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Old 12-11-2011, 05:19 AM
sevechten sevechten is offline
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Default Advice on not screwing up a newly opened marriage

I've been in a faithful, monogamous relationship for around 20 years. We have occasionally talked about boundaries and other people. The rules evolved from "if you were to cheat once, I probably wouldn't leave" to an explicit 'don't ask, don't tell'. I never met anyone else under those rules because I never found an opportunity that could be taken without deception--at minimum I'd have to lie about where I was going.

Recently things have changed significantly in a short time. Listening to a Dan Savage podcast sparked another discussion where we discussed her fears and how to reduce them, with the result being that I can openly look, openly date with her full knowledge and cooperation, but subject to her veto. Wife prefers to remain mono for now, possibly forever.

I updated my profile on a couple of sites, and was contacted by P, a woman in a long term poly relationship. I initially misunderstood, and thought she was recruiting for a local poly group rather than being specifically interested in me. We got that straightened out, exchanged texts and emails for a while, and Wife and I met P and her husband. That went very well, so P and I are going to meet for lunch in a week or so and see where things go.

The relationship with P appears to be heading in a direction almost exactly what I really wanted--I thought I was going to have to settle for very casual outside relationships with little emotional connection in order to keep Wife from worrying. Since P's primary relationship is also well established and long term, that's much less of a worry for Wife.

Part of me thinks this is too good to be true, there's got to be a catch. I guess what I'm looking for is advice on how to make this go as smoothly as possible. Any obvious mistakes I appear to be making, or things I'm overlooking?
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:07 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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The only thing that I see as a potential problem is the veto thing. An initial veto power, as in "Please don't start dating her, she skeeves me out," can be a great idea. But if your wife is expecting that she can say at the 6 month mark "Actually this is bothering me more than I thought, I'm calling in the veto, you have to stop seeing her," that could really mess up all the relationships involved.

If you refuse, you'll be breaking your agreement with her. If you comply and find yourself broken-hearted, you could end up being resentful in a way that's very damaging to your marriage.

Much better, in my opinion, to leave it up to a matter of discussion. You can say "You know you're my first priority and if a particular outside relationship or poly in general was endangering our marriage in a way we couldn't resolve I fully believe I would end it to keep us together," and that's subtly but importantly different from "You have the right to end my outside relationships whenever you choose."

Otherwise, looks great! For helpful basic do's and don't's, have a read through some of the beginner's resources at www.morethantwo.com. Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:08 PM
sevechten sevechten is offline
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With the dynamic of our marriage, I think the absolute veto is necessary, and I trust that it won't be abused. Based on our history in other areas she is extremely unlikely to use the veto unfairly or without discussion, or even sometimes when she should. Rather it will make it more likely she will bring up issues that bother her while they can still be fixed.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:46 PM
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Well that sounds good then.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:45 PM
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Vetos are not something I really advised. They are very tricky. On the outside they appear to create some stability and control of emotions and what happens but when it comes down to actually using them they cause more damage than good.

My experience with them has taught me that I prefer to trust my partners that they will consider my boundaries and opinions and make a decision that is good for all of us rather than for just themselves. There have been times where I have had the need to point out different ways of seeing my partners love interest that have meant they have ended a relationship because they hadn't noticed, but I have never said flat out that they cannot see them because I said so. Because we trusted each other and had each others best interest in mind, including the other person involved, a choice was made out of that, not out of an imbalance of control.

I have found that vetos create deception. Communication goes well until the one that has veto rights decides they don't want their partner to see a person, put their foot down and then the communication stops and feelings, thoughts, negotiating boundaries are not discussed any more. The idea is to keep talking. Vetos keep that from happening in my experience.

There is also the other persons feelings to consider. How would it feel to know that someone has vetoed you? Very hurtful. Poly to me is about creating more love and connection, not leaving people wounded and more damaged. Sure, maybe the person is considered to be less than perfect by the partner that has veto power but that doesn't give them a right to express that openly to them by saying, "sorry sucker, you're out!"

I would suggest that you create boundaries that address your wife's need to take things slowly, be involved enough to know who you are interested in, what she would like considered if she is struggling and how to make sure anyone you are interested in spending time with is treated with respect regardless if they are a good match for you.

Dating other people is a group effort between all involved, not a couple calling all the shots and the new person just sucking it up and taking the dregs of what they get in my opinion. People deserve and are entitled to love, support, caring, consideration and respect for who they are and what their life experience has brought them. Honouring them right from the beginning in this way means that in turn that is given back. Its a good foot to stand on when starting a new relationship I think. Its served me well any how.
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Last edited by redpepper; 12-11-2011 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:29 AM
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I personally will never get involved with a guy whose spouse has veto power. I never want to be discarded to appease someone else's insecurities. If someone has a veto agreement with their spouse/SO, then I know they will always put that relationship above all others and ultimately wouldn't give a crap about my place in his life. I think when a couple opens up to poly, each needs to acknowledge that where hearts are involved, other individuals they have relationships with may eventually reach a place where they are as important and cherished to them as their existing partner is. A veto policy leaves no room for that.

Since P is someone who also has a spouse, the above may not be an issue for her, but she could still feel really shitty if down the road your wife gets upset about something and vetos your relationship. A veto for dealing with jealousy or avoiding the complications of feelings is like putting a band-aid on a broken bone.
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Last edited by nycindie; 12-12-2011 at 06:19 AM.
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