Veto Arrangements - Merged Threads, General Discussion

JustAGirl

New member
Good morning, fine folks!

I hope your Saturday morning (or whatever day you read this on) is treating you well.

This thread regarding re-opening a mono relationship back to poly status after having set a solid footing, inspired me to write this post.

Personally, I'd love to get into some kind of circle where I can meet people who are already poly involved and have already worked out some of the fundamental details to a level that I agree with and appreciate.

In specific, regarding VETO agreements... there's a big part of me that doesn't want to have to negotiate their entire parameters. I'd like to find someone with parameters already established that I'm comfortable with and agree with.

It may be a dream, however.

I'd love to hear from those more experienced about your VETO agreements regarding relationships that your significant others wish to or have already gotten involved with.

Also, I'd like to hear about how well these discussions and agreements helped relieve some of your anxieties about the quality of person your poly partner was going to bring into the mix (whether casually or seriously).

Are there examples of people who were highly anxious before the veto agreement was put into place that felt noticable relief with the agreement being in place, and even more relief as the agreement was put from theory into action?

What about those of you who do NOT have a veto agreement - why don't you have one? Do you wish you did? Does it not matter to you if you do or do not?
 

DrunkenPorcupine

New member
What is a VETO agreement? Is that an acronym, or are you use it in it's typical "override" sense?
 

GroundedSpirit

New member
Hello JustaGirl,

I'm sorry - I can't relate to such a thing at all. There's something about even the concept that smells of power play. No one has the right to have any "veto" over another human being unless they are a child or otherwise incapacitated.
In a good, caring relationship there should be no need. As long as people are talking beyond hello-goodbye.
To me a preferred method of handling possible disagreement or conflicts is simply to express my/your feelings and concerns, provide facts to substantiate where the concern comes from and let the other person make their choice based on this. If they choose to ignore the concern - they are responsible for the outcome - including deterioration or destruction of the relationship.

By way of an example............

You want to do X
I'm uncomfortable with that. I tell you why. It may involve safety etc. I may have insight you are not aware of. YOU may have info I am not aware of.
One we have all the facts in front of us so both are at the same level - you still choose to do X
I lose respect for you, our relationship and may develop real concerns about your judgment.

OR

You proceed to do X against my recommendation
It turns out well
I learn something, about myself, about your judgment etc.
I'm big enough to admit I was mistaken, have learned something, and we become closer

Simple stuff
No power dynamics required.

GS
 

ImaginaryIllusion

Administrator
Staff member
In specific, regarding VETO agreements... there's a big part of me that doesn't want to have to negotiate their entire parameters. I'd like to find someone with parameters already established that I'm comfortable with and agree with.
Unfortunately just as single people are unique, relationships are doubly so, and the complexity increases exponentially with the number of people involved. As such I'd suspect it's unlikely to find someone else's veto agreement that would be an exact fit for yours. On the other hand I can also see why you might not want to reinvent the wheel as it were.

There's been some mentions of people having veto agreements on the board which can of course be found with a search on the term.

Such as found here:
First Poly Relationship, Need Advice

Regardless whatever parameters you want for veto, they'll involve some serious thought into why you'd want them, what function they're trying to serve, and they'll need to be Negotiated.
Negotiations and re-negotiations

The short version of Veto context, purpose and some shortfalls can be found on Xeromag's Poly Dictionary.

From what little I've seen, Veto power seems far more common amongst swingers than poly's. I think sometimes however it may seem a necessary evil for a time, particularly with established mono couples that are just starting to explore opening their relationship to any non-monogamous form.
Here's an article that talks to how such power should be wielded very carefully.
Poly Power of Veto & an associated review. Veto Power: the Nuclear Option


What about those of you who do NOT have a veto agreement - why don't you have one? Do you wish you did? Does it not matter to you if you do or do not?
I think you'll find there's quite a few examples and discussions around here of relationships that function without veto power as such, but rely on the members ability to communicate. And perhaps more importantly a level of trust in those involved to respect the opinions/feelings of those involved to act in the best interest of the existing relationships. I think GS spoke to that above.

There's also a good thread on some of that thought process here:
Relationships without prescriptions
Although some of it can be fuzzy for some people looking in from the POV of an established relationship, it's well worth looking into.
 

