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Old 06-13-2018, 12:41 PM
MsEmotional MsEmotional is offline
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Default Negotiation: healthy boundaries vs manipulative ultimatums

I read all the time about how polyamory allows people to negotiate for their needs and design the relationships that they want, rather than the relationships that are pre-designed by the relationship escalator. Does anyone have any resources about how to do that? Like specific guidance about how to negotiate for what you want in an ethical way?

Ponytail and I have been growing a D/s dynamic over the last year. It has been really amazing, but it has also been really intense. I have recently come to the conclusion that I don’t know that I will ever be able to be okay with him seeing other people if he is submissive to me. It’s hard to understand — at least for other poly dominants that I have talked to — but it is impossible for me to simultaneously “own” him and allow him to seek out other partners. It just fucks with my head.

So, it seems that we need to choose one or the other. Not wanting to limit his ability to see other partners and not wanting to put him in a position where he would be tempted to cheat, I told him that I thought I should stop being dominant with him. It seemed like the ethical choice. Certainly more ethical than telling him he has to be monogamous when I am not.

But as soon as I suggested it and he said he understood, I completely regretted it. I don’t WANT to lose the D/s dynamic, I just feel like I have worked so hard to make it work with our ethics on relationships and it just....isn’t. So I immediately realized that what I had suggested as the “ethical” decision wasn’t what I wanted. I feel like what I was really doing was giving him an ultimatum — you can either have non-monogamy or you can have me as a fucking amazing mistress, but you can’t have both.

I feel like there should be a way for us to both negotiate for what we want, but I don’t know where to start.

(PS, we have communicated about all of this, of course. He understands the cognitive disssonance I feel as a dominant with a non-monogamous submissive. He has tried to explain to me that he just feels differently — that to him he can still feel owned by me even if he is in a relationship with someone else. I recognize that he feels differently than I do, but the idea just doesn’t sit right with me.)
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Me: 34, F, Bicurious

Amours
Glasses: my husband of 8 years --> 35, M, Queer
Ponytail: my first-poly-date-turned-boyfriend --> 35, M, Pansexual
Laptop: my (not-so-platonic?) poly friend --> 31, M, Straight

Metamours and Others
Ginger: Glasses' partner --> 30ish, Transgender (FTM)
MsPolitical: Glasses' ex and potential new romantic interest --> 35ish, F
LadyLaptop: Laptop's wife --> 30ish, F
Giraffe: Laptop's FWB --> 30ish, F
Glitzy: Ponytail's interest --> 35, F

Last edited by MsEmotional; 06-13-2018 at 12:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2018, 01:25 PM
breathemusic breathemusic is offline
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While there is often a way to healthily negotiate boundaries, that doesn't actually mean that all healthy boundaries result in a mutually agreeable solution.

While I realize that you ultimately suggested giving up your dynamic in order to be fair even though it wasn't what you wanted, I personally think you did the right thing. One could argue that it's ponytail's choice as well between the 2 options, the fact that he agreed and didn't object tells you that he really does want to be able to date others. And knowing that he eventually wants kids, etc. I think dragging out the D/s dynamic for longer when it may well lead to him wanting to break it down the road anyway so that he can live the life he wants... Well that will just be harder.

And part of being a reaponsible Dom means making sure that you are not bringing harm to your sub. So if having a D/s dynamic is doing that to either of you, then you are doing the kind thing already.

Aside: my advice would have been to see if you can work on figuring out how to balance the ownership vs poly dynamic, but you've already stated it just isn't for you so I don't see the value in trying to tell you that you should force it.
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2018, 03:32 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
Like specific guidance about how to negotiate for what you want in an ethical way?
I mean this kindly ok?
  • Some things cannot be negotiated.
  • Just because you are compatible with someone to practice poly together doesn't automatically mean that you are ALSO compatible to practice kink with them.
  • Sometimes doing the ethical thing is a pain, but one does it anyway.

