I have seen on many occasions a single distinct difference to relationships that monoamorists and polyamorists seem to view relationships. It actually has nothing to do with how many partners are involved but instead with how relationships end or transition.
The typical monoamorist view is that a relationship is a “failure” if it doesn’t last “forever”, i.e. until one of the pair dies (excepting spousal homicide – I don’t think that’s considered “forever”).
In my poly circles, I hear much more about relationships “transitioning” – changing from one form to another rather than “ending”.
In fact, my newest partner has expressed on several occasions that she doesn’t expect our relationship as it currently is to last more than a couple of years. I find that at the same time a bit scary that it might end, but on the other hand very refreshing that there is not an expectation that there will be a status quo forever. At the same time, expressing this foresight that our relationship will transition, we both have an expectation that certain aspects will continue despite others ending or changing.
This gives us the power to negotiate transitions in advance in a similar way to a prenuptial, but without the expense and added stress of a lawyer.
I am fascinated by the acceptance of impermanence – in work, love and life. I truly believe that “agile” concepts in business work better than traditionally centrally-planned processes. I find it very refreshing to hear that there is no expectation of love (as it is now) forever… and even more so that the expectation is already there that there will be change and transition. Amazing!