One of our readers wrote in, asking b for some advice, I will be talking about a part of her message:
"....I was wondering if you guys have any rules in your poly relationship to prevent hurt feelings, or feelings of anyone feeling left out or not included..."
As my previous entry maybe made clear... feelings will get hurt, boundaries will be found and extended and things might happen that you could never have planned for. But you can prepare, right?
The first part would be communication, communication and more communication. Something I recently said to bea was the following "Never assume anything". Cultures, mindsets and feelings are all different... women, men, Europeans and Asians, coffee drinkers and book readers, shade lovers and snowmen makers, we are all many things and not one of us is like the other. Even if you love a person for many years, even if you think you know what they think, respect them by talking with them and still asking for what they think.
My grandparents have been married and living with each other for over 60 years now. They still surprise each other! It is so easy to assume you know, so much more easy to think you know that your partner would agree or feel like that and then just go on, instead of seeking to talk about every detail, but you should...
When starting or adding, have a long talk with the new person and ensure that person also has an open talk with your possible other partners or share what you desire to share about your history and who is still important to you. This is one of the big mistakes we stumbled into when getting started... I was unaware there were non-active partners and loved ones, which was quite the shock when it came up.
Start at the very basic. Tell each other who you love in this world, who is important to you and what expectations you have. Really go as far as saying:
"So this is what I think polyamory means and that is in detail what it means for us."
I recommend really going though a "pretend" partnership, both for your new partner and yourself "What if I meet a person in a coffee shop that I like. Can I kiss/flirt with them there, without having to tell them I am poly? Without having to ask for your permission? What if more happens?"
Have your partner describe what he or she thinks about the way either of you can find and engage with others, if it all and how you will manage each other's problems and the conflicts that might be created while living with each other.
Me and b had a long talk about rules... we concluded to stay without, as they don't solve or remove the insecurities that create the desire for such, but I personally would recommend a starting couple to have that talk as well "If we had rules, which ones would it be?" or maybe even set some rules, they give a good framework, a starting point.
With enough communication, love and effort, your relationship can work trhough every problem, all the obstacles you will face on your adventure, and make your bounds even stronger.
Going from my own experience, here are some topics that should be discussed in detail, where you should make clear how important it is to you and what expectations you have.
-What is our relationship, our commitment to each other and our long term ideas?
-How much do we publicly expose this relationship? (Friends, Facebook, Community?)
-In detail, when and for what do you NEED to inform me and what things should only happen with my consent?
-Do we have primary and secondary partners and what the hell does that even mean?
-Finding and suggesting ways to deal with any issues, emotionally (jealousy), physically (no sex due to illness for example) and financially.
-Commiting to openly talking about your feelings, wants and needs.