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Old 09-03-2010, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by RatatouilleStrychnine View Post
I think this is a very logical way of looking at it, but I wanted to add that "veto" is not always something that exists because one partner gave it to the other. If my husband was unhappy because of someone I was dating, and I believed that ending the relationship would make him happier, I would end it. I haven't given him veto power, but he has it all the same. However, I wouldn't end it with my bf just because my husband was unhappy, because after a year together, I am too invested in that relationship. So his "veto" on that one has expired.
What you're describing to me doesn't sound like veto, because you're the one making the decision about your relationship, not your husband. It definitely sounds entirely reasonable to want to end a relationship that is making your husband unhappy. We make choices like that in our lives and relationships all the time.

Originally Posted by RatatouilleStrychnine View Post
I'd rather date someone who has a happy, stable, confidently open primary relationship with veto power, than an awkward, drama-prone one without it.
Personally, I don't see it as an either/or situation. There are partners who have stable confidently open primary relationships without vetoes. From my point of view, a primary relationship that does have veto doesn't feel stable to me, so I'm not going to get involved in that. (It may be stable for them, but that's their relationship.) And I avoid the awkward drama-prone relationships regardless, even if there was no other partner involved.

Originally Posted by RatatouilleStrychnine View Post
But going back to the original discussion - prescriptive vs descriptive - I'd like to add a third option as a middle way: predictive. I am open to the idea that a relationship can develop however it wants, but at the same time, some things are just more likely than others because of what I want, how I live and my current relationships.Dating in that purely "descriptive" way is a little too hands off for me. In some ways, it would seem unfair of me to tell a prospective partner that the relationship was free to go anywhere at all, because that might lead them to think certain outcomes are more likely than they actually are. So although I do not prescribe how new relationships are allowed to develop, I do let people know how they are likely to develop. And no, I don't always get my predictions right!
For me, being descriptive takes into account all the factors that exist in the here and now that have an affect on the development of the relationship. Many times, those factors involve the balance of other relationships. Many times those factors involve the balance of other things, such as jobs, kids, volunteering at the homeless shelter, living on another continent or another city, etc. To me, looking at a relationship descriptively doesn't mean that it is a relationship that is completely free to develop without boundaries or or that anything can happen. For me, it means that the boundaries that are there are reasonable and reality based, and not based upon pre-decided limits designed to protect the security of the existing relationship. For me, if my involvement needs to be limited based upon their security, then I don't see their relationship as secure enough for me to be involved. If my involvement is limited by time, distance, previous commitments, etc, that sounds entirely reasonable to me.
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