Originally Posted by roots989
I want to make clear - if even for my own sake - that I have never had sex with another person without Scout's explicit ok or what I thought was Scout's ok. There was once when what I called making out Scout called sex. There was another time when I had sex with a woman, believing that sex with women was ok with him. I have kissed other men. I have made out. Mostly, it has been kissing. And it has happened a handful of times in our relationship. Am I defending myself? Not at all. I just want to help clarify the context so that as he and I continue to post, we all are able to make the best sense that we can of the story.
Sorry for plunging into the middle -- this is what stood out most prominently, as I've heard/seen/been on both sides of it before.
Part of communication is having mutual definitions to work from. CdM and I used to argue about disability until we decided what it meant in our lives; now he understands what I mean when I use the word, and I see why he balked at the word at all. So we were unable to have meaningful discussions about it until we knew what we were discussing.
When you talk about sex, what does sex mean?
You two should be old enough to remember the Clinton administration -- you remember the controversy over what "it" was? You're having a similar problem. Forget defining sex for a moment; look at behaviors that constitute physical affection. List them out if you have to. Then consider:
-- When are these behaviors okay? When are they taboo?
-- Where, ditto?
-- With whom, ditto?
The "why" is what happens when you're negotiating the "what", according to the "when", "where", and "who".
Setting out explicit agreements, and keeping them in writing somewhere, gives you something to which you may refer back.
Do you see similar language issues around other topics?
Two of my friends had, at one point, a glossary for outsiders, so we would understand what they meant in their blogging. The corollary to "communicate, communicate, communicate" is "context matters".
Is this the right time to be open? To what extent?
Taking time to be closed until you both feel safe may allow you to stay open with less pain. Or no pain.
Move slowly and deliberately. Use the tools at your disposal. If those tools include helping professionals, absolutely seek their help. Then, when things are right between you again, see how poly fits your lives.