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Old 02-16-2011, 08:29 PM
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Default Unbiased list of pros/cons for mono vs poly

Hi all. My husband and I are very new to poly. We've been married for almost a year and together for five, and have been discussing the possibility of polyamory for a couple years. Over the last couple months, he's dated two different women. The relationship with the first she ended after 3 weeks. The new girl he has been seeing for a couple weeks and I think they are on date #3. I'm definitely struggling with jealousy and (more so) fear and insecurity and he's definitely getting inpatient and frustrated with me and doesn't like feeling like his actions are causing me a lot of pain.

However, I still see the potential for poly to be good for us and I want to be sure we don't give up on it because of personal issues that should be dealt with no matter what relationship style we choose to persue. So...I've been looking high and low for an unbiased list of pros and cons for each kind of relationship. To no avail. I'm sick of religious moralists saying monogamy is the only ethical way, and sick of poly propoganda saying that poly somehow more evolved or higher-minded.

What are the real pros and cons, assuming your mental health and communication are good in either case? Stuff that doesn't go away once you work through painful issues. Thanks everyone.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:56 AM
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Interesting question. I can't believe that I can't think of any other threads that address this question. Even though Mono and I have talked about it. It is likely not evident in other threads what the answer is to you question, but if you are interested... you could do a search in the tags for "mono poly" "monopoly" or the like... there is a lot of info... although not specific to the question. There is little on the threads gone before on either mono or poly being better over the other... just so you know.

Benefits to mono.... you get to be the one and only person of someone who is not going to wander, have eyes for another, seek out more sex or love from another... everything is about you in every aspect of their emotionally connected life. At least hypothetically I believe that some people can actually pull that off, or are actually built this way. Its like a dream to me as a person who thrives on a lot of attention and a focus for her love in return. Others find it tiresome and a weight upon their shoulders when someone is that focused on them. It is certainly a lot easier and one can concentrate on something other than their relationship life... at least in terms of my life anyway.

Mono is an easier ride for many as it is handed to us... the rules are set there for us to follow. We can rely on them and fall back on them... that feeling can be a relief sometimes, yet it can also mean a lack of adventure and become stale in a relationship.

Benefits to poly..... you can spread your love around or experience your partners love being spread around. That can manifest in some fun sexual experiences to some amazingly close friendships and community building with people who are like minded and just as willing to love you as your partner. It can be an adventure that pushes most people to the edge of their comfort, only to find that they are capable of huge amounts of acceptance of others and self love.

There is abundance of loving feelings when poly is done in such as a way to expand on that feeling... sometimes it isn't or someone within your realm is not capable of accomplishing that. When it's going well, it is an incredibly world expanding, holistic feeling. When it isn't going well, it feels incredibly vulnerable and over extended.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:31 AM
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Redpepper, I was hoping you would respond. You bring up some interesting ideas. I think I find myself vacillating between wanting the easy, predictable comfort of monogamy and the unlimited adventure of poly. Right now comfort is really all I want, but I know I'm feeling pushed to my limits and not like my normal self.

The issue that triggered my question is that my husband told me a few days ago he'd be going out on a date with, let's call her A, on Saturday. I said ok, what time? For days he resisted telling me when he would be gone. Finally this morning he said the party he'd be going to at A's was from 2pm to 2am. "Wow, a 12 hour party, huh? All day alone?" Only after really pushing did I get him to say "of course" he was planning in coming home in the early evening. He was kind of offended that I couldn't just know that and be prepared to spend "a couple hours" on my own. He said he didn't want to plan his day because he wanted to be "spontaneous". Aside from feeling hurt because knowing generally how long we'd be out with others was one of our ground rules, I was thinking "well, poly just ain't gonna work for you then." It seems to me that poly always requires a lot of planning and time management and that there isn't a lot of room for spontaneity. Would you agree?
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detritus View Post
So...I've been looking high and low for an unbiased list of pros and cons for each kind of relationship. To no avail. I'm sick of religious moralists saying monogamy is the only ethical way, and sick of poly propoganda saying that poly somehow more evolved or higher-minded.

What are the real pros and cons, assuming your mental health and communication are good in either case? Stuff that doesn't go away once you work through painful issues. Thanks everyone.
I just finished reading "Polyamory in the 21st Century" by Deborah Anapol. In the last chapter she addresses this topic.
Also-she isn't "pro-poly" or "pro-monogamy".
She's anti- "forced monogamy" (meaning that she thinks people should be free to choose monogamy or poly or whatever). I found her to be pretty un-biased. She doesn't take the "if you aren't poly you aren't shit" attitude. Which I greatly appreciated.

