Boundaries is a concept that is important in all communities – hell, important in life. I often give my cohorts a lecture at work about boundaries. Keeping boundaries so that your work does not encroach too far into your personal life. Boundaries about what you will and will not bring home.
When G and I had just opened our relationship, many of our rules early on were in an effort to establish boundaries. Boundaries were – at that time, fences to make sure the core of our relationship – our marriage – was kept in tact as we went off to explore.
We did this not because we were scared of ruining our marriage. We did it because we wanted to clearly define to others where the boundaries were with us. And these boundaries served as a test sometimes – for people entering our lives. Can’t respect the boundaries, then can’t be trusted – so bah-bye. If their boundaries were more like walls around a fortress vs our good neighbor fence, we could tell there was a problem we may want to avoid.
Over time, our good neighbor fence went from a 7-ft slatted fence to one that was more decorative. And sometimes, with the consent of the other, people were allowed to step over it and come closer. People we trusted and cared about.
In kink, boundaries are critical. You go into a scene with boundaries or “hard limits” negotiated – and fun can be had where control can be handed over without the need to police the hard limits.
In poly, boundaries become more of balance points. Balance between time and partners and activities. And like a see-saw, if the balance is off, someone goes flying in the air or gets hurt. It’s not always a fun kind thought.
For me, boundaries or balance points are signs of respect. Respect for my role in the situation – wife not playmate. Respect for the time I willingly allow without drama. Respect for the time spent with the other – without interruption.
For me, the partner of my playmates are amazing people. They give up time with their primary by allowing them to come to see me rather than stay home and do the honey-do list. They make take the kids while the other goes and plays. They may make it happen by helping schedule the time. So, I must