Rosie Wilby:

The vast majority of couples I’ve spoken to who have opened up a central or ‘primary’ partnership have done so precisely as a way of being more faithful – a way of having neither to cheat nor leave. For them, it’s been a case of sustaining a good thing, keeping promises and allowing one another to thrive.

…‘But isn’t it an admission that something’s lacking?’ Bex asked.

‘Absolutely,’ I said, ‘but since when does any one person meet every single one of your needs? I’ve never had a relationship without several items left un-ticked on my ideal wish list. Finally I get to be respectfully honest about it without getting my head bitten off.’

The Idler is a publication essentially dedicated to the observation of limits. They’re not advocating rebellion so much as a sort of intellectual civil disobedience. They publish bodice-ripping fantasies of freedom for Office Space cubicle drones. Animated by the spirit of Bartleby the Scrivener, they look upon the modern cults of ambition, achievement and efficiency and demur, “I would prefer not to.” So it’s especially funny to see them publishing a piece on (the inaptly-named) polyamory, a trend which truly exemplifies the vain hope of “having it all.” The greed of the poly mentality, which would be readily apparent to the average Idler if the objects of desire were mere material possessions, manages to pass unnoticed disguised in the modern virtues of egalitarianism and non-judgment. Biology’s truth will out, I suppose. It’s easy to pose as indifferent to wealth and status, but much more difficult to voluntarily limit oneself from pleasures of the flesh, especially when you consider the typical demographics of the people attracted to free love — young, unattached, and cosmopolitan. I said before that I continue to wait in vain for one of these proselytizers to follow up the cliché about how “no one person meets every one of your needs” with the equally valid observation that most of our “needs” are merely impulsive wants that it would be better to ignore and outgrow. You’d think a publication devoted to criticizing restless acquisition would be ideally suited for that.