Imagine you have an acquaintance who is a big soccer fan. They play soccer, sing soccer songs and watch soccer. They love soccer and they talk about their soccer team all the time.
One day you tell them that you’re not really into soccer, but you are a sports fan.
“What do you mean, you don’t like soccer? What other sport is there?”
“Well, I like basketball. I play on a local team.”
“Basket ball? What’s that?”
“Well, players try to get a ball into the other team’s basket.”
“Ok, I follow. Like soccer.”
“Yeah, except you bounce the ball with your hands instead of using your feet.”
“Wait, what? You mean you can CHEAT?”
“No, it just has different rules.”
“What do the other players think about that?”
“Well, they all play by the same rules.”
“Maybe you just didn’t commit to soccer. It takes a lot of hard work.”
“So does basketball. It’s really difficult.”
“But it’s just basically permission to cheat. I just couldn’t do that. Sorry.”
“Well, I don’t like playing soccer. Basketball is closer to my skill set and I find it much more exciting and intimate to play. I love watching the game because it’s more fast paced and suits me better.”
“I just couldn’t imagine how I’d feel if the other players were allowed to use their hands like that. I couldn’t do it.”
“Well, it takes skill, but you realise you’d be able to use your hands too, right?”
“Yeah, but I wouldn’t want to. I prefer only using my feet to kick the ball. I couldn’t do it any other way. I just couldn’t.”
“Nobody is making you. We just like different things.”
“Okay, but please don’t talk about this basket ball thing around my soccer friends. It might make them feel weird.”
And this is what it is like to talk to some people about polyamory.