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Old 02-25-2012, 04:07 AM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Smile Boundary Advice From a Couple of Old-Timers

fer all of you who already know me from my posts/blogs, hello. for those that don't, i am elemental's wife. Both he and I have been loosely involved in different versions of poly for a lot of our adult lives. I have almost always been the hinge in a vee, sometimes being one of the arms. elemental's has been the secondary in an vee, sharing a woman with her husband, and has had secondary gfs. we have been together for over five years, married for two, and have opened up our relationship three times over the past couple of years - once to a MFF triad that lasted about eight months (mostly sexual), once to a quad (MFMF) that was friendship & sexual, and once very recently...... DUN DUN DUN.... to our first attempt at a true poly fi triad.

Well, that kind of exploded in our face after just a few short months. having had no experience around this, we found ourselves floundering in deep water, surrounded by sharks and poisonous jellyfish. We were Way Out of Our League. we found the boards, and started posting, and started talking to other poly peeps. One of these peeps happens to be my sister, who is a poly relationship with her (trans) man. They have been poly for over 28 years combined between the two of them, and had a LOT of wisdom and advice to share with us. I thought i'd share their thoughts here, as when I posted them on my blog i got a number of requests both public and private to move them into the discussion forum. So, here ya be (poly drumroll please.... poly meaning we can all love the beats together.... rrrrrrrrrrrroooollll.....)

From my blog:

feelin' battered and bruised, confused and out of myself, but still okay. had a wicked long talk with my sis and her partner (trans M) last night about poly, they both had a LOT of really interesting and helpful things to tell me. what i took away from my conversation with them (combined they've got over 28 years of poly experience) was pretty interesting. they come more from a place of non-monogamy than a lot of the poly that i've seen on this board, and their advice/approach actually REALLY resonated with me. these are their responses to our situation, and it comes from their experience, and some of their boundaries.

Here is what THEY told me that i should take away from our attempt at a poly-fi-triad. Take what you like from it - i found it really interesting.

Last edited by CherryBlossomGirl; 02-25-2012 at 04:09 AM. Reason: two grammar corrections
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:08 AM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Smile Too many characters.... and so I continue....

1) boundaries need to come from within, not from outside. They need to serve the primary relationship, and in your heart, you have to make a choice to never put the sanctity of that primary relationship in jeopardy. you still need to make agreements about other relationships with your partner, but you have to make that commitment inside of yourself first.

2) hierarchy exists for a reason (this is probably going to cause a comment RIOT y'all, but i really identified with this). only a very, very few people can deal with poly without any hierarchy, and noobs have will run into some major shit trying to mirror that tiny percentile of relationships. primary. secondary. tertiary. there should never be the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time commitment, life commitment to a secondary/tertiary partner. they are different kinds of relationships. your primary relationship is sacred, and should be protected by both parties, as it is this primary relationship that allows all others to exist in the way that they do. the love starts in that primary relationship, and needs to be nurtured/protected by all partners involved, which leads us to point #3...

3) if you are with a secondary partner who doesn't respect the boundaries/hierarchy, move on. you do not want to be in a place where competition can exist for the core relationship in your life - it creates dramatic dynamics that are unnecessary and unhealthy for the primary relationship. avoid people with no boundaries, or who seem to want an equal status in relationship. equal love, yes. equal status/intensity of relationship, no.

4) don't spend too much time with a secondary (we were spending weeks at a time together). maybe don't even have sleepovers. Do what's necessary to separate the intensity of relationships, especially in the face of nre for at least 18 months. most relationships will not last this long even though they feel like they will at first. if and when they do, they are still secondary relationships, but because they are solid, should be taken more seriously and invested in by all parties more. until 18 months, assume most people are a little crazy, and be careful about who you allow into your love-biosphere.

5) keep things fair. don't go on fancy fabulous nights out with your lover and then just hang out with your primary and do laundry. don't compare your partners - they are not and should never feel like they are vying for your attention - love them each for who they are, and stop there.

6) be responsible to your partner. communicate. Be good to them. always treat them the way YOU want to be treated. Don't blame them when things go wrong, be compassionate and be there for them. men often are made out to be the cheaters/liars/assholes in society/movies/media, so be wary of that in my relationship, and never ostracize/overjudge elemental for making mistakes - he will do that himself, because he's a good man and is committed to me.

