So I got into an argument with a bunch of poly folks who were using the word “processing” over and over without explaining what they meant, which turns out to be something like “sitting down and talking through your feelings with your significant other(s)”.  Setting aside that I think that’s a weird word to use for that, my complain was (of course) of a piece with my endless irritation with poly jargon.

The response that I got was that it’s a standard usage of the word (it’s not), and that monogamous folks use it all the time when they’re going through therapy.


If you’re telling me that poly folks all talk about their relationships as if they were in therapy all the time, you’re rather proving my point.


2 thoughts on “Processing

  1. I wonder if the “standard usage” might be a West Coast thing? I feel like I’ve heard it often enough to call it standard. Then again my social circles are mostly poly so I could just be confused.

    However, there are a fucklot of people in California who talk about *everything* as if they were in therapy all the time. It’s not unique to poly relationships, it is a much larger problem with New Age self-improvement treadmills.

  2. I get this weird sense from a lot of poly folks that “having a lot of relationships” is a sort of hobby for them. They have a special lingo the way that D&D nerds, woodcrafters, or knitters do, and they spend all their time discussing relationship-craft. They go to poly cons and spend time on poly web sites (*cough*).

    As an aside, I get this sense from a lot of friends who have converted to new religions, as well.

    Anyway, I had a friend from New York tell me that this is a common usage, as well (it’s still not, if it were it would show up in Google searches for “processing”, and native speakers wouldn’t have to look it up). I may be misidentifying the population; it may be less “poly folks” and more “people who have lots of friends who’ve been in therapy”. I need a counterexample of a bunch of poly people who don’t understand this usage to know for sure.

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