Originally Posted by naturalblue
Am I out of line on this? I understand that veto-ing a partner's partner is frowned upon in the poly community, but as I said, we have always been more "open" than "poly". I'm really struggling with how to handle this.
1. Poly isn't a community, it's a relationship style. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
In my experience, the only thing all polys agree on is open and honest communication. Everything else is up for grabs.
2. Veto means prohibit or forbid; i.e., stop it before it happens. It is, by definition, impossible to veto something that has already happened.
3. Vetoes can work, but they require an a priori agreement between both partners. My girlfriend and her husband have a veto agreement. He has exercised it before and while it resulted in much discussion and some disappointment, it did not have a lasting effect on their relationship. Whether or not a veto agreement is appropriate for a given relationship depends on the relationship style. Vetoes are perfectly reasonable in a hierarchy, where your top priority is to avoid anything that will harm the primary relationship. In that case, your partner's feelings and your partnership are much more important than a potential
relationship with someone else. And because veto means prohibit, not end, you're not disposing of anything, you're just not starting it. Again, this requires that both partners fully agree and support the idea of the veto. It will not work if one partner tries to force it on the other.
re #2: What you're proposing is not a veto. First, you and your husband did not agree to it before you went down this road. Second, you're trying to stop a runaway train. You are not trying to protect the status-quo, you're trying to change an existing situation. It's too late for veto. Situations like these are why many poly folks abhorrently despise vetoes. Some people abuse the notion of veto by trying to end something that's already started, and then saying "But we agreed to veto!"
All of that is just terminology. You don't really care whether it's called a veto. That doesn't affect your current situation one bit. You just want your husband to stop seeing this woman. That's understandable. He lied about her and misled you about the nature of their relationship. It's natural that you should want her out of the picture so that you don't have to compete with her.
The problem with ultimata is they piss people off. Ever since I started dating, I had a policy that anyone who gives me an ultimatum automatically loses. It doesn't matter what I would have chosen otherwise. The fact that you're forcing me to choose tells me you don't respect my feelings. Instead, explain your feelings to me, appeal to my compassion and good nature. I don't like to hurt the people I love. Allow me to make a decision that's right for me, and it's far more likely that I won't throw you away out of spite.
Are you honestly prepared for the possibility that by forcing him to choose, you'll lose? Wife or not... Based on the text you found, it doesn't sound like you're in a position to be making demands. "Her or me" might be just the excuse he needs to walk away. In a nutshell, the decision to throw away your marriage is not yours alone, but there are things you can do to force him into that choice. Tread carefully.