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  #11  
Old 11-25-2011, 08:16 AM
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  #12  
Old 11-25-2011, 12:53 PM
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Thanks for your replies, and your questions as well Ė definitely helping us get closer to our own concrete answers, which is so helpful.

The motivation for our boundaries comes out of a desire to have clear definitions of what weíre all comfortable with, and want from a triad. I would never say that any boundaries are permanent, and would definitely say that weíre all very comfortable with the lifestyle. At present, we are not working to remove these boundaries; theyíve been set for clear reasons, and the issues that have come up to me are respect and trust. ďAre these boundaries working for us?Ē gets replied to as, ďYou should never have to compromise your comfort for selfishness.Ē I think that boundaries provide a framework for peopleís trust and comfort to unfold at a reasonable pace; there is no invisible ideal that weíre working towards other than mutual respect and great sex.

I have new questions for the group based on this discussion, as it seems like there are a lot of value judgements around boundaries, but not as much around breaking them. The assumption seems to be that boundaries hurt, instead of help foster good relationships. I think itís easy to get swept up in NRE, and the sexual headiness of new partners and relationships Ė in our collective eyes, boundaries are a framework to respect each individualís feelings and comfort zones, especially in the beginnings of a new relationship.

My husband put it beautifully when he referred to it as the classics ďHand in the Cookie JarĒ problem; we have a fantastic dynamic going, itís working for everyone, bur for some people, part of the fun of a cookie jar is stealing one. And isnít part of the fun of stealing knowing that you could get caught? I am someone who keeps things really clearly defined in life; he is a much more emotionally blurry and fiery person. One of his areas of great respect for me is my ability to challenge his selfishness and ask him the tough questions And I do see the core issue here of being one of selfishness; our lover is a sub through and through, so I hold my husband responsible for pushing our collective boundaries.

I guess my questions are this: Is there something wrong with only engaging in threesome sex? Is there something wrong with having boundaries that we are to play together, or not at all? Is there something wrong with having patience and allowing that tension to build until the next morning? I ask this not because I think that there is something wrong, but because Iím feeling like the vast majority of people that have answered my post are making value judgements about it. I donít say this out of defensiveness, but total curiousity. To me, the problem is that boundaries are being pushed and tested beyond an area of comfort, and Iím kind of surprised that the reactions are that the problems are the boundaries when our relationship is so new (around a month and a half).

It just seems strange; like the violation and disrespect of our collective agreements isnít the problem, but rather the agreement is the problem. It seems strange that fostering sexual energy is considered more important than fostering good communication. Are they supposed to lie there and dream about it? Why not? Isnít that delicious in its own right? And IF and WHEN those boundaries need to be changed, shouldnít it be at a time when everyone is involved cerebrally, and not during moments of sexual selfishness?
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChloeJane View Post

It just seems strange; like the violation and disrespect of our collective agreements isnít the problem, but rather the agreement is the problem. It seems strange that fostering sexual energy is considered more important than fostering good communication. Are they supposed to lie there and dream about it? Why not? Isnít that delicious in its own right? And IF and WHEN those boundaries need to be changed, shouldnít it be at a time when everyone is involved cerebrally, and not during moments of sexual selfishness?
You have to relaize the audience you are putting this question out to. It's not a judgement or slight against anyone, but if you were on a forum or support group for mono partners with poly partners you'ld get a different type of response. A lot of people on here are coming from the perspective of being poly and wanting a lot more openness and less boundaries.

That doesn't take away from the validity of thier comments at all of course. It's just important to recognize the environment you are working within.
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  #14  
Old 11-25-2011, 02:07 PM
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ChloeJane, I actually think you are right about the value judgements that have been levelled against you... to be honest the original post did come across as overly controlled and I think that most people with a long-ish history of doing this sort of thing have learned that rigid boundaries from the start actually do harm more than help.

You sound very much like me, and I deeply respect someone who values integrity and honesty in themselves and their partners.

I have no opinion about whether rigid boundaries are a good idea or not... but aside from value judgements you do have an additional piece of information, namely that it isn't actually working for the other members of this group. The thing about boundaries is that things can and often do just go right ahead and develop as they want to. Your husband broke the rules and that's wrong. Now, like you said, you have to decide what to do with that...?
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:18 PM
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Hey Chloe, I appreciate the in-depth responses and you challenging us back, I find this sort of conversation to be really interesting.

