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  #11  
Old 09-20-2014, 01:18 PM
cuddlecakes cuddlecakes is offline
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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
What are the purposes of these rules? Be physically safer with safer sex activities? Be emotionally safe by not having anxiety provoking things sprung on you?
Yes, and yes.

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Or you might be on strikes for the emotionally safety. That is another option. Mistakes can happen, there is a learning curve to new stuff.
Well we've been together 4 years. Stuff like this happened at the beginning, but I thought we had settled it and it wasn't going to happen again; it hadn't for a while. Changes like that make me worry that things are falling apart.

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But if this becomes chronic it erodes trust/respect.
Yep, that's happening. I start to wonder if other rules are being followed, or if other things are happening that I'm not hearing about at all.

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I go with "three strikes you are out. " You might have your own personal number for your limit of tolerance for learning curve mistakes -- 2? 5? But certainly not 1000, right? After a certain point one has to accept it not learning curve growing pains, but a person's character.
That's a good idea.

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You could not go beating your own self up calling yourself names like "not being a real man" etc. The situation stinks, but you could handle it appropriately.
Like I said, "part of me" thinks that way. Perhaps a rephrase could be "I want to make sure that if I stay with her, I'm not being a pushover or being taken advantage of"?

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Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
For these people, having a rule where they have to check in or discuss their desires defeat the object of having this relationship style.
She's had no problem following it in the past in other circumstances. Isn't poly all about communication? The lack of communication makes me feel like she's stopped caring whether I'm happy, that seeing someone else is more important than keeping me.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Isn't her responsibility to not agree to rules that she does not like in the first place? Could be a case of "willing but not able" --- thought she could in theory but in practice learned she could not.
She wants me to follow these rules too (unless she's changed her mind).

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Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
For example "of course I should check in and ask my partner's permission to have sex with someone else because when you're committed to someone, they do have ownership over your body.
The rule says "discuss it first", not "ask permission". It's about keeping each other informed and not surprised. I guess we have the ability to veto things, which essentially makes it a sort of asking permission? But I don't remember ever using that.

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Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post
That said, its pretty unrealistic to think you're never going to ding her emotionally or screw something up yourself. If you do ever have a misstep, how would you like HER to handle it?
I don't know, I've never cheated on anyone in my life, and can't imagine ever doing that to someone I care about. If I saw someone without telling her first, I would expect her to be very upset. I don't know what the consequences would be, but I have no plans to find out.

When I was dating someone else, I broke the rule about changing the sheets between partners a few times. She scowled at me and I immediately fixed it. There were maybe a few times where I went to the other girls' place without explicitly telling her and she felt upset when she found out? I had thought she knew already because we did the same thing every week at that point. I apologized and made sure to tell her my plans in the future even if I thought she already knew them.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2014, 03:57 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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"It" is interacting with people and acting on your desires without running it past your "primary" or longest standing partner.
Thank you for clarifying, MightyMax

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If you don't understand that a person can have a ethically non monogamous relationship that doesn't involve this sort of permission giving for interactions outside the dyad, it's not really possible to say "I'm unsure whether this is going to work for me".
I think we will have to agree to disagree on that one. You connect things that for me are separate.

In general -- I think is possible to have an ethical polyship where people do not check in with each other -- to me that is a "free agent non primary" open model.

In this specific case, I do not get the impression this is the model being practiced here.

To me people do not need permission. They do need to be on the same page on what kind of open model they are trying to practice together for all participants to feel good about participating there. If she's happier in a "free agent non primary" type open model, it's still on her to say so. And within that model? She could still not make promises lightly.

I think it is possible for people to say "I am not sure this is going to work for me. I am willing to try, but I am not going to promise you anything" regardless of upbringing, regardless of model they practice. That is not asking anyone for permission. That is giving clear communication to me.

It is no different to me than "I'm not sure I will like this restaurant, but I am willing to give it a try." I am not PROMISING to like it, I am saying I will try it on. No more, no less. For me it is about the promising. If not sure, that's fine, but don't promise then. I do not care for wishy-washy promises. Not giving them, not receiving them.

I think she could "own" her stuff a bit more. Rather than bending a few times and finally breaking agreement -- just give the heads up. "This agreement? No longer fits me. I am not up for it any more and do not plan to follow it. I am making you aware."

Cuddlecakes -- I don't know what to tell you if this is 4 years together of polyshipping. Perhaps she tripped up and got caught up in NRE with the new guy because he IS a new guy?

If this is the bottom line for you:

Quote:
"I want to make sure that if I stay with her, I'm not being a pushover or being taken advantage of"?
Maybe you decide you are willing to let this one mistake go because it has been years since this was a thing. And because you did not lay out your clear cut boundaries/consequences. Making her aware of your stuff is your responsibility. She cannot mind reader you. You cannot mind reader her.