7) if it's too much work too early with a secondary/tertiary, walk away. you don't need to be doing primary relationship style communication with a secondary partner, certainly not in the beginning if ever.

8) even though you're controlling the speed (go slow) of the relationship, the time spent (quantified and controlled) together, you don't need to control feelings. because there are boundaries elsewhere, it will be easier for you to experience compersion for your partner (than when it's jammed up in your face for days on end).

9) in their (my sis & her partner's) poly life, they do not see any of their partners (they have more than one other lover/houseboy/etc) more than three times a month. dates, sex, no overnights. all protected, all the time (gloves, condoms, dams, etc) they have ultimate veto power. most of their lovers are in other cities.

10) slow it down. if it becomes uncomfortable, take a break. there is no rush. if a secondary isn't willing to give a primary relationship space when it's needed, don't pursue it (see number 2) - their respect is really important for all three relationships to be okay.

11) it took a long time to find your primary partner. assume it's going to take an appropriate investment of time/energy to find an equally awesome secondary partner. real relationships that will serve you for a long time don't occur during nre, they happen after nre. getting through that time period of 18 months is a minimum before assuming you should get serious.

So there you have it. I know everyone on this board has their own approach, and that some of the most avid posters are all for working towards no boundaries - that's awesome, for people who have been poly for years, and have decided that's what works for them. don't assume that you are expected to be the same.

Last edited by CherryBlossomGirl; 02-25-2012 at 08:15 AM. Reason: duplicated text, cleaning up
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:08 AM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Part three.... just in case your computer monitor wasn't starting to burn your retinas yet.... LOL.

To me..... it's like how you'll go to your first yoga class where a teacher will ask you to close your eyes so you can't see what anyone else is doing, and just listen to your OWN body. It's just like that right now in my life. being aware of what makes ME unique in poly, what is comfortable for me & my partner(s), what is uncomfortable and is unreasonable to expect of myself/others. It's about moving at a pace that is comfortable for everyone, and realizing that poly isn't an excuse to behave as though it's fuckin' Love Anarchy for everyone. It's about respect, honesty, having open eyes as well as an open heart, and being cautious, because this world is fuckin' full of crazy people as WELL as good people, and you just can't go throwin' your doors open for the first person you feel nre for.

Lessons. Learned. And that's all i can really ask o' life. now time to regroup, recoup, and head in for another go in a few months when i'm feeling clear and centred again. in the face of adversity, there is only one option, evolve, grow and find a new way of being.

Last edited by CherryBlossomGirl; 02-25-2012 at 04:15 AM. Reason: because i'm immature.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:41 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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(BP, you might want to edit your second post- everything's listed twice!)

I'm completely in agreement with pretty much all of that. I wouldn't agree to all of #9 or the first part of #4, though. Only 3x a month and NO overnights?!? If they're talking only 3x a month of one-on-one time, then maybe. I'd still like an overnight every month or two. But after over 2 years since we started dating, and almost all of that LDR, I want to spend TIME with TGIB! That's one of the reasons I'm SO glad that MC and TGIB have their own friendship- there's nothing awkward or uncomfortable about all of us hanging out together. We'd do that anyway, just as friends, and it's an extra bonus that I happen to be in love with both of them as well. But we're all aware that there's a need to be careful- I shouldn't be spending MORE time with TGIB than I am with MC or my kids. For every "private time" date I have with TGIB, I should have at least one with MC as well.

As far as the "comment riot" for #2 goes, I think my commitment to my primary relationship is WHY MC can be mono himself yet so secure regarding my poly-ness. He knows I'm not leaving him or abandoning the kids. He knows I'll do what I need to do to make sure my marriage and my family are as healthy as possible. And TGIB knows it too, but he also knows that doesn't mean I love him any less. Some people use "hierarchy" like it's a dirty word, but really, it's just a guideline. As was said in another thread, having a relationship hierarchy isn't going to MAKE people be jerks any more than NOT having a hierarchy is going to make them NOT be jerks. MC being my primary doesn't mean that if TGIB is having a bad day I have to stop being there for him to go make MC a sandwich. It means that if they're BOTH having bad days I'll check-in with MC first and see what he needs before I do the same for TGIB, and they'll both respect that I'll go wherever I feel the need is greatest. "Primary" or "central" doesn't ALWAYS equal "first". And eventually, I'd LOVE for TGIB to be a co-primary, but for now while we're raising our families (TGIB has kids also, with his ex) it's not practical.
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:13 AM
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Honestly, I read about all those rules on your blog and I was like "Wow, that's kind of the complete opposite to what we do." Even though I can't argue with their points (what works simply works, you can't argue with success, can you?) I have to say that I would feel suffocated by all those restrictions. It's like keeping a tally sheet all the time at hand, checking if you are doing things in the right order, to the right extend, with the right person. It would put me under pressure and I would have the feeling that I need to restrict my emotional expressions to the realm where they are allowed to be expressed due to the regulation that are there for the 'different' relationships I got. Gives me goosebumps.

