Sunday, October 11, 2009

Practical Poly Trick #17


Lately, PF and I have been dating a few peoples outside of our little tripod.

Dating under any circumstances can be risky. Trusting anybody new is hard and usually takes more than a couple of dates. It only gets more concerning when you throw-in extra curricular activities like group and public play, or attending a BDSM function), or a snuggle, then the risks - real or simply imaged - escalate exponentially.

Imagine. It's 4am - two hours later than when you expected her to be home - and you don't know where your partner is. Your options are limited. You don't even have a phone number to call. You're really concerned; you can't reach her on her cell. What do you do now?

Or, imagine it's 4am - two hours later than when you expected her to be home - and she must be out partying it up. Having a great time and having some really good sex. Way good sex. Like, mind-blowing monkey sex that she doesn't have with you. You've now eaten all of your good nails. Even the bad ones. Your anxiety is high and, quickly, your confidence begins to erode and you're beginning to chew on your jealousy as if it were a cherry jolly rancher.

There's gotta be a better way.

Here's a couple of practical ideas that PF and I use to stay safe and stay sane.

1. Set Expectations.
If there's an overnight likely involved then try to set that expectation before the date takes place. Like, way in advance before the date happens. Don't let the situation roll from being a date, to a late date, to an early morning date, to a surprise return in the morning. If there's an expectation you'll be home, then communicate that. Myself, I do like things to develop organically (as has been mentioned earlier in this forum by PF) but I do think there is some merit to setting expectations for all the parties involved, especially if there are children and childcare, otherwise, it just seems like you're taking advantage of your partner's generous time.

2. Set Defined Times.
Organic as I may be, I live and die by schedules. There has to be a definitive end and, if it's 3am, that's what it's going to be. If you promise to be home by midnight, make every effort to be home by midnight. Be true to your word so you can be trusted.

3. Set Up a Means for Communicating Exceptions.
Yet, that said, I don't think it's unreasonable if conditions changed and there is a pressing need or desire to stay later, all night, or what have you. We're adults - stuff happens. Having a means of communicating (text, for example, seems to work pretty well, or IM if you've loaded an app for that on your phone, or maybe just a simple phone call) different expectations is part of the game.

For me, I think it boils down to respecting my partner. I respect my partner and what emotions she might be going through while I'm out with somebody else, and I appreciate her willingness to let me do those things, and I want her to trust me. Setting parameters helps ease the unconscious mind and allows your partner to grapple with some certain truths: there will be this but not that; that but not those things; those things but, woh, none of "that". It allows her to help grapple with what she's feeling.
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I suppose I could approach this stuff another way: I could conceal my intentions; I could feel intruded upon to set a timeline; I could reject the mere notion that my activities should be structured, defined, or dictated. What right is it of my primary partner to interject herself in to the activities of another relationship? Already, you can see that there's a problem here of trust, and a selfish desire that puts my desires above her concerns and excludes the way she might be feeling and coping. Such an approach is without trust and leaves a void of emptiness that your partner has to deal with entirely alone. That's not right.
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And guys, you need this, too. Communication is healthy. Sure, it may drive you bonkers to actually know what's happening when your sweetie's out with another guy, having some understanding of parameters helps you develop a stronger bond of trust with your partner, and, rationalize your own fear and anxiety. It also will go a long way in helping to keep each other safe while enjoying your extended connections. It's just a practical approach to a common problem.

s1m0n
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