DrunkenPorcupine

New member
The short version of Veto context, purpose and some shortfalls can be found on Xeromag's Poly Dictionary.

Thanks for this, it answered my question.

You want to do X
I'm uncomfortable with that. I tell you why. It may involve safety etc. I may have insight you are not aware of. YOU may have info I am not aware of.
One we have all the facts in front of us so both are at the same level - you still choose to do X
I lose respect for you, our relationship and may develop real concerns about your judgment.

OR

You proceed to do X against my recommendation
It turns out well
I learn something, about myself, about your judgment etc.
I'm big enough to admit I was mistaken, have learned something, and we become closer

Simple stuff
No power dynamics required.

This. Very much this. Thanks GS!

I'll take the possibility of fucking up a relationship of mine by crossing a boundary rather than the CERTAIN possibility that I'll destroy it by assuming I have any claim over my partner's choices.
 
C

Ceoli

Guest
I don't get involved with people who have veto agreements with their other partners. From my point of view, I don't wish to explore relationships that have pre-set limitations that are set by people outside the relationship. I can still respect the boundaries and needs of an existing relationship without rules telling me I have to do so. I also wouldn't want to get involved with someone who needs such rules in order to behave in ways that honor all relationships.

Franklin Veaux wrote a great post about veto agree that really gels with my way of thinking.
 

dakid

New member
i agree with the above but i am currently questioning whether its a valid option to ask a lover/partner to not begin any new relationships for a while, like a temporary closure, while certain issues are worked through.

each of us has another lover, and i would never ever ever seek to veto or limit their already existing relationships, but am less clear what i think about asking for a temporary break in new explorations (for us that would need to include one-night stands).

it doesn't entirely sit comfortably with me, and i just can't tell yet whether that is because i find it extremely hard to ask for anything from a lover, even to admit to having needs (!) or whether its uncomfortable because it is controlling in a way i don't want to be.

any thoughts? experiences?

x

edited to add: not sure the etiquette here, apologies for the tangent i'm now not sure whether i should have just started a whole new thread or whether its ok to go tangential like this?
 

redpepper

New member
I think that "veto" may be necessary for some that are just starting out and don't want their relationship to implode before they get used to their poly way of doing relationships... make it their own so to speak. I know I was big on "veto" when we started out and my husband decided to date a woman that was completely not going to fit our family and didn't respect his emotional way of being. I left it in his court, but reminded him that he has a responsibility to his family first and that she was jeopardizing the balance by being in his life. He was a crazy man on NRE.

He decided to end it because of my concern and she just shrugged and said, "oh well, I don't get to fuck him anymore." He was heart broken, but saw that she really was no match for him or us and was far too casual with sex and "love".

Needless to say, we have learned tons and there is no need for us to "veto" anymore. I think "veto" is replaced and becomes "boundary negotiations" as time passes and we become more trusting a confident.

I think it's important to remember that people need to start somewhere and that they have a need to protect their "primary relationship" at the beginning.... by calling it "primary" and having "veto" power sometimes. That is fine with me... whatever works for you. It doesn't mean that you are in someway bad or doing it all wrong at all. Just that you know what your relationship needs are and working it all out for yourselves.

Everyone I think, needs to figure out their way in poly. What kind of people they want in their lives, what their poly means to them and what works for their lives and the lives of those they love. There is no wrong or right way. It is YOUR way that is important.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
If everyone is mature and well balanced I don't think there is a need for veto at all. If an unhealthy situation is arising I think it will be recognized by logical people. In the case of a person becoming involved with people in an established relationship, I think they will be strong enough to step back if they sense their presence is disruptive and/or destructive provided they are self sifficient and self confident.

The danger lies in the case where one or more of the participants is not self sufficient or self confident and will remain in an unhealthy situation because they see no other way to have some one.

We're all adults I presume; I expect we will act accordingly and make healthy choices even if they are the ones that hurt us temporarily.
 

GroundedSpirit

New member
I think it's important to remember that people need to start somewhere and that they have a need to protect their "primary relationship" at the beginning.... by calling it "primary" and having "veto" power sometimes.

I think this is really good insight.

