Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > General Poly Discussions


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-28-2012, 11:18 PM
Devotpohats's Avatar
Devotpohats Devotpohats is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 8
Default Confidentiality within poly relationships

Hi guys. This is my first post here, and I'm very new to the poly community. Forums like yours have been hugely helpful for both myself and my partner, and I can't thank you all enough for that.

My fiance and I have been together for about three and a half years, and over that time I've gradually come to realize that I'm poly. We're still completely monogamous so far, but she's been hugely supportive, and is doing lots of reading and thinking herself on the subject. I'm not sure if she's poly herself, but even just being able to talk openly with her about my feeling has been fantastic, and not something I've ever been able to do in past relationships. I'm incredibly lucky to have her.

Gushing aside, there is one aspect of poly relationships (whether they be closed triads/quads or primary/secondary type relationships) that I haven't seen discussed anywhere. Specifically, the idea of confidentiality.

I've always tried to maintain a policy of complete honesty and openness in my relationships, and this is even more important now that my fiance and I are discussing polyamory. My friends and family all know to assume that telling me something is as good as telling my partner, as I'm uncomfortable keeping secrets from her, under any circumstances.

This policy is simple enough when you're mono. It seems like it would be relatively simple within a closed triad or quad (no secrets between any pair). But how does one deal with this when you have multiple, independent relationships?

If my secondary doesn't want my primary knowing something, is that unacceptable? It that type of requirement a poly "taboo"? What about the reverse? I feel like I'd end up with split loyalties, with a first duty to my fiance (my primary), but I'd still be uncomfortable being in any intimate relationship where secrets are kept.

I'd love to hear any thoughts or experiences with this type of situation.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2012, 12:18 AM
BrigidsDaughter's Avatar
BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 822

To me each relationship is separate and should be treated as such. I strive to be as honest as possible with both of my partners, but if they were to tell me something in confidence, I would respect their privacy. Generally speaking, they've never asked me to keep something from the other, but we were all close friends before becoming more.

If sharing everything with your partner is important for you, than I'd suggest that you let any knew potential partners know this at the outset and let them decide if it is something they can live with. But I would not just assume that it is okay to tell another partner something my partner told me in confidence.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2012, 01:07 AM
AnnabelMore's Avatar
AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,285

I tend to assume that my gf discusses some, maybe even most, of what happens within our relationship with her husband. After all, I discuss the relationship with my very close friends (I like to gush and/or ask for advice)! But if I do ever *ask* for privacy -- if I say something like "I'm really embarrassed about this desire, but..." or "I've never told anyone this, but..." -- it damn well better stay between the two of us!! I would expect that of any friend, and that extends to romantic partners.

What sorts of secrets are you envisioning there potentially being?
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2012, 02:12 AM
NovemberRain's Avatar
NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 712

It took a long time in my life to make the distinction between honesty and privacy. (long before poly came my way, I learned this)

My men were best friends before I knew CurrentBF very well. CurrentBF cannot be told anything that you don't want anyone else to know. anything. If you want a secret kept, FirstBF is an excellent choice, for one, because he'll forget, and for two, he doesn't talk to many folks.

Between them, it's been an interesting road for me to walk. CurrentBF doesn't really have a jealous bone in his body, though he has a few (very few) insecure sinews. He wouldn't mind anything I wanted to tell him. FirstBF, as mentioned, is extremely private, and I know he would be uncomfortable if I told CBF many details about us. I also know FBF doesn't especially want to hear about me and CBF.

So, while what I did in bed with FBF this weekend is not a secret, it is private and no one's business but mine and his.

I did wake up from dreaming that CBF had come to visit us in bed, and I was in the middle, and we just having the friendliest, social visit with each other (all naked). No one seemed to notice that we were all in bed together naked, we were so caught up in our chatting. I mentioned something about how I could die now because I was the happiest girl in the world. Then FBF got uncomfortable and CBF left, and FBF was miffed with me because CBF left. <- weirdest dream in a LONG time. But I was able to tell FBF the short version of it when I woke up; and I can hardly wait to share it with CBF.

I don't know if that's at all helpful, but some things I think about when I think about sharing intra-relationship stuff.
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
Robert A. Heinlein

Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who now lives in a house far away-with stairs I can't climb)
Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2012, 02:26 AM
PinkDragon PinkDragon is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 90

Hey! Thanks for asking such an awesome question! I'm new to this whole poly thing and you have certainly given me food for thought.
Pinky, 41, f, bi. Married to Bear, 42, m, straight.
Not dating anyone right now.

I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.--EAP
Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2012, 06:27 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,723

I tend to stick to the facts when it comes to sharing info. Details are not anyone else's business except me and my partners. I find it helpful to consider if I would be able to tell my partners what I am doing before I do it as a way to keep me honest. If I can't tell them where I have progressed to in my relationships then I should consider if I should progress there just yet. When it comes to sex its no ones business but mine and the partner, period. That's what's worked for me. Privacy and honesty are two different things, as Novemberain said.
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog
Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2012, 03:36 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 891

Originally Posted by Devotpohats View Post
If my secondary doesn't want my primary knowing something, is that unacceptable? It that type of requirement a poly "taboo"? What about the reverse? I feel like I'd end up with split loyalties, with a first duty to my fiance (my primary), but I'd still be uncomfortable being in any intimate relationship where secrets are kept.

I'd love to hear any thoughts or experiences with this type of situation.
I never set out to be in a poly relationship. After my divorce, a long-time friend asked me out, and explained that he was in an open marriage.

At first, I was asking the same questions as you--what's acceptable and expected in the world of poly. But I came to the conclusion it's really an issue of what I find acceptable. In no other situation would I find it okay for BF to discuss details of what we're doing with anyone. I don't find it acceptable for him to share details with his wife. If he and she had felt that as a couple they were entitled to share every detail of their experiences, that's their right, but I personally wouldn't have continued to be part of it. I don't feel my personal life is anybody else's bedtime story or reality tv.

He and I discussed it and came to an answer satisfactory for both of us.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:48 AM.