1. Why do you believe what you believe? What would change your mind?

Probably mainly the fact that a lot of people are poly and say they enjoy being poly, and can speak in detail about how they deal with a lot of what people would think of as the potential pitfalls of being polyam. Also the fact that so many of our ideas about how relationships should function seem to have questionable historical pedigrees via religion etc, that my prior would be on it being a positive thing for people to try crafting new forms of relationships that they think work for them. As many people point out, we have no issue with having multiple close friends, and I’m not convinced that we all have such a strong biological drive to see things differently with relationships that it can’t change, seeing as in general a lot of our ways of relating to other seem culturally shaped and flexible.

To be honest though it’s probably mainly because I like the idea of letting people work out what works for themselves and shape specific things (in this case relationships) to fit what works for them, and I don’t see much reason to think that this is monogamy in all or almost all cases.

What would change my mind would be: Getting to know a lot more polyam people a lot better, seeing that they were attempting to do the kinds of things I think of as ‘best practice’ and were still having terrible relationship times, much worse that the monogamous couples I know, and that there wasn’t much of a positive trend of this improving over time. Also, large studies looking at important indicators of wellbeing and people who (attempt to) follow polyam ‘best practise’, and again, that there wasn’t much of a positive trend over time. (The trend seems important because polyamory doesn’t yet have the massive store of cultural knowledge around how to do it, like monogamy has).

2. A polyamorous person has a date scheduled with their primary partner, but their secondary partner is in the hospital with an emergency and needs support. in a healthy relationship, what would happen next?

The person would tell their primary partner that their secondary partner is in hospital and needs support, and ask to reschedule the date to another time. The primary partner would say, “Of course, I’ll get on the Gcal to find another time, but more importantly how is [name of secondary partner] doing, what happened?’

3. What would happen if 90% of people in a society were polyamorous? (You may assume they all practice one style of polyamory, or different styles.)

Hm to be totally honest it’s just really hard to know. I think probably people would be happier, though, as probably it would mean people would be spending a lot more time crafting the specific relationship structures that worked for them rather than following the single monogamous template. Less focus on finding ‘the one’ would probably also have positive effects on people’s wellbeing. I would imagine that in a wider sense the categories of relationship types would become less rigid and/or multiple (beyond just ‘friend’, ‘partner’, say), which I see as a positive thing as people can find what works more for them personally. Children would probably have a greater number of adults involved in raising them, which would likely be positive both for the adults being able to share labour and for the children being exposed to a wider range of influences. I’m sure there would be wider changes as well beyond this personal level, but to be honest I find it hard to think of likely ideas of what specifically they would bee.