Originally Posted by redpepper
Someone told me awhile back that they considered poly fidelity the same as monogamy. Now my assumption was that their definition of monogamy was a couple who do everything together; sexually and in terms of friendship and achieving life goals.
I'd say it's more similar to monogamy than open poly. A person in an open poly relationship will most likely have a hard time understanding the need to limit the amount of future partners. A mono person will most likely have a hard time understanding the concept of open poly. I'm remembering one poster who was worried that in an open poly setting, there would eventually be too many partners each involved with the other and there would be this monstrous poly ball just expandind and expanding and eventually you wouldn't even remember everyone's name... (of course that wasn't said in the post, but the spirit was similar).
I'd venture a guess that for the Average Monogamous Person out there, the idea of polyfi is more comprehensible at least in the beginning of their journey. Thus it would be no accident that so many beginners end up looking for polyfi, or describe it as their ideal. I suspect this is more common for people who start out in couples, because, well, the image polyfi conveys is marriage, just with more people in it. Essentially, the couple would not have give up their essential coupledom - it would just expand to include more people ("We are looking for someone to share the special love we have and to complete our family").
Then there is the prospect of future change. In polyfi (the image, not the actual life situation) there is an implicit promise that things will always stay the way they are. I will love you (two, or three, or whatever) forsaking all others. We shall build a life together everyone will be happy and comfortable with. If we just adjust to this new situation and learn to live and love together, the upheavals (the NRE, the jealousy, the insecurity, time management issues etc.) of the past will stay in the past.
And also there is the persistent idea that metamours need to be involved with each other, be friends, hang out for poly to work. The idea of polyfi removes the possibility of your partner bringing along someone new you don't like, or someone who will threaten your position.