other partners and I share a lot of interests but we do a lot of things separately, too."
English translation: "None of my current partners will let me have anal sex with them; will you?"

Poly phrase: "My partners and I follow our own unique spiritual path."
English translation: "Please join our cult."

If you're actually a member of a group marriage, you can join this list. Most of us find it refreshing to be able to discuss poly issues with people who "live the dream" as it were. You don't actually have to be a member of a poly marriage to join, but most members are.
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