Hi Elle, it certainly was not an attempt to tell you about your experiences and I apologise if it came across that way — it is certainly true that it is my experience I am talking about, hopefully it is another case of “reasonable disagreement” (I have just read this book which posits that as a guiding ethical concept). I am also happy to accept there are many things the monogamous might be able to learn from the ethical non-monogamous, just as I have learnt some positive things from ethical gay friends (though they were the first to tell me how easily it is for that lifestyle to be unethical simply because you can reject all restraint and “normal” standards of relationships and embrace lasciviousness).
Unfortunately my own experience was of non-ethical non-monogamy (I did momentarily have four “partners”) but it was supposed to based on some kind of “free love” idea and also convenience as my “proper” partner lived too far away for my liking; unfortunately she did not share my progressive view and gave me the left foot of fellowship — I still regret that experimentation as she without doubt was pure gold and if I was vain enough to still have regrets (rather than just accept I made mistakes), I would still regret it.
It is also my experience that anyone else I know personally (admittedly less than 10) have never managed to make the “open” or “wife-swapping” model to work. They are all divorced and have multiple changes of partners with progressively increasing frequency. I also remember with grim amusement having a conversation with an Iraqui during the First Gulf War when he was telling me (after we talked about the war and he had remonstrated that Kuwait was historically a province of Iraq and though he despised Saddam he still felt Kuwait was Iraqui — it was something I would never have heard anywhere else at that time) about his two wives, “one lived in the East, the other the West [of his hometown] and never the twain will they meet or there would be blood on the streets”. Even grimmer amusement must be had from ancient Chinese wisdom, the Chinese pictorial character for “trouble” is two women under the same roof.
Grim amusement aside, I think betrayal is a terrible thing for someone to endure and having been an accomplished betrayer in the past, I feel there is a better way to live, I accept pluralism but am not a relativist. It is the case that even in the cultures where polygamy is legal or customary (whether legal or not), it is very rare. However, that does not mean I will not engage with the literature you have recommended, perspective is the most valuable asset we can bring to a conversation.