It's notable that no one has yet discussed children and child-rearing in this thread.
One of the functions of marriage is to provide a stable environment for children as they grow up; the traditional model is for the two individuals who produce a child to commit to being and working together to raise that child.
(I hasten to add that, of course, this doesn't always work out in practice, and other models are workable, as well, as more and more people are beginning to realize.)
The point is that part of the dynamic between my spouse (Vix) and me is that we are raising two daughters, and we are committed to being together at least long enough to launch them into the world. I think of it as a binding obligation I have to the girls, and to Vix.
I don't intend to have children with any other partner, nor can I reasonably expect any other partner to take on any of the responsibilities for raising my children.
This means that any other relationships I might have would be different in character from my relationship with Vix, and that my relationship with Vix and the girls may have more of a claim on my time and attention than other relationships.
It also means that there are social pressures and expectations and, yes, advantages that swirl around us, serving to reinforce the priority of my marriage and my family as a social institution.
That said, I don't think any of this would excuse bad behavior toward other partners, or veto power, or any of that nonsense.
It just complicates everything. Really.
I have sometimes wondered if I should even have any other relationships, at this point, because the obligations of my current relationship and all the various social pressures on me - tied to advantages and status I really can't give up just yet, including a career that makes it possible for me to raise my children in security! - would make it so difficult to hold up my obligations to my other partners.
It occurs to me that one thing I'm doing here is shifting away from the language of privilege and entitlement and toward the language of obligations.
What obligations would I have toward other partners?
At minimum, I have the obligation to respect their standing as free, independent human beings with goals and choices of their own, to protect and support their capacity to choose freely. If I can't live up even to that basic obligation toward another partner because of the obligations and pressures and advantages of my existing relationships, then I have no business even thinking of myself as polyamorous.
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 04-27-2013 at 02:04 PM.