Too many characters.... and so I continue....
1) boundaries need to come from within, not from outside. They need to serve the primary relationship, and in your heart, you have to make a choice to never put the sanctity of that primary relationship in jeopardy. you still need to make agreements about other relationships with your partner, but you have to make that commitment inside of yourself first.
2) hierarchy exists for a reason (this is probably going to cause a comment RIOT y'all, but i really identified with this). only a very, very few people can deal with poly without any hierarchy, and noobs have will run into some major shit trying to mirror that tiny percentile of relationships. primary. secondary. tertiary. there should never be the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time commitment, life commitment to a secondary/tertiary partner. they are different kinds of relationships. your primary relationship is sacred, and should be protected by both parties, as it is this primary relationship that allows all others to exist in the way that they do. the love starts in that primary relationship, and needs to be nurtured/protected by all partners involved, which leads us to point #3...
3) if you are with a secondary partner who doesn't respect the boundaries/hierarchy, move on. you do not want to be in a place where competition can exist for the core relationship in your life - it creates dramatic dynamics that are unnecessary and unhealthy for the primary relationship. avoid people with no boundaries, or who seem to want an equal status in relationship. equal love, yes. equal status/intensity of relationship, no.
4) don't spend too much time with a secondary (we were spending weeks at a time together). maybe don't even have sleepovers. Do what's necessary to separate the intensity of relationships, especially in the face of nre for at least 18 months. most relationships will not last this long even though they feel like they will at first. if and when they do, they are still secondary relationships, but because they are solid, should be taken more seriously and invested in by all parties more. until 18 months, assume most people are a little crazy, and be careful about who you allow into your love-biosphere.
5) keep things fair. don't go on fancy fabulous nights out with your lover and then just hang out with your primary and do laundry. don't compare your partners - they are not and should never feel like they are vying for your attention - love them each for who they are, and stop there.
6) be responsible to your partner. communicate. Be good to them. always treat them the way YOU want to be treated. Don't blame them when things go wrong, be compassionate and be there for them. men often are made out to be the cheaters/liars/assholes in society/movies/media, so be wary of that in my relationship, and never ostracize/overjudge elemental for making mistakes - he will do that himself, because he's a good man and is committed to me.
7) if it's too much work too early with a secondary/tertiary, walk away. you don't need to be doing primary relationship style communication with a secondary partner, certainly not in the beginning if ever.
8) even though you're controlling the speed (go slow) of the relationship, the time spent (quantified and controlled) together, you don't need to control feelings. because there are boundaries elsewhere, it will be easier for you to experience compersion for your partner (than when it's jammed up in your face for days on end).
9) in their (my sis & her partner's) poly life, they do not see any of their partners (they have more than one other lover/houseboy/etc) more than three times a month. dates, sex, no overnights. all protected, all the time (gloves, condoms, dams, etc) they have ultimate veto power. most of their lovers are in other cities.
10) slow it down. if it becomes uncomfortable, take a break. there is no rush. if a secondary isn't willing to give a primary relationship space when it's needed, don't pursue it (see number 2) - their respect is really important for all three relationships to be okay.
11) it took a long time to find your primary partner. assume it's going to take an appropriate investment of time/energy to find an equally awesome secondary partner. real relationships that will serve you for a long time don't occur during nre, they happen after nre. getting through that time period of 18 months is a minimum before assuming you should get serious.
So there you have it. I know everyone on this board has their own approach, and that some of the most avid posters are all for working towards no boundaries - that's awesome, for people who have been poly for years, and have decided that's what works for them. don't assume that you are expected to be the same.
Last edited by BaggagePatrol; 02-25-2012 at 08:15 AM.
Reason: duplicated text, cleaning up