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Old 08-09-2012, 04:02 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 2,121
Default Grow up

Originally Posted by punkrockmomma View Post
My partners and I are constantly running into snags in regards to boundaries, because they have little to none. No boundaries in regards to new partners, one night stands, nada. I have some very clearly defined boundaries, which I believe are valid. My son's father who I am still very close with is so not down with poly.

I mention the word boundaries, and my male partner practically runs screaming. He thinks I'm being militant and that I care too much about what other people think. My female partner is trying, but her first thought was " I don't see how my life is bad". I never said anyone's life is bad - but considering my son's father now has a watchful eye on me, and even though friends want me to be happy, they think it's weird and disrespectful that my partners are trying to get in their pants.

My lovelies do not clarify their requirements and needs in advance, so when their emotional and physical needs are not met, there is a blowout. I love their flexibility and fluidity, but is it wrong that I feel there should be a stopping point somewhere along the line?
It's not wrong.

Even if it was just you involved, it would be perfectly ok to talk with and agree to some boundaries with your partners. Now the situation is that you have a son, an ex who is watching you carefully - which might mean he is waiting for you to screw up so he can get custody - and some confused friends who want to be supportive but find your partners to be horndogs. Does that sound about right? Would your ex use your poly relationships to get custody, or otherwise hurt your relationship with your son? I hope not, I hope he is just watching carefully because as a mainstream person, this poly thing sounds creepy and he is making sure ihat his son is safe and well despite the weird stuff his son's mom is doing.

Just to clarify the friends thing, did your partners hit on your friends? Did I understand that correctly? Yes, many mainstream people would find Partner B hitting on Partner A's friends (and Partner A and B's other partner C, doing the same) offputting at best.

I assume your partners are not parents?

They have to understand something or your relationship with them is going to end sooner rather than later. Your son comes first. You do need to put some boundaries in place to protect your relationship with your son from potential interference from your ex. It is a real risk that one's poly relationships can be used against poly parents in custody battles. It is a real risk that you can be reported to social services solely for poly relationships. It may not be a very high or likely risk, depending on where you live and other factors, but it does exist.

They need to realize that this is your reality, your priority and that you must protect yourself and your son. I'm afraid your male partner is being an idiot. You have to care about what others think! You have a son to protect from the possibility of others taking misguided actions. Parents in this situation do not have the utter luxury of not giving a damn. You have too much to lose. No, it's not fair. In a perfect world, no one would care as long as it was consensual and not abusive. But we don't live in the world yet. But if he is to remain involved with you, that's his reality now too.

Your female partner seems better but it is still too much about them, and not about your need to protect your son. Yes, your friends and your ex might think that your relationships with your partners are 'bad' - if so, I bet they think it's 'bad' because of that old trope - think of the children!. That's why you need the boundaries in the first place.

Also, they don't get to decide when and if you are 'out' about being poly. They don't get to decide the degree to which you are out either. You're the only one who should decide that. They can be uncomfortably with your choices, they can disagree with them, but they are yours to make.

You don't mention what the boundaries are that you want in place. I am curious to know what they are.

It's possible, and acceptable, to have few to no boundaries. Some people know themselves and their partners well enough, and have worked through lots of stuff, that they don't need boundaries. They negotiate and talk when need be but don't need boundaries per se anymore.

And some people like having no boundaries or any discussions about limits or negotiations because they like doing what they want to do when they want to do it without regard to anyone else. I personally think these people are not fully adult yet. What we do always impacts someone else. An adult takes that into account. That does not mean we should always accept or do what others want or need from us. Maybe we don't change our actions. It's a delicate dance. But we need to acknowledge that our actions impact other people and be ready to deal with that reality.

Do you 'mother' these people? Reading between the lines, I would bet you do. Not telling you what they need and want from you, and then blowing up when their unspoken needs aren't meet - that's uncool. It really sounds like they are competing against your son for your time and attention and getting all hurt when they lose.

They don't get to blow up about their needs and then refuse to negotiate a structure in which everyone's needs can be met. That's an adolescent mindset.

It is possible to be a lot more open and free and unscheduled and go with the flow when you don't have children. That luxury goes out the window with youngsters. There is nothing wrong with how they lived their poly lives. But that way of being can be incompatible with other poly folks. It can be especially incompatible with poly folks who also happen to be parents.

There is a huge divide between those who have children and those who do not. There is an additional divide between those who want/have children and those who do not want to be parents. I prefer not to date people who have children. I will not get the time and attention I want from someone who is a parent. It's not anyone's fault. I am just not a compatible partner for someone with children because I would not get what I desire from a relationship.

Ultimately, you and them just don't seem compatible in the long run. I wish you the best!
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