So, I’m aromantic and poly but I don’t know if I can be poly if I can’t be attracted to anyone romantically, does that still make me poly if I like them platonically?

If identifying as polyamorous helps you build happy, healthy, fulfilling relationships, great! If not, don’t worry about it! I have an FAQ page about this here.

Be open and clear with people about what you can and can’t offer and what you are and are not looking for. Identifying openly as polyamorous may lead people to believe that you could be interested in a romantic relationship - so just practice openness and honesty and remember that assumptions cause a lot of pain and risk on both sides.

You may have a hard time explaining your identity to people who don’t understand how “person with multiple platonic relationships” differs from most other people they know. It’s often nice to have a quick, practiced explanation of what you’re all about and what certain terms and practices mean to you. It is also okay not to share certain aspects of your identity with people you don’t trust to understand or respond in a positive way, or just if you’re not in the mood for that kind of conversation.

I have a boyfriend and am not in any way aromantic, but I have these feelings for another person that are very qpp-ish. is it right to use that term if im not aro?

I’m not the language police; it’s not up to me (or any one person) to say who does and doesn’t get to use a term. I’m also not aromantic or asexual, so I wouldn’t even be part of the community that may have claim to that term. If you know any ace or aro people, you could ask them how they feel!

If you’re uncomfortable with the term qpp, or worry that others might be uncomfortable with you using it, it’s totally okay to find another way to express how you feel about this person. I personally wish that we as a culture could open up the concept of friendship to allow for the kind of intimacy and commitment we typically think is reserved for sexual-romantic partnerships. (Because of this, I have my own feelings about the term qpp, but that’s not what you asked about).

Ultimately, it’s not about what collection of syllables you use, but whether you are able to frame, understand, and engage in the relationship with depth and authenticity, in whatever way is healthy and fulfilling for you and this person. 

Hello, I’m an asexual and I thought I was aro too but recently Ive felt like I wanted to date a couple, it’s the first time I want to date anyone. Sure I found the girl cute before but I didn’t want to date her. I feel like Iike I want to be part of their relationship. I asked the question to an ace advice blog I follow and they thought I was experimenting romantic attraction, maybe only to couples. Does it sound like polyamory?

I held onto this ask for a while because I was trying to come up with a way to express my thoughts on it without hurting or delegitimizing people’s identities. Here goes:

I think that it’s wonderful that we now have lots of different ways to think about sex, gender, attraction, self-experience, and relationships. I love that people who don’t fit the binaries of male/female, gay/straight, etc. can find their identities and communities more easily today than ever before.

But I think that in some areas, tumblr being one of them, the discourse around identity sometimes laps itself and becomes the same confusing, destructive, what-box-can-you-check kind of thinking that led people to question binaries in the first place.

I get so many asks from people wanting to know if their experience “counts” as polyamory. People want to know if you can be asexual and polyamorous, or whether demisexuality means they can’t be polyamorous. People wonder whether what they’re doing with someone counts as polyamory, or queer-platonic partnership, or what.

The point of naming and claiming our identity is to help us know ourselves and each other better. It’s so we can identify our needs, learn how to be our healthiest selves, and find people who respect us. If a label isn’t working for you, if it’s giving you confusion and questions rather than answers and security, it’s not serving its purpose.

You are you. You are feeling attraction to this couple. That’s your lived reality, and it’s totally valid. You don’t need anyone else to validate it, or explain whether it counts under certain identity terms. You IDed before as asexual and aromantic. That was your truth then. Your truth now can be different - it doesn’t mean you were wrong, or that your identity is invalid.

People grow, we change, we learn about ourselves and each other. It’s less important that you have the right list of words for exactly why and how you date, and more important that you feel good about it and develop happy, healthy, fulfilling relationships in the ways that work for you and your partners. Let yourself be you in this now, in this moment, and then if a way to describe your being arises for you, use that word. It doesn’t matter what other people say.

Don’t forget Poly Advice now has a Patreon! If you liked this post & want to see more, consider becoming a backer!

I’m in the gray area of the aro/ace spectrum and I don’t think I could uphold a normative romantic relationship. I wouldn’t want to have sex with anyone I’m in a primary partnership with either, even though I feel sexual desire and have a libido - so what I’d want is an open QP relationship in which I’d have nonromantic sex and sensual intimacy with friends who aren’t my primary. Am I polyamorous?

That sounds like a very specific situation you have there - but it’s your call, and your call only, as to whether to identify as polyamorous. Labels are useful in as much as they help you find like-minded people, and help you find the tools to be healthy and honest in your relationships. So find the ones that work best for you, not the ones other people approve of. Good luck!