From what I experienced boundaries arise as the relationship develop, without us setting up regulations or expectations beforehand. If there is a problem, we talk about it, if someone isn't feeling comfortable with something, we talk about it, if there is the need to change something, we ... you get what I mean. I would always regard every relationship as equal in importance. But that may be due to the way I am able to 'do' relationships.

But as I said, if it works and all involved are on the same page, it may be comfortable for those living these rules. I wouldn't be one to live up to that and feeling at home with it. But that's simply due to the fact, that I don't think I would be able to have something that could be called a secondary relationship, I can't do relationships differently, they are on the same page in my case. Maybe that is weird as well.
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:42 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Thanks for sharing, BP. Good food for thought.

In my secondary relationship with my gf we've managed to get by with almost no explicit rules, just talking and negotiating as we go along. I have a very hard time with the list above, it makes me upset, and I'm trying to figure out why when the fact is that in many/most cases my relationship actually de facto follows these rules.

For instance, Gia doesn't come over to my place for sleepovers for lots of reasons, primarily because it's so important to her to be with her husband and baby at night. We may see each other more than three times a month socially but not for dates by any means because she simply doesn't have the energy/time, and it would be a stretch for me too for that matter. Eric may not have explicit veto power but if he asked Gia to end it with me I can only imagine she would, though she'd be torn up and angry.

So, why get upset over rules that mirror my own life?? I think because the rules would make me, as the person outside the sacred primary couple, seem like a threat, something that must be protected against at all costs.

As it is now, we may not do sleepovers at my place but if I really really wanted that and Bee was a bit older, Gia would talk to Eric about it and indulge me every now and then... she's told me this, but it's not something I've ever felt the need to press for. It somehow means so much to me to know that while she's never slept at my place it's because it hasn't made sense when stacking up the needs of all involved and that doesn't mean she wouldn't or couldn't. There is nothing about a very occasional night at my place that would hurt her marriage, y'know? And maybe, at some point, it's something that will feel like a need to me, and I'll know I can ask without trying to get her to be a rule-breaker.

Likewise with the number of dates and the veto power. Only scheduling a certain number of dates because that's what makes sense for us all feels good and right and reasonable, whereas imagining that we're only doing a certain number of dates because more time with me would be verboten makes me feel like I'm somehow bad or dangerous. And even though I myself would certainly break it off with Gia if I knew Eric couldn't deal, the thought of him saying "Oh yeah, our rule is that when I say it's done it's done" and her nodding in agreement just makes me sick... I think it would somehow make me feel like this love that I have with Gia, which is so special to me, ultimately means nothing at all. I dunno, is that crazy?

It's a funny thing, how much the way something is structured or defined can make all the difference. For instance, it's important to me that our relationship is "descriptive" hierarchy ( as in, we're not building a life together and probably never will, so this definition fits us) versus "prescriptive" hierarchy (as in, we are never allowed to move towards building a life together, because this definition limits us). Semantics, and yet it makes this work for me. Why do I need to leave the possibility of co-primacy out there even as I acknowledge that it is very unlikely, even as I'm not interested in pushing for it? Is it a need for self-delusion? Sometimes I think it might be, but most of the time I come to the conclusion that being told in advance "you may grow this far and no farther" just isn't something I can live with.