Could correct it now and spell it out. Have updated and clearer expectations, boundaries, and consequences articulated between you.
  • You list yours
  • She lists hers

Everyone's owns their own stuff. If those things are still compatible so you both can continue to be in relationship together? Could give it another go with new understanding of how it is between you.
  • Could decide to let this mistake go, chalk it up as learning many things, and let time heal it emotionally.
  • Could decide to take appropriate physical health steps like STD testing.
  • Could decide to take relationship steps like getting clear on your boundaries. You tell her yours and she listens. You listen to her telling hers. Agree to respect each other's boundaries. Then all you have to do is sit back, let her own her behavior now that she's been made aware of where you stand. If she keeps racking up strikes, you simply bow out. You are not telling her what to do. You are telling YOU what to do if she crosses your boundaries.

    You might be disappointed if it goes there, but you bow out with your self respect still intact because you do articulate clearly and you do follow through on your word.

Healthy boundaries are for YOU to follow so you can treat yourself with respect. "She does X? I will do Y for myself."

If even after all that she STILL agrees/promises things she really cannot follow through on? Fine. Accept she's just unreliable with her Word.

You determine if you are up for more of that or not. I really can't see that there is anything else to do.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-20-2014 at 06:00 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-20-2014, 04:18 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi cuddlecakes,

I wouldn't say there's any official "poly rulebook" out there, although Franklin Veaux's new book "More Than Two" might kinda fit the bill.

The only consequences you *can* enact are consequences enacted by *your* choices (about your own behavior). Your partner isn't a child; she can't just be ordered to stand in a corner.

What sort of things can you do that would appropriately punish her? You could stop talking to her (for awhile) I guess. I don't know. Honestly, anything short of breaking up with her seems a little, well ... infantile.

As I think about it, when adults break rules, their only real recourse is to talk about it -- unless the infraction is severe enough to be a deal breaker. You can ask her to enact a consequence on herself, but that only works if she agrees to do it.

Oh I guess there is also doing a temporary separation ... less severe than a breakup. Spending a few weeks apart to think about what happened and reevaluate whether you want the relationship to continue.

Given the specific situation in question, I think I would try to let it go this time. In fact you may want to sit down with her and talk about the possibility of altering the rules. Barring any alterations, your hope is that she won't make a repeat behavior out of this.

I mean, is it really really important for you to know about her encounters ahead of time? Is it something internal you could work on within yourself? Would the learning opportunity be a beneficial one?

Re (from cuddlecakes):
Quote:
"I don't see any reason why she can't tell me, 'Hey I have been talking to this guy I like and I might try to meet up with him while I'm out there,' and then, 'Hey I texted that guy and he wants to meet, I don't think anything will happen but I'm letting you know just in case.' Is that an unreasonable expectation?"
Not necessarily per se, but at the end of the day it comes down to what *she* thinks is reasonable *for her.* She gets to decide what rules she will or won't follow, as well as whether to promise you she'll do something simply because she knows that's what you want to hear.

Those are some of the things I would consider.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2014, 04:18 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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One of the things my partner and I discovered was that we had different things that bothered or triggered us. Its a learning process. What it all boiled down to was that rules don't apply in every situation because you can't predict every situation.
The rule of no sex till the intention has been announced leaves no room for spontaneous opportunity. Most single people move to intimacy by having the autonomy to chose intimacy when they find themselves wanting. Its enjoyable to act on your own impulse. I don't believe we own other people's bodies. While I believe in living up to agreements, I can't deny the learning curve of poly in a predominantly monogamous society. I found that if I really wanted some sense of primacy in my partner's life while we explore poly, it would be by being the person he could turn to and tell everything without fearing an end to it all.
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2014, 05:57 PM
MightyMax MightyMax is offline
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@galagirl

My point is that one can make the agreement whilst ignorant of the fact that an open model as you describe it is a viable option under the ethical non monogamy umbrella. For some people, the idea that you can have relations outside the dyad at all is so off the wall that they don't even consider that there would be any other way of doing things apart from a closed, hierarchical structure with lots of couple privilege.

These people often view their desire for a more open model as selfish or unrealistic because their mononormative thinking tells them that nobody in their right mind would allow such things in a committed relationship. So, they either sacrifice having that sort of relationship or they agree to the closed style that their partner is most graciously offering. When you also consider that they probably have their own qualms about the possibility of being replaced, accepting the closed model deal makes sense in theory. In practice when feelings get involved, it doesn't work as well.
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  #16  
Old 09-20-2014, 06:08 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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We have to agree to disagree, MightyMax. It isn't that I do not see your point of view. I do see it. I just do not agree.

