Poly rights within a relationship


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As the mono in my relationship it was fairly easy for me to work out a basic set of principles or rights for monos in polymono relationships, but I would be really interested to know what expectations polys have of their partners and of themselves towards their partners?

Do you think these are different if your relationship is polymono or pure poly? Do you treat your partners differently if they are poly but between relationships?

What an interesting question! I like it!

Maca is poly-or at least had poly tendencies and periodically other lovers.

But GG is mono-no two ways about it. He hasn't had another lover since I married Maca.

Can you give a couple examples Sage about what types of "expectations" you are talking about?

I mean.... I know one thing that is different is that I don't expect GG to tell me about who all he talks to in a day, because if it's important, he'll tell me, but it's never going to be important in terms of another "potential" cause he doesn't have other potential lovers.

On the other hand, while I don't need details, I do expect that Maca will tell me if he talks to another lover or potential lover about anything that might pertain to our time, his relationship status changing etc.

For example; today he told me that he'd (Maca) been invited to dinner Friday. He went out last Friday with only a couple hours notice. He said he hadn't talked to me about it because "it didn't seem important" at the moment.

On one hand, I totally agree, there's been SO MUCH shit hit the fan in the last 24 hours-it wasn't important enough to deal with that.

On the other hand, it's bothering me because we haven't talked about it, so does that mean he's planning to go or not? It bothers me (a lot) that he may be making plans for Friday (again) without talking to me in advance (again) and even more so because it has been a HELL of a week, and I really need some time with him. But, also, because Friday is a night when there isn't anything I can do but sit here with the kids. It's a perfect family night. Where as he could go out on Saturday night and if I wanted to as well, I have people who can watch the kids-on Friday night GG works and my mom has class...........

Ok-sorry, that was only supposed to be examples-but I do think that there are differences (maybe not fair, I'm not sure) between my expectations with a poly lover vs my expectations with a mono lover....


I'll think more and try to elaborate tomorrow...
As the mono in my relationship it was fairly easy for me to work out a basic set of principles or rights for monos in polymono relationships, but I would be really interested to know what expectations polys have of their partners and of themselves towards their partners?

Do you think these are different if your relationship is polymono or pure poly? Do you treat your partners differently if they are poly but between relationships?

What was it that you came up with as far as rights go? I think it might depend on what a person thinks is a right as opposed to a requesting a need be addressed and respected. I can attempt answering though...

I expect respect of my space, privacy, time, goals. I expect that I be communicated to with honestly, tact and much emotional content. I expect that my partners have integrity and are noble. I expect that I am considered before any decisions are made that will effect me even remotely. I expect faithfulness; my poly includes this consideration until otherwise negotiated.

Yes, I think there are differences between monopoly and poly relationships in terms of expectations. I expect Mono to attempt to understand me in a way that PN doesn't need to because he gets poly. I expect that Mono will compromise as much as I do in order to at least achieve some kind of viable balance for us both.

Hope that is a start...
I believe Redpepper has the right to be radicaly honest in voicing what her goals are for the future with respect to relatiionships especially prior to making big moves in the relationship. I believe Redpepper has the right to protect her heart by my making decisions based on that honesty. I don't think those rights have been exercised in some cases which in turn has affected my own choices.
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Sage, your question and the Mono's Bill of Rights you posted somewhere (was it here or your blog?), reminded me of the "Secondary's Bill of Rights" over at Xeromag. Is this kind of what you are looking for in starting this thread?

From http://www.xeromag.com/fvsecondary.html


In a nutshell: I have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, consideration, and courtesy. This is true of any relationship, regardless of its form and regardless of its status. Using the word "right" in this context means "This is something that it is reasonable and normal for me to expect, and reasonable and normal for my partner to give me."

One might argue that these "rights" merely represent a set of ideas that any relationship, monogamous or polyamorous, primary or secondary, ought to subscribe to if that relationship is going to be a happy and healthy one--which is precisely the point. Often, it's easy to forget that a secondary relationship is still a relationship, and the people in it should really keep that in mind.

  • I have the right to be treated with with honesty, integrity, compassion, and sensitivity to my needs.

  • I have the right, and responsibility, to clearly understand the rules of a relationship. When I enter a new relationship, I have the right to have rules and the reasons behind them clearly explained and to have my questioned answered. "Because that is how things are" is not an answer; if I do not understand the reasons for the rules, then I may unintentionally violate the spirit of those rules even if I remain within the letter. Rules should not be added or changed without explanation. I cannot be expected to discover the rules governing my relationship by breaking them accidentally and having them explode in my face.

