No. There are many forms of family other than "monogamous heterosexual dyad." You cannot deduce the entire history of the human race by examining late 20th century Western culture. In all cultures, people have sex for all sorts of reasons, in all sorts of arrangements, clandestine and open. No particular form can be enshrined as the primary evolutionarily sound one. You have to look at the whole, at what *is*, not just at what's promoted in various cultures as "the way it should be."
I think if you really could look at the eons during which human beings have been in existence, you would find that the vast majority of human beings did not live in lifelong heterosexual monogamous dyads. I’d say that the majority ended up in heterosexual dyads for some portion of their lives, but I doubt that most of those dyads were lifelong or monogamous through their whole existence.
Most people have romantic relationships with people other than their primary partners — either before the partnership came to be, or during, or after. The only difference between the way most Westerners live and the people who call themselves polyamorous is that the poly folks usually have multiple relationships with the knowledge of all the people involved, rather than secretly.
I’ve been happy in monogamous relationships. But my partner and I feel that
polyamory adds to our lives.
People in poly relationships are not all that different from people in
monogamous relationships: in a lot of cases, the only difference is that
there are multiple romantic/sexual relationships, and they are conducted with
the knowledge of those involved. Since there is not such a big difference
between mono and poly, therefore, an argument based on “poly is
evolutionarily unsound; only mono works” is, to use your word, spurious.
The answers to those questions depend on the people involved. My take on
it is that some aspects are harder, some are easier; and some people find
the rewards worth it; others don’t.
You’re talking about a specific form of poly — a triad. I can’t address how
to get along within a triad because I don’t live in a triad — I have one
primary relationship and several secondary relationships (which are similar
to close friendships but include more physical contact than most
friendships). But I think that much of what I do in a primary/secondary poly
situation applies also to a triad.
My primary partner and I got polyamory to work through trial and error,
much much much discussion, some fighting, cussed stubbornness, strong
belief in our relationship, and dedication to making poly work for us.
Basically it all boils down to communication, respect, and honesty.
Communicate what you want, listen carefully to what your partners want,
respect and trust your partners, be worthy of respect and trust yourself,
make room for feelings (yours and others), and be honest. If you can do
all those things, then you can determine whether there are overlaps
between what you want and what your partners want, and you can develop a
lifestyle within those overlaps.
Jealousy takes some special care. The key to dealing with jealousy is to
learn to respect and make room for feelings in your relationship — even
unpleasant feelings. That doesn’t mean to do whatever the jealous person
wants all the time. It does mean to respect what the person wants, even if
they want it because of jealousy.
Infidelity is deliberately breaking a promise you agreed to keep.
If you agreed not to have sex with people outside the relationship and then
you did, it would be infidelity. If you agreed not to spend the household
money on certain things, and then you did, it would be infidelity of
To get over the rough spots, deliberately try to remember the good times and
talk about them. Deliberately put the fights aside as much as possible in
order to have good times too. Commit to working out problems to the best of
your ability, including seeing a relationship counselor if necessary. (Yes,
there are poly friendly relationship counselors.)
In some cases. In other cases I think it is a product of something’s
actually going wrong, right now, in a relationship:
“You are ignoring me in favor of that other person; you have changed your behavior toward me while expecting me to behave the same way toward you, and I don’t like it.” In other words, sometimes it’s a response to “insecurity”; sometimes it’s a response to “accurate perception.” Sometimes it’s a combination.
Plenty of us have been in situations where a person would not say “leave” but was abusing us,
emotionally or physically, to the point where we had to take the steps to
leave on our own. I consider that a very important option in a
relationship. If someone is consistently not treating you in a way
appropriate to the kind of relationship you are supposed to have and the
kind of relationship you want, then I think it’s a misapplication of
“pride” to stay in the relationship. Yes, I’m sure you can take all sorts
of pain and abuse, but what do you gain by doing so?
(Some people do agree never to leave, but the key is *agree*, and it
presumably includes some understandings of how one should be treated. Do
you have such agreements with your partner?)
Appropriate resources: To live on one’s own, one needs to be financially
independent or to have some way of getting the income one needs; one needs a
support network of friends and/or professional helpers; one needs a source of
pride in oneself such as a job.
To break up with someone, one needs to feel that one has the ability to
put together those resources quickly enough so that one will not be in
psychological or physical danger.
I don’t leave people easily. I wait for many months before giving up on a
situation that I’ve committed myself to. However, I *do* retain the option to
And love has little to do with it. I can love someone and still see that
they are abusing me or that our relationship is not right for us, and
choose to leave. Love does not require any particular action.
In my experience with transitioning to a poly relationship, I did not
continue to use a veto indefinitely. I placed certain limits on
relationships until I became more comfortable with the way my partner was
getting to know other people and he became more aware of my comfort
levels. At that point, there was less need to place limits on
relationships. The veto remains as a last ditch way of asserting control in
a very uncomfortable situation. But I am not feeling the need to use it at
I have been in both mono and poly relationships, and I haven’t noticed
this to be true. In fact, since good poly relationships usually deal with
jealousy as just another emotion, rather than as something Truly Evil to
be Avoided at All Costs, I would say that in the long run, poly
relationships include less jealousy, and less destructive jealousy, than