Broke a bit of a boundary, need advice ?


New member
Hi so I’m fairly new to the poly scene with my partner R of 4 years. we just opened things up about 6 months ago. We both managed to do some research and sit down with some boundaries, rules, etc— one being, as of recent, >no sex in the bed we share. <
Now, R has a separate room as well. They prefer to sleep with me, which isn’t a problem. I enjoy having them in my bed.

I’ve been seeing a new person for about a month and a half now, on about a weekly basis. A bit fast maybe but just dating. This person, we will call them L, visits when R is at work. R works overnight shifts during the weekends and L is off during the weekends so generally it worked for the 3 of us. Unfortunately though our intimacy has been limited to the living room and other common spaces in the apartment.
Going to L’s home instead is a bit out of the question since they live about an hour and a half away and out of state. They also work monday-friday so it’s also very unrealistic. anyway—

So, recently R and I spoke about this boundary, but wanted to wait until they met L in making a decision of them sleeping over. another boundary. They met them, worked out better than I anticipated! They got along famously! perfect!!

Fast forward 24 hours later, prior arrangement with L. I take them home, don’t expect anything, we both are equally tired and I let R know that we’re going into our bed to nap. They’re going to head home later in the evening/morning, but needed to rest before hand.
Well, things for out of hand and L and I become intimate in our bed. We panic about it a bit after the fact, decide to nap it off and we deal with it when we’re more awake.

We nap, I walk them to their car. Still a little panicky, but I’ll deal. I tell R, they’re VERY disappointed, very upset. in their feelings. Every right to be. I apologized, promised I’d do better. offered to do laundry this week to make up for it. Seems like that’s the best i can do right now?

I’m not sure, there’s also a lot going on between R and I where we’re working out some emotional cheating on my end. we’re going through couples therapy to smooth it out but I feel like a bad person here for allowing this boundary to slip.

How else should i hold myself to this boundary and what can i do to be better in the future ?? also how do i help soothe myself and my partner during this hiccup
Last edited:
That rule reads as wildly unfair because you have zero personal space. Not that it changes the fact that you agreed to not do something then did it anyway.

Why the space issue though? Would it be possible to either separate spaces entirely (this is YOUR room, this is MY room, we can do what we want in our own rooms and invite whomever into them - that includes each other)? I dream of the day I get to have my own bedroom again. Lol

I get the possession over sleeping space in general though. Hubby had a partner at one point whose scent would linger for days, even with a sheet change. I couldn't do it. Partially because I didn't like the scent (combo of allergies and just general dislike of any woodsy scent that isn't actual nature lol) and partially because i have no desire to imagine sex that I'm not involved in. I knew they had sex, I was happy he was happy, but I didn't want to picture it and smelling her on my bed led to my imagination activating in not enjoyable ways. Luckily, she was able to host and wasn't offended at all at the idea of limiting that activity to her home as a kindness to me. Anyway, it isn't always just about clean sheets. Sometimes other things still make it obvious that someone was in the safe space and it makes it feel not as safe. R actually having no claim over your room/bed (but still being an invited guest regularly) might help separate that. Has R communicated why the rule was requested in the first place?

Otherwise... it's usually just a time thing. Use it as an opportunity to show your commitment and be a respectful partner. When the hurt isn't raw, revisit rules and boundaries. Figure out what you're actually willing and able to stick to FIRST so you don't agree to something that isn't actually doable again.

Growing pains are unfortunately pretty normal while opening up a relationship. Trial and error will happen until everyone has figured out what works for them in the new structure.
So... you made an agreement "on paper" you later found out was not realistic "out in the field."

You and R can talk about that. Because not everything is perfect right from the gate. Must allow a learning curve in order to be realistic.

Now, R has a separate room as well. They prefer to sleep with me, which isn’t a problem. I enjoy having them in my bed.

I am not clear. R has a bedroom in their own flat? They also have a separate bedroom in your flat? Is there a bed in that room? Or not possible?

