Originally Posted by StitchwitchD
Being committed to each other is one thing, wanting the same things out of the relationship are something else entirely.
Ah yes, I think this is an excellent distinction. Commitment, at least the way I define it, doesn't "gloss over" fundamental details in terms of values and goals. It might make you feel like you wish to stay around to find some common ground, even when you suspect there is not, but once it is final that goals or values are incompatible, then no amount of commitment will cause the relationship to be a happy one.
However, there's some conflict over the details. She'd like to have a mostly monogamous (and completely monoamorous) marriage, have sex when she feels like it (every 2-3 months) and have 3rd adult in the household to help with chores, kids and finances. He'd like to have sex on a regular basis (at least a few times a week), not hurt anyone's feelings and stay married to his wife, and he'd like more help with housework than she normally provides. I'd like to have a poly relationship with him, and not hurt anyone's feelings in the process. So, is there any way that commitment will help resolve this situation in a way that we'd all be okay with?
I agree with you - no, there is no way that this can be forced to work without some negotiation, which may or may not come up with a solution.
In my own situation and when helping others, i have have recommended that people think about what they want in terms of the "bottom lines" - what do they absolutely need in order to be happy. This isn't always the complete list of things they would *like*. Once you work out your bottom line you can compare with the others that you are trying to have a relationship with - if there are some clashes in those bottom lines, then there's really no point in continuing to thrash about - bottom-lines are non-negotiable things and the only way to force it to work is if someone gives up something that is vitally important to them for the "sake of the relationship". They won't be happy, and resentment and anger will creep in.
It's not a new concept, and it's certainly not originally mine (i.e. I won't take credit for it), but I have found that it works. I wrote about it at greater length in my blog at http://cieldumatin.livejournal.com/