I see where the error is here…in my comparisons with my current poly dynamic and my previous monogamous dynamics, I was speaking about myself and my experiences and that somehow became extrapolated to mean everyone else or that I’m speaking for monogamy or polyamory on a whole. I’m not.

It “somehow became extrapolated” because in the writing I have read, it wasn’t clear to me that you were speaking to what works for you. You make statements about relationships and monogamy and polyamory that feel broad and sweeping.

we also have built-in a desire to mate with multiple partners over time.

This may be true, but I also think that human brains have evolved quite a bit since our caveman days. At what point do we stop letting a thousands year old inkling of an instinct be our reason for doing things?

usually people are much more fleetingly monogamous over long periods of time.

Tons of people are monogamous for decades and decades with one partner. I feel like from what you’re saying, you don’t seem to believe that people can be happy in long term monogamous relationships (despite the fact that you say you are happy in one). It’s hard for me to understand where you’re coming from with that.

Monogamy takes work and that’s why it’s valuable, just like relationships do, only monogamy takes a bit more work to stay romantically faithful to someone over a long period of time.

The idea that monogamy takes more work than polyamory is insane to me. It takes a different kind of work, sure, but polyamory is a lot of work. I communicate more with my partner in a poly relationship than I ever did in my mono marriage. There are conversations and feelings and scheduling and all kinds of things that are complex. I don’t see how monogamy takes more work.

Personally, all of my poly relationships have fluctuated except this one, changing, morphing throughout time between moments of monogamous commitment and moments of openness and more flexibility — this seems to be a good dynamic.

This is a good example of a spot where it might be easy for you to clarify what your meaning is — whether you are saying “this seems to be a good dynamic” in general or “this seems to be a good dynamic for me.”

Just judging from the long-term relationship writers here on Medium who are more realistic,

More realistic than… what? Who? I don’t see how writers on Medium are more realistic or knowledgeable than anybody, necessarily. Anyone can sign up and write for this website, it’s certainly not an indication of training or expertise.

most people who’ve been in long relationships (over 18 or so years) will tell you that at some point they had extreme feelings of desire for other people other than their primary partner. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s perfectly natural to have those feelings and it’s important that people know that.

Of course, I agree with this. The idea that once you partner up you’re not going to ever find someone else attractive again is an unfortunate myth our society pushes on people.

The reason I bring up time is because we can’t view someone as monogamous within a short window, because relationships are supposed to be lifelong commitments, so if we’re going to question whether or not people like to build romantic connections with multiple people, we need to include all of those instances, good and bad,

I don’t really understand what you mean when you say “we can’t view someone as monogamous within a short window.” Do you mean because poly relationships go through phases where the people might be monogamous? To me, those people are still poly and in a poly relationship, much the same way that a bisexual person doesn’t become gay or straight depending on who they are dating. They will always be bisexual.

The idea that relationships are supposed to be lifelong commitments is certainly a societal norm that needs to be combatted.

that was a bit of dishonesty to take my suggestion that people like to build multiple romantic connections with people and extrapolate that with me saying that most people are poly or that poly is also cheating.

Sorry, but no. I did not extrapolate that you said poly is cheating. In your first response to me, you said “If we were to consider infidelity as a different form of poly-relationships (the unwitting poly participant), it’s safe to say that almost everyone is some form of poly dynamic.” I addressed it because I will never consider infidelity a different form of a polyamorous relationship. They’re two different things, and even the suggestion that they might be on the same level isn’t something I’m cool with as a poly person.

You also said that most people desire more than one person. Yes, maybe I extrapolated you meant that most people are poly from that, so I’m sorry if that’s not what you meant.

But toxic monogamy is a very real thing and I absolutely despise that, its a very real culture we live under, and that needs to be addressed.

Of course toxic monogamy is a real thing. So is toxic polyamory. I agree that toxic monogamy, or toxic relationships of any kind need to be addressed, but that’s really a separate subject from this discussion.

I love Elle Beau’s writing, and I think she and I have shared some of the same experiences. I was in a marriage for 10 years that turned abusive, and experienced controlling behavior, gaslighting, and emotional abuse and neglect. But I don’t feel like expanding this conversation to the subject of toxic relationships is necessary at this time.

