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-   -   Who's responsibility? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11797)

polyexplorer 07-04-2011 10:03 AM

Who's responsibility?
 
I'm interested to hear what people have to say about this as it has come up in discussion a few times with people I start talking to about polyamory...

If one person in a long term relationship is starting another relationship and they are very open with their partner about it and all is good, but the other person is not ready to be open with their long term partner about the new developing relationship, is it OK for these two people to start a sexual relationship?

Should the open person insist that the other person be open with their partner before having sex or do they just leave this between them and their long term partner as their responsibility to work out?

What do people think?

BlackUnicorn 07-04-2011 11:18 AM

People are responsible for their own sexual behaviour and the way it affects others. It is possible to abstain from sex if the person you are attracted to is not free to explore the sexual side of their relationship with you. Mono people do this all the time, and when they fail, it's called cheating.

No reason why it shouldn't be the same with poly.

Magdlyn 07-04-2011 12:23 PM

Yes, if a married person comes on to me, I refused to see him/her unless they are in an open relationship and their spouse knows about me. Even better if I get to communicate with the spouse a bit first, perhaps a PM or 2.

Minxxa 07-04-2011 05:43 PM

Honesty is too important to me to ever be in a relationship with someone who's dishonest. And if their SO doesn't know that they are dating then they are being dishonest. And if they are being dishonest with somebody they supposedly care for and is important to them then I could never trust them because they're most certainly going to be dishonest with me about anything they don't want to admit or that makes them uncomfortable. So yeah. Absolute dealbreaker for me.

jasminegld 07-04-2011 10:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by polyexplorer (Post 89964)
...but the other person is not ready to be open with their long term partner about the new developing relationship, is it OK for these two people to start a sexual relationship?

After a sexual relationship has already started, when will this other person ever "be ready" to tell their long term partner? Under what possible circumstance could this be a happy scenario?

"Oh honey, by the way, I forgot to tell you I've been sleeping with A the past three years."

Or maybe there won't be any telling, it will just be a short term fling and so long. And how many others have there been? And has this person told you the truth about that? And has this person practiced safe sex and had STD/STI testing recently? And told you the truth about testing?

And if this person won't tell her/his long-term partner the truth about this new sexual relationship, why would this person tell the newest partner the truth about past relationships and testing?

Last but not least, how will the faithful poly partner feel about being someone else's adulterous affair?

Ask these questions:
* Ten years from now, which decision will I feel proud of?
* On my deathbed, which decision will I feel proud of?

Jasmine

nycindie 07-04-2011 11:02 PM

polyexplorer, these are obviously questions from people who cannot wrap their brains around the concept of honest communication in relationships! Honesty is a cornerstone of polyamory. Personally, whether I am in a polyamorous relationship or not, I never want to be the reason someone lies to their spouse -- whom they supposedly love! I have done it in my past (when I was young and irresponsible) and I know I would feel dirty -- it would not be good for my self-esteem nor for the cheater's. I hurt people when I did that, and still feel bad about it.

Hiding and sneaking around to have sex with someone because they won't tell their partner about it is STILL lying and cheating, no matter if one is upfront about it with their own primary partner. The majority of people who truly understand what polyamory is, wouldn't tolerate that kind of bullshit.

MonoVCPHG 07-05-2011 12:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 90073)

Hiding and sneaking around to have sex with someone because they won't tell their partner about it is STILL lying and cheating, no matter if one is upfront about it with their own primary partner. The majority of people who truly understand what polyamory is, wouldn't tolerate that kind of bullshit.

This!

Chimera 07-05-2011 12:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by polyexplorer (Post 89964)


Should the open person insist that the other person be open with their partner before having sex or do they just leave this between them and their long term partner as their responsibility to work out?

What do people think?

Ditto to what's been already said. Insist on openness or postpone indefinitely.

I try to think of it this way--if I'm entering into a relationship with someone, I'm also entering into a relationship with their partner/lover/(insert favorite word). It might not be a friendship or intimate, but it's a relationship. That implies a certain level of responsibility to that person.

polyexplorer 07-05-2011 01:57 AM

Thanks for people's replies so far. Quite emphatic about the whole openness and honesty! And I agree too and have talked about it like this to others. I especially like the thought that we are also entering into a relationship at some level with the other person's SO and so we do have a level of responsibility and trust building towards them...

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment...

Do people think there is ever an exception where a new relationship feels like it is the right thing to pursue, but the person also knows their partner is not in a place where they can be told about it and that it would be too damaging at that point to tell?

I know that I am basically asking is there ever a time when cheating is OK(with the intent of being open and honest when a partner is ready to be told)?

The reality is that in talking with people, this happens alot. I know the inherient values behind polyamory of openness and honesty at all times and I applaud and ascribe to these values. Is life always this clean cut? Many people want to be open and honest about other relationships with their partners, but also know their partners will not cope. So they enter an affair (cheating) which eventually brings things to a head one way or the other.

Has anyone been in this situation and looks back on their affair without regret? Has anyone experienced where an affair has been what's needed (in hindsight) for their original partner to open up and consider polyamory as an option where before they would never have considered it?

Sometimes drastic action brings drastic results... Having strong values is important but I'm not convinced that life is always as clean cut and in neat boxes as we would like...

MonoVCPHG 07-05-2011 03:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by polyexplorer (Post 90100)

I know that I am basically asking is there ever a time when cheating is OK(with the intent of being open and honest when a partner is ready to be told)?


.

If a person is cognitive enough to consider this question then you are cognitive enough to know that what you would be doing is going to hurt your partner. There's really no excuse for it. Now I do agree that sometimes drastic action has to be taken if your health and sanity are at stake. Which means you might tell your partner that you are going to pursue something regardless of their feelings. But you tell them first. Now in doing this you have to be fully prepared and take responsibility for the outcome.


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