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-   -   play vs ? partners, boundary equality (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25713)

LovingRadiance 07-17-2012 08:52 PM

play vs ? partners, boundary equality
I'm not sure how to word the scrambled thoughts I'm struggling through at the moment.
But, I wanted to come here and get some feedback and thoughts and different viewpoints to expand my perspective in order to come to some sort of conclusion in my mind-because it won't stop spinning this rubix cube thought pattern.

Ok, so to me there is a difference between a play partner (swinger partner, fuck buddy, friend with benefits maybe) & a long term committed partner such as my boyfriend, who lives with us and is a daily part of our world, is a parent to our children, financial burdens etc.

I don't have an issue with either, but I'm not currently interested in having play partners.

My IMPRESSION is that in all honesty, play partners is more what Maca wants.. but that's not what he says (a whole other topic).

I struggle, because the behaviors that are acceptable with play partners and those that are acceptable with potential long term partners are different BECAUSE
a long term partner needs to be able to function with the family as a whole, be on the same page with how we're raising our kids (which includes our choice to be open about our dynamic), and have similar long term goals. For their sake and ours.

However, a play partner doesn't really need to be any of these things. A play partner doesn't need to associate with any of the rest of us at all.


even if its simple enough to define that someone is attractive and your both interested in being play partners-
we do still HAVE kids who we are open with.
But... I don't think that they should be exposed to these play partners

[COLOR="rgb(255, 0, 255)"]BECAUSE[/COLOR]
these partners tend to rotate through more quickly and its upsetting for the kids to lose people they've come to care for.

I'm struggling because these thoughts seem very clear cut to me and even fair.

But, in creating our boundary list (and we have established that with all of us being so damn ADD, we NEED a written agreement),

we seem to come up with agreements with no major issue.

there's another woman. In every case, it's been evident that the relationship dynamic being established has been a play partner. Someone to enjoy a romp with, some amusing conversation periodically, but not someone who would ever be a significant "match" for our family.

The latest has a real issue with me "not being poly" because I'm not interested in "falling in love with falling in love", based upon my disinterest in starting new relationships (over and over again) which then get replaced by newer ones.
Also has issues believing that I'm "holding Maca back" and not allowing him freedom to grow and expand "into his real self" with others. Because I am pissed over him breaking our boundaries with her. But, they're boundaries she feels are silly-because she tends to be more of a "multiple play partner" person.
I don't see this at all.

The thing is-Maca takes their side-when he's in NRE. Saying he deserves more freedom and I'm being unreasonable (not making new rules, just insisting on him upholding the rules that exist). But, these same rules he still expects me to abide by.

The latest drama that unfolded came down to him saying that the difference is that you can't MAKE a new relationship with the rules we have and I don't have to do that so it's not fair. I can't prove him wrong-as I am not interested in starting a new relationship. But, I know that the rules we have, I could create a new relationship with. But-I probably couldn't start a play partner relationship under them.

THAT I think is the real crux of the issue. Not that he couldn't create and make a long term relationship (which takes longer to establish anyway), but that he can't start a play partner relationship as easily, because the people who want to just play, aren't interested in spending much time getting to know the family first....

My biggest battle is-I don't really give a fuck about him having play partners and doing whatever he wnats in that arena-with sexual protection in place.

But-I do have a big fucking chip on my shoulder over the rules applying to both of us and even though I'm not interested in having a play partner at the moment-I KNOW he would NOT be ok with it if I did want to. So, I'm loathe to establish that privilege knowing it won't be upheld for both of us.

(just to be clear, it's not that I mind him doing what I don't choose to-I just want him to be clear that we both HAVE THE RIGHT)

So.... anyone got thoughts on the differences between play partners and long term partners,
getting the relationships started,
how the family as a whole is or isn't included,
how to ensure that both people are creating the boundaries from a heartfelt place and not just saying the words.....???

LovingRadiance 07-17-2012 09:05 PM

I borrowed Ciel's quote from another thread-cause I think it sums up some of what I was saying much better than I did.
As I said, I'm struggling with this topic in my head.

I'm going to take a walk, to the park with the kids. I'll check back later for thoughts.


Originally Posted by CielDuMatin
The agreement that I have with my partners is that we will meet with new interests before anything happens that could be considered a relationship. We value each others opinions and really like to get input, since this person may well become a significant part of one of our lives.

If the other person doesn't want to meet yet, then that's perfectly fine, but it puts a limit on how far the relationship can develop. So in other words it just slow things down, which may be what you want anyway.

SNeacail 07-17-2012 10:14 PM


Originally Posted by LovingRadiance (Post 143923)
But-I do have a big fucking chip on my shoulder over the rules applying to both of us and even though I'm not interested in having a play partner at the moment-I KNOW he would NOT be ok with it if I did want to. So, I'm loathe to establish that privilege knowing it won't be upheld for both of us.

(just to be clear, it's not that I mind him doing what I don't choose to-I just want him to be clear that we both HAVE THE RIGHT)

Part of the problem with absolute equality, is that we are not equal. Likely part of Maca's double standard is based what he knows about you (even if he can't verbalize this) and how you handle relationships vs how he does. If you came to him saying you wanted to sleep with someone, he would likely freak out, knowing you had already formed a very strong attachment to that person and now it's serious. I'm just guessing here. We all have at least some double standards to work through - we know they're wrong, but they are still there.

Maybe the both of you can agree/admit that the beginnings of his relationships are more along the lines of "play partners" with the possibility to become more and make your boundaries accordingly. Unfortunately you probably won't get the same rights (at least not in the immediate future). You don't want/need play partners or what looks like play partners, so maybe you can give up equality in this area (for the time being) and see how things play out. If there's just as much drama - well then, that wasn't the issue. If it causes less drama overall can you live with this double standard?