Also-I found out about her in the first place from "Mono" on here-who is... well VERY mono. He preferred her books over other poly books because she's not so cocky and arrogant. She's very... "mono friendly" so to speak.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:52 AM
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It seems to me that poly always requires a lot of planning and time management and that there isn't a lot of room for spontaneity. Would you agree?
I'm not RP-but if I may, I'll respond.

No, not always. But, yes, mostly.

There are times when spontaneity can be had, and that's awesome, but with every person you add to your life, that is reduced. This isn't just a "poly" thing. It's true of family life. I have 4 kids-with each additional kid, a bit less spontaneous time was available.

I have a husband and a boyfriend as well. There aren't a lot of times when spontaneity is possible, because I have responsibilities and commitments to each of those people.

HOWEVER-as I type this I am in Florida on a trip. That opportunity popped up spontaneously last week. A friend offered me a ticket and I accepted. If I wasn't polyamorous-it wouldn't have been possible because of my responsibility to my kids. But-because I am poly, I have extra people who can pick up the responsibility to my kids for 4 days.

In this case, polyamory was the reason I COULD be spontaneous.

Your REAL question (it seems to me) is-was it reasonable of him to assume that he could "spontaneously" make plans to go out-without making plans for going out. My answer to that would be, no. That isn't a poly issue. That's a respect issue.
It's disrespectful to not work with your loved ones to assure that your timing is appropriate not only for yourself but also for them as well. This is true of parent/child, friend/friend, husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, metamour/spouse and damn near every other meaningful relationship. Hell, it's even true of supervisor/employee and coworker/coworker relationships!
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:56 AM
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Thanks for the responses everyone. LovingRadiance, I actually just found a short article by Deborah Anapol on Psychology Today that addressed my question a little bit. I didn't realize she had also written a book. I'll check it out, thank you! I spoke again with my husband about what happened this morning and he apologized. Nerves were worn thin and not enough sleep had been had, and he sees now he was in the wrong. We're both pretty exhausted and wrung out from all the changes to our lives lately--work, friends, family, plus the relationship changing. It's been a tumultuous last couple months. We don't have/want kids, so I think that makes it a little different in regards to adding partners reducing the workload...though I wouldn't say no if someone wanted to cat sit so we could take a spontaneous trip. :-)
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:46 AM
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spontaneity in poly is a difficult one. Especially if you aren't used to it... having a partner to consider is like having a child sometimes perhaps. I have a child though, so I don't know the difference maybe. I always have to consider when I will be home for sitters or to make sure I spend time with my boy. I can't just go and do whatever a lot of the time, or leave a party that is 12 hours long to my spontaneous self. I have to have a plan a lot of the time. In monogamy, when one doesn't have a child and they want to go and do whatever whenever they want, there is nothing holding them back like another partner or child. I can imagine that might be new to your husband and something that he would have to get used to. Definitely a down fall to monogamy...
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:20 PM
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Definitely a down fall to monogamy...
Ahh, I see what you did there.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:27 PM
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Poly
Love more than one

Mono
Love only one

Both have their own pros. Monogamy is somewhat protected, your heart is no longer out there to be broken. There is a safety in the minimalism that can be monogamy (I say can be, because most of us know all to well that monogamy usually happens back to back). Poly leaves you open to being vulnerable. In that vulnerability to can find strength. But it does leave you open to hurt. Poly also allows you to love more than one. There is a power in being able to give that to people honestly. I get great joy from loving .. my lovers.. and in turn being loved...

You are on a poly board asking poly people pro and cons. Its been so long since I have been monogamous, the only benefit I can see is protection. So I know for me, I cant answer this question very honestly.
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:18 PM
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You are on a poly board asking poly people pro and cons. Its been so long since I have been monogamous, the only benefit I can see is protection. So I know for me, I cant answer this question very honestly.
I know, I know. I'm aware of the irony. Still, there are a few mono people on the board, or people in mono/poly relationships that I thought might have some thoughts. Or, at the very least, people who are little newer to poly whose memories of being monogamous are little fresher.

I think your description of finding strength in being vulnerable is apt. The raw vulnerability I'm feeling right now is *really* exhausting, but I'm finally starting to relax into it. Hubby and I curled up last night to watch a movie together and started talking about the different kinds of people we find attractive, our crushes, etc. We haven't done that in a while, and I always enjoy it. And I finally had the realization that when he wants to date other women who are different from me in whatever way, I shouldn't see it as a criticism of me--he isn't saying he wants me to be more like them in that way. It's just being attracted to different things, in different people, in different ways. So I guess remaining vulnerable for these last couple months is starting to pay off.

Last edited by detritus; 02-17-2011 at 07:36 PM. Reason: typo
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