Ageism In Polyamorous Communities

Even before I had a word for it, I was polyamorous. It is a basic part of who I am and I discovered that before I turned 20. Figuring out I was polyamorous while still young led to some issues with finding a welcoming community.

After exploring, I was dismayed to find that there was no such community anywhere too close to where I live. As a result, I started my own Meetup group. I created the group to create a place welcome to the younger polyamory crowd because there was not one and keep being told I am ageist. Well older polyamorous people, my group wouldn’t exist if you were more welcoming to younger polyamory folk. You created the problem and now want to complain about my solution.

You’re Young You Cannot Contribute
On multiple occasions in other polyamorous groups, I have gone to express an opinion only to be written off for my age and experience. There is definitely an attitude of “Oh, you only have been polyamorous for 5 years? Talk to me when you have 20 under your belt.”

I have met people brand new to polyamory who have valuable things to say that people who are polyamorous for 40 years would never think of. Sometimes experience level matters (especially in dating poly babies), but more often than not it does not. People don’t have to be polyamorous for decades to have something interesting and important to say.

I genuinely believe having young people’s opinions represented and valued would strengthen the polyamorous community.

Relatability

“Oh, so you are the a same age as my grandson. You must like ____.”

Often at other polyamorous meetups, I am treated as if my age was the only important thing about me. Why do people older than I get treated as people and I am diminished to how many times I have gone around the sun?

If comparing young people to other young people is the only way you can relate to us, maybe you should have an actual conversation with one us.

Maturity
Ageism in polyamorous communities generally seriously miffs me, but maturity assumptions may be the worst. Often, polyamorous people have kept younger people from being included by claiming that they will not be mature enough.

For example, one partner I had and I were in the process of breaking up and moving to a new house with multiple people. While it was sad at the time I would have been able to handle it just fine. My “friends” and polyamorous community who were quite a bit older than me decided I was not mature enough to handle dealing with both. As a result, they had a secret meeting and decided I no longer had a place to stay- four days before we were supposed to move. Their decision that I was too immature to handle the situation without communicating with me was far more immature than I had ever acted.

Unfortunately, I have heard multiple examples of this sort of thing happening to both me and others who are young when they join the polyamorous community. Just because someone is young does not mean you have an excuse to not communicate with them or assume what they can or cannot handle. I decide what I can and cannot handle. You do not get to make those conclusions about someone based on their age.

Piece of Meat
I have dated my share of people who are far older than me. I have nothing against dating people within the polyamorous community who are older because I make decisions based on who people are instead of their age. However, often when I go to mixed age polyamorous groups I was treated as a novelty, not a person. My young age led to no one being interested in what I had to say and instead treating me like a piece of meat.

I’m not the only young person to have this experience. Just like older polyamorous folk do not want to be treated like creeps for being interested in younger people, seen as just their age, or discounted due to their age younger people want to be seen as a person instead of just our age too.

 

Some ages are important, like people being over 18. Others are far too focused on.

Polyamorous communities would be far stronger if age mattered less and who we are as people mattered more.

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