Quote:
It is impossible for me to simultaneously “own” him and allow him to seek out other partners. It just fucks with my head.
For you it is IMPOSSIBLE. That means there is no negotiation to be had. Could accept your personal limitation and not try to change it.

You also sound like maybe you are mourning a loss, and perhaps in the bargaining stage of grief and still trying to make it happen. Like "If I only did this or that... then I could...."

Quote:
So, it seems that we need to choose one or the other. Not wanting to limit his ability to see other partners and not wanting to put him in a position where he would be tempted to cheat, I told him that I thought I should stop being dominant with him. It seemed like the ethical choice. Certainly more ethical than telling him he has to be monogamous when I am not.
I think this is the best choice in the circumstances. You might be disappointed with it right now. Could take the time to sit with it and grieve the loss.

Quote:
So I immediately realized that what I had suggested as the “ethical” decision wasn’t what I wanted.
Sometimes doing the most ethical thing ISN'T what you want most. You don't do the right thing only when handy, easy, or convenient. You do it because it is the correct thing to do in the situation.

Quote:
I feel like what I was really doing was giving him an ultimatum — you can either have non-monogamy or you can have me as a fucking amazing mistress, but you can’t have both.
I think what you are doing is stating your personal limitations. I think it is fair to make him aware of what you can and cannot handle or do. That's not giving him an ultimatum like "Do what I want or else we break up!"

It's accepting you are not Superman or Wonder Woman. And you don't have to be.

Quote:
He understands the cognitive disssonance I feel as a dominant with a non-monogamous submissive. He has tried to explain to me that he just feels differently — that to him he can still feel owned by me even if he is in a relationship with someone else.
That is how he feels. He still feels owned by you even if he's seeing other people.

You don't share that feeling. If he sees other people, you feel like you don't own him entirely.

Not compatible kink styles/feelings.

I'm sorry you are struggling with this right now. I still think you did the right thing though.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-13-2018 at 04:05 PM.
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2018, 03:51 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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I agree with what Galagirl says...

I am not compatible with Butch in the Kink department AT ALL. I wish he would go get those needs met somewhere else instead of pushing Kink on me. I am very vanilla.

It is up to Butch to figure what his next steps are.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2018, 04:05 PM
KC43 KC43 is offline
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I wouldn't consider what you said to be an ultimatum. Like Galagirl said, an ultimatum would be "Do this or else." You gave Ponytail a *choice* and a boundary: "If you're my submissive, I don't feel that I can allow you to see other people. Would you rather continue as my submissive and be monogamous, or end the D/s dynamic and see other people?" The choice being between the two possible dynamics, and the boundary being that you can't handle a nonmonogamous submissive.

You did what you needed to do in order to maintain a relationship with him, and I give you bonus points for wanting to make a decision that wouldn't impinge on his freedom to choose his relationship model.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:51 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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That's a very tough realisation to come to, and I feel bad for you.

Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Ponytail want a child? And you're pregnant? And the kid might be his biologically? (Even if it is Glasses' kid, might not Ponytail want to father it?)

Could it be pregnancy hormones adding to your need to keep him mono to you? Are you nesting? Do you want a guarantee he will be available to care for you and the infant/child when it is born? Not distracted by other lovers, absent literally or virtually, who are either his Dom/me or his sub, or just basically vanilla equals?

Many people give up practicing poly when their children are young, or when a female is pregnant, needing extra care. We fall in love with our infants. We are protective. We are deep in NRE with the fetus/newborn! Hard to handle 2 new love/infatuation relationships at once.

Right now you're settled with your 2 men. Adding more at this time might feel like a lack of stability needed in the nest. You're putting it down to your Domminess/ownership needs, but maybe it's the pregnancy?
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  #7  
Old 06-13-2018, 05:16 PM
MsEmotional MsEmotional is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
That's a very tough realisation to come to, and I feel bad for you.

Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Ponytail want a child? And you're pregnant? And the kid might be his biologically? (Even if it is Glasses' kid, might not Ponytail want to father it?)

Could it be pregnancy hormones adding to your need to keep him mono to you? Are you nesting? Do you want a guarantee he will be available to care for you and the infant/child when it is born? Not distracted by other lovers, absent literally or virtually, who are either his Dom/me or his sub, or just basically vanilla equals?

Many people give up practicing poly when their children are young, or when a female is pregnant, needing extra care. We fall in love with our infants. We are protective. We are deep in NRE with the fetus/newborn! Hard to handle 2 new love/infatuation relationships at once.

Right now you're settled with your 2 men. Adding more at this time might feel like a lack of stability needed in the nest. You're putting it down to your Domminess/ownership needs, but maybe it's the pregnancy?
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...&postcount=106
__________________
Me: 34, F, Bicurious

Amours
Glasses: my husband of 8 years --> 35, M, Queer
Ponytail: my first-poly-date-turned-boyfriend --> 35, M, Pansexual
Laptop: my (not-so-platonic?) poly friend --> 31, M, Straight

Metamours and Others
Ginger: Glasses' partner --> 30ish, Transgender (FTM)
MsPolitical: Glasses' ex and potential new romantic interest --> 35ish, F
LadyLaptop: Laptop's wife --> 30ish, F
Giraffe: Laptop's FWB --> 30ish, F
Glitzy: Ponytail's interest --> 35, F
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  #8  
Old 06-13-2018, 06:21 PM
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vinsanity0 vinsanity0 is offline
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My reply will probably soind harsh, bit it's not meant to be.

Have you tried fixing this within yourself instead of trying to alter your environment? Nothing is impossible. When it comes to jealousy you have to work that out. You can't make people change to fit you. By quitting the kink aspect you are just running away from the problem.

I do understand. When I met Sprite she had a Master. She wore a permanent collar, the whole bit. That took some getting used to, but I respected it. What I ended up doing was treating it like a girlfriend who liked to do scenes, as opposed to the usual TPE. I don't know how deep that part of your relationship is. Technically, you could "allow" him to play with others, but only have one Mistress, which would be you. I see nothing wrong with that form of hierarchy in poly bdsm.

ETA:

I also find it helpful to concentrate on my relationship with a partner and not their other relationships.
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Last edited by vinsanity0; 06-13-2018 at 06:50 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-13-2018, 09:29 PM
icesong icesong is offline
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You had asked for resources - I haven't read it, as I am not as deeply into D/s as this, but a book that might be of use? https://www.amazon.com/Power-Circuit.../dp/0982879415
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  #10  
Old 06-13-2018, 11:07 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi MsEmotional,

I am wondering if the issue here is that you don't want Ponytail to see other people, period. Like maybe overshadowing him with the idea of you withdrawing as a Dominant wasn't done in hopes that he would be startled out of seeing other people. In other words, him "accepting" the end of your D/s dynamic wasn't the outcome you wanted, the outcome you wanted was that he would stop seeing other people. This wouldn't be a conscious phenomenon on your part, it would be subconscious or unconscious. Without the D/s factor, you may feel uncomfortable about being poly while wanting your partner/s to be mono. But for some people, that's how it is. The problem isn't changing yourself, it is finding (a) partner/s who can live with that. Who can be mono while allowing you to be poly. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it works for the people involved.

The difficult part comes in deciding whether to keep seeing Ponytail. Because it seems to be for certain that he will be seeing other people. You have to figure out if you can stand for him to do that. Whether you'll be his Dominant at the same time is really your own decision. He's already decided that he's okay with losing you as a Domme. Just so he can keep seeing other people, that seems to be his priority. How do you feel about him making that his priority? even above the D/s dynamic you had with him? Do you want to see him go out with other people, and give up your Dominant position at the same time? That sounds like a double loss for you.

Sorry you are caught in the middle of this difficult situation.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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