Here’s a blinding flash of the obvious: non-monogamous relationships are beset with difficulties that are magnified by non-monogamy. This is so obvious that most non-monogamous folks try as hard as they can to justify the fact out of existence. Let me be clear like Barack — non-monogamous relationships are complicated in a way that monogamous relationships are not. Non-monogamy is harder. That’s not to downplay the difficulty of any long term monogamous relationships. They’re really freaking hard to maintain. It takes courage, sacrifice, and conflict management skills that no one is born with. It takes a student to be in any kind of relationship. Nonetheless, when you add more than one partner the problems don’t increase in a linear way. Between two people, there’s going to be a certain amount of conflict that’s got to be negotiated. Now add another human being, even the most well adjusted, eloquent, emotionally in-touch human being, and the problems get bigger by three fold.
This is why a lot of people don’t choose non-monogamy. Or to put it a different way, this is why a lot of people have non-monogamous relationships without consent of the participants.
All that is not to say consensual non-monogamy isn’t possible, but it is to say that it’s really, really hard. Harder than most of us are equipped to handle. So, remind yourself; if you’re going to do this, you’re making an ethical commitment to the folks around you, who you love and who love you, that you’re going to strive to meet the conflicts and obstacles. You realized that what you’re attempting requires above-average diligence, patience, self-control, and respect. You are aware that if you don’t rise to those challenges, the result will be emotional catastrophe.
Because that’s the truth. How many people do you know whose non-monogamy has earned them catastrophe? I know a lot. It scares me. It drives me to ensure that my communication with the people I so deeply care about is explicit. It makes me ensure that I practice the safest kind of sex I can – with everyone. I have additional responsibilities to my partners because I have chosen to have more than one. It’s just the facts.