How do boundaries work?
First, we have a list of definitions on our boundary agreement. Those definitions clarify for us what it is that we've agreed are the behaviors that go with certain types of relationships. Because we didn't have the same understandings when we first met. I was much more liberal and that meant I was tromping on his toes.
So, for example, our definition for friend says,
they've met your SO
see 2-3 times a week
coffee/lunch social times ok but no romantic dates
invite to family time ok w/so permission
so always welcome to join
remain coupled with so in group setting
no kissing, caressing, cuddling, fondling, making out, sex, nudity, nude photos, personalized sex talk, cybersex.
Now, I have friends from school. Upon meeting them, I don't tell them "I'm sorry we can't be friends until you meet my SO".
But, I do make sure that the first time I invite them to hang out-it's with his permission AND when he's present. That covers him meeting them.
I would do that EVEN IF WE WEREN'T POLY-that is a basic component of how we show our respect for each other period.
Likewise-I don't tell them "we can't go on romantic dates". I don't need to. I just need to know that for myself. If they invite me to coffee, lunch, etc it's a go. If they suggest dinner, I simply respond with "evenings are for our family, is it something I can bring them along?" and go from there.
This has NEVER been complicated or difficult. In fact, it's been appreciated and complimented.
I don't tell them "I need to be sure you are ok with my partner coming along at any time" either.
I simply make it clear in my words and actions and behaviors that my partner is a meaningful FULL part of my life. I invite them to participate in activities that include my partner, I make my RSVP's including my partner. It's really a no brainer-because I've never encountered a soul who expected otherwise. EVEN the people who don't operate that way in their own lives-figure out within 10 minutes around me that I do everything with my family and they understand that part of who I am.
Additionally, the "remaining coupled" isn't something that needs discussed or what behaviors aren't acceptable unless someone tries to do them. If a friend tried to kiss me-I would gently but firmly tell them that makes me uncomfortable and I don't appreciate it. End of story.
"Love As Thou Wilt"