I often forget we are veterans of these trenches and how we see things and operate would be quite beyond those who are just getting their feet wet. I generally pass advice off as "go slow - don't hurry", but in hindsight that's pretty general and doesn't include good tips like RP offered here in regards to a specific topic.

Just realize that these early boundaries & rules need to be subject to growth & change. Hopefully they don't outlive their usefullness and become a liability.

Thanks RP

GS
 

saudade

New member
How we do it

In my family (I'm the pivot in the V, and we're all open to taking on additional partners), I suppose we all have a veto agreement in place, though none of us have ever used that power per say. In practice, what we do comes out somewhere between what I think of in my head as a veto agreement (in which someone says "I want X" and someone else says "I veto that") and GroundedSpirit's example in the third post on this thread:

You want to do X
I'm uncomfortable with that. I tell you why. It may involve safety etc. I may have insight you are not aware of. YOU may have info I am not aware of.
One we have all the facts in front of us so both are at the same level - you still choose to do X
I lose respect for you, our relationship and may develop real concerns about your judgment.

OR

You proceed to do X against my recommendation
It turns out well
I learn something, about myself, about your judgment etc.
I'm big enough to admit I was mistaken, have learned something, and we become closer

In my family, we do need permission from each other to broaden the existing rules (like adding a new person to the mix). This arrangement works for all of us we tend to give permission liberally, even when we are feeling a little bit wibbly, and because we handle bigger wibbles by doing a lot of work to find mutually agreeable solutions, which are always open to revision.

Our rules also tend to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. For example, we have a friend M who just had a rough (monogamous) break-up. He and I make out occasionally, and it's a comfort/de-stressing/buddy bonding thing. I got permission from Z (one of my partners) before it happened the first time, and then he and I talked afterwards. We agreed that the nature of my relationship with M shouldn't really involve sex, given where he's at emotionally, and that we wouldn't be comfortable if it happened. We also agreed that if that seems likely to change that Z and I would talk again. In this case, setting a rule was more like making sure we were all clear about what was happening and what was not. (For the record, my other partner K has given standing permission for anything; he's been practicing poly for a lot longer than Z and has a more laissez faire attitude toward his partner(s) developing additional relationships.)

On the subject of vetos specifically: while I've never heard a "no" come from any of us, I have heard a "not yet". It was a lot like dakid's idea of a "temporary closure" from the seventh post on this thread; there had been a lot of changes and stressors, both poly-related and otherwise, and Z asked me to give him a little time to process things. I said that was fine, and a week or two later he gave me the go-ahead.

~S
 

redpepper

New member
In my family (I'm the pivot in the V, and we're all open to taking on additional partners), I suppose we all have a veto agreement in place, though none of us have ever used that power per say. In practice, what we do comes out somewhere between what I think of in my head as a veto agreement (in which someone says "I want X" and someone else says "I veto that") and GroundedSpirit's example in the third post on this thread:



In my family, we do need permission from each other to broaden the existing rules (like adding a new person to the mix). This arrangement works for all of us we tend to give permission liberally, even when we are feeling a little bit wibbly, and because we handle bigger wibbles by doing a lot of work to find mutually agreeable solutions, which are always open to revision.

Our rules also tend to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. For example, we have a friend M who just had a rough (monogamous) break-up. He and I make out occasionally, and it's a comfort/de-stressing/buddy bonding thing. I got permission from Z (one of my partners) before it happened the first time, and then he and I talked afterwards. We agreed that the nature of my relationship with M shouldn't really involve sex, given where he's at emotionally, and that we wouldn't be comfortable if it happened. We also agreed that if that seems likely to change that Z and I would talk again. In this case, setting a rule was more like making sure we were all clear about what was happening and what was not. (For the record, my other partner K has given standing permission for anything; he's been practicing poly for a lot longer than Z and has a more laissez faire attitude toward his partner(s) developing additional relationships.)

On the subject of vetos specifically: while I've never heard a "no" come from any of us, I have heard a "not yet". It was a lot like dakid's idea of a "temporary closure" from the seventh post on this thread; there had been a lot of changes and stressors, both poly-related and otherwise, and Z asked me to give him a little time to process things. I said that was fine, and a week or two later he gave me the go-ahead.

