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Comments on Tuesday 4 February 2003:
Bit of a conversation the other day about polyamory, including the immortal phrase "I wish it was that easy for me". This triggered a logical deconstruction of why polyamory is not easier than monogamy, and probably not better in most cases either. The polyamory referred to, here, is that of having more than one serious relationship - not the more common "one serious relationship plus sanctioned sleeping around", nor "no serious relationships, just a lot of sleeping around".

It's really surprisingly easy to explain to anyone who's ever been in a relationship or two. First, remember all the things about your monogamous relationship that irk(ed) you. Now add some extra jealousy and resentment, and multiply all that by two - that's what you'd have if you were in a polyamorous relationship with just two people. For each person you add, increase the amount of negative stuff you add before the multiplication.

Of course, you also increase the amount of positive stuff. But here's the catch - imagine all the positive stuff of your one relationship. Now subtract however much of that would be lost if the person spent half their time out at sea or something, then multiply by two.

That's the major catch - there's no way having two relationships will be twice as good as having one. There's a pretty good chance it won't even be better - you need the good parts of a relationship to outweigh the bad by probably three or four times before adding another relationship wouldn't be a bad idea overall.

You also must remember to subtract a bit for your loss of alone time, if you value that sort of thing (though if everyone involved in a relationship with you has the same number of partners as you, this can cancel out).

So, the score of a monogamous relationship is "(X-Y)"; the score of a pair of relationships is "(2(X-T-Y-J)" - assuming all relationships are equal. While this works nicely if things are strongly predominantly good ("(10-1-1-1)*2 > (10-1)"), if that's not the case then you come out with not only a worse ratio of goodness to relationships (which will always be the case), but also less goodness overall.

Not only that, but it's even worse! Using a hypothetical commodity (we'll call it "games of chess"), imagine that you want to play chess. Your partner also enjoys chess, and will play it with you exactly as much as you want. Now bring in another partner, who will also play chess - you haven't doubled the amount of chessy goodness, because you don't want to play it any more than you were already doing. You've had no net gain at all, from the increase in availability of that commodity. So it is with everything. And again, it's still worse - you'll be saturated with chess-playing, and one or both of your partners won't be getting the chess they want.

And all that's assuming that everyone involved has several partners - there's also the additional resentment and awkwardness when one part of the glob has only one partner, who has more than one - the dangler will either get unfairly little time with a partner (as the others can all go to a different partner when one is indisposed), or will tend to take what seems an unfair amount of their one partner's time (such that that person's other partner gets resentful - "they spend twice as much time with you as I do").

Hence, from all this negative stuff, it's my firm belief that anyone complaining "I wish my partner was poly" would end up with much more to complain about if their wish were granted. Of course, I'm not saying polyamory is a bad thing - if I thought that, I'd not be there myself. It's just bad for people whose relationships don't generally work - ie. people. [18:17]

Tom
I wish my partner was Polly. Either the one from 'The Bill', or 'The Magician's Nephew.' I just love the name. It's incredibly difficult to find a Polly these days. I've had a Molly and a Holly, but it's not quite the same thing.

Digi
Based on what youve said, I think its probably best for most people (men especially) that says its okay to shag other people, as long as an efforts made by the shagger to keep it secret, and theres no emotional interaction, and its not openly discussed between partners. So basically cheating.

Works in France.

Whats the word for a relationship where all members love each other? Like A loves B and C, and B loves A and C ...etc?

Nik
'complicated'

RavenBlack
Nik's answer is good. Polyamory is the word that covers all such things, unfortunately. You could probably be mostly understood by referring to that as "closed-circle polyamory" or something along those lines.
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