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Old 08-18-2012, 11:19 AM
Ttree Ttree is offline
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Default Non-Hierarchical

Hi, basically I am new to this forum and polyamory and I am wondering if there is anyone I can talk to about non-hierarchical relationships?

In a nutshell: No primary partner, no "vetos" allowed from any of my partners: none of my partners may dictate WHO I may date. My one dealbreaker for a relationship is if I discover anyone has been trying to "cowboy" me.

I am looking for anyone who can advise me or chat regarding non-hierarchical relationships, particularly the firsthand experience of those who also happily identify as non-hierarchical as I seem to only be able to find discussions on hierarchical relationships. Anyone have some experience on this topic to share with me? Any info would be good.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:16 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Presumably you are assuming that with any primary relationships there is a hierarchy in place. While that may be so in a lot of cases, there are quite a few people for whom having a primary doesn't automatically make it a hierarchy.

Primary means that you are living together, and sharing day-to-day life decisions - it doesn't mean automatically that they are "number one and all others are number two... or lower" (loved that movie!).

OK, that having been said, what I interpret you are saying is that you don't want to live with any of your partners, but want to have loving, meaningful relationships with them, still. Am I getting that right?

I think that in a lot of ways this is going to be easier than having primaries, because you can arrange your own schedule a lot easier. The only issue that I can see is, even if someone isn't a cowboy, what happens if you fall in love with them so hard (and they with you) that you decide that you want to move in together, even while keeping everyone else in your life. If that is a boundary for you, then I think that as long as you make that very plain to folks up-front that this isn't on the table, they can make their own decisions.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:40 PM
Ttree Ttree is offline
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Hey, thanks for your reply. I guess I should have defined it more specifically: At this stage living with is not the issue for me, I am pretty relaxed regarding that

What I meant was I have noticed that in a relationship which has "primary" and "secondary" partners a lot of people seem to allow their partners a fair amount of control over whom they date, the decision to "veto" certain partners. This is what I meant by non-hierarchical, I do not have a "primary" partner and do not let any of my partners decide or pressure me into who I may not date or to demand/require something of me which restricts my relationships with my other partners (eg wanting to be the only partner I have sex with or ensuring that I spend the majority of my time with that partner, or trying to prohibit me from saying the words "I love you" to someone other than themselves, etc) as I don't see such things as their choice to make.

That make more sense? Sorry about the ambiguity, I tend to be bad at expressing myself.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:49 PM
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Hm, I guess I understand what you are getting at, but you have to bear in mind: Whomever you invite into your life, will be part of the life of your other partner(s) as well. There has to be a certain amount of control a person should be allowed to have over its own life, don't you think? You have to compromise in this situation to some extend. It can't always go to your liking solely.

In my case, there is no hierarchy. Both are equal. Co-primary. But, there was the possiblity in the beginning of them saying: I don't want to live with the other. I would love to live with you but I don't want this person in my life because of you. That's totally valid. Especially if living together is possible in your case. We don't believe in veto, there is no control over another person. but everyone has the right to say "I won't be part of this."

When living together or just being partnered with another you find personal boundaries everywhere. I don't like how you but the plates on the table, why can't you look after your stuff, I don't want you to share personal stories including me with others and so on. And in regard to poly you will find boundaries when dealing with other persons in your life who have been brought there through your partner. Of course you will have a say about the way this is conducted.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:18 PM
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Hey YouAreHere, I guess the reason I fear the "veto" is because I'm afraid of it being abused. I have recently gotten out of a relationship during which I simultaneously realised I am definitely poly and that I really do love two guys. I realised I really love this guy so much and my mono ex absolutely refused to make any compromise whatsoever regarding me and other guys (ie not just physical, I could not even tell the other person my feelings, which feels very wrong to me, given everything he and I had been through together and our honesty and care for each other. ) It put me under an immense amount of stress, feeling like a prisoner in an otherwise very good and caring relationship. I had to break up with him because he would not accept me for who I am.
I am now dating the other guy (also mono, surprisingly), who really accepts me for who I am and whose only condition is honesty (one I am glad to fulfil and something very important to me as well) and says he really doesn't mind so long as I am happy and reach fulfilment in my decisions. He seems to really care deeply for me.

I would love his input if he did have any concerns: he said he would like to meet anyone I plan to seriously date to make sure they are decent and will not hurt me (he is protective but not possessive at all). This all I am really happy about.
So far it is just me and him (my ex will not accept me as poly). It seems you have a similar structure in place to the one I currently have.

