Originally Posted by northhome
Based on the research I made into hundreds of poly setups (I wrote a book on poly) this is not quite true - or at least not in Western Europe. Other parts of the world may be different of course.
The main dynamic I saw in the breakdowns I studied was lack of clear agreements (or agreements that were broken) coupled with poor negotiation and communication skills.
The main underlying cause for breakdowns was very often that people had expectations and/or ideals that did not match with the reality of their situations. But this is quite human, no?
People having expectations which aren't voiced clearly would certainly cause any relationship to have breakdowns. However, this breakdown is going to happen in any case if the expectations of the people involved are not compatible and certainly when the expectations themselves are unreasonable. In this case, if everyone is very clear and up front at the very beginning then the relationship stops before it starts. If everyone is using muddled and half assed communication then the relationship will fall apart at some point in the future.
Simply expressing an idea clearly does not validate it nor does it ensure that the people who you expect to act in a certain way have any intention of doing so.
I suspect the only types of relationships which fall apart simply due to shitty communication are the ones which never really had any problems to begin with; relationships whose big issues are the minutia of living day to day and getting on each others nerves while doing it.
There is something to be said about the nature of these expectations and the agreements/boundaries/rules built from them. If the expectation is that the people around me are going to change their behavior to suit my insecurity... that expectation will cause problems for all but the most compliant of partners; it will cause me to end the association outright. The crystal clear communication, in this case, simply decided when the relationship would break down, not *if* it was going to break down.
I suppose people can "negotiate" some kind of compromise so that the relationship trudges on and everyone is only a little unhappy.