I can speak to my own post above (and obviously I agreed with Nyc's, though I chose different areas to focus on). I started off by talking about your husband's transgressions and motives very deliberately because I felt like that was the most immediate cause for concern. I completely, completely agree with you that no one should be coerced into compromising their boundaries based solely on someone else's desires, and that shifting of boundaries should happen via conversation and agreement, not experimentation and pushing. Him doing that was not ok, plain and simple.

I went on from there to discuss why I thought the boundaries were problematic and yes, there is some value-judgment there -- not on you, but on the boundaries themselves.

In your post in the Intro section you refer to your third as your shared "girlfriend". If you're not opening up the emotional side off your relationship, then I find this word choice completely inappropriate. The word implies emotional involvement, I would think, which can easily develop from repeated shared sex alone. And indeed you're not just having sex you're doing romantic things together. But love is not supposed to develop? I don't see that as a realistic plan. It's possible that it'll work that way, but equally possible that one or more of you will develop feelings you didn't mean to have. I see the word girlfriend, I see sex and romance and friendship and then I see "but no feelings, k?" and words like "robot" and "hooker" begin to seem not so strange, because unlike another lover or partner, you could rationally expect a robot or a hooker to not fall in love.

We see story after story here of people who are in crisis for this exact reason -- they entered a situation that was very conducive to developing emotional attachments, like the one you've set up here, and then everything went into meltdown mode when those attachments surfaced. No one wants to see that again. I am not in favor of boundaries meant to prevent emotional attachment because a) I don't think the goal behind them is smart (inasmuch as it defies basic understandings of human nature and emotion), healthy (inasmuch as it often leads to people doing their damnedest to deny their feelings and suffering as a result), or realistic (inasmuch as it doesn't seem to work), and b) because over time they seem to be damaging to people's self-esteem.

I know you say your third is a busy person and this is her fantasy-time, and I can see how her subby desires could make this work all the better for her, but personally, sub or no, if I had a "boyfriend" and I wasn't allowed to ever just say "hey" to him, I think I'd start to feel like shit. Or if I looked into his eyes during sex and realized I was falling for him and knew that was against the rules, I'd feel like shit. When an adult is in a relationship with another adult, I believe that it is only fair and humane that they should get to bond in their own way on their own time to some degree. This does not mean anything goes and that it should be ok for them to move in together or disrespect you or anything like that. And there may well be nothing there! But if there's not, *why* keep an enforced wall between them with you as the gatekeeper for communication and physicality? So that nothing ever does develop? Well, see above for my thoughts on that.

You say the fear behind your boundaries is that your husband won't be worthy of your trust, that he'd be willing to be dishonest with you. But as you've seen by his behavior, rules alone don't make someone act in a trustworthy way. I truly don't see how a fear that someone is a rule-breaker can be solved with rules. The rules can demonstrate whether or not he *is* worthy if trust, I suppose, and indeed he's been showing a worrisome track record there. I'm really glad you two talked and that he seems to understand where his actions were coming from. But you wouldn't say "I'm worried I can't trust you, so to assuage my fears we'll put a couple boxes around the house that you're not allowed to open." That would be absurd. Rules exist for their own reasons, and that's why I've focused above so much on the no-emotional-attachment thing, because that seems more pertinent to me.

I respect your experience in poly and your ability to say what you feel is right for you. It took guts to step out of that bathroom and say "stop, we agreed you wouldn't do this" and you were right, absolutely, because again it was NOT cool for him to casually break his agreements with you. But I don't feel we've gotten to the bottom of what's going on here -- *why* are you guys not open to the formation of emotional attachments? What do you think would happen if one or more of the three of you fell in love? Why would your heart and soul be so hurt if someone did the natural thing and got emotional?

This is polyamory.com, not polyfuckery.com or swingers.net, so is it really so surprising that your audience here would balk at rules meant to prevent loving attachment? We're all about the love here.

