The Process

I’m work­ing on the first draft of my ver­sion of our “rules of engage­ment” for inter­act­ing with oth­er SOs. sam­bear is going to cre­ate his own ver­sion. Then we’ll work on bring­ing them into one cohe­sive doc­u­ment on which we’re in con­sen­sus. That doc­u­ment will be freely shared with any­one who is mov­ing towards being an SO for either of us.


We’ve dis­cussed these things deeply over the four years we’ve been togeth­er. We were involved with oth­er peo­ple when we met but closed the rela­tion­ship tem­porar­i­ly after about a year. And now that we’re mov­ing towards being active­ly polyamorous again, we’re being real­ly cau­tious and want to be sure that every­body real­ly is agree­ing to the same things and using the same def­i­n­i­tions and so on.

I’ve nev­er had a part­ner who ful­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in this kind of process with me before. It’s great. I have had explic­it agree­ments at oth­er times—my last mar­riage was poly from the begin­ning to the end of the rela­tion­ship. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I came up with my stan­dards, he read it and said, “Yeah, me too” and then pro­ceed­ed to do what­ev­er the hell he felt like at any giv­en moment. The fact that he did­n’t want to come up with his own list should have been a warn­ing sign to me, but hind­sight is 20–20. In oth­er rela­tion­ships, we made explic­it agree­ments but did not write them down. And mem­o­ries tend to drift, and when those issues came up, lat­er on, we had dif­fer­ent rec­ol­lec­tions and inter­pre­ta­tions of those agreements.

We’ve both had bad expe­ri­ences due to assump­tions about implic­it agree­ments, some­one mak­ing a uni­lat­er­al dec­la­ra­tion that com­plete­ly changes a rela­tion­ship, and hon­esty and com­mu­ni­ca­tion issues. So we’re espe­cial­ly aware of those pit­falls. We don’t want to do any­thing to screw up what we have togeth­er. Yes, we are open to lov­ing oth­ers, we want to wel­come oth­er peo­ple into our lives—but we don’t want to screw things up again. That means obey­ing the poly mantra (“com­mu­ni­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion”) and being very clear on what we are agree­ing to.

I’ve got such huge trust issues that any kind of infi­deli­ty (break­ing agree­ments) is sim­ply unfor­giv­able in most sit­u­a­tions (I’m so very much a Scor­pio that it’s way past being fun­ny). So implic­it agree­ments and assump­tions absolute­ly will not work. Play­ing seman­tics games will not work. The best way to avoid mis­un­der­stand­ings that I per­ceive as infi­deli­ty is to be very, very explicit.

I don’t think this will be a fast and easy project. Sam and I have dif­fer­ent back­grounds and very dif­fer­ent stan­dards regard­ing some things. But we’ve run into that in so many ways in the last four years that at least now we have a decent sense of what kinds of things are and are not open to com­pro­mise for each of us.

When you con­sid­er that we have decid­ed that we want explic­it (although obvi­ous­ly not as exten­sive) agree­ments with any new part­ners, I fig­ure there are a fair num­ber of peo­ple who will not want to make the effort to be in rela­tion­ship with us. And that’s okay because if some­one isn’t will­ing to go over that ear­ly and rel­a­tive­ly low hur­dle, it’s unlike­ly that they want­ed to actu­al­ly put in the effort required to have a healthy rela­tion­ship with either of us.

Peo­ple inter­est­ed in being involved with Sam seem to come out of the woodwork—they always have. I guess that isn’t real­ly sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing his extro­ver­sion and his con­nec­tion to Oshun. That does­n’t hap­pen with me. Sam expressed con­cern this morn­ing that I’m being pushed to move the rela­tion­ship into a new phase because of the peo­ple who are inter­est­ed in him. And no, that isn’t actu­al­ly the case. I feel that we’ve been eas­ing toward this new phase for some time, but recent devel­op­ments just make it nec­es­sary to be more overt about it.

I don’t need to be involved with some­one else in order for Sam to be able to be involved with oth­ers. I expect that because he is more out­go­ing and attrac­tive, and is sim­ply more open in every sense of the word, he will always have more part­ners than I ever will. I cer­tain­ly don’t want to seek out oth­er SOs because he might have them—that would be ridicu­lous. In my expe­ri­ence, all the good peo­ple are run off by those kinds of needy inten­tions, and you end up involved with some­one else who is every bit as needy and there’s absolute­ly no chance of a healthy rela­tion­ship devel­op­ing as a result.

I’ve recent­ly been accused of being “self-seek­ing” and “unhealthy” and all kinds of oth­er things because I’m so cautious—of course, that per­son used “indi­vid­ual” as an insult, and saw “seek­ing (her) own per­son­al truth” as a dis­gust­ing endeav­or. I had to won­der how many times this per­son has been reject­ed by “indi­vid­u­als” who are so auda­cious and self-cen­tered as to devel­op and main­tain rea­son­able and firm bound­aries. And I do, in fact, see objec­tions to explic­it agree­ments as a warn­ing. Does any­one actu­al­ly have a good rea­son for want­i­ng to keep things vague and amor­phous or even covert, con­sid­er­ing what’s at stake? I’ve yet to see that work in any kind of deep, healthy, seri­ous­ly inter­twined rela­tion­ship or detailed under­tak­ing. Not even once, whether the peo­ple involved were monog­a­mous or polyamorous or just friends or build­ing an orga­ni­za­tion or a busi­ness. It’s sim­ply stu­pid in my expe­ri­ence, and I’m not about to be will­ful­ly stupid.

This isn’t easy, though, even with lots of expe­ri­ence and past dis­cus­sions to draw on. Think­ing back and for­ward and try­ing to fig­ure out things like, “Well, when would it be rea­son­able to con­sid­er hav­ing some­one move in with us or vice ver­sa?” or “What exact­ly are we telling the kids and how much are they going to know?” and “What are the pos­si­ble cus­tody impli­ca­tions of dif­fer­ent rela­tion­ships” takes time. And we know these things will change as we change and our fam­i­ly changes, so the whole thing will have to be a liv­ing document. 

Know­ing what oth­er poly peo­ple’s agree­ments are is help­ful because some­times we come on things we haven’t even con­sid­ered yet. Many that I’ve seen deal only with mechan­ics life safe® sex, but some do go much deep­er. Input is appre­ci­at­ed to the extent that any­one feels com­fort­able shar­ing their agree­ments, expe­ri­ences, input, etc.

Cur­rent Mood: 🤔thought­ful
Cur­rent Music: Bare­naked Ladies “When I Fall”
Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4241

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top