What type of rules would you regard as restrictive?
I view rules that control how someone can interact and bond with a new partner as restrictive. For example, if there are rules around when and how a date can place, what can happen on that date and having to ask permission to interact in the ways that we want to. There is a difference between someone's wife saying "Will you check in with me on your date because I get the wobbles and it helps to maintain our
relationships" and saying "Will you refrain from interacting with this person in this way and interact with them that way instead because it makes me feel more secure". Any rules that are designed to make sure that the people in the relationship maintain their responsibilities - this to me signifies distrust, more than anything. If a guy that I was planning to date has rules set by his wife to ensure that he spends enough time with his kids, it puts me off of him. Why doesn't he naturally want
to spend time with his kids? Why doesn't she trust that he will put his kids before his love life? What kind of guy is he? I also know that "the kids" is useful manipulation tool when you are attempting to control your partner's outside relationships: if you can make your partner feel like any spare time spent away from the kids and with a partner is a betrayal to them, you can ensure that your partner will spend very little time away from the home (ie you) and any partner they see will also be under your supervision if they opt to see them at all under those circumstances.
Another thing is when a person has expectations for metamours to slot into a little gap, unicorn style, with no thought or consideration to what they might need or what works for them. The assumption that they will share their philosophies and want to build a romantic relationship the way that the spouse (not the potential partner) thinks is appropriate. It is meant to be the people who will have the relationship that decide how it is best for those two individuals to bond. On a side note, what I see happen in these cases is that when one of the people in the primary style relationship meets someone they really like, they too begin to actually want
to accommodate their needs, simply because they want to build a relationship of some sort with them and they realise that unless they consider their needs, that won't happen. This puts the spouse up in arms because they feel like their primary union isn't being respected and most importantly, protected
, by those initial rules and regulations they set. Sometimes those protection rules were set because the person forming the new relationship has a penchant for shirking their obligations when they develop new ones, other times that isn't the case at all. It's just a way for one or both parties to control their partner's other relationships and I am not into having my relationships controlled by someone else. I like my relationships to be organic, as hippified as that sounds, and they cannot develop organically when they are being influenced by someone else.
On what basis do these rules mean that a person or a couple has issues, rather than this is what works for them?
What you are dismissing is the fact that it may "work for them" because "a person or a couple has issues". If you acknowledge that your partner is very insecure and has trust issues, and so that means that they put restrictions on your outside relationships but you are fine with those restrictions because it doesn't stop you getting what you need from those outside relationships, that's fine. Obviously, as long as you are forthcoming about those restrictions and the consequential privilege that will always give your primary relationship to any potential partner(s). It doesn't invalidate the fact that there are insecurity, control and trust issues in your relationship, it just means that you are cool with them being there. I'm just saying that I don't form relationships with people who are in that situation because it is incompatible with the types of relationships that I want to have.