1) Some of us became poly by opening an existing relationship, some meet somebody poly and give it a try, others decided to be non monogamous and then meet compatible partners.
2) Some people have separate relationships where minimal or no time is spent with metamours. Others spend some time together or might even live together. Those who live together may or may not all be romantically involved. I have separate relationships with minimal or no interaction with metamours.
3) I'm assuming your best friend is no longer with his ex? If so, I don't see why you couldn't be friends with her and his partner. If he is with his ex then what you're seeking is a vee relationship where you and her are friends but also both his romantic partners. As I said earlier, not everyone is "friends" with their metamours, but it is definitely preferable for there to be an absence of negative feeling. Meeting and spending time together helps some people to achieve that.
4) I would say that practicing polyamory makes it easier and less traumatic to change from a romantic relationship model to a friendship model without the mono normative negative feeling that is associated with the "failure" of a relationship. However, if the consequences of staying friends with someone outweighs the benefits of keeping them in your life, you cut ties, just like in any relationship.
4) People approach this differently. You'll find a similar spectrum of answers amongst any normal single parent forum when they discuss how they integrate dating and parenting, or conversely, how they do not integrate it.
If you mean how people handle the "who had kids with who" thing then you'll also find a wide range of answers. Many people have one primary partner who they do all those kinds of stuff with and then have relationships with other people which may exclude practical entanglements but doesn't negate commitment. Ie Primary and secondary. These people may be out to their kids, or secondary partners might be known as family friends. Some, like me, very rarely, if ever, allow their children to meet partners.
Other people have more than one primary style relationship and amongst these primary partners (who may or may not all be sexually and\or romantically involved) they have children and share childcare duties.
Others shun the notion of Co parenting being a "natural step" in a romantic relationship so they have children with people who are compatible Co parents. This means the romantic relationship between Co parents may be non existant or casual. I met a poly guy who has a wife who doesn't want children. He has always wanted kids.He has a young child with a lesbian friend who is also married to her partner. His wife is a sort of aunty to the child.
Last edited by london; 04-13-2014 at 01:22 PM.