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  #1  
Old 12-07-2011, 10:40 PM
riftara riftara is offline
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Default Setting Boundaries

Is it ok to set boundaries After something happened - like that I cant handle it makes me feel X

is that how you are suppose to set boundaries? there is a lot of talk on doing it but not much in the way of advice or instructions on how to do so in the real world.

Whst boundaries did you set and how did the conversation go?
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:38 AM
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This thread covers what boundaries various forum members have: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17813

As for how to set them, "I can't handle x so you can't do x" seems very one-sided to me. I would approach it more from a place of sharing and negotiation, as in "I've discovered that x affects me very negatively. Can we talk about what we can do together to help me with this?"

Maybe the answer will be a boundary, maybe it will be a slowing down or stepping back or a pause, or maybe it can be resolved by your partner giving you different things around communication and reassurance and attention.

I think that when you're talking about setting an after-the-fact boundary, especially one that may affect your partner emotionally or affect his or her other relationship(s), it's especially important for part of the equation to be you figuring out why you feel the way you do about it and if it's something you can work on.
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:46 AM
km34 km34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
I think that when you're talking about setting an after-the-fact boundary, especially one that may affect your partner emotionally or affect his or her other relationship(s), it's especially important for part of the equation to be you figuring out why you feel the way you do about it and if it's something you can work on.
I feel like this is great advice. Granted, I am completely new to this site, this lifestyle, and pretty much anything else associated with poly but it sounds smart. It's not fair to set an ultimatum to the ones you love by saying 'I don't like this so you can't do it or I'll leave.' It is fair to say 'I didn't like when this happened, it made me feel (insert emotion here). Can we please talk about how we can avoid this in the future?' The problem may be the action, it may be your reaction, or it may be a combination of both.

In my opinion, you would ideally want to set boundaries BEFORE the discomfort/jealousy/anger happens. You just don't want to put yourself or anyone else involved in a position where they are uncomfortable. However, it is hard to anticipate what all can happen and how you're going to react to situations that you've never specifically talked about. Just make sure you make it a discussion and not a mandate, and I'm sure you will be fine!
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:38 AM
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What? You didn't get the Poly Manual when they sent you the decoder ring for joining the club?

Do a search on "nonviolent communication". This should give you some useful tools for negotiation in relationships.

As for negotiating after the fact. It happens. Nobody can plan for every contingency.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riftara View Post
is that how you are suppose to set boundaries? there is a lot of talk on doing it but not much in the way of advice or instructions on how to do so in the real world.
You sit down and talk about what you are comfortable with and what makes you uncomfortable. Then negotiations can take place and, hopefully, the parties make compromises that everyone can accept. And if something comes up for you after boundaries are set, you talk about it again. Sometimes you can set a timeframe, for 3 months or something like that, to test the waters with certain boundaries and ask to revisit the subject at at time to make sure everyone is doing okay.

But the key aspect is to not just shut down and want to forbid something when you've had a reaction you didn't expect. It's good to always try and dig deep to understand why you had such a reaction, what your concerns or fears are, and how to handle it within yourself. You may still want to shift a boundary anyway, but at least you will have more awareness about why you are having issues with it.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:05 AM
riftara riftara is offline
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This is my specific situation - i get full blown panic attacks AFTER they have sex, during doesnt bother me, just after. the only thing that makes them go away is meds - which im already abusing, or them coming back to our neutral space, which limits their alone time. i offered a compromise but it was shot down. a slow move toward them having more alone time by lengthing the time the spend alone after sex little by little. Sorta wean me off the panic attacks. I dont know what to do.
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Last edited by riftara; 12-08-2011 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riftara View Post
This is my specific situation - i get full blown panic attacks AFTER they have sex, during doesnt bother me, just after. the only thing that makes them go away is meds - which im already abusing, or them coming back to our neutral space, which limits their alone time. i offered a compromise but it was shot down. a slow move toward them having more alone time by lengthing the time the spend alone after sex little by little. Sorta wean me off the panic attacks. I dont know what to do.
But what are you panicking about? Deconstructing the panic, I think, would be a good start. What thoughts do you have when it is starting, and how can you reframe your thinking on whatever it is you're reacting to? I think your panic is your responsibility, not theirs.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:41 AM
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Non violent communication; we have talked about that here. If you do a search in the tags for "communication" and read the sticky on communication you will find some ideas on what its about.
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by km34 View Post
It's not fair to set an ultimatum to the ones you love by saying 'I don't like this so you can't do it or I'll leave.' It is fair to say 'I didn't like when this happened, it made me feel (insert emotion here). Can we please talk about how we can avoid this in the future?'
I just want to point out, it's not fair or responsible to say, "When you do X, it makes me feel Y." No one can MAKE a person feel something. I know it's common to say that: "You made me feel jealous, you made me panic," but one's reaction and feelings are one's own.

Better to say, with understanding and by owning your own emotions, "When you do X, I feel Y."

In this case, the OP seems to have issues with panicking in general, which she deals with by abusing drugs. Panic attacks usually stem from childhood trauma. Perhaps the panic/jealousy stems from fear of abandonment.

Many people new to poly freak out thinking about their partner having sex with a new person. Usually they think one or both of 2 things: 1) the new partner is better at sex than I am, or 2) the sex my primary is having with their secondary will make them fall deeply in love and leave me for her or him.

Quite often we think we will be fine with this or that our partner does, when imagining it, but then when it really happens, we feel differently.

Talk it over. Tell your h you are struggling. He and his new gf, if they care about your feelings at all, may agree to slow down the sexual contact until you feel more reassured and secure.
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:33 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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I'm surprised they weren't willing to compromise on the alone time issue. That seems like it would be rough on them in some ways -- who doesn't like to cuddle and bond after sex? -- but it's sure as hell better then letting you get to the point where you are damaging your health and have to choose between setting an ultimatum that they stop altogether or else break up with your bf. Especially since, at least the way you framed it here, it would be a temporary measure.

Do they understand how serious this is for you and what the stakes are?
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