For context, perhaps it would help us to know what your husband's boundaries are? Does your third have any stated boundaries of her own?
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Last edited by AnnabelMore; 11-25-2011 at 03:23 PM.
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  #16  
Old 11-25-2011, 07:55 PM
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Thanks again to everyone for your responses; it’s obvious that I have found a group of incredibly open and intelligent people who are used to navigating some hella tricky paths in polyamory.

Mono: I’ve been reading some of your postings – very cool. I can understand that a lot of people are on a quest for less boundaries/more openness, and that’s great if that’s what they’re after. I think that’s why I mentioned that the three of us are not striving for some kind of “ideal” in our relationship, but keeping core values in the lines of sight that will allow our triad to develop in healthy, respectful ways. There’s a big difference between discussing and changing boundaries rather than pushing them/judging them, in my humble opinion.

Kamala: Thanks for your reply, and your insight. I think that the awesome communication that we had a couple of nights ago, with added great communication last night, and the dinner conversations that we’ve intended to have with our lover on Sunday will allow us all to make sure we’re still on the same page.

AnnabelMore: S is very much our shared girlfriend. We have never had boundaries about love developing between the three of us, only around what kind of sexual interaction we have set out to engage in, and what kind of communication we would have between each other for the time being. All three of us are becoming more and more emotionally involved with each other, and I have no issues with love developing whatsoever; none of us are one-night-standers, or compartmentalize sex. I am proud of my husband’s loving nature that accompanies his sexual side, and very much enjoy/take pleasure in the way that he treats and behaves around S when we’re all together. I feel so strangely happy and proud when we go for a walk at the lake and all hold hands, or him and S walk ahead holding hands while I look on with admiration and happiness. I love his thoughtfulness when he buys a gift that he knows she’ll love and it inadvertently ties in with a gift I bought her (he bought her very nice scotch, I had bought her a decanter/glass set, for example.) His attentiveness to her life, asking about what’s happening, trying to find things that he’ll love for her to do, earnestly spoiling her – I love it all. I love the way that he looks at her when we’re making love, his total immersion in her beauty and sensuality. He loves to talk about her, and thinks about her a lot – she is so intelligent, beautiful, complex and fascinating as a human being. There is nothing in me that is threatened or upset about any of that – I foster it, and am happy about it.

S’s attraction to my husband is largely physical, and hers to me is largely cerebral. We are developing something pretty special; packages in the mail, romantic letters, txting, and my husband is extremely supportive of that – even encouraging me to go to the city and see her on my own. To date, I have declined that offer, as we haven’t shifted our boundaries in a way that I feel would make that acceptable. I have however told her that I love her, that I hear her name in my heartbeat, and that I feel fiercely protective of her. I only want her to have a wonderful experience with us, as we’re her first true and deep foray into polyamory.

I would feel a lot less respect for my husband if he were capable of having sex without emotion (no value judgement for those that love to have hot, consensual “meaningless” sex, just my preference) and look forward to our relationship growing richer on all fronts for as long as it unfolds. The words robot and prostitute/hooker do not apply here (again, very intense words to be using in a forum that seems to be centred around fostering communication and understanding!)

However! We did set up boundaries and rules to guide us into this third in our life. Our agreement was to have a shared experience of sex, the boundary was to not to just have independent sexual relationships from each other. I would never mind them having one on one sessions, as long as I was involved – standing off to the side holding hands is not real involvement – holding her to me and saying sweet/spicy things in her ear while we act as a threesome IS being involved. There have already been times when I’ve just wanted to watch, but voluntarily creating that situation is different than having it forced/foisted on you.

There are a lot of reasons behind our boundaries. My husband and I both have the tendency to lean towards Cowboy/Cowgirl behaviour (he was my secondary partner before…. Just sayin’) We got really clear about what we wanted in our lives from a third this time around, and were VERY clear about that in our on-line profile, upon meeting S (once it became clear that there was a connection, we thanked the other interested parties but declined meeting them based on a drama-free-desire) and in subsequent talks between all of us. There are no rules in place against falling in love, or expressing that love when we’re all together - only about when that is to be expressed (when we’re all together.)

That may change as our relationship unfolds, but having it pushed in the moment, or without talking about it is NOT healthy for any of the involved parties. Changing the rules/boundaries is 100% okay, when the time is right, not during moments of sexual selfishness. Also, as a sub, it creates stress for S to have to put up with instability from my husband - not conducive to totally relaxing and feeling secure!

