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  #21  
Old 02-25-2012, 10:28 PM
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rory rory is offline
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Others have stated my views already. But there is something else I am wondering, as well. What about platonic friendships? Are interactions with friends similarly restricted: no heavy communication, meeting no more than 3 times a month, no sleepovers, etc.?

If that is the case, I'm inclined to think this isn't really a healthy relationship, because the persons involved aren't allowed to have significant, genuine relationships with other people. That rings abuse alarms in my head.

If that is not the case, I guess it isn't unhealthy (at least not to the two people in the primary couple), just a bit.. illogical? How is it that you can have a deep, meaningful relationship with somebody as long as you're not being sexual/romantic (not sure how they define partner vs. friend), but it becomes a threat that you have to restrict as soon as you are? The person suddenly becomes a threat at that point? I don't think the sex/romance would be worth the rulebook to me, I'd just skip that part so that I could be free in the rest of my interactions with the person.
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  #22  
Old 02-26-2012, 07:11 AM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Default Love the Different Styles of How People Frame Their Love.

The thing I like about this board is how many perspectives there are on poly - how everyone makes it work for them, and what makes everyone happy. makes me feel like we too will find what works for us, and what is right for us.

rory: there's definitely no abuse happening in my sis/partner's relationship for sure, so doncha worry 'bout them, they're doin' awesome, and have happy fulfilling lives. other than that, i can't speak too candidly about their relationship, because... well.... it's their relationship.

phy: sweet - can't wait to read more of your story - thanks for the link!

mags: you know me mags, i'll always have a pair o' pompoms waving for you/r relationships, you fuckin' rock, and that's that. i respect yer opinions a lot, and enjoyed reading your experiences, and value your perspective. a lots.

i really appreciate, and value the advice that they gave me, and sharing that they did with me - it talked me off a bit of a ledge relationship wise after some pretty trying/traumatic times - now all we can do is figure out what fits into our life, and doesn't, and more forward. and just so y'all know, those agreements were posed to us as advice for our situation, so some of it are their agreements, and some of them are suggestions directed towards our situation - a combo of wisdom/advice/suggestions and ideas from some long time seasons poly peeps. there's always value in listening to other people's ways of being, and for me, especially from people who live and breathe/practice what they preach!

Last edited by CherryBlossomGirl; 02-26-2012 at 07:13 AM. Reason: expounding, of course!
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  #23  
Old 02-26-2012, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
...those agreements were posed to us as advice for our situation, so some of it are their agreements, and some of them are suggestions directed towards our situation - a combo of wisdom/advice/suggestions and ideas from some long time seasons poly peeps.
Well, it is good to have some insight into their experiences -- but don't think that just because your sister knows you, that she also knows what would work for you and your relationships with your husband and any additional partners. There's the possibility that none of your sister's rules would feel reasonable, relatable, or make sense to the unique dynamic that would develop between you, Elemental, and whomever your partner(s) would be.

Thought you and others might find the following excerpt interesting. It's from a short article called "There's No Such Thing As Polyamory," written by Barry Smiler (Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 14, April 7, 2011):
"... the poly way is to make up one's own rules, internal to the specific relationship in question, to create a new way of structuring deep aspects of one's life...

This is relevant because it is far easier to buy in to a new set of external rules than to take full responsibility for the self-examination and honest discussion necessary to create your own... The poly ideal is that all interested parties sit down and co-create the rules they want to live by, personally and between themselves. This is worthwhile, but it's not easy, and most people are unwilling to do the tough self-examination and open-hearted negotiation it demands.

Even more, most people are unwilling to take the necessary personal responsibility for creating a successful outcome. With some other paradigms, people accept external rules as provided. This lets them blame any failures on the external rules. But polyamory is where you write your own rules, so "the buck stops here", because "here" is where the framework got set up in the first place.

... polys are simply people who have come to the conclusion that they themselves are the best source for the rules of how they will live. This self-determination appears in many areas of life, and people who feel this right to self-determination in other areas of their lives will decide their own rules for those areas. But when they apply this to decide relationship rules, and give themselves the right to consider a range of nonstandard possibilities, sometimes that is labeled polyamory.

Of course, other times it is labeled other things. And there's self-determination again, because when people aren't feeling constrained to a set of external rules, the rules they choose are unlikely to totally match the rules other people choose, making externally applied labels difficult. Which, I think, explains the common observation that there are as many ways to do polyamory as there are people doing it. People who make up their own rules will seldom reinvent exactly the same rules.