CielDuMatin 07-17-2012 10:58 PM

LR, thanks for quoting me - quite a compliment! ;)

Luckily, none of us in our current configuration has any interest in play partners, so this issue hasn't come up yet.

Part of me would say that, should someone wish to, then boundaires would be laid down (like safer sex, testing, etc) and go nuts - we wouldn't need to meet them and get "approval". The problem with that, as we see so very often with folks coming here from the swing world, is that even if everybody intends this to be a casual FWB type thing, often it can quickly evolve into something a lot more committed. The issue then is that things have already "gone beyond" a level of commitment where anyone else involved could say "I don't think this person is a good fit for us for the following reasons...." - it's too late for that at that point.

If your partner says he doesn't want casual things, and you put boundaries in place that support that, and he doesn't want to respect those boundaries, then there is an issue, obviously.

It's worth getting to the bottom of what he really wants - is he not telling you because he feels you may not want to hear it? Does he not really know himself? Opinions on relationships can evolve and it's hard to bring up "you know we agreed to us wanting this? Well, I've changed my mind."
Work this out before you start worrying about whether or not boundaries should change.

If he has a pattern of wanting to ignore boundaries while in NRE, then you need to call him on that. Do the boundaries really no longer work for him?

If you want the ability to have causal partners (whether or not you choose to actually DO it) then you need to discuss that with him, too.

Time for some renegotiation, methinks.

LovingRadiance 07-18-2012 02:11 AM


EVERY time he meets someone-he thinks she's "the newest one". So far, all but one exploded in a HUGE nightmare. The one that didn't-was truly a lot of work on her part and mine to save his ass from the multiple boundaries broken.

EVERY time-there are boundaries broken.
Every time-he wants the boundaries changed to be more lenient.
Every time-when it ends, he is dead set on those boundaries being put in place again (for me).

(my one other relationship has remained solid the whole time)

I don't want a play partner, but he knows full well that the reason is because I don't have TIME right now.
In the past I have had many and enjoyed it to its fullest-but with school and the kids school-I don't have time.

At any rate, it's not that I expect our situations to be mirrored. Thats silly.
But I have a big problem with him saying its ok for him to kiss some random person "in order to decide if there is chemistry", but not ok for me to. It's neither here nor there to me, that I have no intention of doing so-it's about respect and that his attitude leaves me feeling like I'm not being respected.

(Ciel-I have called him out over the boundaries being broken-and we went rounds again over it this last weekend. No boundaries have been broken currently-but I'm not interested in going through it AGAIN. To me-it's just NOT that hard to come home and say-look, I want to make a change. Or come home and say Hey-I want to do xyz".
As a rule of thumb, I'm pretty much open to anything-as long as he accepts that for every privilege he requests, he needs to be willing to allow me the same privilege IF I WANT IT. I'm sick of being treated like I should allow him to do whatever the hell he pleases while I kiss his ass and insecurities and don't do anything JUST because I ALREADY have a boyfriend.

AnnabelMore 07-18-2012 03:15 AM

All I can say here is that I think that you're entirely right that there is a big difference between play partners and long term partners, that it's ok for there to be different boundaries for each, that it's not ok to constantly expose your kids to new partners who then disappear, that it's not ok to break boundaries, that it's not ok to constantly change boundaries to suit one person's desires one minute and then change them back to suit their insecurities the next minute...

You're entirely, completely right. There's no rubix cube here that I can see, no puzzle, except for this one: why can't he see all the things that I listed above and then be strong enough to adjust his behavior accordingly even if he doesn't like it, even if it means he can't have something he wants right away on the one hand or that he has to allow you the possibility of something that will make him jealous on the other?

Only he can answer that.

LovingRadiance 07-18-2012 03:16 AM


Originally Posted by AnnabelMore (Post 143999)

Only he can answer that.

You're right. I sure wish he would. Not like, publicly per se-just answer it for himself and then resolve it.

rory 07-18-2012 07:58 AM

Annabel put the whole situation very clearly.

What I would do in your position is try to change my perspective. There is a pattern here that you are not satisfied with: you both agreeing to strict boundaries when he has no other interests and him breaking them (or trying to change them) when he has. You can do little to change his part in this, only he can control his own behaviour. So what is it that you can do to make the situation one you are satisfied with?

For my part, I would definitely have an issue with being in the position of having my trust broken over and over again. Agreements have no use if only one party sticks to them. For me, it would be the time to make some personal boundaries around not ending up in that position again. Whether the relationship would survive with those personal boundaries would remain to be seen, but if it comes down to that I find it healthier to protect myself than the relationship.

dingedheart 07-18-2012 03:00 PM

It sounds like the problem boils down to hypocrisy....character, being able to have and follow a code of conduct. Not causal vs long term.....hump day friend ( pin a coladas day friends ) ...< recently changed> vs live in boyfriend.

LovingRadiance 07-18-2012 07:27 PM

I can't respond right now-giggling so hard over you D!

But, I will be back to elaborate.

I think you're right-it's time to figure out the personal boundaries-which is part of why I made this thread.

To get a feel for others thoughts, experiences.

I've noted in another thread a LOT of heat over meeting both partners before sexual involvement.
I don't happen to see that one changing in our terms.

My terms are-either they meet me first-or they don't meet me (or the kids) at all. I don't care which. It's easy enough to tell if something happens-because he has little to no free-time unless I carve it out of the schedule for him. Besides-it shows on his face.

But-there's other things that need to be figured out regarding this whole boundary breaking thing.

He's sincere in his apologies. But as those who've watched through the last 3 years already know-he ALWAYS IS-until he meets someone and then its "brain be gone" like a crack addict.

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