~S

I dunno, but isn't that more of a "boundary negotiation" than a "veto?" Going at the pace of the one who is struggling the most? "Veto power" is more that a partner can put a block on the whole thing, hands down for whatever their reason is.... no?
 

saudade

New member
Clarifying

Redpepper,

What we do on a daily basis is definitely boundary negotiation. I like that term for it! We do still have veto power, however (even if we've never used it). I've gotten the sense that Z feels more comfortable knowing that he has the option, and I feel that way a bit myself. It's like having a safety valve; even if the mechanism is unlikely to implode, it's still reassuring to know there's a fail-safe in place.

Now that I'm reflecting on it, part of why that ability is so comforting to Z and I (and not especially important to K) is that it has a bit of our flavor of dominance/submission to it. We do take care of each other quite a bit, and the ability to veto a prospective partner is another way of caring for each other.

~S
 

CielDuMatin

New member
I think that different people have different ways of implementing the negotiation phase when someone new comes along.

Some couple are fine with anybody, some would like to have a say in things, some others feel the need for a "STOP" button if they feel that things are getting out of control.

I know what you mean, GS - it can smack of control if it is mis-used.

I also think that the need for a VETO tends to moderate as the perceived level of security in the setup increases.

There is one maxim about entering poly that you go at the speed at which everyone is comfortable - this means that everyone needs the ability to say "hold on - stop thing for a while, we need to talk". If this is a good-faith thing, and not some way of manipulating the situation, then to me it seems like it is respectful to allow everyone that ability. Is that a VETO?

This is a debate that has been going on for as long as I have been involved in the poly community with some considering absolute VETO power as evil (and criticising anybody who doesn't think the same), and others who see the need for it in special circumstances.

I know that our need for it has diminished as we have got things more sorted out - now it's more the idea that because we tend more towards the polyfi variety of poly that we want "buy-in" from everyone involved, since they will all be involved with each pother in one way or another. We don't consider that a VETO, though - it's just one of the many things that we have agreed to agree upon.
 

fullofdumplins

New member
Veto Power...?

Just wanted to open up a discussion on vetoing; do you use veto and if so, what are the guidelines you have with placing a veto?

The boyfriend and I have decided a while back that we are able to place in vetoes: some are non-negotiable while others can be added/removed as we see fit. We are not in a poly relationship at this point in time but it is something that we have discussed while we practice non-monogamy, and I hope we will eventually move forward to a poly relationship in future.

Does placing vetoes seem like a smart idea or is this something that takes away from the relationship?
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
I would consider using a veto in two very specific cases;

1) adding another partner would seriously take up already thinly-divided time. Say, my partner would consider taking on a fifth partner. I say four is pretty much the upper limit I can see one person engaging with at the same time and still having enough time for work, hobbies, other duties etc.
2) continuing a relationship with one partner is seriously threatening the wellbeing of everyone in the constellation. I'm thinking drug addictions, trouble with the law, acute mental health breakdowns, compulsive lying, cheating, violent behavior, something of that magnitude.

Using a veto in any other case, because of insecurity, jealousy etc. I think undermines the foundation of the relationship and might lead to resentment and boundary-breaking. Haven't thought the implications of absolute vs. negotiable vetoes. Are you thinking of something along the lines of a person A being off-limits for now, but maybe not so in the future?
 

Ariakas

Bosun
Honestly, I dislike veto power greatly. Unless there is something dangerous in the mix (see BU's number 2 as some examples). I have seen what it can do to people, and unless you have control of your own relationship, it will never ever be relaxed or stable or even fun. At some point you have to be trusted as an adult, to manage your own shit. Otherwise, why are you getting involved with people?

People believe veto power can only come from a spouse saying "no this isn't happening" But how is it different if there is no veto power on the table but the spouse acts like a lunatic and it ends. It isn't...

I would outright refuse to get involved with someone who has veto ability. Its not worth my time to be involved with someone who doesn't have control of our relationship.
 

TruckerPete

New member
I equate veto power to a sort of panic button. It allows one partner to pull the plug without any need to work through their own emotions or have a dialogue with their SO about concerning behaviour, etc.

Want poly without the work? Try Veto™*!



*side effects may include: resentment from your partner, treating others as disposible objects, never learning to deal with shit
 
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