Also, I'm curious what the "primary relationship style communication" is, the thing that's not supposed to need to happen early or ever in secondary relationships? My gf and I have had some pretty damn heavy talks scattered throughout the last two years and it's kept us going. We don't do it all the time by any means... is that the difference, or is it just never supposed to get heavy at all? If the latter, well... if a partner EVER said to me something that sounded like "We don't need to have this serious talk because our relationship isn't serious" I think I would walk away immediately and not look back.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:24 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I think some items make sense in a practical way, such as #5, #6 (though I would apply that to everyone I'm involved with, not just one special person), and #11 - I agree that it's a good, practical idea to give it 18 months before considering it serious enough to do something like move in together (although I would make it more approximate than a rigid fixed amount of time). But, personally, although I am all for honoring the place a partner's spouse or SO has in their life -- if I met someone who told me they had these rules between them, I'd say, "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!" and run screaming in the opposite direction.

IMHO, a partnered couple simply cannot pretend that their dynamic together is unchanged, and must remain unchanged, when they engage in additional relationships. It sounds like these couple-centric rules would work only for having NSA sex partners, and not for cultivating multiple loving, caring relationships. This list gives me the impression of monogamy with extra people as hobbies. But all my love relationships are sacred, in their own unique ways, and I don't want to feel like I'm a satellite orbiting around the all-important pair at the center of their universe, to be acknowledged, used, and discarded only in deference to their contract together. It is insulting to me as a person, a flesh-and-blood human being with my own desires and needs. I won't be in a DADT situation either, for that reason.

Certainly, issues of time management are important, especially if one is involved with someone who has a family, but I'm older so that's not a big issue with most of the men I would date (they either aren't parents, or are divorced and their kids are on their own or living with the ex). But beyond safer sex boundaries, negotiating a fair amount of time to spend together, and accommodating schedules in a reasonable way, I will not give of my heart, mind, and body to someone who would allow their partner to dictate how he could be in relationship with me, and how much I am allowed to involve myself with him. I want to be with someone who has a strong enough foundation in his marriage or partnership, and a sense of maturity and autonomy, so that he doesn't need permission (like asking mommy) to love me and spend time with me. No metamours will be in control of my relationships!

I feel strongly that anyone who embraces polyamory is responsible for the health and integrity of all their loving relationships. And that responsibility can be expressed in different ways, at different paces, and varying levels of intensity, naturally. Of course, if it's a casual fling, that's something else - woohoo! But for me it can't work, for the long-term and when the heart is involved, if it isn't just as important to my guy to consider my feelings, needs, and goals, as it is to consider his primary partner's, though of course our needs will naturally be different. I couldn't be with someone who thinks they can map it all out in advance, without making room for the unexpected consequences of loving another, or the ability and willingness to deal with such. I couldn't be with someone who has these kinds of rules with their spouse or primary partner because... I matter. And I have enough self-esteem to know that I couldn't be with someone who would treat me like I don't matter.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 02-25-2012 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
9) in their (my sis & her partner's) poly life, they do not see any of their partners (they have more than one other lover/houseboy/etc) more than three times a month. dates, sex, no overnights. all protected, all the time (gloves, condoms, dams, etc) they have ultimate veto power. most of their lovers are in other cities.
I just wanted to add: if that is your ideal BP, you should make it clear right from the start. Otherwise those rules will never work. Your gf was obviously aiming for more involvement than you could have been comfortable giving her, if this set was similar to the one you have had in the back of your mind. You may want to evaluate again why your triad went south. I have had some light bulb moments while reading that list and comparing it to what you described in your blog.

I have a hard time calling that poly, as mine is so different, but we live on variety here. All those rules/understandings/boundaries only work, if you make this point clear right from the start. The people getting involved in this kind of dynamic, shouldn't involve their feelings, at least that's how it appears to me. They are more in the friends with benefit realm, being distant and not involved with the couple mainly in everyday life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
11) it took a long time to find your primary partner. assume it's going to take an appropriate investment of time/energy to find an equally awesome secondary partner. real relationships that will serve you for a long time don't occur during nre, they happen after nre. getting through that time period of 18 months is a minimum before assuming you should get serious.
Any secondary partner surviving those 18 months, being cut out of the life of his partner to such extend and still pursuing greater involvement has my utmost respect. And I would really be interested what 'getting serious' means for your sister and her partner? Moving up a bit on the involvement level? More time? More say in the matters that are important to the primary partner? Wouldn't this automatically threaten the primary relationship?