All this is why I offer the reframing that there's no such thing as polyamory. Instead, I suggest that polyamory might well be presented as simply a special case of the larger social ideal of self-determination, a trend that has for hundreds of years been irresistibly moving our society towards individual empowerment and away from cultural/societal strictures, towards everyone's right to manage their own lives in their own way. "
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"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 02-26-2012 at 03:26 PM.
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  #24  
Old 02-26-2012, 02:17 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Thanks for posting this BP - and thanks to your sis and partner for sharing what works so well for them.

This created a bit of a lightbulb moment for me. Reading about how your sis/partner protecting their core relationship and the steps they take to make sure it isn't threatened triggered some feelings of being trapped in me.

I've been thinking about why that might be and I think that it reminded me of the difficulties I had while in a mono relationship with being emotionally close to other people. My ex just couldn't stand it - he was so upset by my close relationships.

Gradually I spent less (or no) time with those people until eventually the only person I was emotionally close to was my ex. It felt horrible to me, just horrible. I reckon I was depressed for years and certainly after we had split up and I'd gotten over the distress of that, I could not have been less interested in finding a new relationship.

I've thought for years that I have a problem with monogamy - but maybe I don't. Maybe I have a problem with being restricted in who / what I am able to be emotionally close to??

Anyway - thanks for posting that. I found it really helpful.

IP
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  #25  
Old 02-26-2012, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
nycindie:

... so you've been poly for about two years, eh? and haven't had a primary relationship that you work outwards from?
No, I live alone and practice what Tristan Taormino calls "solo poly." As I said, I have no desire for a primary partnership, and most of my take on that is in the Solo Poly Ideals thread I gave the link for earlier.
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...you must have some really awesome relationships with yer partner's SOs, eh?
Some of the guys I've been with were partnered, most were not. I'm pretty picky when it comes to dating someone who has a partner; I have turned down a few specifically because I could not reconcile myself with how the boundaries they had would have affected me.

I did have some nice email exchanges with the wife of one guy I was seeing, and I remember she told me in the beginning that she thought her husband and I should develop our relationship separately, "removed from the dynamic" (as she put it) of their relationship as a couple, and that once he and I had something solidly established, she would then like to get to know me. And she promised both honesty in relating to me, and to come to me with any concerns she might have had. I felt they took a very mature and reasonable approach (and they were fairly new to poly also). I ended my relationship with him for a few reasons (see my blog), but certainly I appreciated that my metamour and I were of like minds on things like that. They had very few rules, and the ones they did have did not conflict with my own personal boundaries.
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The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 02-26-2012 at 04:06 PM.
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  #26  
Old 02-28-2012, 02:21 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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... polys are simply people who have come to the conclusion that they themselves are the best source for the rules of how they will live. This self-determination appears in many areas of life, and people who feel this right to self-determination in other areas of their lives will decide their own rules for those areas. But when they apply this to decide relationship rules, and give themselves the right to consider a range of nonstandard possibilities, sometimes that is labeled polyamory.

Of course, other times it is labeled other things. And there's self-determination again, because when people aren't feeling constrained to a set of external rules, the rules they choose are unlikely to totally match the rules other people choose, making externally applied labels difficult. Which, I think, explains the common observation that there are as many ways to do polyamory as there are people doing it. People who make up their own rules will seldom reinvent exactly the same rules.

All this is why I offer the reframing that there's no such th'ing as polyamory. Instead, I suggest that polyamory might well be presented as simply a special case of the larger social ideal of self-determination...
Yes. I guess I am drawn towards polyamory from a long life of questioning authority. Since I've been a lactation specialist for so long, I've seen how, even tho there are breastfeeding general guidelines, each nursing dyad is different, and breastfeeding won't succeed until the needs of each person are taken into account: anatomical, personality, oral needs, need for sleep, whether mom or baby is laid back or energetic, etc etc. Moms who hold to "only nurse the baby every 3 or 4 hours" are doomed to failure. Same holds true for the homeschooling I did. I tailored "school" differently for each of my 3 kids, and so followed their lead.

Same goes for being poly. The shape each relationship takes depends on the personality and needs of each partner I've got, or have had. I don't go in thinking, I will need X amt of dates with you per month, you will take part in 3somes with me, you will only touch me in such and such a way, you will or won't meet my family and friends.

Go with the flow is my motto. Ride the wave, feel your feelings, LISTEN to your partner(s), and create your own routine as it fits everyone.

