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  #11  
Old 11-27-2011, 06:13 PM
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There is a sticky on boundaries isn't there? Maybe not. Used to be.

I have written about my boundaries extensively in my blog, but I am enjoying the challenge of thinking of them again. We don't really talk about it regularly any more.

We have some some DADT's going on around the sex I have with each partner. Also about the activities within that and what items we might use for that. It used to be that I shared items with PN that we acquired over the years of our marriage, but now those items are considered mine and I use them with whomever and don't talk about it. He likes it that way and so do I. I think all of my partners do.

Mono is monogamous to me and I have agreed not to pursue other relationships sexually at this time. We have an agreement that emotional connections are okay as long as they don't turn sexual. I have a boyfriend that I don't have sex with as a result and it has been VERY difficult to not have sex. I have learned a lot about my self in the three years we have been together because I have refrained. I am glad that I agreed to this, but it is wearing thin.... we are processing that.

Safe sex with others is essential and we have discussed exactly what that looks like. Derby is a nurse. She keeps me on my toes and I am grateful for that. As a result anyone that comes into our tribe would be considered a threat to our health until they and we have all been tested and all agree on what safe sex means to us.

As soon as an issue comes up that can not be taken care of by ourselves it will be addressed. Checking in with ourselves first and getting to the root of the issue for ourselves is paramount. Its important to have some knowledge of what is going on for ourselves before bringing it to the table.

Really I think that is about it.... we are all different in our dynamics and all have lives that are our own. Our primary importance is our kiddies and the family life that they have. While our needs are not put aside the kids are considered every step of the way.

Wow, I hardly ever think about any of this any more. That was hard. I don't think it is possible to convey the subtleties of all our boundaries and compromises without it sounding all serious and official. I think after a number of years we are much more relaxed and free flowing. We know each other well at this point and take everything very slowly and pace ourselves. No stone is left unturned and there is room to just be ourselves even if sometimes we feel like the other is coming from a different planet on some stuff. At this point we just let that be and love/respect/care for each other regardless.

thanks for this opportunity.
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  #12  
Old 11-27-2011, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Just a thought, it seems like boundaries are more common in primary relationships. Like, they might affect what happens in the secondary relationship(s), but their origin and purpose is usually to protect the primary relationship(s). Does that seem accurate?
Yep. Sounds about right.

Nothing wrong with it either, as long as those in secondary, or incoming positions dont feel slighted by it, and are ok with what they hear.
Even as individuals, we have boundaries, and those we date or engage with, have the right to decide if they are ok, and can respect those boundaries.
A triad or quad could have all the same boundaries for a new person too.
If you are your own primary, or have a long-standing triad that is of primary importance, it all tends to unfold the same way.

People who keep a even keel about boundaries, have the best success.
********

To answer this question is rather difficult for me. As a primary couple, we don`t tend to have pre-set boundaries past the safer-sex aspect of things. Usually one of us gets into a dating situation, and it becomes apparent what that particular situation warrants. We easily make it clear, hierarchy exsists. People can then decide for themselves if they care to engage.

Or, more common,..I know where I am at, and what I want or don`t want. I self-regulate. He does the same.

We have preferences I guess. We both agree we have to be careful with time, and how late into the night things go. We don`t have a casual life where we can just lock up an apartment, and go wherever we wish.
- He prefers I don`t re-connect with my ex`s.
- I prefer he doesn`t date a co-worker.

However,..under the right circumstances there is a give/take for any of it.

In one instance, a safer-sex boundary was broken, and my husband told me immediately. We then did everything necessary to make it right. It messed up our personsal sex life for awhile with barrier methods, testing, etc.

It sucked due to all the work we had to do to make it right. The flip-side of that was, we both learned (even more-so) we can count on each other for the truth, even when it`s really hard, and includes repercussions. Trust grew, it was not diminished.