Yes, I don't have a first hand understanding what it feels like to be in this kind of dynamic myself, but what went through my mind when thinking about this list was:

Of course my old relationship (at the point of getting involved with a new one) matters and all should be on the same page regarding the importance of it, but I didn't find one spot in these 'understandings' (as you want to call them TGIG) that stated any empathy towards the new relationship that develops there. And that sounded really unhealthy to me from the point of view of the new person entering the dynamic.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:57 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
1) boundaries need to come from within, not from outside. They need to serve the primary relationship, and in your heart, you have to make a choice to never put the sanctity of that primary relationship in jeopardy. you still need to make agreements about other relationships with your partner, but you have to make that commitment inside of yourself first.
OK, to dissect. This first rule applies only to already partnered, primary couples. "SERVE THE PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP"?? Are the secondaries their servants? Well, if your sis and her guy have houseboys, and subs, yes. If they have other (non-power exchange egalitarian partners, "serve" might not be the best choice of words. I'd prefer "respect." (ie, no cowgirls or cowboys allowed.)

Quote:
2) hierarchy exists for a reason (this is probably going to cause a comment RIOT y'all, but i really identified with this). only a very, very few people can deal with poly without any hierarchy, and noobs have will run into some major shit trying to mirror that tiny percentile of relationships. primary. secondary. tertiary. there should never be the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time commitment, life commitment to a secondary/tertiary partner.
I take issue with this, big time. "NEVER"?? I'd love the same level of intimacy with my Ginger that I have with miss pixi, and so far, at 2 months in, there is no limit to how deep he and I want to go... and miss pixi would never think of limiting my feelings for anyone else.

I can be as spontaneous as I want to be with my guys. I do confer with miss pixi, I mean, I do not just run out on a date when she and I have our long weekends together, we talk it over, but if something really fun came up, and she and I had had some quality time already, I don't see saying NO to someone else.

Quote:
they are different kinds of relationships. your primary relationship is sacred, and should be protected by both parties, as it is this primary relationship that allows all others to exist in the way that they do. the love starts in that primary relationship, and needs to be nurtured/protected by all partners involved
Again, this only applies to already established couples, and like others, I find all my love relationships sacred. Love is sacred, sex is sacred. When I share my heart and soul with anyone, it is sacred and divine. Now, if I was married with small children, I would put their needs first. If both miss pixi and Ginger had to have serious operations on the same day, I'd choose to be with her, as Ginger has a wife of his own to be at his bedside. But if miss pixi was stable, I'd sure as shit want to go see Ginger in the hospital too, bring him flowers, comfort him, as well. My heart would be with both of them, as they both rock and enrich my life.

Quote:
3) if you are with a secondary partner who doesn't respect the boundaries/hierarchy, move on. you do not want to be in a place where competition can exist for the core relationship in your life - it creates dramatic dynamics that are unnecessary and unhealthy for the primary relationship. avoid people with no boundaries, or who seem to want an equal status in relationship. equal love, yes. equal status/intensity of relationship, no.
Competition sucks. But equal love, status and intensity can be worked toward, if everyone has their big girl panties on.

Quote:
4) don't spend too much time with a secondary (we were spending weeks at a time together). maybe don't even have sleepovers.

Who is to say what is "too much" time? That is a completely personal decision. As long as the primary feels respected and nurtured, one could see another lover/lovers 6 days a week! And no sleepovers? God, I love a sleepover with Ginger. I am tired of a "wham bam thank you ma'am, back to my own life" kinda thang. Of course, miss pixi and I dont live together, and usually Ginger and Gentleman spend their overnights at my own place, but once Ginger, pixi and I all had a date together and he slept with me at her place, on the sofa bed. I had asked her in advance if this was OK with her, of course.

Quote:
Do what's necessary to separate the intensity of relationships, especially in the face of nre for at least 18 months. most relationships will not last this long even though they feel like they will at first. if and when they do, they are still secondary relationships, but because they are solid, should be taken more seriously and invested in by all parties more. until 18 months, assume most people are a little crazy, and be careful about who you allow into your love-biosphere.
This all seems a bit harshly stated, but yes, it is important to control NRE and not do anything crazy, move the new person in, neglect your primary's needs for sex and romance, etc. BTW, some people have NRE for 3 months, some for 18. No one should move in with a new partner on the 2nd date (not even you, U-Haul Lesbians!).

Quote:
5) keep things fair. don't go on fancy fabulous nights out with your lover and then just hang out with your primary and do laundry. don't compare your partners ....
Fine.

Quote:
6) be responsible to your partner. communicate. Be good to them.
Of course.

