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-   -   Looking for advice / boundaries questions (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1143)

dron 11-05-2009 07:36 PM

Looking for advice / boundaries questions
 
Hi all,

So I'm new to poly in many ways. I'm in a 9 month relationship with someone who ID'd as poly before we met. She has seen several people while we have dated and I have seen none. So far, this has been fine because for the most part I wanted to take the time to really understand if I wanted to do so also and to clarify what I wanted, why and with who before just "jumping into it." This has been largely for my own health and for sensitivities to her.

It's been an interesting journey where I've overcome a lot of jealousies, clarified for myself a lot of what my desires are and aren't. And I've basically finally reached the point where I know I want to hookup with other people (not date per se, but that may come with time as well).

I've recently addressed this, that it's finally "time" for me, but it's a difficult moment as we're having our own intimacy issues. We agreed in the past week or so that we were going to hold off on all extra-relationship activities for now to focus on one another, and then when we re-open the conversation, we re-open it for both of us, not just for her to date outside. I'm relatively happy with this, excited to focus on ourselves, and excited for when we feel safe again to "re-open" things.

However, there's something that's come back that bothers me. Although we are not actively dating (and I have not done so at all yet) she does have contact with previous lovers still. I don't mind this. But here's the current scenario:

We are going to her home state for Thanksgiving week. One of her old lovers is there that she wants me to meet. She wants to go to dinner with them for a couple of hours while I see a movie and then we can all re-convene for drinks after. My knee-jerk jealousy made me want to protest, but I knew to relax about it. I have wanted to meet this person for a while now and have gotten over any jealousy and issue with this person in concept (which will probably be further re-enforced when I meet them).

Then I think I made the mistake of establishing "ground rules." The first was fine for her, which was simply be on time, don't keep me waiting further. I'm waiting for you, in a state that's not my own with nothing else to do. She was fine with this.

But then I brought up the question of intimacy. I don't care if they kiss, but my lady does have a penchant for public sex, and I don't want to meet up with them after they have a post-fucking glow as they "get it in" in their only opportunity while we're there. I noted to her this, and that we're at a place to "focus on each other" right now, and asked her if she thought we were already at the point to discuss re-opening things again, for both of us. However, on her side of things this is someone she will not see for a long time afterwards, that I'm generally don't have an issue with.

This creates several issues for us:

- "Telling her what she can't do" - she does have a bad impulse to want to do what she's told she can't, which I understand, but it can make negotiations highly difficult
- Hypocrisy - I love my darling, but she has it, and thankfully acknowledges it, but it's getting in the way here
- Stuck in a strange state - would bother me less if she had a visitor and I did my own thing, like our usual situation, or she was traveling without me
- She claims it didn't even cross her mind until I asked her to not do it, in which case it does become a situation of principle

So I guess my bigger question for anyone who could reply is regarding boundaries? If things were better sorted out, I think a part of me would be totally okay with having no say in what happens in those two hours.

Am I making our situation too conditional?

And if the idea doesn't <feel> disrespectful, am I secretly some chump and this is just objectively a bad situation?

Is it fair to ask her to wait when she may not see this person for 6 months?

Or was I even just too paranoid to begin with to bring up the intimacy question?

Am I focusing too closely on "fairness" for fairness sake?

Is her pre-occupation with feeling "unfree" when we negotiate problems a larger issue? Is she right? Is outlining what one can and can't do during a timespan with someone intrusive?

To what extent are we allowed to ask one another to promise things?


Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

- D

Fidelia 11-05-2009 08:30 PM

Someone else may have a different take on the situation, but in my mind this one point stands out clearly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dron (Post 11272)
We agreed in the past week or so that we were going to hold off on all extra-relationship activities for now to focus on one another . . .

If you have an agreement in place, you should both honor it. If one of you can't or won't, it's time to renegotiate.

MonoVCPHG 11-05-2009 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fidelia (Post 11285)
Someone else may have a different take on the situation, but in my mind this one point stands out clearly.



If you have an agreement in place, you should both honor it. If one of you can't or won't, it's time to renegotiate.

