Putting In The Work
I was sitting in the car hammering our this blog post on my iPad, thinking about how comfort, security, and safety is found in polyamorous relationships. They're inherently unstable.
Let me describe a little what I mean. I use the word 'unstable' to describe a state of emotional contentment. Balancing your life across three, four, five, or more partners forces compromise and sacrifice: it's assured that not everyone will get their expectations and needs met at all times; not all people will be perfectly happy; you can't make everyone happy at all times.
In monogamy, you can concentrate all of your energy on a single person. Everything you do can reinforce a singe person's needs, diminishing fear and reinforcing confidence.
Meanwhile, under polyamory, if I extend more time to a partner, I take away time for my wife; if my wife spends more time with her partner, she takes away time from me; if my partner dates another person, that removes energy from me - all of which potentially gives rise to fear, jealousy, and resentment.
At first glance, polyamory appears idyllic with happy people coexisting in happy relationships with little strife. Yet my instincts tell me this is rare in polyamory. I think creating such a dynamic takes constant practice with a learned skill: negotiating out of abundance.
Stability (read: emotional contentment) in polyamorous relationships can't really be met unless there's negotiation for mutual benefit ... everyone is looking out for everyone else's needs ... everyone is willing to negotiate and compromise. Transparency, honesty, cooperation. A learned pattern of negotiating out of abundance rather than scarcity.
Instability (read: emotional discontent) in polyamorous relationships would be manifested between individuals negotiating for exclusive, individual benefit ... everyone is looking out for their own needs ... everyone is willing to compromise only on whim or advantageous trade. Concealment, deceit, selfishness. It's a learned pattern of negotiating out of scarcity rather than abundance.
If you're operating within a polyamorous framework, what's your intention? Ultimately, do you want healthy, stable relationship models or unhealthy, unstable ones? If your intention is to create stability, then there must be a willingness to put the requisite work in.
And if you're to somehow argue that stability isn't your responsibility (but the responsibility of others) and your contribution isn't necessary, then you're in fact sewing instability. Absenteeism, deflection, avoidance, or ignorance isn't a license to avoid putting in the work.
But in the end, it might just come down to personalities, friendships, and outlooks on life - a spark of a special something between everyone that facilitates (lubricates? :) ) the connection, and if that isn't there - or diametrically opposed - it might be possible that the work alone won't cut it. And therein might lie a very tragic and frustrating ordeal for those who're putting in the work, making the sacrifices, attempting to compromise, and not being at all acknowledged or appreciated.