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-   -   Philosophical Semantics, Part IV (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23942)

kdt26417 05-24-2012 07:17 AM

Philosophical Semantics, Part IV
In principle, on average, or both: Which is better, polyamory or monogamy?
  • Polyamory is a lot better than monogamy.
  • Polyamory is a little better than monogamy.
  • Monogamy is a lot better than polyamory.
  • Monogamy is a little better than polyamory.
  • Polyamory and monogamy are equally good.
  • Polyamory and monogamy can't be compared like that.
  • Polyamory and monogamy shouldn't be compared like that.
Any detail you could go into for your answer would be appreciated (i.e., why did you pick that answer).

Prequel threads:
Philosophical Semantics, Part I
Philosophical Semantics, Part II
Philosophical Semantics, Part III

kdt26417 05-24-2012 07:45 AM

I voted that polyamory and monogamy are equally good. This is mainly stated in principle. There's a lot of anti-non-monogamy conditioning out there that skews the results of how the two lovestyles compare in practical terms. Many monogamous relationships are just people unhappily trying to make themselves fit for a box they weren't designed for, but I don't feel I can say for sure how many.

In principle, if both people truly consent to the monogamous arrangement, and are truthful and loving towards each other, then there's no reason to say it's less good than polyamory. I've known polyamorous relationships that were worse off than some of the monogamous relationships I've seen. Further discussion on this topic is welcome, for those who are interested.

km34 05-24-2012 08:44 AM

I don't think it is really possible to compare the two without skewing it one way or the other.

I find it pretty close to impossible to have a conversation about relationship structure (monogamy vs. nonmonogamy) without emotions getting involved and without delving into the pros and cons without being attached to the outcome, it isn't possible to say which would be better if all other factors were the same.

For each individual, this discussion could be had based on their personal experiences, beliefs, feelings, situations, etc. but to say monogamy is always better or polyamory is always better in general... Not possible.

For all we know there could be underlying psychological or physical benefits to one over the other on an almost universal scale. Who's to say?

nycindie 05-24-2012 01:17 PM

I voted "polyamory and monogamy can't be compared like that" because...um... they can't.

JaneQSmythe 05-24-2012 01:35 PM

Better in what way?
Good for whom?
Which people?
Which cultural context?

I think it would be possible to set up studies to compare monogamy vs. poly for some particular parameter that was accepted as good/better: say - asking people how happy they are with their relationship structure on a ten point scale - and then comparing the two averages. But then, to be truly rigorous, you would have to get all of the participants in the study to switch to the other relationship structure and rate their happiness there (perhaps people who choose poly relationships are happier - or less happy - in ANY relationship).

So much depends on the individuals involved and what is better for them. Even if you did the "happiness study" above and showed that, on average, one was "better" than the other - that doesn't say anything about what is better for individual people in specific circumstances.

Which is why I said that they "shouldn't" be compared that way - not that they "can't".

kdt26417 05-24-2012 02:40 PM

@ km34: Good post, thanks for your explanation. I can't argue about there being too many unknowns for an accurate comparison.

@ NY: It looks like "can't be compared" is going to be the majority view, though I'm curious to see if there's any exceptions.

@ Jane Q: It's true that we have many squishy boundaries here. It's not a very scientific study, just a collection of opinions.

ThatGirlInGray 05-25-2012 04:35 AM

I voted as equally good, but I was thinking in terms of theoretical, ideal relationship structures. I wasn't thinking in terms of practical applications. All other things being equal (honesty, partners having compatible needs/wants, it being an acceptable situation to everyone involved, etc) I don't think one relationship structure is inherently better than the other. They both have their pluses and minuses (possibility for a bigger support network with poly, but double or triple the work and schedule juggling!)

kdt26417 05-25-2012 07:13 PM

Yeah, that was kind of my feeling on it.

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