@TGIG - "Why are people calling these"rules"?? I took them as "understandings" between people in a relationship, and for some of them just a smart, decent way of doing relationships in general."
Oh definitely much of it makes sense and is smart. In fairness I probably should have said so. All the stuff about communication and respect, that's all good. Like NYC said, I focused on the restrictive parts because that's what I took issue with. Normally I'd try to be more even-handed I think, but I got a little worked up thinking about it.
From my point of view, in this context, "We have a rule that we [each have ultimate veto power over the other's relationships][don't do sleepovers with secondary partners][don't see secondary partners more than thee times a month]." just doesn't sound any different to me than "We have an understanding that we [each have ultimate veto power over the other's relationships][don't do sleepovers with secondary partners][don't see secondary partners more than thee times a month]." So, I called it like I saw it. If it had been prefaced with "these are flexible, general guidelines that they use as a starting place, not hard and fast rules" that would have been one thing, but I didn't get that impression at all.
I get that this works for your sister and her partner and I respect that, again I should probably have taken a line to make that clear. If it works for their other partners too that's great... though I do wonder if it really does work for all of them or if they just know this is what they can get so they adhere to it or/until they move on. I decided to look at this from a very personal perspective, which was kind of an odd choice I suppose considering that they're not trying to apply it to me and I could have examined it more objectively. But like I said above, I had a reaction to it and I was trying to understand that.
"do you have your own primary partner? if not, do you think that would change the dynamic of your concerns? and if not, do you think that you need more commitment/security from eric and gia because of that?"
No, I do have another partner but at this point I'd say Davis and I are still in a secondary mode in our relationship. We're talking about maybe moving in together and making a deeper commitment, so at that point things would change. I do think that I might well be coming from a different point of view if I was settled in and focused on my own primary partner. The fact that I come from the perspective that I do is actually why I thought it was important to post here, to provide a different voice, a different take on things. I find it hard to predict how my concerns might be different if my situation were different. I can say that I still don't think that I'd be down with an explicit veto power, I can't imagine feeling emotionally safe giving my heart in that situation no matter what.
I don't actually think I have any commitment/security from Gia or Eric per se, so I'm not sure how I could need less if I had my own primary? There's no rings, no promises, nothing like that. What I do have is her assurance that in her mind she's charged our relationship with the duty to last as long as is sensible, and his statement that he trusts me and has no problem with our relationship as long as it's making her happy. And I can't imagine going on for any length of time in something that was serious to me without at least that basic level... her desire to see it continue, her partner's lack of desire to make it stop.
The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.