For the bed in your bedroom at your flat?

You might buy a new set of bedding, and change the agreement to "No sex with others on our special sheets." That might be more realistic. And you and R can change to (you+R) sheets when he sleep over at your flat.

Even though R has enjoyed the use of your bed for a long time? From the sound of it? Still your bed. He has his own room in your flat and his own bed in a whole other flat elsewhere.

I feel like a bad person here for allowing this boundary to slip.

It may sound persnickety, but it is NOT a personal boundary. It was an agreement. You can feel bad, learn from it, heal, and then let it go. Because it sounded good "on paper" but then you discovered it doesn't work "out in the field."

A personal boundary is something you set up for you to obey to help keep you safe from shenanigans. I can have a personal boundary of "I don't lend my things to careless people." If my neighbor borrowed my weed eater and broke it and did not repair or replace? Now wants my lawn mower? If I have that boundary? It is on ME to enforce it and say "Sorry, neighbor. Not loaning things right now. Ask someone else." Neighbor can be upset or whatever. But the boundary is not to help neighbor or for neighbor to like. It is to help keep ME safe from shenanigans. I'm the only one who has to like my personal boundaries.

How else should i hold myself to this boundary and what can i do to be better in the future ?? also how do i help soothe myself and my partner during this hiccup
Could update/tweak agreements that don't work "out in the field" as part of the newbie learning process.

Could apologize to R. Maybe something like...

"I'm sorry this happened. We might need to talk about agreements on paper that don't work out in the field.

This is the only bed I own in my flat though. To keep something special between us, how about I take you shopping and we pick out special sheets for just us? That might be a more keepable agreement.

I know we will both have newbie mistakes happen. In future when either of us makes one, let's try to be understanding of that learning curve.

Could all that work for you? Do you have other ideas?"

Be kind, but at the same time? Don't make it bigger than it is.

Last edited:
Hello jvcifvr,

Technically, the situation is pretty straightforward: As long as you have the rule, "No sex in the bed we share," you must refrain from having sex (with L) in that bed. So you slipped one time and did it, your next move should be to resolve not to do it again, and stick to that resolution. R will know they can trust you when they see you adhering to the rules you agreed on.

But really, does that rule make sense? You only have one bed available for sex with L, and here you are saying you are not allowed to use it. So then your sex with L is limited to the common areas, which really isn't a great solution. And going to L's house is not on the table. To me, the rule needs to be adjusted. Or could who uses what bed be altered? like, when R wants to sleep with you, you go to R's room and sleep with them there. Now which bed you share would be a different bed.

These are things for you and R (and L?) to discuss. But until you do discuss them, you must reinforce your resolve to stick to the rules as now constituted. It's not that you are a horrible person, it's just that you did agree to this rule, and even if you slipped, you're still obligated to obey the rule in the future. You can always get back on the wagon.

I hope you and R can negotiate something better soon.
Kevin T.
>no sex in the bed we share. <
Now, R has a separate room as well. They prefer to sleep with me, which isn’t a problem. I enjoy having them in my bed.

I might have read this wrong, but are you saying that you and R have separate bedrooms, and you aren't allowed to have sex with L in your own bed?

If I read that right, I strongly suggest you stop apologizing for having sex in your own bed, and stop agreeing to dumb rules.

It's a habit of folks that are new to non-monogamy to start coming up with as many goofball rules as possible, but I hope that you will instead start setting and adhering to healthy rules like:

  • Be honest about what you want and do not compromise this to spare feelings
  • Be an excellent receiver of bad news in order to foster a culture of open communication
  • Never restrict or monitor each others emotions/energy/time

You guys have your own rooms, so there's no need for any of this junk about who can fuck who and where. Just use your own rooms... that's what they are for.
We have a "rule" - no sex in the bed if someone else is trying to SLEEP IN IT! (see blog for details - we only have one bed). Note: this rule has been broken a number of times, by different folx, you get over it...