  • I have the right to be a part of discussions about decisions that affect me, wherever possible and practical. It is unfair to be told about changes in the form and rules of my relationships after the fact. While it is not reasonable for me to expect full decision-making partnership in all aspects of the primary relationship--for example, I may not have decision-making power in whether or not the primary partners decide to move away for a better job--I do expect to be part of any negotiations that directly impact the form my relationship takes.

  • I have a right and responsibility to set clear limits on the obligations I am making. A lack of primary or even other secondary partners does not mean all of my time and resources are available. Just as I as a secondary can not expect to monopolize all of my partner's time, my partner can not expect to monopolize all of mine.

  • I have the right to ask my partners to compromise and seek to reach a middle ground when possible. I should not always be the one and only one to make changes and do all of the bending.

  • I have the right to have relationships with people, not with relationships. That is, I have the right to conduct my relationship with a living, thinking human being rather than with an established relationship or a set of rules. I have the right to time with each individual separately as well as in groups.

  • I have the right to expect that plans made with my partner will not be changed at the last minute just because a primary partner has had a bad day. As a secondary, I deal with most of my bad days alone and have the right to expect last minute changes in plans to happen only in rare and unavoidable situations.

  • I have the right to a balance between what I give to the relationship and what is given back to me.

  • I have the right to be treated as an equal individual (which is different than being an equal partner). I deserve to have my partner spend time in my world as well as visiting his/hers/theirs. My likes, dislikes, desires, hangups, should not be dismissed simply because I am secondary.

  • I have the right to enjoy NRE (within reason), passion, and special moments with my partner without guilt or apologies.

  • I have the right to privacy. The details of physical intimacy and emotionally intimate conversations should not be shared without my knowledge and ideally not without my consent. This does not mean I have the right to keep secrets from the other people involved; it merely means that whatever rights to basic privacy they may enjoy, I may enjoy as well.

  • I have the right to be told the truth at all times. This includes a right to know about fears, doubts and concerns as they arise, not after they become insurmountable. Don't tell me what you think I want to hear; tell the truth -- that is what I need to hear.

  • I have the right to have and express all of my emotions. I knowingly and willingly accept that being secondary may place limits on many things (e.g., sharing family holidays or vacations with my partner, having my partner with me in a time of crisis or celebration). My acceptance of that possibility does not mean that I won't be disappointed or even sad during such times. Further, being secondary comes with some built-in challenges to security (especially in the beginning) and there may be times I need reassurance as to how and where I fit into my partner's world. I promise to do my best keep things in perspective and to avoid guilt, drama, temper tantrums and pouting, but I ask that my partner and his or her partners accept reasonable expressions of doubt, disappointment, etc. on my part.

  • I have the right to be not just tolerated, but actively wanted by everyone in the primary relationship. I have the right to feel that I am not a problem or a compromise, but that I add value. This may sound unreasonable to some people, but the fact is, if I'm not wanted by my partner's partner, that has an effect on me.

    When I am in a relationship with one person, I am in a relationship with all the other people that person is involved with, especially the primary partner(s)--even if there is no romantic connection between us! If I am resented in any way by them, that resentment serves to undermine the secondary relationship and keep it from being 'real'. It creeps into the rules that are created and the definitions that are set in place.

    When one partner has problems with a poly relationship, it can tend to negatively affect a secondary partner, creating unhappiness for everyone. Compassion demands that everyone involved work to resolve any resentment that may exist on the part of any of the members of a primary relationship toward the secondary relationship.

  • I have the right to have a voice in the form my relationship takes. I am a person, with my own needs and my own ideas about what's important in my life; even when I am joining a pre-existing relationship, I have a right to have some say in the time I can spend with my lover and other things about the form and structure of that relationship. If my partners attempt to impose pre-existing agreements about the form, time, or circumstances under which I may spend time with my lover, I have a right to speak up if those agreements do not meet my needs,and I have a right to have my partner and my partner's partner hear me and consider what I say. That doesn't mean they have to do whatever I say, but it does mean that I can and should have a voice.
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Yes Nycindie it's on my blog but for LR and anyone else who hasn't seen it here it is again. Thanks for the zeromag article I'll have to digest it properly but I'm sure it will be useful.

