Monday, September 26, 2011

Because I know you're curious, I hereby present: How It Works

     One of the more common questions when people find out I'm in a polyamorous relationship is "How does that work?" I think people get the general idea of pursuing multiple relationships, and probably are wondering how we deal with the practical concerns inherent in eschewing the "traditional" and expected forms of relationships out there.  There is a lot more to think about when you're writing your own rules.  So I've decided to post How It Works for my V.  Some of it is philosophy, some of it is practical concern, some of it is guidelines for behavior.  Every polyamorous person will have their own idea of How It Works, this is simply How It Works for us.

     Many people prefer a primary/secondary model of polyamory, where there is one main couple, and the people in the couple can pursue additional relationships as long as the couple remains "most important" according to whatever definition the couple is using.  For some, that means no children or cohabitation with anyone else, for others it means that your time with your OSO (other significant other) would be determined or approved by your spouse.  I believe in allowing relationships to find their own level, and not determining how I'm going to treat a relationship which is purely theoretical with no regard to the theoretical person I haven't even met yet.  For some people this model is truly fulfilling, for me it is not appealing.  I don't like rigid rules to begin with.

     Along those same lines, some people think they should be able to have veto power over relationships or potential relationships that their partners have.  Most of the people I've talked to who have veto power don't want to use it, and only give it to their partner because they trust their partner to not use it unless they are making a really terrible decision.  The knowledge that you can potentially veto what you feel is a horrendous mistake can bring comfort and security to a situation which is full of potential emotional danger.  I, however, do not want the concept of veto power in my relationships.  I will listen to my partners if they have concerns, and I will express the same to them.  If they do something, or pursue a relationship I really don't agree with, I will decide the best course of action I can take a that time.  Even up to ending our relationship if things get that bad, but I will not tell someone else how to live their life, and what love they can or cannot pursue. 

     I will help guide them as is wanted, but love will not be denied in my house because of anyone's insecurity.

     I don't believe in keeping secrets between partners.  I'm sure that there are possible exceptions (beyond gifts or other happy surprises), but for the most part anything one partner says to me might be repeated to the other.  It's part of a more general love of honesty and distaste for deception... but I also don't want to have to keep track of anyone's secrets.

     I will encourage my partners to form new relationships which enrich their lives, and expect that they continue to respect our own relationships.  They should encourage and expect the same in me.

     If additional physical relationships are pursued, safer-sex practices will be used, and discussed before the beginning of the relationship. 
     As far as practical concerns in the home: We do not all sleep together.  The sleeping schedule is every other night with each partner.  If I wish to sleep alone, I do so and the schedule is resumed the next night.  If a schedule change is desired, and an agreement is reached, the person who did not request the change has a second night in a row.  Rent and bills are split pretty much evenly, but we're flexible on how that is accomplished.  We share domestic duties, but the majority of them currently fall on Thoth, as he is currently unemployed.

And, perhaps most important of all: anything can be revised, and renegotiated at any time. 


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