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-   -   Guidelines & Boundaries vs. Rules: Merged Threads, General Discussion (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=367)

moon 06-12-2009 08:39 PM

Guidelines & Boundaries vs. Rules: Merged Threads, General Discussion
Hi there, I just wanted to ask a general question about the rules and boundaries that you have agreed with your partner/spouse/lovers that allows you all to function healthily within a poly lifestyle please?

The last time me and my husband thought we were ok within our rules I broke one in a very stupid mistake, which I definitely don't intend to repeat!

At that time the rules were (due to our careers and having a young son) we remain sacred and primary, no over night stays, no unprotected sex, no-one in our bed, no involvement with our son and being discrete (hope I haven't forgotten any) but those were the main ones.

Having spent a few days reading through many of the posts on here, many of you are much more open/involved than this, sharing beds, families etc etc...I take my hat off to you :-) the love, compassion, integrity and humility shine through your posts.

I just wondered if any of you have similar rules, but have amended them when they were put into practice? Or have any opinions on the rules we outlined? I would like to learn :-)...

Many thanks
moon xx

AutumnalTone 06-13-2009 02:31 AM

Um, well, let's see...we don't do unprotected sex unless we're fluid bonded with a partner. (Fluid bonding involves testing for STIs and the understanding that sex with folks who aren't bonded has to be safe.)

Other than that, I'm sort of at a loss. I prefer that any dates meet my wife early on, to make certain that they register that I am married, my wife knows I date other women, and that she's OK with it. Anybody who would refuse to meet my wife isn't somebody with whom I'll get involved.

I know of people who find the idea of rules useless. They only get involved with people whom they trust to deal honorably with all involved and who will break off ties to anybody who can't behave decently. That's about where we are.

That said, a set of negotiated rules can provide security when learning the ropes. There are lots of folks who have rules and have had rules for years.

So, I don't think there's any generalized approach to it. Some folks have lots of rules, others have few, still others have none.

TheMunkeys 07-06-2009 08:48 AM

My husband and I have set up rules to help us learn to move beyond trusting each other. Not that we don't but so that there will be accountability on both parts. We have pretty much the same rules but have made adjustments as time passes. I will admit that I have trust issues but my husband was the only person that broke down my barriers. I trust him and that helps with the rules. I must admit that most were in place to make sure he didnt get too big of a head but I know that I can trust him and when you get to the point were you know your partner wouldnt put your life or body at risk you will lax on the rules too. Hope this helps!!

kbarker1 08-27-2009 10:25 AM

Well, this is my first post on this forum, as I just found it, and have only been poly in the past year. You're asking about rules... "I just wondered if any of you have similar rules, but have amended them when they were put into practice? Or have any opinions on the rules we outlined? I would like to learn :-)..."
Yes we have rules... the way it was when we started, was I was only allowed to kiss other women, nothing else. As we grew more comfortable with everything, it grew to sex with women, as long as it was in our house and protected, then it was sex with women outside of the house as long as it was stable, and my husband has recently suggested that I find a stable girlfriend.
I have one ex girlfriend now, and as of last night, I have a new girlfriend. We have rules within our poly... my husband requires a few nights at home a week, and for me to not leave him for my girlfriend (which I never would.) My girlfriend has a young daughter who is easily confused, and is in the military, so we do not show affection in public. Aside from that, everything flows by how we all feel. My husband is straight, so has no boyfriends, and he does not get involved with my girlfriend either (as she is a lesbian). I'm sure that throughout our lives, mine and my husband's rules will change, and we may end up monogamous at some point, but for now we are enjoying our poly lifestyle.

River 08-27-2009 03:05 PM

Most everything flows out of the agreement Kevin & I have to be honest and transparent with one another. It's more of an agreement that a "rule," per se. We trust each other enough that we don't feel the need to lay down rules for our relationship or for each other.

We really like being together, so neither of us fears that there won't be enough time together if either of us ends up having another love. Probably, if or when either of us has another love, we'll include the other/s in our lives in such a way that we'll spend a lot of time together as a group -- whether or not all of us are "romantically" involved with each other. So our routine frequent hikes in the mountains, camping trips, etc., wouldn't be dramatically altered -- we'd just have another (or two) to share these activities with ... along with meals, maybe a bed....

Sure, if either of us -- or both -- were to have another love, we'd spend some one-on-one time with him or her or them. That goes without saying, but there's no fear or doubt about the love we have for one another (or none rising beyond barely perceptible, and laughable), but there'd be no need to make rules to insure that we spend time with each other. We like being together so much that the thought of one of us neglecting the other in terms of time shared is preposterous. But he and I are also generally quite comfortable being alone, or out and about on our own, so there's none of the clingy-needy stuff between us. We need each other, sure, but not in a needy-clingy sort of way.

