Do new relationship affect old ones? or do old one affect new ones?-Couple Privilege
I was originally going to include a couple threads as context, but changed my mind. It is not my intention for anyone to feel as though I’m calling them out, or anything negative like that. Simply put I have seen this topic come up in various threads, and I have seen several different opinions set out by posters. What I would like to do here is get more posters to weigh in on these concepts/ideas. I’m interested in learning what people who associate with poly, and poly culture think and feel on this somewhat touchy subject. I’m hoping to get more opinions grouped together in one place for consideration by those who enjoy reading these forums.
This is meant to be a discussion, not an argument for whose idea, opinion, or belief is better. So please let us readers know your thoughts on this. Thanks
So which one is it?
Does a new relationship affect your current relationship? or is it the other way around, and the current relationship affects the new one?
Does a relationship have inherent privileges, rights, responsibilities, and expectations? Or do those grow as the relationship grows? Does starting a new relationship reduce, or remove the privileges, rights, responsibilities, and expectations of the longer term relationship(s)? Does the newest relationship have the “right” to say hey I want this, and telling me “not now” is couple privilege? Or is it acceptable for the longer-term relationship to stick to their expectations of each other, and allow their relationship to organically grow to include the newest relationship at a rate that works for the longer-term “couple”? Or does the newer relationship get to dictate the speed at which the longer-term dyad must change to accommodate it?
Basically all the above questions as the same thing. When in a relationship, and starting a new relationship which one is more affected? Which one should be more considerate of the other? Are there reasons why one relationship might have different rules, and responsibilities than another?
What rules, privileges, responsibilities, and expectations do you have in your various relationships and did those relationship start with those roles? or did they grow to include them, or did you have a relationship that had to adjust itself to accommodate changes to the roles it had?
Anyone have any resources for more info on couple privilege? I have read a little bit on this forum about it, but would like more education on the subject. (Yes I have done a google search, but that is not the same as receive an educational resource recommended by someone within this community)
On Privilege (more general than Couple privilege and maybe less volatile in this forum).
In closing I think everyone involved should be considerate, and thoughtful towards each other person. I feel that every relationship will affect every other relationship to some degree. Of course the more “solo” poly style is less likely (from description I have seen) to have major overlap affect the relationships, I still see some effects (such as time constraints changing as relationship come and go). Each poly style will likely have varying degrees of overlap, and difference in how much one relationship is likely to affect another. This discussion isn’t meant to be about your poly style, it’s meant to be about how your relationship affect each other. (speaking in terms where one dyad sees a negative affect and relates it to another dyad)
The reality is that any change of any type effects any relationship.
Therefore, a new relationship is effected (regarding how it comes to be and how it operates) by the existence of existing relationships.
This is EASY to see and we ALL know it's true when we look at the manner in which romances are carried out for someone with children, versus someone without. There are songs about how different it is for "a single mom" for example. The lyrics from Brad Paisley's songs "He didn't have to be" are a great start for that one.
"When a single mom goes out on a date with somebody new
It always winds up feeling more like a job interview
My momma used to wonder if she'd ever meet someone
Who wouldn't find out about me and then turn around and run
I met the man I call my dad when I was five years old
He took my mom out to a movie and for once I got to go
A few months later I remember lying there in bed
I overheard him pop the question and prayed that she'd say yes"
It's not the same when no children are involved, because there doesn't need to be any concern regarding the existing relationship needs AND RESPONSIBILITIES that don't exist.
The same is true in a poly dynamic. If you have pre-existing relationships ESPECIALLY live-in relationships, then new relationships ARE going to alter them. It doesn't matter if it's new friendships, new babies, new siblings, new parents, new lovers etc. There will be effects on your time/availability/attention/focus/responsibilities etc. That's just a facet of life. To ignore that, is to be more than naive; it would be irresponsible.
HOW MUCH it's effected depends greatly upon the type of relationship you already have existing and the type of relationship you are starting.
If your current relationships are tightly entwined-there will be more impact then if they are more loosely entwined.
If the new relationship is more tightly entwined-there will be more impact then if it is more loosely entwined.
So, for me, my life is TIGHTLY entwined with my family. This isn't just my 2 loves. It's my two loves and my 2 children at home, 3 (and 1 spouse) children not at home, 2 grandsons, 3 of my 6 siblings (and their spouses) and a network of friends who aren't "just friends", they are family. I'm talking daily interaction with all of them. I'm talking several times a week of social interaction with all of them.
Plus my schooling and the home schooling of the 2 kids at home.
So for anyone "new" to date me. They are going to suddenly be part of a large, already established family network. Some people cringe at that idea (which is ok-but means we aren't going to date). This IS the life I have. It's been the life I have. My chosen family includes every single person I have ever dated, because breaking up doesn't mean that they aren't part of the family still.
ALL of these people are welcome in our home "without an invitation" and they all randomly appear. Our home is very much the "safe home" for a network of people somewhere over 50 people strong. There are only 5 of us living here ALL of the time. But on any given day any or all of the rest could appear.
This is "normal" for our life.