MrS does not appreciate accidentally coming across sex that he is not aware of or involved in (like if he gets up in the middle of the night to pee or to get a glass of water) and our house has a very open floor plan. So sometimes Dude and I would have to get creative - sex bench in the garage, outdoor shenanigans, fooling around in the car like teenagers...

Lucky for me, MrClean lives conveniently close to where I work and has his own not an issue (unless I care what the neighbors think, which I don't). He co-parents with his ex, so we don't get together when he has the kids, although they know that their dad, MrS, and I have all been friends since well before they were born - so public social meet-ups aren't a problem.

I think that if I had a longer distance / travel thing then I would probably go the hotel or (Air)BnB route if hosting at home was impractical - or re-arranging our living space to accomodate a guest room (the dog will probably be fine with sharing - as long as she gets to sleep on the bed when not in "use").
Hello all, thank you so much for your feedback on this. It was definitely an eye opening thing to sit back and realize that maybe this was an unrealistic “rule” i was holding over my head especially since we have separate rooms.

I will have to elaborate on the room situation. R and I once shared one room, we did have a break from each other last year, I didn’t want to put them out so i gave them the spare room I have in my apartment. They still use it to house their items, clothes, and there’s still a bed. It isn’t used much now since they’re back in my room. I do enjoy my personal space from time to time but it’s been a little hard since opening things up after we got back together. At the time they were talking to other people and agreed on the dynamic. It just seemed to work for us anyway, it’s what I wanted and we briefly spoke about.

Anyway, the room used to also be there’s, so I suppose they still have some grasp/say on what goes on since we still share my bed.

But I agree, this was really unrealistic and I felt like agreeing to this without at least some compromise set me up for failure. We had a big discussion on it, and we came to the conclusion of buying different sheets to us to lay on while I have L come visit would be best.

Again, thank you all for your input— I definitely needed another lens in this since the majority of my friends are monogamous, they wouldn’t have given me the right answer for this situation.
If R doesn't like the idea of sharing the bed in your room because R still feels territorial about it, and doesn't ever sleep in the extra bedroom now that the two of you are together, then another option would be to move R's stuff out of there and make the extra room a room you both use to host other guests. (In that case, you could each have a separate set of sheets for hosting in that room.) That may help if the issue is that R still thinks of your room as their room, too.

Personally though, I would prefer to have separate rooms and each host in your own room. If that is the ultimate goal for you, you could help R decorate R's room in a way that makes the room feel more like their own and less like the room they stayed in while you were on a break. And, you could start sleeping in R's room some, too.... like take turns hosting each other in your own rooms so it feels like your space / my space.
I also agree with @PinkPig’s suggestion about rooms - my partner and I did this and it improved our relationship immensely (and I found I love having my own space.)
How else should i hold myself to this boundary and what can i do to be better in the future ?? also how do i help soothe myself and my partner during this hiccup

More of what you're already doing. Keep loving them, keep talking and keep trying. Also, try to be compassionate about your own weaknesses without excusing them. Nobody's perfect.

Something I've found helpful in the past is playing out a situation ahead of time in my imagination then being honest if I'd find it hard to stick to an arrangement. My partner(s) have done the same and this has led to soft arrangements where we try to keep to them but don't fully expect to do so in all circumstances.

Incidentally, I'm in a vee/hinge arrangement at the moment. I set up a separate room for my newer partner and I to fool around and sleep in and I *still* recently ended up selfishly breaking the agreement not to fool around and sleep in the main bedroom my nesting partner and I have. However, that was quite a different situation to yours, jvcifvr, because it was only mildly disappointing to my nesting partner that we did that. An apology, talking out our feelings then re-establishing that it was a good agreement was enough to smooth things over. In our current situation minor bumps like that can often bring us closer together, because if one person feels hurt or left out the other two will work hard to make them feel loved. We're lucky we get on so well.