I work with a lot of polyamorous individuals and couples and I find the poly philosophy, in it’s most exemplary manifestations, to be a rather evolved approach to relationships. That said, I find the execution for most people to be lacking. The thing that most gets in the way is that people simply don’t honor the agreements they make to their partners. These aren’t bad people. But they engage in bad behaviors that lead to really bad consequences. Why is it that generally good people do such bad things? As this animated lecture shows, people have the cognitive capacity to rationalize, which is just a fancy word that denotes an ability to lie to themselves, and subsequently to others. We have competing wants and needs (“I want to be a good and honorable partner to the person I love, but I also want to have sex with that other person even though my primary partner doesn’t want me to”), and we find “creative” means within our own minds to get what we want without having to deal with the imagined consequences (like not having sex with that other person, or pursuing the sex with the other person and impairing our primary relationship). This process isn’t conscious; it’s most often subconscious (just a little below the surface) or entirely unconscious (so deep as to be inaccessible).
I see my job as helping people see what is buried within themselves and is actively driving their behaviors and choices. The more a person is able to accept the possibility that they’re operating out of some unconscious drives the more likely they are to make positive changes in their lives, and the better their relationship will likely be. Eliminate rationalizations and come into the truth more fully for a more fulfilled life. Turn the unconscious and subconscious into the conscious. Simple, but not easy.