On the other hand, my sister is living with her boyfriend and his wife and their 2 youngest children. They never have company over (including family) except the maternal grandmother who babysits often. They also almost never socialize outside of their group as a family. My sister is regularly here, she is also a huge part of our greater network. But her boyfriend, his wife and the kids-not at all. The wife and the boyfriend have dated other people-and never met each others partners. They don't bring them home. The kids certainly aren't involved at all. It is interesting to note-that their marriage has been on the rocks for years and they fight endlessly over the "you did this" and "you did that" bs because the segregation that they keep-means that if either of them wants to see someone else, it results in them not taking care of some function at home with the kids our the house in order to be gone.
They've had issues with my sister, for the same reason when she didn't live there. She struggled because she was lucky to get a day or 2 every 8 weeks with him. Now that she's living there she "see's" him daily just as the rest of their family does. But she still struggles with not getting any time for romance (which he also doesn't get with his wife enough for anyone to be happy) because of the ongoing struggle with "who is responsible for what and whom" arguments.
That isn't true of everyone.
But, I think that having a more segregated poly style is functionally only possible in scenarios where there isn't as much overlap of responsibility. Situations that are more independently created (like Marcus describes) where each individual has their own individual responsibilities and there aren't a lot of joint responsibilities. The more responsibilities you have, the less time you have. The more joint responsibilities you have the higher the chances of someone getting resentful if you aren't there holding up your end of the bargain.
I know for me; I'm not going to be the "live in nanny/housekeeper/cook" to our household so that the guys can be gone for days at a time with someone else.
Someone else can come here.
Likewise-we JUST YESTERDAY had it OUT over the same subject-not regarding poly.
I'm not going to do it for hteir jobs either. Maca has been gone for work 6 of every 8 weeks since Mid May. The job won't finish until after Christmas.
I told him point blank. NO WAY NO HOW will that happen again.
I don't give a shit if it means losing his job. I'm not going to tolerate it. We have a joint responsiblity. I didn't get married so I could be a single parent (and yes GG is here-but he's been working 60-80 hours a week as well).
I also told GG-no. No way. No How. Not playing it.
The kids are emotionally devastated. It's not fair to them. It's not fair to me. A job requiring more than 40 hrs a week on a regularly basis. NO. A job that takes you out of town for more than 2 of every 4 weeks. No.
The same goes for another partner.
If I am going to have the responsiblilites of a single parent. I'm going to have my OWN home. My OWN life and not be held to the requirement of workign "with" their needs and their requests.
(which I don't want and neither do they-but it bears repeating since their bosses seem to think it's perfectly reasonable since they have me here to "pick up the slack". But I'm not the "slack picker upper".)
But remember, OP, it's perfectly possible to strike a happy balance with your spouse where you both get to spend days away from your home and with your other partners. You know like, you stay out from Friday to Saturday with your partner, I stay out Saturday to Sunday with my partner and we have our date night on Wednesday. We can change this around to suit all of our responsibilities as we need to. It doesn't mean that both parents have to be present all the time to share the parenting duties. I wouldn't have a new partner around my child and nor would I agree to hang out with a new partner's children. That sort of thing is a good few steps down the road, in my world. Not to be done in the early stages of dating.
There are many abrupt changes that can happen in a posters life that can (and often are) a shock to that persons system. What I read pointed to the poster recognizing that in themselves, and negotiating to keep the "shock" of sudden change to what the poster felt more comfortable.
I found it very off putting that the story shared by this poster generated so many negative responses and judgement on the person character. Sharing a story about your life makes you vulnerable, and being called controlling, told you aren't poly, can feel like you are being attacked. I feel people forget that this site is for sharing, and learning versus attacking. So I created this thread hoping to get discussion going about how relationship actually affect each other. How successful (or new) poly people handle the changes that come into their lives as partners come and go. I am hoping that more people will post their points of view so that poly people who come here to read and learn can get points of view in a non-threatening, non-argumentative manner. It helps to remove the stronger emotions so a person can really consider other ways of doing things, and decide if any of what they are reading speaks to them, or would be something they want to implement in their own life.
The reality is (and somehow people do seem to forget this) change is a stressor, stressors put stress on our body (good or bad stressors doesn't matter). Too many stressors simultaneously and we end up with a variety of health issues.
That is one of the big deals that has been addressed in our polydynamic. We have a busy life. It's important to work as a team so that we aren't creating so many changes/stressors (good or bad) at one time that they create health issues (mental or physical) for anyone in the family. That takes some imaginative work at times. But it is do-able.
Unfortunately-a lot of people get up in arms over that. I have disengaged completely from our local poly group because of how horribly I was treated because I asked for a pause in forward progress while dealing with a MAJOR medical issue that resulted in hospitalization. Even though it was CLEARLY a medical issue I needed help with (which resulted in my needing more care from my partners AND our children needing more care from my partners as I was unable to do my part); the request to pause forward progress was still seen as "unfair".
The end result was no forward progress and termination of even a friendship (there was no dating relationship at that point anyway) because when everything came down to the end of the wire, every person in our family was so offended by the way I was treated, that even the one who was originally wanting to date the person who started the "holy war" against me-couldn't stand by it.
