Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility
For the time being at least, I have come to the conclusion that while in theory, poly relationships have no difference in a moral sense from mono ones, in practice things aren't so simple. In practice I see secondary partners be hidden as partners from the outside world because of real worries about loss of family or loss of livliehood. I see constraints be placed on relationships between individuals because the partner of one of them is struggling - from real compassion for the person who is struggling. I see mono partners work to deal with having a partner who isn't always able to support them when they need it. I see people who are one half of a married couple deal with significant amounts of hurt to be able to deal with their spouse's new partner.
This is the kind of stuff I was referring to. If the beginning is struggle (and I'm sure there are lots of people to whom it is and has been), then how to work through the difficulties without anyone getting hurt. Not being an asshole is a good answer to this, I suppose. But it's still kind of abstract. And what if the people involved have very different ideas about what being an asshole means?
When two people open up their relationship to include others, it's always a risk. Who decides how difficult it can be before it's time to take a step back? And why? Can the reason be fear, respect, love, prior agreements, jealousy, something else? What are good reasons to take a step back and what are the bad ones? How do you know if you are making the right call pursuing poly or taking that step back to monogamy (even if just for now).
Although I don't mean this thread to be about myself, it's the only thing I can use as an example. I was in a relationship that was poly in theory from the beginning and we both knew the transition would be a big deal for me. Neither of us knew how hard it would be. I felt like calling it off, but at the same time I felt I had no right to do that so soon because I had said that I'm willing to try. But then I realised that I'd have even less right to say anything later when things would have progressed further. Salamander seemed torn between not wanting to hurt me and wanting to see where this new relationship would go. And Sunflower was caught in the situation not realising that poly was so new to me and that things would be this difficult. (And let's keep the rest of the story in other threads, because it really has nothing to do with this question.)
The end result was that I asked for more time, Salamander told Sunflower that he'd like to try again later and Sunflower said she'd had enough. To me it seemed like after this no-one was feeling too bad and before it I surely was. We were willing to try poly again later after we'd discussed stuff we'd learned from the experience.
But I still don't know if we (I) handled the situation in the best possible way. Is there something I could learn from it and bring with me to another relationship? What are the guidelines to deciding? I feel like I can only talk for myself and watch for my own boundaries in the end. But where do you (yes You) draw the line between respecting your own boundaries and other peoples rights? When do You decide you've been hurt enough and it's time to stop? How do you react if someone asks/tells you to stop, because what you are doing is hurting them?