However, one thing that surprises me is how many people here have had or are currently living in polyamorous relationships.
I personally wonder how many people who claim to be involved in "polyamory" are really engaged in what would have been called "dating" about 30 years ago.
I remember having an interesting conversation with my father when I was in high school. At the time, I was dating this girl, but we never talked about any form of "exclusivity" or "going steady". Hell; at the time we were just going on dates to movies and hanging out at her apartment complex once a week after school. But she, her friends, many of my friends, and the social circles around us expected us to not see anyone else.
My father sat me down and asked me why I was bending to such pressure. After all, it's not like I asked her to go steady, nor was I engaged to her, nor did I marry her--I just paid for her popcorn at a couple of movies, and kissed her on the neck. It's odd, but it seems that the social pressure in high school and college is for those to "go steady" damned near on the first date--that is, if you ask someone out for coffee and then go back to your apartment and kiss her and perhaps grope her rear-end, you're now committed to this person for life. And my father (who is now in his late 50's) thought this was nuts.
So, honestly, I wonder how much of the "polyamory" stuff is a backlash to a rather rediculous expectation of monogamy on first sight. That's because, with a few exceptions, the only people I know who are actively engaging in redefining their relationships in terms of polyamory are college age, or just out of college: the ages when people used to date around, at least according to my father.
Anyways, to your questions.
Within a social setting, how does one find people who have similar thoughts on polyamorous relationships?
Well, it depends on the social setting. However, the best thing to do is to talk to your partner (or potential partner, or person you are just dating, or friend you are just talking about sex with) about your feelings, and listen to his/hers. Share your thoughts. Listen. You know; the usual stuff.
If you are asking in what social circles you can find people who are more inclined to alternative lifestyles, your best bet is to find circles where people tend to alternative forms of expression. Pagan circles, for example, or the SCA, or Science Fiction conventions tend to have groups of people who are more open-minded about lifestyle choices, and who tend to talk about them. Assuming, of course, that you are also interested in Paganism, the SCA or Science Fiction conventions... (grin). (I will note that at one Pagan gathering I went to several years ago, finding a nice married, monogamous, committed couple who wasn't into anything "alternative" or "wierd", who had children, 9 to 5 jobs and otherwise lived what we would consider a "normal" life was about as rare as finding a mohawk at a Mormon church.)
Of course, you still need to talk, share your thoughts, and the like.
Once you are hanging around people who are open and willing to discuss things like polyamory, you showing up in a "group marriage" won't seem so strange, and finding a new partner to join becomes a lot easier.
Once in a polyamorous relationship, how does one maintain it and the allegiance to multiple partners?
Beats me. I've never seen this done successfully. I've seen a lot of people talk about it--I've seen it attempted a lot. But the situation has never been as stable as my marriage to my wife has been--while I've been successfully married about 7 years, the longest stable "triad" I've witnessed lasted just under 18 months. And I know one girl who constantly complains how she can't find an open-minded boyfriend so she can have other lovers--but I've talked to the boyfriend, and he *is* open-minded--which makes me think she's looking for drama, not love.
Of course, your milege may vary. And the two-dozen people I've witnessed skirting these issues may nor may not be representative of anything except their own sexual neurosis and needs.
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