The Mono Bill of Rights

* We have a right to complete honesty and full disclosure.(this doesn't mean we need details, or to be told everytime there is a text or phone call. I hope everyone here understands the difference?)

* We have the right to know that our safety, and the safety of any children we have is taken seriously. This includes physical, emotional/psychological and sexual safety.

* We have the right to meet, or at least communicate with our partner's other love interests if we choose.

* We have the right to respect from our partner's other partners, for them to respect our relationship with our partner and not seek to harm it, and for them to respect and adhere to mutually agreed-upon protocols and boundaries.

* We have the right to expect that polyamorous relationships are conducted in such a way that respects the financial structures existing in our relationship with our polyamorous partner, e.g. where joint funds are limited money should not be spent taking other love interests on vacation.

* Where our partner's ability to maintain other relationships relies on us taking on extra responsibilities we have the the right to expect a corresponding amount of time be given to us by our partner for ourselves and any interests we may have, e.g. we are not stuck at home and used as a babysitter while our partner is off dating, unless they recipericate.

* We have the right to expect that our normal emotional relationship needs will be met by our partner as well as extra support to help us cope with the added pressures of being in a poly/mono relationship.

* If we are interested in trying out another relationship for ourselves we have the right to do this, with a person of EITHER sex, and we have the right to expect our partner's support in this, just as we have supported them.

@RP: No this came up from someone new to a polymono relationship asking what rights they could expect. Like you I initially thought it's more about need and negotiation but it seems that in the early stages especially it is helpful for monos to have some solid guidelines.

Interestingly this brought up a non-disclosure issue that we had in our relationship that I didn't know about until last night. The justification was that I wouldn't have been able to handle it when I was stressed out still in NZ and Z was over here. He was scared that he wouldn't be around to calm any upset. To give him credit he had started the ball rolling when I was strong and didn't want to get into it when I was starting to unravel. But still, Arrrrrgh - slippery slope material if ever I saw some. Having had just written my post even I found it helpful to have Full Disclosure on the top of my list.

I am also aware that as monos we are sometimes so concerned with our boundaries and rights we forget about the rights of our poly partners. It's one thing to move at the pace of the slowest party but is there a point where this crosses over to unfairness? I guess it also all ties into the area of understanding and respecting the differences between polys and monos.
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I think that the pace of the slowest should be set in terms of a marked attempt to move forward. Stalling and avoiding are not options. If a break is taken then it needs to be determined for how long. Even if at the end of it another break is taken after the issue is discussed again.

Knowing what is going on for a person who is going at a slower pace is essential for the others involved. Its hard to empathize and be patient with a wall.

I really like xeromags rights. Its some of franklins best work for sure. The right to NRE is especially notable to me at this moment. It makes me realize that I would add to my list the same for mono/poly relationships in terms of rights for polys. Polys deserve the right to their NRE (within reason). I would add for monos the right to fun times, touch and tenderness. Sometimes a mono (and any partner experiencing a partners NRE) gets left out and abandoned temporarily for others. While its exciting to experience NRE, a mono won't have that in the same way again with their partner. They have the right to be empathized with and be involved in some of that energy in a way they think is appropriate.
....................While its exciting to experience NRE, a mono won't have that in the same way again with their partner. They have the right to be empathized with and be involved in some of that energy in a way they think is appropriate.


Hmmmmmmm, that's a REALLY interesting thought/point. Guess I never really thought of that.

It's kind of sad in a way. Bordering on depressing.

...............off to try to think of some good alternative solutions.............
??????compersion injections ??????????

I've spent the last week processing the idea of Mono rights, poly rights and secondary rights. The result is a Relationship Covenant.

Ultimate Polyamory I believe is about placing our right and the right of our partners to experience their "authentic self" at the forefront of our decisions and choices.

Oh and GS I think I would gladly forsake NRE for peace but maybe that's just because I received such a wonderful dose of it with Z not that long ago. I think I'm moving towards relieving myself of my mono cape but it would take someone very special for me to risk the contentment and peace that I feel in my polymono relationship.
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Yes it is but I'm coming from a mono back ground so I'm feeling quite proud of myself that I have been able to reach a place where we can have an agreement that fits us both.

So much of polymono relationships is about compromise and boundaries and for most of us it needs to be for a while so we can iron out our insecurities and come to terms with the whole thing.
But for me it feels ....can't think of a word...like a kind of coming of age to be able to operate within a polymono relationship with the same kind of principles that any polyamorous relationship would have. It's a bit like being able to take off the training wheels.