The only person's frame of reference I have for not living in the cookie cutter form of monogamy is my own. Oddly there is little female perspective on the subject and even less free of biases with regard to religion or social influences. So here I am trying to stumble through in my own way.
I can tell you the exact moment when things went downhill in the relationship I currently am aching over and what I have learned moving forward. At about month 9 or 10 I said late into the evening "I Love You". It was the first time, so of course there was absolutely no expectation. However I did say it again a few weeks later, which lead to a discussion between the two of us, whereupon I was told that he wants to keep things simple and that his focus needs to be towards his education. After a few more weeks of various other tangents playing upon this base my brain started overworking.
I started feeling jealousy and it turns out there was a chick that was flirting with him via text. I became even more jealous and started fixating on the relationship and how to fix it, rather than enjoying it, while said jealousy was taking over. The bottom line that comes from all of this? For a female to truly be able to enjoy this lifestyle with one main partner, there must be a mutual basis of love and respect, at least in my humble opinion.
This alleviates many problems in the emotional realm for both the female and in part the male. If two people can open up, be loving, supportive and a partner for the other sex, it is so easy to want the most and best for each other. The jealousy is easier to overcome as there is a solid base for the two main parties. In the respect level, there is a trust that the other person will always want to protect both themselves and their main partner.
We are a complicated species and each individual wants different things within the framework of our society. I have learned from failure that there is a formula that will work for me within an open relationship. I want my rock to come home to, but I want to be free to flirt and meet new people in all possible ways. It is really important to find a way to keep jealousy out of the equation as I have just experienced, it is a killer of relationships.