The only complication has been when outside people want each of us to do something they want, that neither of us is a particular fan about. At some point you have to double check the fairness to all involved.
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  #13  
Old 11-27-2011, 06:26 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I think after a number of years we are much more relaxed and free flowing. We know each other well at this point and take everything very slowly and pace ourselves. No stone is left unturned and there is room to just be ourselves even if sometimes we feel like the other is coming from a different planet on some stuff. At this point we just let that be and love/respect/care for each other regardless.
To me this is ideal. I see the utility of hard rules, especially in the establishment phases of things and always about safety, but to be able to say "we operate with love, honesty, respect, common sense, introspection, compassion, and communication, and that is more than enough to make it work for everyone and leave us with just a few, simple, mutual agreements that can change as needed" is a lovely vision and goal.
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  #14  
Old 11-27-2011, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Just a thought, it seems like boundaries are more common in primary relationships. Like, they might affect what happens in the secondary relationship(s), but their origin and purpose is usually to protect the primary relationship(s). Does that seem accurate?
It is for some people I imagine. I set boundaries because I've become aware of the things that don't sit well with me thus far, and also because it hasn't been very long since my husband's gf has been just that: my husband's gf. I tend to take a lot more time to process things and any boundaries set allows me to do that.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2011, 09:48 PM
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I think for us one of the complications is that we both have children and Pretty Lady will never be ready for their son to know about their extra marital relationships. Infact, up until a few years ago, they barely had time for an inter-marriage relationship. Their son was so attached at the hip to her that she and Wendigo had not been on a date since he was born and she absolutely refuses to have sex while he is home, so that meant they had to wait until he went to sleep at his grandparents or aunts and 90% of the time he'd chicken out. Now that he is a teenager and has started dating himself, he has stopped needing to know where his mom is at all times and that has allowed her to pursue our relationship. We're less concerned with Yoda finding out about our relationship, but it makes sense not to let him know as he looks up to their son and might let it slip. *shrugs* Really, it is all about going at Pretty Lady's pace because she has the least experience with multiple relationships.
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  #16  
Old 11-27-2011, 10:34 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I think my husband and I have a lot of boundaries/rules/agreements compared to some people, but they seem to be pretty stable for us after 9 months of negotiation, and we revisit our agreements regularly. I'm a bit reluctant to post this in list format, but oh well, it works for us, and I don't see that it's hampered any of our other relationships so I suppose it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.

1. Home from weeknight dates by 11:30pm unless it's an overnight or otherwise discussed ahead of time (so people can get to sleep without being interrupted by somebody coming home)

2. Write down all dates in google calendar so we know what's happening when.

3. Tell each other BEFORE advancing any relationships to next step of intimacy. (we aren't jumping into bed quickly with people, so it's not a problem to say "I'm interested in making out with X" then "I'd like to have sex with X"

4. No taking recreational drugs with a partner without prior discussion. (somewhat unlikely to happen, but seemed something important enough to include)

5. Follow agreed upon safe sex rules. Let each other know if condoms come off or break. (so far one agreement was re-negotiated for a particular relationship recently, so I feel pretty comfortable that we are both doing well at being flexible when things change)

6. Talk to each other before telling someone else we love them. (more for my benefit, I don't like surprises, and since we live with each other and talk about our partners, it'd be very odd to not know the other persons feelings were growing before we were sure enough to admit <3 to somebody we were dating)

7. After an initial meeting with a new person (which is always coffee and not a "date" date, we do go home and talk to our spouse about how it went before planning a date. This one has been a bit of a challenge for my husband because he wasn't sure how to express this to the other person, but the gist of it is to say, "I have an agreement to talk to my partner before definite plans with new people, so I will email you later today" This became important because if a date is exciting but they tick a few boxes like - vary greatly in how they practice poly compared to us, isn't willing/able to meet in the middle or take turns commuting to dates (Seattle's a big place, gas is expensive), says something negative about another of their partners that seems a bit iffy, or turns out to be incompatible in some other way...it is good to have a slight break from new date NRE to reflect and have a second perspective, rather than a date being made and have to be cancelled after the fact. So far this did result in one single poly chick deciding she wasn't compatible with seeing my husband more at that time because she preferred dating people without restrictions like that. This is one that perhaps someday will go out the window, but as we've only been actively poly again for 9 months it is staying. You can tel I feel a bit defensive about this one or I wouldn't be explaining it so much

8. Tell each other about important changes in other partners sexual relationships and don't be intimate again if any risky behaviors have been introduced without discussing it with each other first. (new fluid bonded partners and STI issues basically)

There's things like make sure the sheets are changed and things are cleaned up promptly after dates in the multipurpose room dates happen in sometimes, there's a list of BDSM activities that my husband is comfortable with me participating in with others, and if I want to do them with somebody, I let him know the relationship is going there before it does. I've asked him not to date co-workers at this time because although he thinks it wouldn't be a problem, he's actively looking for a promotion.

I have agreements with my boyfriend also, which are to share if we go out on a date with somebody new, and to share if we are going to become sexual with somebody new.
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Last edited by Anneintherain; 11-28-2011 at 12:00 AM. Reason: cause I came up with MORE
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  #17  
Old 11-27-2011, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Just a thought, it seems like boundaries are more common in primary relationships. Like, they might affect what happens in the secondary relationship(s), but their origin and purpose is usually to protect the primary relationship(s). Does that seem accurate?
Yeah, it often seems that way, which I think is a bit weird because it still holds up couplehood as preferred over multi-partnerhood. I say that because the primary relationship that is being protected is usually a couple. It seems to me that having boundaries that place the utmost importance on preserving the "sanctity" of a couple are basically preserving monogamy as superior over non-monogamy.

