There is a long-lasting standoff in the BDSM about monogamy versus polyamory. Some people who prefer monogamy feel pressured into polyamorous models by their partners, and some who prefer poly structures can be pressured into monogamy. Based on my observations, these attempts usually end badly. When resentment is a key component in a relationship, it deteriorates. It cannot improve without banishing that resentment, and some fundamental differences have no healthy compromise. Fundamental differences in monogamy vs polyamory are one of those areas.
To be clear, I beleive neither the superior model. One does not have to belittle an opposing view to accept that it may work better for some people. For me, polyamory is a more natural fit, but that does not make it inherently better. It does, however, still require as much, if not more work, than monogamy (which is not an excuse for monogamous folks to slack on communicating).
There are myriads of ways to structure poly relationships. If you talk to four long-term practitioners of polyamory, you will likely hear four different relationship models. The important part is making them work for the participating individuals.
Polyfidelity is an offshoot of polyamory. It generally references a group of people who are only intimate with a closed group. It could be a triad formation, or a closed quad, but the thing in common is that they are sexually fidelitous within an agreed upon and limited number of people.
Polyfidelity can have its own unique challenges. Some practitioners of polyamory scoff at those who practice polyfidelity, seeing them merely a step above those who practice monogamy, when in truth, we can all learn from one another. Those views can make it difficult to find as much support from the poly community as others do.
Additionally, those relationships can have their own inherent set of complications.
Imagine, if you will, a triad. Often these are composed of a couple and a third who has become an addition. We will also, for the sake of argument, imagine that they have overcome the hurdles of prioritizing and avoided hierarchical polyamory, making everyone feel equally valuable within their structure.
Living situations become a challenge. As long as all three are making time for one another in various ways, such as P1 and P2 spending time separately from P1 and P3, and P2 and P3 schedule time, things can run a little more smoothly.
But what happens when P1 and P2 are nesting partners (living together) and the third doesn’t get as much time?
This can lead to that person not getting needs met in some key areas: time; attention; physical intimacy; etc. By setting up ground rules which will allow P3 to get those needs met in other ways, with other partners, whether it be for impact play, cuddles, or other intimacy, it can ease some of those problems. If that partner insists upon having their needs solely met by P1 and P2 it can cause inequalities or if P1 and P2 believe it okay to demand they be the only ones to fill those needs, resentments will build.
The same can happen in polyfidelitous quads, which I have often seen occur in two compatible couples. These couples have a partner to meet a portion of their needs from the beginning, but still want their other needs met as well, and balancing that among four can be a scheduling challenge (I recommend a calendar app). It can also set up some guilty feelings and feelings of jealousy about the way partners are connecting with others, and those feelings need to be addressed.
M/s and D/ s relationships can often be confused for being naturally polyamorous, though this does not have to be the case. Some people who have been part of the Kink Community for extended periods choose one partner and one alone. Others choose to have a structure where one Master or Dominant has more than one submissive or switch, who may or may not be emotionally or sexually involved with one another.
Ultimately, while my preference is non hierarchical kitchen table polyamory, each polycule has to find its own way and create the dynamic which works best for them. As a community, I see our role as supporters, nurturers who share experiences and learn from one another rather than telling anyone they are doing it wrong. We always have room to grow and room to learn in every new experience and partnership.
About the Author
Christmas bunny has been exploring kink since she was legal to do so. Her serious writing started in college, where she accidently got some of her papers published in educational journals. She has recently expanded her writing to include her kink journey. She began writing in the physical realm, but shed some of her inhibitions and began sharing those entries with others. She now keeps an active blog of her personal growth and her relationship with her Master / Daddy Dominant and writes helpful educational posts on a variety of subjects.