My husband has openly admitted that he is a boundary pusher, asked for my forgiveness for his transgressions, and apologized to S for putting her in an awkward situation as well (forcing a sub to speak up for the group is uncomfortable for everyone!) I’m proud of his internal work; it’s hard for him, as he’s such a dominant personality who is very much used to doing what he wants (to his detriment at times, to be sure.) I didn’t anticipate that he would act so immaturely in the heat of the moment, or that he would allow sexual selfishness/more, more, more mentality to get in the way of trust and communication. It was a pretty big learning lesson for all of us. I do feel like our boundaries are a-okay at the moment, and a lot of that has to do with the challenges that were put on here.

Polyfuckery… that’s funny. I’d just be a happy slut if that were the case. We’re all WAY too complex and emotional for that, and swinging is not for us either.

Last edited by ChloeJane; 11-25-2011 at 08:04 PM.
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  #17  
Old 11-25-2011, 08:09 PM
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Hmmm, well, I feel a bit silly for going so far in the wrong direction if love developing is fine with everyone involved! This is the line of yours that I picked up on -- "The rules that you might see as excessively restricting or controlling are rules that we agreed upon before entering into this relationship to maintain our own emotional boundaries within the relationship."

May I ask, what does "emotional boundaries" mean in this context if love and emotional intimacy are all good?
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:44 PM
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You donít need to feel silly in the least; Iím totally new here, and Iím pretty sure that a lot of people have some pretty unrealistic expectations of what might happen once they open up their relationship.

I think our boundaries are to minimize confusion and complications in a complex situation, and allow everything to unfold with consciousness. My husband is a bit of a Cowboy, to say the least. Recognizing and accepting these tendencies doesnít mean making allowances for them. Once NRE is in a more balanced place, I think I would be very comfortable with them communicating one on one if thatís something that they both wanted (S has given no indication that she does want this, to be clear, Iím just posting it as a possibility down the line). With my husband and I finding our way with each other/our partner, I think that certain boundaries will keep him from his natural tendencies to delve into selfish/feel-good/more,more,more behaviours that have proved dangerous to his primary relationships in the past.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:53 PM
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Well, that makes *much* more sense.

I'm not looking for things to pick on here, or to interrogate you, but I'm curious about the question of his and her boundaries, if any. Also, what are your feelings/guidelines about her having partners outside the two of you? The whole situation of the bi woman coming into a marriage and how that works for all involved fascinates me (see my sig line and you can guess why!).
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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 11-25-2011, 09:13 PM
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Not at all - you are very obviously a thoughtful person who looks out for ALL sides in a relationship, and that's pretty awesome in my books.

My husband is boundary-less on his own. His sexual energy is potent as fuck and he loves women immensely. She is a sub, and adores having her boundaries pushed; it makes it a lot of fun to be her lover, as being creative enough to titillate her crazy intelligence takes planning and work, which can heighten the anticipation of us all seeing each other SO deliciously. Knowing that she is boundary-less, and my husband is boundary-less, we (my husband and I) talked a lot about what had gone "wrong" in previous forays into polyamory and co-created boundaries together.

As for her having partners outside of us - that is totally cool with us; we have no "holds" on her. We do, however, practice some pretty high risk behaviour between the three of us, as we are currently closed to outside relationships, so she would need to tell us insofar as we'd need to bring in more protection into our sex play.

Your situation sounds incredible - I read your story, especially connecting with your emotional turmoil about telling Eric how much you feel for him, and about your wild anticipation of the baby. Your heart is huge, and I have a lot of respect and admiration for your willingness to be vulnerable; with great risks come great rewards!

I think that we have found a very powerful, workable dynamic between the three of us. I have no doubt that it will unfold into something even more beautiful and powerful over the months/years, but also have no attachments. My husbands pushiness has the capacity to ruin it, and he needs to watch that desire to get what he wants over the collective happiness - especially when dealing with a highly sexual sub who's truly GGG. I don't want to become his "keeper" or control him, so he has to be extra emotionally responsible in a very salacious, tempting situation. In this version of the story, it's totally ADAM who would bite the muthf'in apple.
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