To borrow from your own metaphor: You are using the relationship elevator as a cudgel.

Sweat-equity does not define whether people consider each other Primary, live together, have kids together, etc. in theory the couple could be at any stage in their socially perceived commitment. However, it does powerfully affect how protective people feel about the relationship.

What you and Franklin describe here is more accurately described as, "Mistakes Married Couples Who Are New To Poly Make." Great, so why are you applying this to all couples if you just mean Married people and Newbies?

A lot of the points are moot if there is no conflict between the level of intimacy and obligation people want doesn't differ. If I don't want to ride to the top of you escalator why should I care what is up there (in this metaphor I guess the top is how you treat your existing partner)?

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