Every once in a while I hear people debating the merits of monogamy and polyamory, and each of their advantages over the other. People on both sides of this inexplicable argument feel a great need to defend their stance, which I really don't understand.
Those who are more monogamy-minded will argue that people who are polyamorous aren't actually in love with their partner, or partners and that they are seeking out others because of their dissatisfaction with their mate. Conversely, people on the polyamory side of the debate will argue that monogamy isn't natural and that we're all built to have more than one partner.
My personal opinion is that both sides are incorrect and that they need to stop bickering about it. Why? Well, I'll start off with the monogamous side's claim, that polyamorous people are dissatisfied with their partner. There's no evidence to support this claim, to my knowledge. In fact, what I think is happening here is that the monogamy-minded person is projecting upon the poly-minded person their feelings regarding relationships, and making an assumption based on what would cause them to seek out additional partners. Basically, the monogamy-minded person feels like the only reason they would seek out other partners is if they were unhappy with their current partner. While that may be the case for that individual, they need to be aware of the fact that not everyone feels or thinks the same way.
The polyamorous side's claim, that monogamy isn't natural, and that we all naturally want to have more than one partner, isn't entirely correct, either. There's no evidence to support this claim, either. While it may be true that many of us can feel an attraction to others while still being with our partners, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone feels the same way, nor that polyamory would work in this person's case.
For me, I'm more monogamy-minded. Sort of. I can picture myself being attracted to more than one person, and even potentially developing a bond with more than one person, but, I'm also the jealous type. So, were I in an open relationship, and my partner was dating other guys, or screwing around, or even had another boyfriend, I would be jealous. It's for that reason that I don't think polyamory would work for me.
Those who are polyamorous, from what I've witnessed, have a better handle on their jealousy and either don't experience it at all or have learned to work through it. They will generally also set up certain boundaries for themselves and their partners which may help curtail any jealousy they might experience. So, in the case of an open relationship, they might agree that any play time with other partners not involve certain sex acts, or not involve any kissing, or they may have an agreement between the two of them that they won't discuss with their partner what they do with other people. There are any number of ground rules that they can set up, and that's just in the instance of an open relationship. To further complicate matters, some polyamorous relationships involve triads, in which there are three partners who are all dating one another. Or a married couple could each independently have a boyfriend or girlfriend on the side. Thier marriage may be a primary relationship while the others relationships are secondary. This all seems to take a lot of planning to coordinate, but, as far as I can tell, everyone in this arrangement is usually happy. If they aren't they're surely free to take their leave. I've only listed a few different arrangements, but there are any number of ways to have a poly relationship. It's not just limited to what I've written.
With a monogamous relationship, both parties have agreed to be completely faithful with one another, and this makes them happy. They picture themselves only loving this one person, and never even looking for another person. Though others may catch their eye, they opt to forgo any outside relationships and stick with their partner. This may require a lot of willpower on their part.
What baffles me is that each side wants to tell the other side how to live. They both want to tell the other that their relationship is wrong. Why this is, I'm not sure. My best guess is that, in bad-mouthing the other relationship style, you can feel like you're justifying your own choices, as if you have any obligation to justify them.
I think that what's most important is that each individual finds the relationship style that works best for them, and that they find compatible partners who also appreciate this same style. It would seem that it could be potentially disastrous if a polyamorous person and a monogamous person were to date. I don't think that there's really any middle ground which could be met which wouldn't require some sort of deceptions. I suppose you could have a monogamous person and a polyamorous person in a situation in which the monogamous person has allowed their poly partner to find outside relationships while remaining monogamous themselves. In this case, the monogamous person would have to have a good handle on their jealousy, but I suppose it could work.
Here's the thing, though: Whatever relationship style you have, if it works for you, that's great. But don't expect others to tailor their relationships to suit your expectations. What works for you, works for you, and what works for them, works for them. There's no need to criticize the other side. To me, that's like a heterosexual person criticizing my homosexual relationships. My relationships don't concern you, so butt out! You worry about you, and I'll worry about me. I think that's the way it should be.