Say that George and Cindy are dating. Further, Melody is dating George.
Some poly people would suggest that Cindy has no bearing on George and Melody's relationship, and that any actions taken by George and Melody should have no impact on Cindy. If Cindy, for example, was to have a problem with something George and Melody were doing, this is obviously a problem between Cindy's ears; George and Melody have no obligation or responsibility to coddle Cindy. Cindy is disassociated with the George/Melody connection.
Frankly, kids, this is a most wacky, ridiculous idea that one connection does not influence the other and that connections exist in isolation. It is the simple idea of "connectedness" that gives poly its core tenant: multiple, loving relationships. If you're invalidating another human being's existence because it's inconvenient, that's simply selfish and small-minded. It refutes the principle idea of poly of there being a community of lovers and friends. Connections do not live in a vacuum nor in isolation - they exist in a larger context of a community.
If you want monogamy, go get monogamy. If you want multiple, loving relationships that co-exist at the same time, that's call polyamory. Like, duh?
What you say and do in the context of another connection does and will impact other connections around you - even metamours of metamours - simply because we are a community. Feelings aren't rationally segregated cleanly between partners; saying so seems profoundly ignorant of the human condition if not cruel. Cindy, in this instance, is not to be dismissed or invalidated as a human being simply because you're spending time with Melody. I mean - fuck people - this person, Cindy, apparently means something to George. George can't take Cindy's objections, feedback, feelings, or observations and neatly put them into a trashcan by suggesting that, hey, I'm not responsible for those. That's Cindy's trash. And while I'm here with Melody I can shove it all under a rug and let Cindy deal with it later.
At best, that's denial; at worst, it's dismissive and inconsiderate. If one partner makes a humble suggestion that one restaurant has a special place in her heart between a couple and asks not to take another one of his connections there, that is just an honest plea for maintaining something sacred and special in that connection. It's not weakness. It's not a flaw. It's not a problem that exists solely in the mind of the requester. It's an honest appeal to maintain a unique characteristic about their relationship. That's not bad or wrong - that's something to treasure! Somebody in your life thinks that moment, with you, was so important that it's to be sacred.
You are appreciated! That moment is appreciated! It's a really simple request from somebody that you care about.
"Nah, that's her god-damn hang up and _imposing_ her views on my freedom, man." SNNNNIIIFFFFF "Woh, let me take another bong hit and try to reconcile that, dude. What I mean, like, to say, dude, is that I can do whatever I want, when I want, because I, like, am so _me_... man."
How completely liberating it must be to those who ignore the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of others who love him when it benefits him. How convenient it is to forget what others have asked for or suggested. How pleasant it is not having to remind himself that there is pain in his circle of friends as a result of his own actions, and how righteous it must be to remind himself that those aren't his problems and require no concern.
Shameful! Poly people who espouse that connections are insular, separate, and independent, seem - to me - to have lost their way. They have forgotten about the importance that community plays, that respect and love plays, in their holistic approach to relationships. Indeed, how nice it must be for them that the label polyamory has so conveniently become a license to selfishly get what you want and bears no consequence for the direct outcomes of their own greed.