Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Seven Unworkable Rules in Polyamory
Posted by Simon Broussard
"We can't be seen in public. You're not my primary partner."
I suppose I find this to be the ultimate in offensive and it's the antithesis of Polyamory (open, loving, consensual, relationships). You can't put a relationship in a box - it'll suffocate. Even from a standpoint of not being out, I'd think it utterly demeaning if not an open act of cowardice. It's not something that promotes a healthy relationship; nobody wants to be a dirty little secret.
"We cannot have my other lovers in our bed."
This one's crazy to me. It's a bed. Sheets get changed. Nobody seems to have a problem staying in a hotel? No, no: I refuse to stay here until you throw out this soiled bed. And what if both parties have this wacko rule in play - now what? Where do they go? What do they do? If you don't have a guest bedroom and a spare bed, maybe they'll buy a shaggin'wagon, throw 'em in the back, drive around the block? Silly.
"We can't go to that restaurant. My wife forbid me; that's her favorite place."
Myself, I don't mind if my wife or girlfriend were to make this request, but it comes from a place of wanting to keep something unique and sacred between us. I could honor a request or two like this. I think where it becomes untenable is when everything is sacred. You can't go there ... or there ... or there, nope, not there either, and there ... certainly not. That'd be a huge problem after a while, particularly if all of the people involved enjoyed similar events and destinations. That'd be a pain.
"I'm okay to suck your cock but I'm not allowed to kiss you."
This one is a manifestation of some weird insecurity. Genital contact is a-okay but it's kissing that leads to that which is most threatening: twuu wuv. You can avoid twuu wuv if you convince your partner not to kiss anyone on the lips because that there is the path to real emotion. Oh dear. That won't stick.
"So long as my husband and I don't talk about our dates, we'll be okay."
Another variant of "don't ask, don't tell", jealousy is somehow avoided through a strategy of obscurity, as if the imagination and the unknown isn't a 100x worse than reality. It's unworkable because the unknown partner gets bigger, badder, scarier over time, up to a point where it'll get all contentious.
"He's a jealous type. If you sneak out of the house before he gets home, it'll be okay."
And how does this have anything to do with polyamory? Sounds more like cheating. More "don't ask, don't tell stuff" - purely avoidance and nobody is dealing with root-level insecurities in a constructive way. At some point down the road, people have got to meet and deal with their fears rationally or it'll get all 'splody.
"I've got to have you change your social network relationship status to reflect me!"
I guess I've seen situations where the relationship statuses were changed within hours of a breakup, or, the need for an announcement of a relationship demanded a status update in some social network. I think it's a modern day equivalent to carving your initials into a park bench, a tree, or bathroom stall. It's a public acknowledgement: I'm Dick and I'm in love with Jane! Ta-da! If it's not LIKED then it can't be real, right? I don't know ... I guess I see this one as a constant stressor where the hyper-connected partner wouldn't be fulfilled until the status update formally recognized the union.
Okay, what are some other unworkable rules that you've encountered?