Values which cross boundaries of relationship forms
Often in other threads, the differences between monogamous mindsets and polyamorous mindsets are dwelt upon. Differences are also sought between varying non-monogamous relationships.
Outside of wanting many partners and restricting partners to one, are there really differences between these mindsets?
There are fundamental qualities that need to be present within a relationship no matter what name it goes by. While communication, honesty, trust, respect, fidelity (which means the keeping of promises) are important, these alone do not determine the success of our relationships.
Each of us has values held close to our hearts, that are crucial in order for a relationship to be successful. Values which if not shared may prove the ending point of that relationship. Not to be confused by matters that can be "compromised" upon.
What life values and beliefs do you feel you need to have present and shared in order for your relationships to be successful? And what is your personal definition of a "successful relationship"?
I remember telling my husband that as long as he pays his bills, he can pretty much do whatever he wants. Although that is a bit simplistic, it isn't really because i trust that he doesn't WANT to do anything egregiously irresponsible, such as having unprotected sex with strangers, or going deep-sea fishing during a hurricane.
Besides the values you mentioned (communication etc), I don't have a specific list... I've always been the "go with the flow" type... and if the flow stops going, I take a step back and evaluate what's wrong. If it's something that can be fixed, I try to fix it. If it's a deal-breaker, I break the deal.
The other question is easier for me to answer: A relationship is successful if it's good while it lasts and ends on positive terms if it ends at all. If a relationship is more work and heartache than fun and happy, that's not successful.
I used to think I could never date a smoker... then it turned out my soul mate happens to be a smoker, so I learned to deal with it. I still don't enjoy it, I'd be overjoyed if he quit, if only for the few extra years it could buy us. If he smoked in the house, that would be a major problem, but he respects that I don't like smoking, and he takes it outside, even when it's -40. Also, he's a conservative, and I'm an NDP (the equivalent to, he's a republican and I'm a democrat). He likes S&M, me not so much, so he finds other women to spank on kijiji. These are some pretty "core" values for both of us, parts of our personal identities. But you mentioned compromise, and that's exactly what we do.
What I'm getting at is there are a lot of "values" I have that I used to think were deal-breakers, and it turns out that if the rest of the relationship is worth it, I can learn to deal with a lot of things.
I can click with lots of different people for lots of different reasons, and I can easily imagine meeting a girl who is my husband's polar opposite and having it work beautifully... I like to let relationships grow on their own, rather than trying to steer them in a specific direction. Usually my brain just makes things too complicated, but my heart is pretty good at knowing what to do.
I still think that there are some core values and goals that I couldn't give up no matter how good the relationship is, but times like that caused me to open up my mind and really examine what I thought were hard limits to see whether they really were or not.
Well, seems it's been awhile since I really thought enough about it to put it into some form of a "list". Something about that approach just doesn't sit well with me - maybe it's reminiscent of building walls rather than doorways ?
But other than the obvious ones you listed it seems that a few that I'd have to have on that list would be....
Connection to nature
Full embracing of sexuality in all it's forms
There's probably a few more if I were to think on it.
As to when a relationship is "successful" - that's pretty easy for me.
It's successful when it's flowing like a stream - bubbling it's way over the rocks & bumps it encounters and finding it's own way around obstacles in it's path. Effortlessly moving along, singing.
My short list
I think the biggest three things I require out of my partners is honesty, love, and respect!
If they both have honesty, love, and respect for me each other and all the people that come in and out of our family than nothing else matters. If at anytime one of us don't feel one of these things than we must be brave enough to talk about it. If we can't talk about it than where is the honesty, where is the hope for things to get better. Besides these three thing I think trusting the ones you are with is importing. Trusting them to the point that they will keep these three values in mind/heart and that any thing else they do, in addition to some level of personal responicibility, is fine (and there own buissness) I liked the first responce given... pay the bills and do what ever.I'm not quite so simple but close :) :D
*I connect easier with people who are more politically liberal.
