I know there has to be other steps in there - phases where the two people discuss things about the relationship. But my friends tend not to tell me about those phases. Mostly because I am an intolerable bitch and am bored by other people's philosophical relationship problems. "But what do you think he meant when he said that?"
TV shows/films don't really focus on "let's talk about our relationship" because that's not cinematically riveting compared to all the other dramatic shit.
Which is not to say that I didn't go through similarly esoteric steps when getting together with Frisbee and Now-hubby. There are a lot of similarities between standard relationships and poly/open/what have you relationships. The big curiosity for me, I guess, is step 2. How people make the decision that one other person will be the only one they touch genitals with for however long the exclusivity winds up lasting. That's just...such an odd idea for me.
I'd like to take a small moment and reassure everyone, though, that just because my relationship allows me to touch a whole bunch of wieners and have awesome sexy times with lots of interesting people, things are not always sunny. I still need to do all those awkward relationship-y type compromise things with Frisbee and Now-hubby. I strongly recommend the whole "monthly meetings" thing. It's an awesome way to have a regular check-in with each other, although it can't always anticipate every possible scenario.
I was thinking the other day about how people in relationships argue about stupid little things. How the towels get folded, how often the dishes get done, etc. They're menial things, really, but if you've established any kind of life as a single person before getting involved with somebody else, they can feel like an essential part of who you are.
When the possibility of sexual activity and/or relationship attraction to other people gets added in, I find myself falling into those same feelings as finding out somebody likes to fold their pants in half instead of in thirds.
Sometimes I'll play a game with people I know. It's called "Would you hit that?" It's a simple, "yes/no" type game, and you play it by saying yes or no to whether you would have sex with other people around in the place where you're playing the game. Playing this game with acquaintances can be fun, and a neat way to learn about particular things they might be into that I wasn't aware of previously.
Play the game with Frisbee or Now-hubby, though, and it's like a fucking land mine field of, "why don't we have more in common in regards to the people we're attracted to?" I once asked my bestie about this phenomenon, and she explained it in the best way that only a bestie can. To paraphrase: I want a transitive property of love. I love this person, therefore they will love all the other things I do as well. It doesn't quite work out like that, and I'm working on being okay with it.