It's sad that people feel like steps towards some pre-determined utopia are unreasonable and all people should simply be there suddenly. Because-that isn't reality.
On the other side of the coin, if life seems to be getting away from me and I want IV to make some kind of concession in her relationships for my sake I need to face the reality that not everyone is going to embrace that. I need to realize, as I do, that when I ask someone to change their behavior to suit my circumstance (reasonable or otherwise) that they may well say "no". I am not entitled to their capitulation and I hope that they have the self respect to not submit to me because they feel obligated.
To add to the description of my personal stance, I am of the opinion that even *asking* someone to adjust their romantic life for my sake would need to be an absolute last resort. Therapy, geographical relocation, new job, new friends, and any other alternative I can think of will come before I ask someone to suit me.
If I can ask LR, when you had your major medical crisis and needed more help than you otherwise would have, could you simply have asked for the help? I'm curious why you decided that the extra step of requesting that someone elses romantic relationship be altered. Was there something particular about the "progress" they were making in their relationship which needed to be halted?
It would just make more sense to ask for the help needed. "I can't do this part anymore, can one of you guys pick that up?" etc.
My obligations to my family (children and spouse) work and school come first. if I meet someone they get fit around that schedule. For instance, I work 3 nights a week, I have 4 nights at home. N and I agreed that we would each only spend the night 1 night a week elsewhere, that would give us 2 night a week together as a family. I think that is reasonable. if another partner had an issue with that then it's a shame because it's not something I'm willing to change.
*like anyone else*Not every person I date will actually turn out to be a new partner for me. I do however want the option for that new person to turn into more than just a friend “getting to know you “ date. So I will talk with my partner(s) about how I feel, and see how they feel, and what may need to be negotiated. I have responsibilities to the people who are already apart of my partnership, I do not have the same responsibilities to someone I’m just now getting to know. For me once I have discussed the possibility of starting a new partner/love connection with someone new (In my case this happens BEFORE I start looking to date) with my current partners, then I would need to talk to my new potential and see what their expectations are, and if what I have available will fit within their expectations, or if more negotiation needs to be made. <does that help with clarity? Or am I confusing things?>
Ok, so I am poly, and I have a long term relationship (live in, married, whatever), or two. Then I meet someone new If I decide that there is potential there, and I talk to this new person about my poly status and they are ok with it. Then I will need this new person to be understanding I am not a single who can just offer all my time to them. I have time constraints, and responsibilities (as I suspect all poly people do) that have nothing to do with this new person (or at least not yet). I’m willing to talk about what those restraints/responsibilities are, and why they are. I am also willing to make adjustments, and be flexible. I do however expect someone new to also be willing to be flexible, and understanding of my non single lifestyle.
I’ll use something that isn’t exactly poly, but that fits.
Momoiroi and her school friend want to have a sleepover.
Momoiroi discusses this with the parents.
Momoiroi’s friend discusses it with their parents.
Questions to be considered:
Whose home will they have their sleepover?
What day will the sleepover be?
When will the kids need to go home from Momoiroi home, if they stay there?
When will the kids have to go home from the friends home if they stay there?
School schedules of kids, and adults
Work Schedules of person in each home
Disruption of the normal workings of each home
Poly math works here:
Dyad between me, and Kuroi
Dyad between friends parents
Dyad between me and Momoiroi
Dyad between Kuroi and Momoiroi
Dyad between Friend and Parent 1
Dyad between Friend and Parent 2
Dyad between Momoiroi and Friend
Triad between me, Kuroi, and Momoiroi
Triad between Friend, and Parent 1, and 2
The needs of my dyad(s), and triad will be part of my discussion with Momoiroi
The needs of the friends dyad(s), and triad will be part of their discussion
My dyad/triad needs will affect their dyad/triad
Their Dyad/triad needs will affect my dyad/triad
And all of the above “needs” will affect the dyad between Momoiroi and the friend.
I am willing to negotiate within my dyad/triad for Momoiroi and friend to have their sleepover. They may not be able to get their sleep over as soon as they want, or on the day that they want. They will have to be flexible, and willing to negotiate.
The same can be said for anyone new interacting with a relationship that has an established “normal”. (Interacting with one person who is in a relationship will have an affect on the relationship even if there is no interaction between meta’s - if nothing else time management will change for the existing relationship) Flexibility, and a willingness to negotiate is needed. Even in the solo styled polyship there are established “normals” in the older longer term relationship that a new relationship will need to flexible enough to work within, or be willing to negotiate for what they are looking for.
Does stating things in this way help to see that the existing relationship isn’t “controlling” the “new” relationship? It is being affected, and consideration of the existing relationship should be seen as sensible, yes?
The existing relationship(s) don’t disappear when a poly person starts up a new relationship. And by extension the existing partners needs, and the responsibilities to those partners also do not disappear when a new relationship begins. Therefore (in my eyes) it is not just that the existing partner that needs to be accommodating to the new partner, it is also the new partner who needs to be accommodating to the existing partner(s). Again I acknowledge that this “accommodation” isn’t as big for the solo polyists.
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