The subject of a "polyamorous" (or "open") marriage has recently come up. My strictly monogamous friends love to ask this question: "What's the point?" and sometimes in a rather snide (denigrating) tone of voice. Meaning, what's the point of getting married if you're going to continue to date other people?
My response: Do you seriously believe the only purpose in getting married is to secure your partner's sexual exclusivity?**
Isn't marriage actually about partnership? Isn't it a commitment to share joys, sorrows, time, space, energy, resources?
The elements of partnership look different for every couple. Just as no two people are alike, no two relationships are alike. They have unique traits, characteristics, personalities of their own. In the formation of any successful partnership, needs will be met, desires will be fulfilled and concessions will be made.
The obvious questions to ask when considering a new partnership: Will my essential needs and desires be met? Will the concessions I have to make be acceptable or too much sacrifice? Will the same be true for my partner(s)?
To those who sneer at polyamory marriages I say this: if the persons entering into the partnership can find their happiness within the framework of their agreement, then who are you to judge the shape that agreement takes?
What's the point of a polyamorous marriage? The same as a monogamous marriage. To commit to sharing your life with someone you love.
PS: You don't have to personally understand it to respect it. How about a little education.
From the Wikipedia article:
**Fidelity and loyalty: Many polyamorists define fidelity as being faithful to the promises and agreements they have made, rather than in terms of per se sexual exclusivity. Having a secret sexual relationship which violated one's negotiated agreements would be seen as lacking fidelity. Polyamorists generally base definitions of commitment on considerations other than sexual exclusivity, e.g. "trust and honesty" or "growing old together".