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Old 03-02-2012, 07:31 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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Since I commented on your blog post about how I felt that these boundaries are focused on keeping other relationships not important, instead of focused on the primary relationship and building that, I thought I'd come here and point out why I felt that way.
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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
I do agree that boundaries need to come from each person, they need to make them their own, otherwise it won't work.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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...
You're right, this is probably the one that caused the biggest uproar. I will probably never have the same level of life commitment with my boyfriend as I do with my husband. I can definitely say that I'm not starting a family with him. My kids are teenagers and almost adults, there's no way I want to start over again. My relationship with my husband is incredibly important, but so is my relationship with my boyfriend. I think it's the fact that this boundary focuses so much on the idea that you have to make sure that the secondary or tertiary partner doesn't get the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time, etc. is what bothers me. Why not just say that your marriage is important, it's important that both partners invest time and energy into maintaining it? Why the focus on controlling what the other relationship is instead of focusing on making sure that the primary relationship doesn't get lost?

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
Anyone who at the beginning of the relationship wants to be on exactly the same footing as my husband would be a huge red flag to me. One of the things that impressed me about my boyfriend was when he told me, on our first or second date, that he didn't want me to use him as a way to escape my primary relationship.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
I think you've found that this is the one that got a lot of people up in arms too. One of my boundaries with my husband is that we make sure we have at least 3 nights a week that are just us and our sons. We have other commitments too, outside of our secondary relationships, so those take time also. But we need time to reconnect just as a family. This boundary totally focuses on time spent with outside issues, just like yours does. But can you see how the focus is different? We are focused on what we need to make sure our relationship doesn't suffer, instead of focusing on what we need to do to make sure the other relationship doesn't grow to be too important.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
Totally agree with this one.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
Totally agree with this one too.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
Like everyone else, I'm a little confused by this one. What does primary relationship style communication mean? I understand that if, from the very beginning, a relationship is full of drama, you should walk away. However, I don't see how communicating with a secondary on a deep level is a bad thing.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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).
This one is true. I totally agree that controlling feelings is next to impossible, so why try?

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
Again, this is focused on controlling the other relationship. Like I said earlier, our boundary on time focuses on making sure we as a couple get enough time together to maintain our connection. It makes more sense to me to have a boundary like that, that focuses on what the primary relationship needs to remain strong, than one like this, that focuses on making sure that a secondary relationship remains weak.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
I agree, if the secondary partner isn't willing to help make sure the primary relationship is strong, they probably aren't a really good fit for a poly relationship. However, the flip side is important to. The secondary relationship is a real relationship, and it deserves the respect of the primary partners also. I guess, more than anything else, that is what bothers me about this list of boundaries. It's all about respecting the primary relationship, at the cost of the secondary relationship if necessary. It feels like it ignores the fact that the secondary relationship includes people that deserve to have their feelings respected.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
This is true and one of the hardest parts of being poly. It might take a while and take having your heart stomped on a few times before you find a secondary relationship with someone who is awesome and fits into your life.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
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.
Having boundaries isn't a bad thing. I think it's actually a good thing. I think they should be more focused on maintaining the primary relationship though than trying to control the secondary relationship. You can't control other people's actions and feelings. You can let them know what you need in order to feel honored, respected and loved. That's where our boundaries come from, what we as a primary couple need in order to feel honored, respected and loved by each other. I think these boundaries try to address that, but they weren't received well because of the negative focus, the focus on trying to control the secondary relationships. Just my opinion though.
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