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  #11  
Old 05-29-2012, 05:27 PM
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Devotpohats Devotpohats is offline
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In my humble opinion, the original question goes far beyond sex.
Actually, when asking the question I hadn't actually considered honesty regarding sexual issues specifically. One of the first pre-requisites my partner and I established was that any outside relationships would be both emotionally and sexually transparent. i.e. my partner will be intimately aware of the nature of any other relationships I have.

The responses here highlighted that there is definitely a line between being open about my other relationships, and exposing unnecessary personal details.

But in terms of the original question, I actually was wondering about any deep, personal issue. My family has a fairly complicated history, and it's one I don't generally like to discuss openly. I'm glad that my partner knows about my history though, as I think this part of who I am is important to our emotional connection.

I expect that I would also want to share that history with any potential secondary with whom I become emotionally involved. I guess my question is, if I decided to confess something about my personal history, is it reasonable to expect that my secondary won't tell her primary?

Of course this would also work in the other direction. My instinct would probably be to assume that my secondary shares everything with her primary, and that I should consider that telling her means telling both, if deciding to tell her anything.

Last edited by Devotpohats; 05-29-2012 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:42 PM
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I definitely agree about the distinction between honesty and privacy.

When we sit down to talk about how a particular relationship configuration is going to work for each of us - the time when we each talk about our needs, wants and likes for the relationship, and how well those are going to be met and respected by all, we also talk about privacy, to establish the expectations about what will and won't be talked about. Mostly this is about sex, but also covers other things.

I am not a fan of gossip - I believe that if someone has something to tell me, that is their story to tell, and it's not up to me to spread it around. So if one of my partners has some very important news, then I expect them to tell my other partner(s) about it, and to make sure that I know that they know. If I do not hear that, and feel that the news, or information or whatever is rather important for the other to know, then I will strongly encourage/suggest that the person be told.

My relationship style lends itself to this, and others may not have this - it's important to me that everyone involved be able to communicate with each other, so that I am not the "go-between" when any issues arise.
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  #13  
Old 05-30-2012, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PinkDragon View Post
I find it interesting that a lot of the responses were about sex.
I don't think any of the answers focused on sex, although a few (including mine) mentioned it. Of course a person's need for privacy applies to so much more than just what happens in the bedroom. I believe we were all talking about any aspect of relationship. At least, I know I was.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:25 PM
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I used sex as an example because it was simple and would convey my point. Other examples would require more specific situations and might speak to less people. Of course it's not specific to sex.

I do think sex is the perfect example because while knowing if your partner is sexually active with other is important for health reasons, it is also a very private and intimate act for most people, during which they make themselves vulnerable and transparent to their partner(s), and might not want details repeated without prior approval.

I think the concept is applicable to other situations, though.
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:36 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by Devotpohats View Post
If my secondary doesn't want my primary knowing something, is that unacceptable? It that type of requirement a poly "taboo"? What about the reverse? I feel like I'd end up with split loyalties, with a first duty to my fiance (my primary), but I'd still be uncomfortable being in any intimate relationship where secrets are kept.

I'd love to hear any thoughts or experiences with this type of situation.
I never set out to be in a poly relationship. After my divorce, a long-time friend asked me out, and explained that he was in an open marriage.

At first, I was asking the same questions as you--what's acceptable and expected in the world of poly. But I came to the conclusion it's really an issue of what I find acceptable. In no other situation would I find it okay for BF to discuss details of what we're doing with anyone. I don't find it acceptable for him to share details with his wife. If he and she had felt that as a couple they were entitled to share every detail of their experiences, that's their right, but I personally wouldn't have continued to be part of it. I don't feel my personal life is anybody else's bedtime story or reality tv.

He and I discussed it and came to an answer satisfactory for both of us.
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  #16  
Old 05-30-2012, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I do think sex is the perfect example because while knowing if your partner is sexually active with other is important for health reasons, it is also a very private and intimate act for most people, during which they make themselves vulnerable and transparent to their partner(s), and might not want details repeated without prior approval.

I agree with you. If something were to change in my partner's life, I would want to be aware. I wouldn't want to violate anyone's privacy with details but I would want the option of determining if it's something I can live with. To some, sex is sex. To me it is private and intimate. To my partner, it may not be a big deal to add a partner, etc, but to me, it's a paradigm shift that might change things in my heart and mind.

I also agree that confidentiality and privacy should be maintained by all parties. You shouldn't and wouldn't tell your friends and family or coworkers those details about a partner, why should another partner be privy to it? Those private details should be kept separate, unless otherwise agreed upon.
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  #17  
Old 05-30-2012, 05:33 PM
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This has given me a lot of food for thought.

My partner may decide to stay mono, although she has the option to develop outside relationships if she wishes. We're taking things very slowly as I open up, in any case. Keeping eachother as informed as possible will be very important as we do this, so it's good to have an idea of what confidences must be kept. You guys seem to have a very common-sense approach to each of your unique situations. Thank you all for your responses.

I do have a follow-up question though, for those who have switched from monogamy to polyamoury: When transitioning from a monogamous to a poly relationship, has it been your experience that things are easier if there is contact between your new partner(s) and your existing one? Or is this really a case-by-case thing?
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  #18  
Old 05-31-2012, 03:24 AM
Phillychick Phillychick is offline
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Default Good question...

I've been wondering about that too (whether knowing your partner's other partners is helpful in the beginning or not)...my wife and I are transitioning from mono to poly as well, and while I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of her having a second relationship, my initial sense is that I'd rather not know the other person. On the other hand, a lot of the folks here seem to know and have friendships with their partner's other partners.
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  #19  
Old 05-31-2012, 08:58 AM
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When I became involved with my first Poly boyfriend I hadn't even considered being introduced to his wife. I was making it up as I went along, so I guess I had assumed that the usual approach to such things would be DADT. I found that meeting her was freeing, in that I was clearly not a dirty little secret and therefore didn't need to worry that I was stepping on her toes.

I think I would be a lot less comfortable in the relationship if his wife and I didn't now know each other fairly well. She trusts me enough that she's asked me to look after him for a couple of days following minor surgery; for various reasons she won't be around to keep an eye on him herself.
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  #20  
Old 05-31-2012, 11:36 AM
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It isn't necessary that metamours be friends, but most people seem to think that it helps if they at least meet and know each other, or have a respectful acknowledgement of each other. Yet, some people have vees that function quite well when both partners have never met in person and only know each other through emails or secondhand messages.

Again, just like the privacy issue, it depends on the people involved and what they are comfortable with. One of my early poly experiences was with a guy who had an agreement with his wife that they both come along on a first date for either one of them. Just to meet. Another guy I was seeing long distance came to my city and spent a few days with me, though the only contact I'd had with his wife was two emails.
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