Sometimes (especially on the Fetlife poly forums) I see a lot of pressure for people to embrace total autonomy, and suggestions that you're "less than" if you make requests of or agreements with your partners that stifles 100% freedom. The theory being if you just trust that your partner wont be an asshole, that should be enough.
The reason that doesn't work for me is if a metamour comes over on a hot summer day and drinks my last two diet cokes and Adam doesn't go get more or tell me I should pick up some more on the way home, and I get home looking forward to drinking a tasty cold beverage, and open the fridge to find it empty... I consider that to be inconsiderate asshole behavior, and he would have just thought he was a good host. That sort of thing CAN end up being a big issue (I'm not exactly the most easygoing person, I get pissy when his friends come drink all my diet coke so I can see it being a problem if his girlfriends did too, which means I've clearly stated that if he doesn't make sure i don't run out of soda, he's going to have one grumpy partner.). People think differently, and I think specific agreements about behavior can be good when they aren't too lopsided or about double standards, especially when people have radically different viewpoints and life experience and want to be on the same page. Accomplishing it of course is easier when all involved parties want their poly to look the same.
Both he and I have made some concessions which mean we get more overlap in our comfort levels, but also miss out on some freedom to act as we please. Due to 40 years bachelorhood and the tendency to see everything in shades of grey, he struggles more with B&W agreements (remembering them, applying them). Due to being very literal, I struggle with his regular re-interpretation of agreements because he's convinced that this person or situation is an exception to them. These differences are present in other aspects of our life too, not just around poly.
Priorities are minimizing having big surprises or drama, and because we live together, centered on keeping our day to day interactions running smoothly. Some of them reflect my desire to comfortably share lots of info about what's going on in my life and have it shared back (not personal stuff - where dinner was had, jokes we're told, hobbies shared between metamours, movies recommended by a partner). I like hearing the same back, because even if I don't spend time with a metamour, hearing little bits about their personalities or lives makes me feel like there's a vicarious friendship, and encourages me to support the other relationship.
I like to revisit my agreements with Adam every six months or so to see if anything has changed and if we are still on the same page. They are none of your business, but since sometimes people find it useful or interesting to see what other people do, here they are.
Non negotiable Agreements
Follow the agreed upon safe sex agreements in ours and others relationships. Actively discuss safe sex practices, last STI tests, results and risk factors before becoming sexually involved.
No drug use or kink related activities with new partners without checking in first to see if there are any concerns so we can discuss them before and not after the fact.
Agreements (generally negotiable/not dealbreakers if they happen)
Let each other know if we are going to writing with somebody new if we are in the room at the same time, otherwise mention new interests (from OKC or "real life") sooner than later.
Check with each other before making a specific time/day for first & second dates so we don't schedule something when there are already plans/tentative plans. New people seem more stressful when there's a schedule fuck up around it.
Give each other a heads up before we tell other people we are in love with them or want to have sex with them for the first time.
If the person is local, have at least a passing "hi how you doing? interaction between metamours before a relationship becomes sexual.
Scheduling 2 dates a week with somebody is fine, if we want to see someone more often, bring it up proactively to discuss if we are keeping up our end of the chores/housework/attention to any other existing relationship before committing more time elsewhere.
Schedule 2 days a week to spend together, with one a set date night.
Preferences (that lead to discussion before pursuing anything contrary)
I prefer Adam doesn't date his coworkers, I prefer neither of us date people that are single parents with primary custody, we both prefer we both only date people who have experience being in open or poly relationships, both of us prefer not to get involved with people who are swingers/engage in regular casual sex unless we are clear their safe sex guidelines seem to be strict enough to mitigate most risks of STIs
It doesn't look too copiously long now that I see it in print.
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.
Last edited by Anneintherain; 01-29-2013 at 07:54 PM.