I also think many "solo poly" people make the mistake of not setting their own boundaries for poly relationships, and leave all that boundary- and decision-making to those who are in a primary relationship with each other, whether the solo is involved with one or both of the people in that primary relationship. There is an interesting discussion thread over at polymatchmaker about rules and boundaries for single poly's, and I started a thread about that here but didn't get much response (I think these forums must have more partnered people or couples that participate than over at PMM). I think it's important that solos not compromise on too many important points in their own set of boundaries just to be involved with a couple or someone who is in a primary relationship with someone else.

Recently, I had to tell a married poly guy who was messaging me on OKC and seemed very eager to start something that I didn't think it would work for us because I realized that the rules he has with his wife conflicted with mine. They have a DADT policy, and he even called it "condoned cheating." He did offer to get his wife in touch with me to confirm this (because I asked "how do I know you're not just cheating?") but then said that they also agreed to do "everything they can" to ensure they are each #1 in their lives, which includes cancelling dates with their OSOs if something comes up for them to spend time with each other. While I would understand if there's an emergency, I thought "so I'm supposed to accept whatever crumbs you throw my way?" I felt their rules conflicted greatly with two important rules of mine: that I feel respected and never treated like a whore. I just couldn't see myself feeling good about myself in that kind of situation. I would want to be able to contact a metamour if necessary, not hide out like I'm a dirty secret, and not be discarded in favor of time with his wife and just expected to move my schedule around for them.

The other rules I have about being involved with someone who has other relationships kind of hinge on how I approach being in relationship. Basically, I'm a solo person, which means I am independent, see all my romantic relationships as equally important, and do not use a "primary" and "secondary" hierarchy. I have no objection to someone I'm involved with seeing me as a "secondary," as long as I don't feel like I'm being treated like a secondary. I don't want to feel less important to him. I would consider my lovers co-primaries to me, so if I start to feel like my partner is not respecting the place I have in his life, that would be a sign of trouble, big trouble.

My biggest consideration or boundary is that the health and emotional evolution of my relationship will be solely determined by just me and and the person I'm in relationship with. In other words, though I would welcome a friendship with my partner's spouse or SO, and would honor reasonable boundaries that pertain to managing the amount of time he can spend with me, when/how often we can text or call each other, or how public we can be (because these would affect them as much as me), my metamour(s) will not be setting rules about how I conduct myself in my private time with him (such as how emotionally involved I can be, nor what I can do sexually with him). My private time with him should not be inhibited by someone else's rules, other than safer sex boundaries, which of course I have as well.

When starting to see someone who is partnered, I ask if they have rules for each other that would affect me. If I can live with those, fine. But he and I alone set the rules and manage our own relationship. That is very important to me. Because of that, I will not get involved with anyone who gives his spouse or partner veto power.
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Last edited by nycindie; 11-27-2011 at 11:52 PM.
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  #18  
Old 11-27-2011, 11:51 PM
MichelleZed MichelleZed is offline
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My husband and I don't really have any rules except that we have to use condoms with outside partners for health reasons.

Other than that, we just check in with each other and try not to be assholes.
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  #19  
Old 11-27-2011, 11:55 PM
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... we just check in with each other and try not to be assholes.
Love it!
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  #20  
Old 11-28-2011, 12:40 AM
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It seems to me that having boundaries that place the utmost importance on preserving the "sanctity" of a couple are basically preserving monogamy as superior over non-monogamy.
Non-monogamous and monogamish I see as accurate.
'Poly' ...maybe not. Hence I don`t label myself poly. I can only speak for myself though. "polyamory' means so many different things, to different people.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
The other rules I have about being involved with someone who has other relationships kind of hinge on how I approach being in relationship. Basically, I'm a solo person, which means I am independent, see all my romantic relationships as equally important, and do not use a "primary" and "secondary" hierarchy. I have no objection to someone I'm involved with seeing me as a "secondary," as long as I don't feel like I'm being treated like a secondary. I don't want to feel less important to him. I would consider my lovers co-primaries to me, so if I start to feel like my partner is not respecting the place I have in his life, that would be a sign of trouble, big trouble.
There is a valuable point there. Very good information. It is important to recognize the different desires for different folks.
I know for myself, I don`t want to be anyone`s primary, or co-primary, or loved the same as their spouse, etc. I don`t want 'equal' treatment or affection. I had a nice relationship once, where everything went well while I was '3rd' ,..but when he tried to move me up,..problems began. Nobody even asked me if I wanted that. I didn`t. I was happy with the place I had in his life at '3rd.' It took me a long time to find someone who understood this.

We know a single woman close to us, that feels the same. She has never been 'used' as a unicorn. Her problems have been with people who wanted her to move in, share a home, etc. She ended two relationships because of this.

She makes it clear that she likes a true friendship, but one day she wants the white picket fence, monogamous man, and the family.

So making sure everyone has the same outlook ahead of time, is a pretty core thing, many of us need to evaluate. ( Rather then trying to bash into each others heads 'the right way'. )
Then all those 'extra' boundaries might not be as necessary, if people are on the same page.
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