Relationships, Boundaries, and Freedom

I’m going to post some­thing I sent to a home­school­ing list this morn­ing. Some­one was talk­ing about how OF COURSE you give up free­dom when you get married&mdashspecifically, sex­u­al free­dom. I disagree. 

I real­ly do think this is impor­tant stuff to dis­cuss with our chil­dren. They need to know that con­scious rela­tion­ships are much more like­ly to be healthy than those which involve many assumptions—like “of course mar­ried peo­ple don’t have sex with any­body but each oth­er.” Or “of course, the wife is the one who takes care of the home and the chil­dren.” Or “of course. our kids will go to some kind of school.”

Healthy rela­tion­ships of any kind are based on mutu­al agree­ments. Peo­ple need to know what they need and ask for it. Good part­ners have bound­aries that fit togeth­er well. In a mar­riage or part­ner­ship, those agree­ments may or may not include sex­u­al exclusivity—as long as every­one involved is agreed, that isn’t a problem.

One of the things Katie’s father and I did very well togeth­er was par­ent­ing. I think that’s because it’s real­ly the only impor­tant thing we talked very seri­ous­ly about BEFORE get­ting mar­ried. We agreed on what we want­ed for our child, and on the par­ent­ing strate­gies that we thought were best suit­ed to achiev­ing that end. We did­n’t always agree on every detail, but we were very con­sis­tent in our expec­ta­tions of respon­si­bil­i­ty, respect, etc. and she lived under pret­ty much the same rules in both our homes (and those of my par­ents as well when vis­it­ing them).

We did­n’t LIVE well togeth­er. We did­n’t talk about how we saw the roles of hus­band and wife. We did­n’t talk about how we han­dled mon­ey. We did­n’t talk about house­keep­ing stan­dards. We did­n’t talk enough about our dreams and goals for our­selves. We did­n’t talk about con­flict res­o­lu­tion. We had too many assump­tions and not enough agree­ments, and it killed our mar­riage. We liked each oth­er. We had things in com­mon. We loved each oth­er. We were in love with each oth­er. Our bound­aries did­n’t work well togeth­er, so it was­n’t a good marriage.

But damn, we did a good job with Katie.

Sam and I have talked, very clear­ly, about our rela­tion­ship bound­aries from very ear­ly on. That’s part­ly because we are polyamorous and were both involved (open­ly) with oth­er peo­ple when we met. Nego­ti­at­ing these things is com­mon in poly cir­cles. It’s the health­i­est rela­tion­ship I have ever been in. No, it isn’t per­fect, and it’s always a process—but we’d both spent time fig­ur­ing out what we want/need, and we asked for it. Specif­i­cal­ly, con­scious­ly, clearly—no assump­tions. We con­tin­ue to do that as we grow and change.

I do not think these kinds of dis­cus­sions and process­es should be lim­it­ed to poly rela­tion­ships. I think they’re of val­ue with ANY kind of rela­tion­ship. Know what you want. Ask for it. Be pre­pared to move on if the rela­tion­ship in ques­tion does­n’t meet your needs and the oth­er par­ty isn’t inter­est­ed in change. It does­n’t mat­ter if it’s a mar­riage, a job, a friend­ship, a busi­ness contract—they’re all the same.

If you don’t know what you want, you aren’t ready for a rela­tion­ship. If you aren’t yet able to ask for what you want, you aren’t ready for a rela­tion­ship. If you can­not say no to rela­tion­ships that don’t meet your needs, you aren’t ready for a relationship.

As your kids get old­er, you can do the same things with them. “This is what I need from you. This is my role as a par­ent. What do you need? How do you see your role as a child in this fam­i­ly?” That’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, of course, as you aren’t pre­cise­ly talk­ing to an equal in terms of respon­si­bil­i­ty, matu­ri­ty, etc.—but as they get old­er, your rela­tion­ship with them does change and get more bal­anced (ide­al­ly). And hav­ing a part­ner­ship with your child is def­i­nite­ly not a bad thing. You’re mod­el­ing con­scious relationships—that’s important.

As for freedom—as an adult, you have a great deal of free­dom. Being in a com­mit­ted rela­tion­ship does­n’t change that—you aren’t any­one’s prop­er­ty. You are still free to act as you will—and to deal with the con­se­quences of those actions. I don’t *demand* that Sam do any­thing or give up his free­dom in any way, and he does­n’t *demand* any­thing from me. Because we care about each oth­er, we abide by our agree­ments and try to avoid harm­ing each oth­er. We haven’t, how­ev­er, lost any of the free­dom we had as sin­gle peo­ple. We have gained a great deal, with each oth­er and now with the rest of the quad.

Cur­rent Mood: 🙂calm
Cur­rent Music: Chief­tains — not sure which CD because they’re on shuffle
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