Tonberry: I appreciate you sharing your perspective. It's very interesting to hear what it's like for you in practical terms. I'll try to respond in kind and see if I can demonstrate more of what it's like for me and thus why I find there's more quality time for me in monogamy.
It's interesting what you said about just hanging out with someone. You're right that you can't tell someone about your day if you were there the whole time. It is important to still do your own things, but it's possible to have your own time and quality partner time at the same time (to overuse the word time).
Naturally my partner and I do not read together. We read mostly different things and at very different rates. That would be too much of a loss of the individual. We do, however, sometimes enjoy reading near each other at the same time. What this provides in a monogamous relationship is the opportunity to share things as they occur in a way that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Every time either partner reads or experiences something that they find fascinating, the other partner is often nearby and happy to hear about it. Rather than hearing about a number of things in summary later, the opportunity is there to share them a little more in-depth as they occur.
Both of us have careers which are very independent and often lonely careers, but we are not lonely people. I write and compose and she paints and draws. Of course we have hobbies, but those are our primary pursuits. If we're at home working on something, we have the opportunity to interact as we work. She can get my opinion on something or share something she's discovered with me as it happens and vice versa. There's a great deal of intimacy and familiarity in that. Rather than trying to split our discoveries and understandings between multiple people, we have one person who has heard all of the previous ones who we can also share the new one with.
I also think that going to a movie on a date is a waste of time, but I don't think going to a movie with a partner is a waste of time. We do not talk while watching a movie or a tv show except for maybe a very occasional one sentence side comment to point out something we really like, but there's still an intimate involvement in the shared experience. I know when she gets excited about something or nearly any of her reactions to various things. In choosing to share the experience of watching a particular movie or show (which of course we don't always do) I can see how she reacts to the new thing. It's not a during-experience conversation that's important to me. It's that I know she has certain kinds of reactions to certain things, and I like being around to see them. I wouldn't be jealous if she shared those reactions with someone else, but I would feel like I was missing out on them. Then our conversations immediately after the movie or show discussing what we thought with the reactions still fresh in our minds would also be lost.
We do eventually want to play some board games together, but those sorts of activity oriented interactions are not important to us. We both like adventures, exploring new places, trying new foods, going for walks, etc. So when we want to share an experience and spend time with each other we do these things that we know we'll find mutual interest in. In fact, so many of our interests coincide that it would be terribly hard to find something we didn't find mutual interest in.
In doing those things by ourselves most of the time and just sharing them later, we would lose what we value out of it. What I value isn't discovering the really interesting tree or path and then telling her about it. It's being there when we discover it together. We talk and play with each other while exploring something and share in the exploration. If either of us are out by ourselves (which we often are as well) and discover something interesting, we often rush home to drag the other person out to see it (a desirable experience on both our parts).
We want to do all of our traveling together (and already have so far) for the same reasons. The shared experience of the exploration and adventure with someone who we've shared the vast majority of the other exploration and adventure with is what is desirable. It's all quality time for us. Of course we'd go off at various times and do our own thing, but the point for us is to do most of it together. We get a tremendous amount out of the actively shared perspectives.
In sexuality the exploration is the same. We both value having someone who we're entirely committed to. In fact, it seems a bit of a hassle to have to deal with other people. We have a growing understanding of each other's responses. We're always trying new things. At the same time, we understand each other sexually. The interrupting work for quick sex is just as desirable as the longer play at other times. To attempt to bring another person into those cycles and understandings would be...annoying.
When she goes somewhere I'll often pick her up when she comes back and vice versa. The sharing of the financial burden (though we maintain strictly separate bank accounts) is valuable for us both. It provides support when work ebbs and flows for either one of us. It also means we can buy each other gifts without worrying about buying gifts for anyone else. We're always noticing what the other responds to, and I'll pick up a surprise gift that she doesn't know exists based on a new interest she has just because I can. I could never even afford to do that with multiple people, and the sheer exertion of trying to keep even two people in my head on that level would be exhausting. When I go to a book shop I browse for both me and her because I'm so familiar with what she's reading and what her current reactions to books are. I couldn't add another person into that.
I also could never do an ebb and flow of financial support with more than one person. Additionally there's the issue of care. Both of us value having the consistent person around who's familiar with everything to help when something goes wrong. There's no question that the person who knows her best won't be there when she's having trouble with something, is sick, or even is in the hospital and vice versa. There would never be an issue of she's sick but my other is in the hospital so they take priority or that both were in the hospital and time had to be divided.
I couldn't divide my time between the things that she wanted to be involved in and the things that someone else wanted to be involved in. I'm far too focused on the person I'm with for that, and she is as well.
This is really what I mean by quality time in monogamy as well as getting to know someone on a level that's really impossible in any other way. Of course it seems that for you this isn't even something that's desirable which is great. Some of my early reactions to poly were that it was breaking all the rules and norms and moving relationships forward. I think it has created valuable discussion in relationships, but my perspective is more balanced now.
What I think is really moving forward is the understanding that there is no fairy tale relationship of any kind, and that a relationship is based on what the individual desires. What was most important to me here is to articulate my personal discovery that monogamy is not just some outdated immature fairy tale way of looking at the world but for some of us provides a mature, realistic and practical method of forming a relationship with another person. It doesn't inherently work on codependency or ideas that you could never love another. The mature understanding of it takes all of the available options into account, and then makes a decision based on them.
Finally, I felt it was necessary to articulate that, just like any variant of polyamory, monogamy also has a lot to offer for the right person that couldn't be found for them in another style of relationship.
You mentioned how different people feel crowded, lonely, etc. My preference is to divide my time between me-time, time spent with a single partner who I live with, and somewhat more minimal (not too minimal though) interactions with others. In that sense I like to be alone sometimes, love being with a partner I know intimately and trust, and don't like frequent amounts of strong interaction with other people. I'd rather keep them to friends, acquaintances, and people I have interesting conversations with where the majority of time will still be focused on myself and my partner. Some time would still be set aside for friends but possibly the amount of time devoted to a single poly secondary relationship for all of the friends combined.