I thought poly was just a relationship style/ behavior. But a lot of poly people seem to refer to it like an orientation? So does *ability* to love multiple people = poly, even if you’re not in a relationship?
For some people, it’s a relationship style/behavior, a choice to be made. Others experience it as an orientation, something they are rather than something they do.
Sometimes, people who experience one or the other generalize and insist that polyamory is absolutely only a behavior or absolutely only an orientation. This can cause disagreements and frustration, because this is both a very personal and very political issue.
I experience polyamory as an orientation, a way of being. So if I was not in a relationship, or only dating one person because I hadn’t found other partners, I’d still consider myself poly. But what’s true for me doesn’t need to be true for you - as long as we make space for each other, there are lots of ways to “be” or “do” poly.