Personally, I object to having rules, per se, in my relationships, although I accept that others feel the need for them and I have even made suggestions to people here for types of rules to employ. What I prefer is to have my own personal boundaries. This is simply a standard by which I want to be treated. But I don't like the idea of setting rules.
Even if I were in a very entwined, committed primary relationship, as opposed to the more casual intimate friendships in which I currently engage -- I would object to the idea of establishing a list of do's and don't's that my partner(s) must follow.
The reason for my objection is basically along the lines of what AutumnalTone posted earlier in the thread - and that is, as an adult who engages in relationships with other adults, anyone who needed a set of rules dictated by me in order to keep their behavior in check is not the type of person I would ever choose to become involved with!
I mean, come on, man - I have to tell you not to lie to me? I have to tell you to respect me? And if I don't tell you, you will try and get away with all manner of shit because I didn't lay it all out for you in black and white? WTF? How old are you?
So, for me, I would rather state my boundaries: "I will not tolerate lies," "I will not be in relationship with someone who is cheating on their partner," "I will not hold my schedule open for someone who doesn't confirm a date within X amount of time," or "I will always use condoms," RATHER THAN give someone rules: "you must not lie to me," "don't be a cheater," "You must confirm our dates within X amount of time," or "use condoms at all times." In my view, my stance is that I am taking care of me, and this is fundamentally different from laying out rules for another person to follow and then waiting for them to either obey me or fuck up.
And I do feel that everybody in a relationship, whether mono, poly, partnered, solo, secondary, FWB, primary, or whatever, should have their own set of personal boundaries.
Having my own set of personal boundaries rather than writing up a list of rules, as I see it
, gives the person with whom I am in relationship his own agency. With regard to how he interacts with me, he has choice. If he knows I don't tolerate lies, and he wants to be with me, he won't lie. Of course, as an example, there may be times when things are unclear and someone might think they have to hide something not to be hurtful, and so I would say, "You don't have to hide that from me, I prefer you tell me what's going on," but telling someone that we have to have a rule not to lie seems kind of juvenile to me. Another example: if he gets back to me very late regarding a date we were planning and finds out I made other plans because I hadn't heard back from him in time, then he knows what choice to make if he wants to spend time with me. It's simple.
As an example, I have a friend (I use the alias Cranky for him in my blog thread) who has a personal boundary that he will not wait more than 15 minutes for anyone he agrees to meet somewhere. I know that if we have plans to get together, I have to be on time or no longer than 15 minutes late if I want Cranky to wait for me. He never dictated to me, "You must not be later than 15 minutes when we meet!" -- he just knows what he will and will not tolerate, and I found out one day when I was 20 minutes late, and he wasn't there. I later asked him why, and he told me his personal policy. So, now I know it's up to me to be responsible if we get together, but he isn't going to get all angsty if I'm too late or bitch at me because I broke a rule -- he simply goes off and takes care of himself. If a few more instances occur where I am over 15 minutes late, he will cease to make plans with me. We both acknowledge this boundary and act in ways that take care of ourselves and each other.
But rules -- egad, how many threads we have here are devoted to "He/she broke a rule - what do I do?!! I'm so hurt - how can we heal?" Blecch.
I do not wish to police anyone I'm in a relationship with, nor hang all my expectations on them to be what I want him to be. Cross my boundaries, and you're either out of the picture or we discuss it and move forward, depending on what the boundary was, but setting down rules for a grown-up to follow in order to know how to behave? Hell, no.