Most people are mostly Polyamorous.
When I say this, one response I commonly get is incredulity: sure, maybe it’s more common than most people think, but…come on; really? Most people? Most people can’t even handle one relationship, let alone more than one. I understand where these skeptical folks are coming from. In very starkly practical terms, there are only a certain number of hours in the day, and it can be hard to find time to tend a relationship satisfactorily, especially since the average person today may have less leisure time than at any other point in the history of human culture. Because more relationships necessarily take more time, it’s obviously more challenging to maintain more than one, just from a sheer time management standpoint.
However, all the same arguments apply to friendships. And we don’t typically think that having only one friend is the best way to go—or even psychologically healthy. It definitely does require more emotional investment, and more sensitivity to people’s needs (and, of course, better time management skills) to maintain more relationships, whether they are romances or just friendships. Given how bad the average person is at time management, and how little free time most of us have to work with in the first place, having more relationships can sometimes be more emotionally exhausting. I agree. But I wasn’t trying to claim that having multiple romantic relationships is less time-consuming, or easier, than just having one.
When I say that most people are mostly Polyamorous, I don’t mean that most people, given their current skill sets and circumstances, would be good at maintaining multiple simultaneous committed romantic relationships. What I mean is that most people have a tendency to have romantic feelings for multiple people simultaneously. That doesn’t mean that most people would be very good (or even any good) at being in multiple simultaneous relationships. Most people aren’t very good at relationships, period, regardless of how many relationships we’re talking about. Which makes sense: relationships are hard! But we still want them, because the effort spent overcoming our circumstances and learning to be better at things we aren’t naturally gifted at is more than worth it. A healthy relationship, either romantic or just friendly, is its own reward.
Imagine a girl who finds it really difficult to connect to guys, who gets debilitatingly nervous when she’s around a guy she likes, and who doesn’t have any male friends because she finds it exhausting to be around them, instead preferring to talk to and hang out with other girls. She is probably going to find it difficult to start or maintain a straight relationship because of how uncomfortable she feels around guys. But she’s still straight. No matter how bad someone might be at maintaining a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, if their desires are aimed at the opposite sex, they’re straight. There is a parallel here. A lot of people are in a similar position with respect to Polyamory. They want to be with more than one person, just as our theoretical girl wants to be with guys, but, like her, they’re not very good at the things they would need to be good at to make their desires a reality.
But just because they’re bad at making it happen doesn’t mean they don’t want it.