Phy, yeah I agree regarding personal boundaries, partners should definitely speak up about things that are important to them and particularly when it comes to trust within the relationship. I will compromise on a lot of things to ensure my partners feel safe and happy (my current relationship is really easy as he is a very understanding guy and so similar to me: we just both value total honesty.) with the only real rules on that front being honesty and not allowing one partner to force/pressure me regarding who I date and how I express my love for my partner(s). The "hows" and "when"s and "let me meet them first"s etc are all fine with me, so long as any requests they have must come from their own side and their own (honestly expressed) needs for security, not a need to control/dominate me or others. I guess that has happened to me in friendships and relationships before and I am very wary of it now.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:59 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ttree View Post
Hey YouAreHere, I guess the reason I fear the "veto" is because I'm afraid of it being abused.
Then don't enter into any agreement that involves vetos. It really is that simple. Nobody can abuse a power that you've not agree to give them.

There are a great many poly arrangements that don't involve them; I suspect you think most arrangements that involve primaries have veto agreements is because you hear about those in many discussions (and many of those discussions involve problems with such agreements). There are a great many of us who don't have such an agreement--and you'll not hear us discussing issues surrounding vetos in our relationships because it doesn't apply.

My wife can't veto anybody for me and I can't veto anybody for her. I trust she'll choose decent partners. If she dates somebody I don't much like, I simply won't spend any time hanging out with the person. Won't make much difference to me, as time she spends with somebody else is the same whether I like the person or not.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:49 PM
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Hi Tt,

The three of us in our "V" identify as non-hierarchichal, although a little differently than CdM's example. We are actually splitting time in about as balanced a way as we can right now (my partner, the hinge, splitting time between two "homes). To add a little to the complexity, I'm Mono. My partner and his OSO are Poly.

It's working out pretty well, but there's a LOT of scheduling involved... but that's not your question.

Anyway, we do have a veto, but nobody's had an occasion to use it yet. For me, it's kinda moot, since I don't plan on dating. I personally wouldn't ever plan to pull the "veto" card unless the person were completely toxic (and even then, I'd probably put my misgivings in a "voicing my concern" way, rather than "here's my veto"). However, if my partner decided to have another "full-time" relationship, I am prepared to say that if my time needs won't be met, then I would probably have to pull out unless we could work something out... Less of a veto and more of owning my own issues, I suppose, although to some it would still feel like an ultimatum. I wouldn't intend it to be one, though...

No real pressure re. who to date. My partner is worried about his OSO's safety, of course, and wants to meet the folks she dates if it turns into something more than casual dating, but no real pressure on who to date or NOT to date. There are rules in place for safe sex (other potential sexual partners must get written proof that they're clean, must meet the other partner, etc. - which *I* wouldn't do without since my health is also at stake here), but no rules against it. Just a couple more hoops to jump through.

Hope that helps!
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:18 PM
ultraviolet ultraviolet is offline
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Hi there! My life partner and I are non-hierarchical polys with no veto. (Currently neither of us are seeing anyone else but we have in the past.) You can talk to me about this and feel free to PM me because I'm not very good at keeping up with threads.

Although we don't have any veto over who we date, we are ok with sharing our opinions and preferences. For example, not too long ago there was this woman my partner was interested in. She would give me dirty looks now and then (at least it seemed she was) and I told him that -- not to say he couldn't date her, but to let him know it would be awkward. He decided not to pursue dating her but that was his own decision.

In other areas of our relationship it's the same -- not rules but stating our preferences and considering each other's feelings. The only rule is practicing safer sex!
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:36 PM
Ttree Ttree is offline
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Thanks guys, all this feedback is really awesome!

UltraViolet (cool name Yeah, I like that structure: honesty without feeling controlled by one's partner is definitely where I want to go.
I will be glad to take you up on that offer, will probably send you a PM soon, thanks!

GalaGirl, any info is good, I am completely new to this, having only recently taken the steps to find out who I am (breaking up with my uncompromisingly mono ex whom I (still) really love was difficult ) and decided to embrace my polyamory and excited to finally be living my life and finding out who I am! I'm not too sure of specific questions I have (not really sure where to begin, though I have some interesting links to check out (thanks nycidie) and a lot of useful info (thanks everyone ).

I'm basically interested in how people run their own relationships, with particular emphasis on the "no veto" thing: the various ways in which people are accommodating and deal with any relational issues (practical, emotional, etc) without compromising on the things that are really important to me: my decision to love whom I love, to be myself and to look out for all partners pretty much "equally" (yeah I know everyone has different needs and relationships are different in terms of "seriousness" etc, I mean pretty equal relative to those needs.)

Originally I thought "non-hierarchical" was the only way to identify with the "no veto" thing but I am realising that a "hierarchical" relationship (in terms of who I happen to be closest to) relationship is possible, so long as I don't feel controlled in any of my relationships.

Currently I am dating one person only and I don't have any experience with multiple relationships.

So basically: any info on how your relationships work would be awesome
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:26 AM
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Maybe you want to check the Life Stories and Blogs section of this forum klick. Half of the people who responded here have written down their stories about their relationships there. Many of your questions will be answered by just reading about their life, I guess.
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