So... yeah, BP, looking for a gf who has a male partner, who both want 3 somes with you, and the gf will also want 3somes with your h, is a pretty rigid expectation... you might want to loosen up a little.
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miss pixi, 37
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  #27  
Old 02-28-2012, 03:41 PM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Mags: You are a smart lady, and I like how you use the analogy of breastfeeding mum's to define the individuality of relationships. I would totes agree that it's imperative to take everyone's needs into account, including my own. i think to a certain extent, everyone's expectations/needs appear rigid on the outside (ie - no boundaries for me!, etc) but in reality, everyone is jes' finding their own way. i'm excited to explore other possibilities in this relationship journey and find out what's right for e. and i!
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  #28  
Old 03-02-2012, 07:13 PM
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Another recent thread on boundaries:

What are your boundaries?
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The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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  #29  
Old 03-02-2012, 07:31 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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Since I commented on your blog post about how I felt that these boundaries are focused on keeping other relationships not important, instead of focused on the primary relationship and building that, I thought I'd come here and point out why I felt that way.
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1) boundaries need to come from within, not from outside. They need to serve the primary relationship, and in your heart, you have to make a choice to never put the sanctity of that primary relationship in jeopardy. you still need to make agreements about other relationships with your partner, but you have to make that commitment inside of yourself first.
I do agree that boundaries need to come from each person, they need to make them their own, otherwise it won't work.

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2) hierarchy exists for a reason (this is probably going to cause a comment RIOT y'all, but i really identified with this). only a very, very few people can deal with poly without any hierarchy, and noobs have will run into some major shit trying to mirror that tiny percentile of relationships. primary. secondary. tertiary. there should never be the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time commitment, life commitment to a secondary/tertiary partner. they are different kinds of relationships. your primary relationship is sacred, and should be protected by both parties, as it is this primary relationship that allows all others to exist in the way that they do. the love starts in that primary relationship, and needs to be nurtured/protected by all partners involved, which leads us to point #3...
You're right, this is probably the one that caused the biggest uproar. I will probably never have the same level of life commitment with my boyfriend as I do with my husband. I can definitely say that I'm not starting a family with him. My kids are teenagers and almost adults, there's no way I want to start over again. My relationship with my husband is incredibly important, but so is my relationship with my boyfriend. I think it's the fact that this boundary focuses so much on the idea that you have to make sure that the secondary or tertiary partner doesn't get the same levels of intimacy, spontaneity, time, etc. is what bothers me. Why not just say that your marriage is important, it's important that both partners invest time and energy into maintaining it? Why the focus on controlling what the other relationship is instead of focusing on making sure that the primary relationship doesn't get lost?

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3) if you are with a secondary partner who doesn't respect the boundaries/hierarchy, move on. you do not want to be in a place where competition can exist for the core relationship in your life - it creates dramatic dynamics that are unnecessary and unhealthy for the primary relationship. avoid people with no boundaries, or who seem to want an equal status in relationship. equal love, yes. equal status/intensity of relationship, no.
Anyone who at the beginning of the relationship wants to be on exactly the same footing as my husband would be a huge red flag to me. One of the things that impressed me about my boyfriend was when he told me, on our first or second date, that he didn't want me to use him as a way to escape my primary relationship.

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4) don't spend too much time with a secondary (we were spending weeks at a time together). maybe don't even have sleepovers. Do what's necessary to separate the intensity of relationships, especially in the face of nre for at least 18 months. most relationships will not last this long even though they feel like they will at first. if and when they do, they are still secondary relationships, but because they are solid, should be taken more seriously and invested in by all parties more. until 18 months, assume most people are a little crazy, and be careful about who you allow into your love-biosphere.
I think you've found that this is the one that got a lot of people up in arms too. One of my boundaries with my husband is that we make sure we have at least 3 nights a week that are just us and our sons. We have other commitments too, outside of our secondary relationships, so those take time also. But we need time to reconnect just as a family. This boundary totally focuses on time spent with outside issues, just like yours does. But can you see how the focus is different? We are focused on what we need to make sure our relationship doesn't suffer, instead of focusing on what we need to do to make sure the other relationship doesn't grow to be too important.

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5) keep things fair. don't go on fancy fabulous nights out with your lover and then just hang out with your primary and do laundry. don't compare your partners - they are not and should never feel like they are vying for your attention - love them each for who they are, and stop there.
Totally agree with this one.

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6) be responsible to your partner. communicate. Be good to them. always treat them the way YOU want to be treated. Don't blame them when things go wrong, be compassionate and be there for them. men often are made out to be the cheaters/liars/assholes in society/movies/media, so be wary of that in my relationship, and never ostracize/overjudge elemental for making mistakes - he will do that himself, because he's a good man and is committed to me.
Totally agree with this one too.

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7) if it's too much work too early with a secondary/tertiary, walk away. you don't need to be doing primary relationship style communication with a secondary partner, certainly not in the beginning if ever.
Like everyone else, I'm a little confused by this one. What does primary relationship style communication mean? I understand that if, from the very beginning, a relationship is full of drama, you should walk away. However, I don't see how communicating with a secondary on a deep level is a bad thing.

