One theme I encounter over and over again in the poly world (both polygamy and polyamory) is turmoil from the heterosexual, monogamous first wife or primary partner.
What is in it for the heterosexual woman? Perhaps this is where the turmoil comes from. Especially with poly novices, who have yet to experience a poly relationship, the fear of sharing a husband and not reaping the benefits can be scary. It may seem that you, as a heterosexual woman, are sacrificing a part of yourself and your relationship and not receiving anything in return.
Bisexual women get a lover, reap the fruits of romantic love, receive intimacy and love someone as deeply as they do their husband. The husband gets another wife, gets to feel love for two women and experiences twice as much intimacy. Whereas straight women don't share romantic sentiments and don't bond through intimacy. Bonding between two straight women is often hindered by jealousies and insecurities because they lack a huge common factor that generally quells jealousies and the "I'm not enough" blues. That common factor is romantic love for each other.
I see a lot of primary/first wives run into the inevitable slump of "suffering in silence" because they agreed to the lifestyle and might of even been excited about it in theory. But once it comes to life they are plagued with numerous negative feelings and sacrifices that eat them alive.
In such a fluid lifestyle, the straight woman in a polygamous dynamic has to sit back and ask, "What am I getting from this?"
I asked myself this question constantly when I decided I wasn't bisexual and reworked my polyfidelious MFF triad into a FMF V. What was I getting from a married man that I was monogamous to, that I couldn't get from a single man within an exclusively monogamous relationship?
Dating a single, monogamous man would of made my life a lot easier. I wouldn't of had to deal with all of the hardships and endure explosive reactions caused by jealousies and insecurities surrounded by the "sharing" principle in a poly relationship between two women who lack romantic love for each other.
So why did I continue to date a married man?
Why have I sought out a polygamous relationship with a heterosexual sister wife and a married man?
One word: Compersion.
The definition of compersion is: "The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy."
Compersion is a feeling I can't have in an exclusive monogamous relationship. Being that I'm not bisexual and have very traditional views on marriage, this limits me to being strictly monogamous to my husband and having no interest in other women.
To me, the pros of polygamy are having a big family, multiple parents, multiple incomes to weather hard economic times, a husband and a best friend.
But I can't be best friends with my sister wife if I am disgusted, jealous or spiteful whenever our husband pays attention to her. Jealousy counteracts everything that I gain from a polygamous marriage as a heterosexual woman.
The cons starkly contrast the pros and most often outweigh them. Because polygamy is illegal, the issues that arise from such a marriage would send someone running for the hills.
In the world of the straight woman who practices polygamy, there is nothing else to gain other than compersion from your sister wife. For the straight woman, there is less incentive to share a husband. Without compersion, polygamy would not be worth the uphill battle for me. It would be a relationship full of competition, feelings of inadequacies, insecurities and jealousies. I go into any poly relationship with the ultimate goal of compersion because I refuse to be eaten alive in a lifestyle that I have chosen to be in.