Great advice Fidelia.

dron 11-05-2009 08:49 PM

Re-negotiation?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fidelia (Post 11285)
Someone else may have a different take on the situation, but in my mind this one point stands out clearly.



If you have an agreement in place, you should both honor it. If one of you can't or won't, it's time to renegotiate.


I guess that's part of my question, does this situation mean it's time <already> to re-negotiate?

Considering the agreement we made, when I say "Please promise me nothing will happen" and responds with "I feel unfree to be asked that," <-- is this her negating the agreement?

MonoVCPHG 11-05-2009 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dron (Post 11289)
I guess that's part of my question, does this situation mean it's time <already> to re-negotiate?

Considering the agreement we made, when I say "Please promise me nothing will happen" and responds with "I feel unfree to be asked that," <-- is this her negating the agreement?

Time to re-negotiate for sure! The implication of that response is that your boundries are meaningless and will only be maintained if it suits her needs in the moment. I think you both need to sit down and not only talk about what boundries you both need but actually talk about what boundries mean to each of you.

dron 11-05-2009 09:08 PM

So I guess to re-iterate one of my questions, considering what was agreed, "checking in" that she won't do something (though potentially paranoid as it was)....is not an infringement on freedom, but maintaining the agreement?

ImaginaryIllusion 11-05-2009 09:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dron (Post 11272)
Is her pre-occupation with feeling "unfree" when we negotiate problems a larger issue? Is she right? Is outlining what one can and can't do during a timespan with someone intrusive?

I'm not sure if or when this came up in past discussions...may have been here, or another list or group...but there's been the suggestion that being poly does not mean that you are available to date or have sex with anyone and everyone just because they're poly too. To me, your post & questions strike a similar chord.

Just because she's poly, doesn't mean she has to meet up with and have public fun at every opportunity. If your relationship is going to be based in communication & respect...and you have both decided to make working on THAT relationship the prority...than do so. If you need something from her...like abstaining from other lovers or certain activities while that process is going on, then ask for it. It may or may not be immediately agreed to, but you'll need to negotiate something you can both live with.

IMHO the whole timeline thing is irrelivent. So what if it'll be 6 months before she gets to see this person again? Successully monogamous people can go years or decades without screwing other people who might be waiting in the wings.

I'm not clear on everything in your post...I get the impression that there's other factors at play which aren't apparent from outside. I suspect you'll have some work ahead of you to dig out the root of whatever's bothering the two of you and deal with it. In the meantime, as will be mentioned again...communicate. Identify what you need...and what you'd like...and let her know what those are.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dron (Post 11289)
Considering the agreement we made, when I say "Please promise me nothing will happen" and responds with "I feel unfree to be asked that," <-- is this her negating the agreement?

This is going to end up like the Fair vs. Equal discussion...I can feel it now! Of Course it's unfree! That's why they're called Boundaries! As has been said above... you have an agreement...and you are clarifying your expectations about what that means to you. I fail to see the problem.

In the end...as stated by Murphy's Rules of Technology...Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables the organism will do as it damn well pleases. She is always free to do whatever she wants...she can stay in the bounds she's agreed to, or not. You can't control it. You can only tell her the bounds you need to feel safe... and she gets the responsibility to stay within them...or not. And vice versa.

It's CLR!!! Look at how with removes rust from the showerhead in a single swipe! AMAZING!!! Communication...Love...Respect...

MonoVCPHG 11-05-2009 09:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion (Post 11293)
You can only tell her the bounds you need to feel safe... and she gets the responsibility to stay within them...or not. And vice versa.

...

Amen Brother.

redsirenn 11-05-2009 09:35 PM

love this thread. Very similar to my situation.

dron 11-05-2009 09:39 PM

Re-negotiating is on the table, but..
 
I think the black/white re-negotiate or not issue has taken off in the comments. I <know> we need to re-negotiate, but I was hoping for some perspective on <how>, or where it seemed the real issue was? Suggestions? Any read on this that this is just a communication issue, or does it sound like something truly unfair taking place?

I'm also struggling to avoid ultimatum language. I know I need the negotiation to be happy, but how do you firmly communicate that without an implicit threat?


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