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8) even though you're controlling the speed (go slow) of the relationship, the time spent (quantified and controlled) together, you don't need to control feelings. because there are boundaries elsewhere, it will be easier for you to experience compersion for your partner (than when it's jammed up in your face for days on end).
This one is true. I totally agree that controlling feelings is next to impossible, so why try?

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9) in their (my sis & her partner's) poly life, they do not see any of their partners (they have more than one other lover/houseboy/etc) more than three times a month. dates, sex, no overnights. all protected, all the time (gloves, condoms, dams, etc) they have ultimate veto power. most of their lovers are in other cities.
Again, this is focused on controlling the other relationship. Like I said earlier, our boundary on time focuses on making sure we as a couple get enough time together to maintain our connection. It makes more sense to me to have a boundary like that, that focuses on what the primary relationship needs to remain strong, than one like this, that focuses on making sure that a secondary relationship remains weak.

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10) slow it down. if it becomes uncomfortable, take a break. there is no rush. if a secondary isn't willing to give a primary relationship space when it's needed, don't pursue it (see number 2) - their respect is really important for all three relationships to be okay.
I agree, if the secondary partner isn't willing to help make sure the primary relationship is strong, they probably aren't a really good fit for a poly relationship. However, the flip side is important to. The secondary relationship is a real relationship, and it deserves the respect of the primary partners also. I guess, more than anything else, that is what bothers me about this list of boundaries. It's all about respecting the primary relationship, at the cost of the secondary relationship if necessary. It feels like it ignores the fact that the secondary relationship includes people that deserve to have their feelings respected.

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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
11) it took a long time to find your primary partner. assume it's going to take an appropriate investment of time/energy to find an equally awesome secondary partner. real relationships that will serve you for a long time don't occur during nre, they happen after nre. getting through that time period of 18 months is a minimum before assuming you should get serious.
This is true and one of the hardest parts of being poly. It might take a while and take having your heart stomped on a few times before you find a secondary relationship with someone who is awesome and fits into your life.

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So there you have it. I know everyone on this board has their own approach, and that some of the most avid posters are all for working towards no boundaries - that's awesome, for people who have been poly for years, and have decided that's what works for them. don't assume that you are expected to be the same.
Having boundaries isn't a bad thing. I think it's actually a good thing. I think they should be more focused on maintaining the primary relationship though than trying to control the secondary relationship. You can't control other people's actions and feelings. You can let them know what you need in order to feel honored, respected and loved. That's where our boundaries come from, what we as a primary couple need in order to feel honored, respected and loved by each other. I think these boundaries try to address that, but they weren't received well because of the negative focus, the focus on trying to control the secondary relationships. Just my opinion though.
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  #30  
Old 03-03-2012, 04:16 PM
Jade Jade is offline
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1-11... I discussed these with my husband last night. I was, honestly, as a former secondary, offended by some of the stuff I read. While I agree that many of us who develop poly feelings do not move in the realm of "equality of partners," I think these "rules" go overboard.

It seems, to me at least, it should go without say that you shouldn't get involved with a secondary when your head isn't on straight about your own existing relationship. It also seems a pretty basic rule of thumb that you shouldn't involve yourself with others who can't be trusted to respect your personal and existing relationship boundaries.

All love relationships are sacred. They may get less time and focus, but it's not because they're not sacred. It's because as a practical matter, if you have a household or family to run with your primary, that's where the majority of your energy needs to be to make a household or family run smoothly. You can't check out of your primary situation in a harmful way.

I guess this is one of the ways in which I felt you really went overboard. To suggest that a secondary relationship doesn't deserve the same type of honest communication that a primary one does is, to me, absurd. If you are in a relationship with someone you can't speak with honestly and openly, then I suggest you're either in a poor place with your primary or you're involved with someone you don't trust. Either way, the problem is yours to fix. It has nothing to do with a secondary being less deserving of communication.

As for the rules about time spent and timing... one size doesn't fit all. There's really no other way to put it. If you think you're spending too much time with a secondary, then respect your own boundaries. If there's a conflict, then you really need to talk about it. Maybe you're just incompatible. Maybe there's a happy compromise. Shutting down open communication, however, is deceitful and unwarranted with someone who truly loves and cares about you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, either you trust someone or you don't. Secondaries are not tools, toys, or pets. They're people. They are people who can be harmed by poor relationship practices. So, to me, the bottom line would be, handle your relationships responsibly, whether you want a quad, a triad, a community, or whatever.
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