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Old 10-19-2011, 01:49 AM
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Default Boundaries & Rules for the Single or Solo Poly Person

This thread is inspired by a post I saw over at PolyMatchmaker, in their "Single Polys" forum. I thought the question interesting enough to bring it over here.

We often hear from practitioners of poly who are partnered, or married and have "opened up" their marriages. Many discussion threads focus on the rules and/or boundaries partners have arrived at or are developing for themselves in order to embrace polyamory in a way that is healthy and fulfilling for everyone involved, and very often as a way to protect the couple "at the center."

But what about the unpartnered singles? And the solo poly who has relationships/partners but either doesn't want a primary, or is often in the role of secondary? How do we protect ourselves and set boundaries to help support finding happiness in polyamorous relationships?

How many times we have seen posts from single people who got involved with a couple and then come here to say, "They want this, want that. They tell me it has to be this way, and that way... but I'm not [happy, satisfied, feeling like I matter]. Is what they want okay, is that normal for poly? Can I ask for ___?" Or, if not with a couple as a triad, they become involved with someone whose OSOs have demands that affect them.

Such individuals may not have a strongly developed sense of who they are. But obviously, they entered into the relationships without figuring out what they needed (or could put up with) to protect themselves and make sure they are happy. They had not devised their own boundaries or rules. Perhaps that is why so many triads fail. Perhaps they never should've started in the first place without each party having their own clear set of boundaries (or without reading Franklin Veaux's Secondary's Bill of Rights). I think the idea that solos and singles should have their own set of boundaries should be just as prevalent in polyamory as the idea that partnered people/couples should.

So, I address these questions to the solo poly people out there (feel free to answer whichever ones move you):
  • What are your rules or boundaries for poly relationships?
  • What requirements do you find absolutely necessary and non-negotiable when you enter into a poly relationship?
  • Do you find your boundaries and rules have been respected and given equal consideration by those you've been involved with? If not, what adjustments would you make, if any?
  • What concessions have you made regarding your boundaries and would you do it again?
This isn't just for solos who want to be in relationship with a couple, of course. There are many solos who are not looking for that, for various reasons. Many solos, like myself, either want an egalitarian approach to having multiple lovers, are straight, or don't want to cohabit with anyone nor be part of a tribe. But we may come up against some weird ideas out there about solos, like the assumptions that we're all cowgirls and cowboys or only want casual sex.

So, I think it's important for solos and singles to define our own set of boundaries and/or rules. From there, of course, negotiation can take place, but to not have any can put us in icky situations. This thread is open to being a place to work out what your boundaries would be, if you haven't already figured it out. And if you have, please share how it's worked for you!
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