If we seem proud like we’re conquering monogamy, I think that’s a misinterpretation, we poly people are usually much more proud that we’re conquering our own inner demons — jealousy, fear of abandonment, need to control, obsession, violence, etc.

I think that people can be proud of conquering these types of things whether they are polyamorous or monogamous or single. I’m not sure what you mean by “we poly people,” I’m polyamorous too, and saying things like that we are more proud of our achievements just drives a wedge between different types of people, in my opinion.

This piece wasn’t a comparison between the two styles of love so much as why I left monogamy and what I prefer living this way — both of which I’m entitled to.

Of course you are entitled to your opinions and preferences. I think maybe my confusion came in a lot of the language that read as if you were saying “this works” rather than “this works for me.”

On a larger scale, our poly relationship styles aren’t an attack on monogamy so much as an attack on the darker sides of our human nature, those darker sides including possessiveness, aggression, violence, and sometimes death.

I think that the assumption that these types of things don’t happen in poly relationships is very dangerous. Abuse still happens in poly relationships, and it can be even more difficult to identify or get away from because sometimes it is multiple partners behaving badly toward one mutual partner. I’ve attended workshops about abuse in polyamorous relationships, and it manifests in ways that are familiar as well as ways that are unique to non-monogamy. Implying that the dark sides of human nature are somehow enlightened by being polyamorous is just not true.

Now you might be thinking, “But, polyamory isn’t a guarantee that you’ll conquer those things, many people fail,” to which I’ll simply reply that those people aren’t us, and this is how we became better lovers and came to find a new appreciation for love.

I guess I’m confused again. When you say “us” are you talking about polyamorous people, some community of people, or you and your partner?

It seems like you’ve had a bad experience with poly and I’m sorry for that,

Where are you getting this from at all? I haven’t had a bad experience with poly. I’m in a happy polyamorous relationship that I’ve been in for five years. I’m an active member of my local poly community and have led a local discussion group for several years.

while not all mongamy is toxic monogamy, a lot of it is.

I’ll continue to challenge our notions of “ownership” in relationships.

You could say this about almost anything. While not all food is bad for you, a lot of it is. While not all chemicals in the air are bad for you, a lot of them are. It’s a completely subjective statement.

I’m not sure where murder statistics come into this. I would never argue that controlling relationships don’t exist, and that there’s an element of control inherent in the idea of monogamous relationships. I don’t think this is something that the majority of people deal with on an everyday basis though, and I do think it is something that people in monogamous relationships can work to challenge or change without being polyamorous. I guess what I’m saying is that poly people don’t have a monopoly on challenging the idea of ownership in relationships.

I have every right to criticize this until people learn to behave, and the moment that polyamory becomes an idea that supplies the reason that HALF of the women of the U.S. are murdered are murdered, I’ll criticize that, too.

Polyamory is not a solution to relationship violence. Toxic masculinity is a HUGE part of this. It’s also an entirely separate subject from what we’ve been talking about and much too big to get into in this exchange, in my opinion. Blaming monogamy for relationship violence is too simple. There are other factors at play, and it’s a complex issue.

As for cheating, while cheating goes under-reported due to the obvious reluctance of people to report that they’re cheating on their spouses, most experts agree that cheating takes place in at least 60%-70% of marriages at some point.

Woah, there. That’s quite the claim! That article is a list of statistics without any sources cited, on a website that seems to just be full of regurgitated content, so I’m going to have to say I don’t believe that number, nor do I believe that it came from “most experts.” I found a few articles that did have statistics tied back to actual studies, and the numbers are quite a bit lower, like under 40%.

What you wrote reads as if you’re basing the idea that people are “not very good at” monogamy on false statistics.

it’s a beautiful thing, even if it’s a beautiful thing that I could never do, a wholly monogamous relationship.

I don’t understand how you can say it’s a beautiful thing you could never do. Aren’t you currently in a mono/poly relationship? That means you are doing it. Would it be different if your partner broke up with their other partner and decided to be monogamous to you as well? Would you end the relationship?

I’m not pitting monogamy against polyamory. I’m simply responding to the words you’ve shared with the way they’ve read to me. It seems from our exchanges that you are not of the opinion that one is better than the other. I suppose that my point is that the way you write about polyamory and monogamy gives the impression that you do think one is better than the other.

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