*I have little to no tolerance for misogyny and probably couldn't have a relationship with someone who was actively misogynist.
*I have little to no tolerance for racism and if a person was actively racist, that would be a huge source of conflict between us.
*I don't find people who are homophobic to be very appealing and doubt I could have a good relationship with a homophobe unless they were committed to working on that. Especially since I identify as queer.
*I'm not a fan of conspicuous consumption. If someone chose to spend their money on an overly expensive car or SUV, it would certainly be something I'd have to get past in the relationship we have.
*I am drawn to people who have an awareness of oppression issues and melt at anyone who really works to develop their anti-oppression analysis. (That doesn't mean that it's a requirement, it's just a fundamental value I hold dear and would facilitate a great connection)
*I am drawn to people who have an awareness of larger global issues or work to be aware of such things.
*I would have a hard time being in a relationship with someone who lived their lives by a literal interpretation of the Bible. That would certainly be a source of much conflict.
*I would have hard time being in a relationship with someone who was sex-negative or held different moral or ethical views on sexuality than I do.
I've said many times on this board- I never say never when it comes to who I might be in a relationship with, but I can certainly say that sharing certain fundamental values like I listed are definitely going to facilitate the connection we have in a relationship. Not meeting on those values would mean that I have to weigh the connection against the conflict that would be created by those differences.
Having that awareness of what values are shared or conflict and weighing those things in how you choose to move forward in a relationship isn't the same as trying to steer a relationship in a specific direction. In fact, I'd probably say that awareness of such values will help to clarify exactly where the relationship wants to or should be going for a connection to remain healthy and loving.
My relationship with my spouse has always been so open, loving, respectful, that after 17 years of relationship I've had little reason to think of deal-breakers. My relationship with my boyfriend is also natural and positive. My husband's relationship with his girlfriend is also quite positive.
HOWEVER, my husband's girlfriend's other boyfriend (yikes) has demonstrated to me things that I could never put up wtih in a relationship. They are ultimately the following:
Controlling behavior in any form, including emotional control
Holding another person responsible for working on one's own feelings
These are more in the line of "behaviors" than values, I suppose.
"Healthy" to me ultimately means a good balance between connection and individuality.
Self Awareness, is an interesting concept, and is one that I have a huge soap box on, but will, try at this time to refrain from jumping up on it. I will say that second to “love”, “Self Awareness”, is very close to my core. I have however found that most are not able to grasp this concept, or embrace the awareness of themselves… ok, now you are asking how does this tie in to values, and or boundaries.. like this-
A persons Values, are ever growing and changing, they will be more balanced if a person has a better self awareness, and is able to embrace who they are, if they are unable to create this balance and find this acceptance of awareness, their values will be constantly changing, thus causing a sort of chaos on both a psychological and spiritual level, we see this happen a lot upon a huge life change.. ie. A break up, it is what imho leads to a rebound, or a psychological transfer, meaning that we quickly attach to a person, based on the emotions we still have for someone else, and thus the become “bigger then life”, in a phase of chaos we need a hero, and we will often rearrange our values and boundaries to allow for this transfer.. It is a unhealthy thing to do, but something I think all people do to some extent, some of us more then others.
I do think that some change in values is good, they should change as we grow and learn as people.
I like the way one of the posters put it on this tread, breaking it down like “if a person, did this, it would be hard for me, if they could not do that”… it shows a level of respect and flexibility that I think is needed in any relationship poly or otherwise.
Our boundaries do not define us, we define them.
If you truly know your self, your flaws and your strengths, your boundaries imho come naturally.
What is, is, and what is not is not.
Most of the time what we end up in is not our ideal or defined by the values we have pre defined.
I think of boundaries and values like directions, we all write them, but hardly anyone reads or follows them, but the desk still gets put together, if you truly know how to do it and “buy” what you want in the first place..
So, bottom line, know your self, be who you are and embrace that, and your values will just be a natural part of you. Throw away the directions and enjoy your new desk.
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