Relationships without prescriptions
This is a bit of a mish-mash of thoughts stemming from several threads here and my own experiences as I relate to them and to new relationships in my life.
As I've said in other threads, one of the things that tends to annoy me is the prevalence of people who are in couples and looking for additional relationships, but wish to make sure those additional relationships remain within the constraints of boundaries that exist to protect the primary relationship. I do respect the fact that there are couples that feel the need to do this in order to have successful and working poly relationships, but I'm speaking to this as a person who is outside of that dynamic.
I really find it pretty unappealing to begin relationships with such constraints already pre-set and prescribed.
For me, it's like being told, "I would love a relationship with you, but bear in mind that no matter what happens between us, I will always place this other person ahead of you and regardless of what feelings develop, our relationship cannot grow in ways that might possibly threaten my other partnership."
This is not to say that there should be no regard or consideration for any of the other partnerships that my partner may have. But I find that when I'm given the rule of "our relationship must not cross the boundaries that may threaten my other relationship", I'm most likely destined for a lose/lose situation.
For one thing, those boundaries they are referring to are usually invisible and constantly shifting with the comfort level of the other partner. But even more fundamentally, I have no desire to enter into a relationship where my feelings of love are assessed in terms of what threat those feelings could pose to the other partner. It means I have to structure my relationship around the insecurities of another relationship.
Unfortunately, this is often the atmosphere presented to me by married or partnered people who approach me for some kind of relationship. In fact, it's the prospect I'm most often presented with.
Which is why my latest prospect is such a lovely breath of fresh air. This person has 4 other partners of varying levels of involvement. Some of his partnerships have lasted many many years. And he recently moved in with one of his partners (who happens to be married with a kid and lives part time with her husband and part time with him). These are all women he loves deeply and these are all women he is deeply committed to.
But as we've explored the possibility of a relationship between us, I have not been presented with any boundaries put up to protect his other relationships. Each relationship stands on it's own strength and lends that strength to all of the other relationships that first relationship is attached to. The feelings that I'm developing for him are not seen as a threat by anyone else he is involved with. For the first time, I'm finding myself in a relationship with a partnered person that's allowed to grow on it's *own* merit and feelings without needing to be trimmed or cut for the sake of protecting the other relationships. It also means that he trusts me enough to know that I'll make decisions that honor all of the people and relationships in his life as they will also make decisions that honor me and my relationship with him. So there's no need to set a "rule" to make sure I do that. It's quite lovely and drama free to get to experience NRE that isn't costing anyone else anything.
The other nice side effect is that I'm finding easy friendships developing between me and his metamours that are independent of him, but also connect me to him even more.
As an unpartnered poly person, it is generally harder to find relationships that do not have pre-set prescribed limits that have nothing to do with me. I find that when I have to enter into a relationship that's already full of such rules, it usually means that there isn't a whole lot of trust and that puts me in a very insecure position to begin with.
It's lovely to know that this doesn't have to be the case.
Last edited by Ceoli; 12-13-2009 at 04:17 AM.