Yes, one might agree at first to things that do not quite fit out of newbie ignorance. My point is that one does not have to choose to stay in things that do not fit.

In those shoes? I could speak up. I could choose to renegotiate and help create something closer to what I want. I do not have to go with the idea of "I think nobody would ever want what I want. Rather than actually ask my partner, I'll go with my assumption. I have to take what I can get otherwise I might have nothing."

I just don't share that point of view. *shrug*


Quote:
So, they either sacrifice having that sort of relationship or they agree to the closed style that their partner is most graciously offering.
Correct. They could also change their willingness to ASK their partner if they are up for it. That is another option.

In this specific case? Their model not Closed. It is Open. Date whoever you want, just give a heads up. This relationship is not newbie either. This is 4 years in, not 4 weeks.

In a monoship thing? In a newbie polyship thing? In a longer aged polyship thing? My point is that one could choose to speak up when they discover things do not fit them or they want to know stuff rather than assuming. Could ask to talk and nip in bud, rather than continue in an ill-fitting thing and risk it growing more ugh and more ill fitting. That's about it.



Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-21-2014 at 12:58 AM.
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  #17  
Old 09-20-2014, 07:52 PM
MightyMax MightyMax is offline
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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
We have to agree to disagree, MightyMax. It isn't that I do not see your point. I do see it. I just do not agree with that line of thinking. You place the unwillingness to speak up in a lot places -- upbringing, models, ignorance, fear, etc.

I put it on the individual.



Correct. They could also change their willingness to ASK their partner if they are up for it. That is another option.

In this specific case? Their model not Closed. It is Open. Date whoever you want, just give a heads up. This relationship is not newbie either -- where a certain level of newbie could be forgiven. This is 4 years in, not 4 weeks.

In a monoship thing? In a newbie polyship thing? In a longer aged polyship thing? My point is that one could speak up when they discover things do not fit them.

That's about it. One might agree at first to things that do not quite fit out of newbie ignorance. One does not have to choose to remain ignorant. One does not have to choose to stay in things that do not fit.

Galagirl
I simply can't see how you can disagree with the fact that an option one was oblivious to isn't really an option. I also think you grossly underestimate the influence growing up in a society which not only greatly endorses monogamy, but actively condemns non monogamy.
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  #18  
Old 09-20-2014, 11:18 PM
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Emm Emm is offline
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An option one is oblivious to isn't an option while one remains oblivious to it. Once one works out that it exists it becomes an option which can then be brought up and negotiated. A relationship isn't set in stone with the "rules" agreed to on the first date; it grows and changes as more information becomes available.
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  #19  
Old 09-21-2014, 05:08 AM
MightyMax MightyMax is offline
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Has anyone said to her that you could do this the way you have been doing it so far, with check ins and vetoes or you could do this the way other people do it where you aren't obliged to check in or gain any sort of permission, but you are expected to be honest and tell your partner the things they need to know to make informed choices?

Until someone has outlined that there are other options she could take, perhaps not with this guy, but with someone else who also wants to take that option, one can't really say she has made an informed choice and she remains oblivious.
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  #20  
Old 09-22-2014, 05:18 AM
ClockworkDragon ClockworkDragon is offline
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Originally Posted by cuddlecakes View Post
We didn't, and didn't realize we needed to. What are some options, other than "break up" and "change the rule" (which would make the rules pointless in the first place)?
I don't think anyone else commented on your parenthetical here, and if they did (Galagirl usually covers EVERYTHING. So if I'm repeating her, I'm sorry.)

Changing rules doesn't make them pointless. One of the most important parts of learning to practice poly is being willing to change. Most of us honestly don't start out with poly relationships, so we have to figure out how to change our perspective. What we think MUST happen in the beginning, we often discover later that this wasn't reasonable, or didn't work the way we thought it would.

Changing the rules don't make them pointless. It's simply acknowledging that things can and do change.

Now, am I advising that you do so? Not at all. Only you guys can decide what works for me.

Let me put it this way. Originally, my husband wanted to limit so many things. He wanted to control how things happened, and when. He wanted to meet them before I had sex with them, etc.

We learned REALLY, really fast that this was untenable, unworkable, and unreasonable.

That didn't make his requests pointless, it simply provided a stepping stone for learning.

Now, our relationship has very few hard and fast rules. Now, it's all about safety, and respect. Our two main rules?

1) TALK. We must communicate.
2) Safety. Condoms required for all. Period. This is non-negotiable.

Beyond that? We don't do rules. But that's just us; each relationship has to determine what works for them, in the bounds of their relationships.
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