Neither of us are "dating" others now, nor avoiding it. But it could happen at any time, and I do think I'd like to look into "fluid bonding" as a method of protecting our health. We'd not make a "rule" out of it, but would, rather, come to some sort of agreement. Rules are for the distrustful. I've had shattered trust in a supposedly "love" relationship before, and it took a lot of years to find myself where I'm at now. Trusting my partner as I do. We need no rules, and want none. But we can arive at agreements. The difference may seem very subtle, if even perceptible to some. But it's the Grand Canyon between these two for me.


Rules are borne of a failure to share or enter into agreement. They are based on a lack of trust and a fear that the other would harm you or allow you to be harmed where preventable--or a fear that one is unloved. Rules are like training wheels, at best, and are like manacles or prison walls at worst. Where there is agreement, "escape" is not sought or desired, so manacles or prison walls are unnecessary.

MonoVCPHG 08-27-2009 04:36 PM

I must admit my "rules" are extremely simple and yet I am often embarassed by them because they may appear small minded or selfish. I need polyfidelity in my relationship with Redpepper in regards to other men. I feel healthy and happy with the men in her life now and healthy in moving forward towards a bright future.

Nobody knows what the future holds or how we as individuals may grow or change but the person I am now needs this. If things change for either of us down the road then we will explore that to see where our path leads.

Regardless, we will both do what is healthy for us as individuals and strive to stay healthy as a couple but our friendship is the most important aspect for me....not being a part of her life is unacceptable to me.

As far as the word "rule" goes; me and most people I know in the poly world disagree LOL! I have no issue with black and white boundaries or accepting that there is a clear cost to breaking them. Modern societies are governed by rules...but unlike in society it's nice that within our relationships we can come to agreements on what those rules should look like.

To me there are more boundaries in a relationship than actual rules. Boundaries can be pushed and explored for modification, reshaped and redefined. Rules are broken.

River 08-27-2009 04:55 PM


By distinguishing between "rules" and "agreements" as I have done above, I meant to highlight the difference between those relationships where there is profound trust and those relationships fraught with anxiety and fear that the other will harm or disrespect us. Kevin & I have so much trust and respect and kindness and warmth toward one another that I don't feel like I want to have "rules" in place meant to protect me from hurt or harm which may result from his actions/non-actions. And I believe he basically feels just as I do in this regard.

We have absolutely no rules as to who one or the other can interact with and how they may interact with them -- because such rules would be utterly superfluous. Why superfluous? Because we trust one another and our love for one another enough that we see no need to tether one another by such rules. Kevin's just not going to be loving me any less if he meets someone else and falls in love with him/her. He's not going to abandon me in the sense of not spending plenty of quality time with me. I have nothing to fear! Try as I might, I can't think of a scenario in which Kevin would abuse the trust I have in him -- so I don't see any need to restrict him with "rules".

We have agreements, but our agreements are nothing like rules. We agree, for example, that it is unloving for myself or himself to have unprotected sex with someone who we don't know to be free of STDs/HIV.... Likewise, we agree that it is unloving to involve ourselves in relationships with people who may mistreat, exploit, or abuse us. I don't need to give my okay to the friends or lovers he may choose because i fundamentally trust him, and our basic agreement: to love one another. That's the agreement that all else flow from, including our agreement that such agreements are superior to rule-making, and including our agreement that the trust of the sort we have toward one another is the springhead of the liberty we honor in one another. And I say "honor" because I cannot be the bestower of this liberty. I can only recognize it as the truth of who and what we are. If I wanted to constrain that liberty in any way, I'd have to take three good long steps back and examine what I'm fearful of. Such fear indicates a problem ..., but I have no such problem. We are happy and free. Loving and loved.


Edit: Wow, writing these recent posts makes me realize how very fortunate I am. I once had a terrible experience of violation/betrayal of my trust -- with the man who was my first true love. I lived broken in so many ways for so many years after that betrayal. The path to where I am, and where we are, has been a long one, and it's very interesting to see that we've arrived where we are and how fortunate we are. I wasn't quite as aware of the situation until I spoke it from my heart here.

MonoVCPHG 08-27-2009 05:06 PM


Originally Posted by JRiverMartin (Post 5637)
We are happy and free. Loving and loved.

I totally get that point JRM and am very happy for you. You just achieve it in a different way than I do and that is the beauty of diversity :D

I sincerely was not debating our views of boundaries and rules within relationships. Sorry if that is how I came across.

MonoVCPHG 08-27-2009 05:09 PM


Originally Posted by JRiverMartin (Post 5637)
Because we trust one another and our love for one another enough that we see no need to tether one another by such rules.

For the record..trust has nothing to do with my need for polyfidelity. That could be an entire thread that I simply don't have the energy to fully explore right now LOL!!

River 08-27-2009 05:18 PM


I have great respect for polyfidelity. And even monogamy -- where there is love. Any style of loving which is true loving is a good thing.

Did I say that rules were like "training wheels"? Well, there's nothing wrong with training wheels -- I learned to ride a bicycle with them as a kid. Rules can be a fine thing. I just don't need any, and neither does my partner. We are soaring. Our bicycle flies! We've got wings attached.

Now we have to practice taking the contraption under water! Ooooh! Spooky! Always new learning to explore!

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