Quote:
7) if it's too much work too early with a secondary/tertiary, walk away. you don't need to be doing primary relationship style communication with a secondary partner, certainly not in the beginning if ever.
Totally disagree. Good communication is good communication. Doesn't matter with whom.

Quote:
8) even though you're controlling the speed (go slow) of the relationship, the time spent (quantified and controlled) together, you don't need to control feelings. because there are boundaries elsewhere, it will be easier for you to experience compersion for your partner (than when it's jammed up in your face for days on end).
Yes.

Quote:

9) in their (my sis & her partner's) poly life, they do not see any of their partners (they have more than one other lover/houseboy/etc) more than three times a month. dates, sex, no overnights. all protected, all the time (gloves, condoms, dams, etc) they have ultimate veto power. most of their lovers are in other cities.
Well, this makes things complicated. Personally I'd question your sis and BIL's decision to have more than a couple non-primary lovers each at a time. I was going crazy when I had one gf and 3 bfs. That was one too many, for me. And I much prefer non LDR relationships. I'd wonder if these people all over the country are really partners, in a full sense, or just play time fun buddies?

Quote:
10) slow it down. if it becomes uncomfortable, take a break.
Sure.

Quote:
11) it took a long time to find your primary partner. assume it's going to take an appropriate investment of time/energy to find an equally awesome secondary partner. real relationships that will serve you for a long time don't occur during nre, they happen after nre. getting through that time period of 18 months is a minimum before assuming you should get serious.
Like others have said, what constitutes "serious" for your sis and BIL, if they hold people so at bay? Serious,, to me would indicate co-primary, moving in, something like that.
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me: Mags, female, pansexual, 59, loving and living with
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:31 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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Since I commented on your blog post about how I felt that these boundaries are focused on keeping other relationships not important, instead of focused on the primary relationship and building that, I thought I'd come here and point out why I felt that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
1) boundaries need to come from within, not from outside. They need to serve the primary relationship, and in your heart, you have to make a choice to never put the sanctity of that primary relationship in jeopardy. you still need to make agreements about other relationships with your partner, but you have to make that commitment inside of yourself first.
I do agree that boundaries need to come from each person, they need to make them their own, otherwise it won't work.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
2) hierarchy exists for a reason (this is probably going to cause a comment RIOT y'all, but i really identified with this). only a very, very few people can deal with poly without any hierarchy, and noobs have will run into some major shit trying to mirror that tiny percentile of relationships. primary. secondary. tertiary. there should never be the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time commitment, life commitment to a secondary/tertiary partner. they are different kinds of relationships. your primary relationship is sacred, and should be protected by both parties, as it is this primary relationship that allows all others to exist in the way that they do. the love starts in that primary relationship, and needs to be nurtured/protected by all partners involved, which leads us to point #3...
You're right, this is probably the one that caused the biggest uproar. I will probably never have the same level of life commitment with my boyfriend as I do with my husband. I can definitely say that I'm not starting a family with him. My kids are teenagers and almost adults, there's no way I want to start over again. My relationship with my husband is incredibly important, but so is my relationship with my boyfriend. I think it's the fact that this boundary focuses so much on the idea that you have to make sure that the secondary or tertiary partner doesn't get the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time, etc. is what bothers me. Why not just say that your marriage is important, it's important that both partners invest time and energy into maintaining it? Why the focus on controlling what the other relationship is instead of focusing on making sure that the primary relationship doesn't get lost?

