Originally Posted by PolyinPractice
maybe asking your partner not to kiss a new boyfriend/girlfriend in front of you (might be seen as controlling, but for sake of this thread, I'll ignore thinking down that line). At least it's something that can actually be followed.
Or perhaps you disagree on that last thought? If so, feel free to suggest a better replacement rule for the "Don't get [too] emotionally involved" rule.
So Gary and Sally are a couple and are poly (though shakily so). Gary hits it off with Debbie and wants to start dating her. Sally is feeling insecure about this and asks him to "slow down" until she can get a handle on her insecurities. When asked for clarification, Sally says "Well, you can have sex with her but don't fall in love". Right?
You are correct that this is setting everyone up for failure. This rule is both unreasonable and cruel.
Sally needs to grow up and let go of the idea that she can simply have other people adjust their lives to help her avoid having feelings she doesn't like. She is hurting everyone involved by attempting to regulate the actions of her fellows.
- She's hurting herself: The reason people grow and adapt is because they have to. Our environment challenges us, we experience emotional discomfort, we learn the tools necessary to deal with the challenge, and we move on to the next one. What she is doing is trying to remove the challenge and thereby retarding her chances of actually learning to deal with it.
- She's hurting Gary: By attempting to regulate his natural emotional tendencies she is taking valuable life experience from him. She is also setting a precedence that her comfort is of higher value than his and that he should sacrifice his well being for hers.
- She's hurting Debbie: What did Debbie do to deserve being treated like a sex toy? What if she has feelings for Gary? Sally is sending a clear message to Debbie that she has (and will never have) any say in how her relationship with Gary functions.
Your suggestion of "don't kiss in front of me" would seem to be the most reasonable request Sally could make. If Gary and Debbie do not care to make this adjustment then Sally can simply not associate with Debbie until she learns to deal with her insecurities, or gets out of a relationship configuration (poly) that doesn't suit her emotional landscape.
Either way, the issue is in Sally and can only be dealt with by Sally. It's good to have support and people looking out for her but the moment she starts offloading responsibility for this growth she just starts doing damage to everyone around her (including herself).