Never Pinch a Sadist #3: Relationship Rules

Just this past week, I have had a two different conversations with people about being in an open relationship and being in poly relationships – and each time, I have added at the end, that my husband and I have no rules.

Before I continue, I will ask the question you may be asking yourself, “How is this kink related?”

Well, it is but it isn’t.  As one of the people I spoke with this past week pointed out, he has noticed that most people in the kink community also identify as poly.  “It’s like an epidemic or prerequisite or something” was his comment.  While it isn’t, I would say you are more likely to find openly poly kinksters than you are to find openly poly swingers.  Or maybe that is just in our area.

Back to my story.  My comment of “my husband and I have no rules” was always meet with a response of a questioning “really?”, so I would add that we tossed them out a while time ago because we don’t need them.

It’s funny to think about it because I recall at least one post in the past where I talked about our rules.  But, what we have learned since those days is something simple:

Rules will not protect you from what you fear.

Many times couples start out with rules because there is this feeling that one should have boundaries when going into new territory.  It is like when my kids wanted to go to the park alone for the first time – I reminded them to “stick together”.   We figure we are safer if we go into the situation with a common set of guidelines or rules.

But, really, it is to protect us against our fears.

We are afraid that pursuing a non-traditional relationship will result in the loss of our current partner.  Why are we afraid?  What if s/he finds someone who treats her/him better? What is s/he falls in love with the new person?  What if….insert fear here….happens?

We do it out of fear.  Just like, letting my kids go to the park and not stick together plays into my parental fears.

I recall the day that G and I were talking, and I asked him about his opinion about someone I was talking to about play – and he said, “you know what? I trust you. I trust your judgement in people. I trust your judgement in situation. I trust you.  Go have fun.  You don’t need to check in. Just let me know you are safe.”

And from that day on, I realized how drived by fear our rules had been.  But once we stepped back and realized the other was going nowhere.  We had good communication.  He isn’t a different person now than he was before.  And neither am I.  We still make good judgements.  So what were we afraid of that required these rules?

And, more importantly, what missteps happened because the rules weren’t working?

I recall a few of our stumbles along the way.  And each time, they were things that resulted from one of us feeling insecure about something that happened.  Neither person did anything wrong – except for one thing, we reacted because there were no rules preventing the situation that triggered our fear that resulted in an unexpected emotional reaction.

Each time when those things happened, we thought “do we need to change anything” only to realize it was simply one person’s insecurity that caused the issue. No rule was going to fix that.  Only closing the relationship would fix it, but even then – that was still just a bandaid.

Interesting concept, huh?

And with that, the rules were out the window.  We rely on making sure we communicate and meet the needs of the other.  Just like we always have – and just like we do with others.  We make sure we make the other feel valued. Just like we always have done.  We simply went back to being the couple we have always been – we just have extra people playing.

What do we do about other partners?  We expect they treat us and the other people in our lives with the same respect and caring as we do to others.  In other words, we expect them to be mature and respectful and caring and communicative.  We have these expectations from anyone we bring into our lives – as individuals and couples – why would we expect anything different just because we call them a “girl friend” or “boy friend” or “play mate”?

A few days ago, someone on Fetlife posted a link to the article of a man who makes a few of the same points, but a bit more eloquently.   Take a read.

So I ask those of you who read and who are in an open or poly relationship, how have your rules changed over the years?  And why?

1 Comment

  1. I love this post! You know us, I think you know fairly well how our rules have changed over the years.

    One counterpoint about rules though- they’re not always borne out of fear. One of Veronica’s rules, and it’s her rule, is that she only has anal sex with me. There’s no fear there, that rule is driven by her desire to have me as the only man who gets her that way.

What do you think?

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