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
3) if you are with a secondary partner who doesn't respect the boundaries/hierarchy, move on. you do not want to be in a place where competition can exist for the core relationship in your life - it creates dramatic dynamics that are unnecessary and unhealthy for the primary relationship. avoid people with no boundaries, or who seem to want an equal status in relationship. equal love, yes. equal status/intensity of relationship, no.
Anyone who at the beginning of the relationship wants to be on exactly the same footing as my husband would be a huge red flag to me. One of the things that impressed me about my boyfriend was when he told me, on our first or second date, that he didn't want me to use him as a way to escape my primary relationship.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
4) don't spend too much time with a secondary (we were spending weeks at a time together). maybe don't even have sleepovers. Do what's necessary to separate the intensity of relationships, especially in the face of nre for at least 18 months. most relationships will not last this long even though they feel like they will at first. if and when they do, they are still secondary relationships, but because they are solid, should be taken more seriously and invested in by all parties more. until 18 months, assume most people are a little crazy, and be careful about who you allow into your love-biosphere.
I think you've found that this is the one that got a lot of people up in arms too. One of my boundaries with my husband is that we make sure we have at least 3 nights a week that are just us and our sons. We have other commitments too, outside of our secondary relationships, so those take time also. But we need time to reconnect just as a family. This boundary totally focuses on time spent with outside issues, just like yours does. But can you see how the focus is different? We are focused on what we need to make sure our relationship doesn't suffer, instead of focusing on what we need to do to make sure the other relationship doesn't grow to be too important.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
5) keep things fair. don't go on fancy fabulous nights out with your lover and then just hang out with your primary and do laundry. don't compare your partners - they are not and should never feel like they are vying for your attention - love them each for who they are, and stop there.
Totally agree with this one.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
6) be responsible to your partner. communicate. Be good to them. always treat them the way YOU want to be treated. Don't blame them when things go wrong, be compassionate and be there for them. men often are made out to be the cheaters/liars/assholes in society/movies/media, so be wary of that in my relationship, and never ostracize/overjudge elemental for making mistakes - he will do that himself, because he's a good man and is committed to me.
Totally agree with this one too.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
7) if it's too much work too early with a secondary/tertiary, walk away. you don't need to be doing primary relationship style communication with a secondary partner, certainly not in the beginning if ever.
Like everyone else, I'm a little confused by this one. What does primary relationship style communication mean? I understand that if, from the very beginning, a relationship is full of drama, you should walk away. However, I don't see how communicating with a secondary on a deep level is a bad thing.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
8) even though you're controlling the speed (go slow) of the relationship, the time spent (quantified and controlled) together, you don't need to control feelings. because there are boundaries elsewhere, it will be easier for you to experience compersion for your partner (than when it's jammed up in your face for days on end).
This one is true. I totally agree that controlling feelings is next to impossible, so why try?

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
9) in their (my sis & her partner's) poly life, they do not see any of their partners (they have more than one other lover/houseboy/etc) more than three times a month. dates, sex, no overnights. all protected, all the time (gloves, condoms, dams, etc) they have ultimate veto power. most of their lovers are in other cities.
Again, this is focused on controlling the other relationship. Like I said earlier, our boundary on time focuses on making sure we as a couple get enough time together to maintain our connection. It makes more sense to me to have a boundary like that, that focuses on what the primary relationship needs to remain strong, than one like this, that focuses on making sure that a secondary relationship remains weak.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
10) slow it down. if it becomes uncomfortable, take a break. there is no rush. if a secondary isn't willing to give a primary relationship space when it's needed, don't pursue it (see number 2) - their respect is really important for all three relationships to be okay.
I agree, if the secondary partner isn't willing to help make sure the primary relationship is strong, they probably aren't a really good fit for a poly relationship. However, the flip side is important to. The secondary relationship is a real relationship, and it deserves the respect of the primary partners also. I guess, more than anything else, that is what bothers me about this list of boundaries. It's all about respecting the primary relationship, at the cost of the secondary relationship if necessary. It feels like it ignores the fact that the secondary relationship includes people that deserve to have their feelings respected.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
11) it took a long time to find your primary partner. assume it's going to take an appropriate investment of time/energy to find an equally awesome secondary partner. real relationships that will serve you for a long time don't occur during nre, they happen after nre. getting through that time period of 18 months is a minimum before assuming you should get serious.
This is true and one of the hardest parts of being poly. It might take a while and take having your heart stomped on a few times before you find a secondary relationship with someone who is awesome and fits into your life.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
So there you have it. I know everyone on this board has their own approach, and that some of the most avid posters are all for working towards no boundaries - that's awesome, for people who have been poly for years, and have decided that's what works for them. don't assume that you are expected to be the same.
Having boundaries isn't a bad thing. I think it's actually a good thing. I think they should be more focused on maintaining the primary relationship though than trying to control the secondary relationship. You can't control other people's actions and feelings. You can let them know what you need in order to feel honored, respected and loved. That's where our boundaries come from, what we as a primary couple need in order to feel honored, respected and loved by each other. I think these boundaries try to address that, but they weren't received well because of the negative focus, the focus on trying to control the secondary relationships. Just my opinion though.
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