As single poly folk, what sorts of rules do *you* bring into relationships? Do you find them to be as 'important' and respected as the ones that someone who is partnered brings to the table?
My boundaries and such:
- safer – sex practices and STD testing are a must. Communication about additional / new sexual partners between everyone is vital. Yes, that means if your wife starts having sexual relations with a new boyfriend I want to know what his testing status is as well. I would do the same if I started seeing someone new. This is the only way people can make informed decisions about sexual intimacy.
- I must meet and have some sort of base level of interaction with other significant partners. I want to hear for myself that they are supportive of you having additional relationships and know they are willing to interact with me. We don’t have to be best friends by any means, but the ability to have something on the level of a pleasant phone conversation if they pick up is vital.
- you must respect my pre-existing relationships and understand that I may choose to form additional relationships in the future. If you specifically want to date someone who is polyamorous then acknowledge they *are poly*. I will honor your other relationships, and I expect the same courtesy in return. The completely closed relationship model is not one that attracts me at the moment, especially if I am not one of the primary-level relationships.
- real relationships involve an investment of time on both sides, and are not something to be pulled out of the box when you have some spare time. If you regularly don’t have time for me, then I won’t make any for you. Same goes for commitment. If you have made the choice to have a poly relationship, then it should come with the commensurate effort.
- I won’t enter relationships that hang the specter of a veto over my head. Yes, while everyone is getting to know one another things may come up that would cause any parties to back away or say ‘This won’t work for me’ – that is eminently understandable. After the initial period of a few months (3 – 6?), however, a relationship should thrive or perish on its own, not be ‘allowed’ or terminated at the whim of another.
- Your life / commitments / obligations / restrictions / time / efforts / etc. are not *any* more or less valuable than my own. Doesn’t matter of you have a family, have a hard job, have lots of other commitments, or are the president of your country. Yes, there will be times when things are not balanced do to events in someone’s life, but those are brief periods rather than the default.
- I expect our intimate moments and private things that I share with you to remain between us, so if you have another relationship based on ‘complete disclosure’ to and puerile interest in every detail by your partner(s) I will pass. Of course there should be communication all the way around about general things, but if I share something in confidence it stays that way. No one needs a blow-by-blow description of our intimate moments.
- I do not have a problem with hierarchical relationships per se, but if it is used as a stick to, as shastaw said, ‘put me in my place’ I will not continue. I do recognize and accept the reality of the differences between primary-level and other types of relationships. But that does not come with the right to treat me in a subordinate manner.
- I don’t want to hear only the bad things about your partner(s). Venting and needing some sympathy are regular parts of any relationship, but please also share the good things as well.
- I will pass on entering relationships with those who have strict limitations on normal activities such as types of sexual intimacy or spending significant amounts of time together. I agree that every relationship has their ‘special things’ that those involved like to reserve as unique – I think it’s an important thing. A special restaurant, an activity, a pet name, etc. The sorts of things that make people feel warm and squishy are wonderful. But when it starts to drift over into control issues I will decline to participate.
- I will not carry a disproportionate amount of the burden in terms of traveling, time spent, $$ spent, or in ‘being accommodating’ just because I’m a single. My life isn’t any ‘easier’ than that of a partnered person, and my actually be more difficult. This is supposed to be a relationship of equals, not one person always bending to fit into the other’s life. This kind of goes back to previous points.
This all seems like pretty common sense stuff to me, really.
PS – stolen from someone else:
-If your SO has an issue with me, they need to bring it up with me themselves, not pass it through you. If they're not willing to do that, my assumption will be that they've decided it isn't that important, or that they've decided to just cope with it. After all, if their issue isn't important enough for them to put time and energy into resolving it, why should I?
-la belle rousse-