Polyamory and Lines in the Sand

Sep 7 '2019, 1:32 PM | By Chris

It’s easy to imagine that a polyamorous person would have few limitations. The very act of being polyamorous suggests a person is open minded and enjoys a little adventure. For many in the poly community this rings true, but one should never assume anything when it comes to other people’s limitations or comfort zones. As much as we shouldn’t make assumptions about others, we should also not put ourselves into situations that bring unreasonable amounts of discomfort. Knowing your boundaries, and how they can be tested, is a key element in finding the right people to share yourself with in any kind of relationship. Approaching every situation being certain of who you are, and what you like, will keep you from being the timid type that never ends up with anything you really want. 

Before you start drawing lines in the sand, it’s important to remember that these lines are not to keep you from trying new things. They are simply areas you are certain would be outside of your comfort zone. It’s also important to remember that your comfort zones can change. Taking time to reassess your interests occasionally will keep you fresh and up to date with yourself. Part of being polyamorous is also understanding you cannot limit your partners because of your boundaries. You can discuss the standards everyone in the relationship would like to follow, but those standards should never come from a place of controlling or limiting your lovers. It’s better to be honest if you want lasting relationships, so don’t make any partner feel they can’t be truthful with you.  

Sometimes lines in the sand seem like they should naturally come with whatever territory your relationship is in. When in Rome you speak Italian, right? Not necessarily. There are hundreds of languages spoken in Rome. If you’re a woman that wants to become a sister wife it might seem obvious that you’d find a heterosexual man living with heterosexual sister wives. A man looking for a sister wife may have no idea he might find a bisexual woman. When you step back from the situation you’re in, it becomes easier to see how arbitrary assumptions can be. There is no reason to expect none of your sister wives to want sexual intimacy with each other. There is even less reason to discourage them from it. There is also no reason to discourage a man with sister wives from exploring feelings he may develop for another man. None of these things are a cause for tearing a happy polygamist family apart. In fact, they are all ways a family can help each other live fuller and happier lives! 

Typically, females have an easier time experimenting with homosexuality than males, or at least they’re more willing to discuss it. Many men maintain a hard line against any action they’d consider ‘homo.’ If those feelings do come up, even with a poly male that has always been a hard line hetero, it’s vitally important not to dismiss nor diminish the validity of those feelings. None of his girlfriends, or sister wives, should make him feel like less of a man for it, ever! That’s not love and support, that’s bullying. Forcing or coercing anyone to deny who they are, 100%, never leads to a good outcome. 

Beyond sexual boundaries there are countless lines in the sand people can impose on their relationships, polyamorous or not. Polyamory does not mean everyone involved can run around dating whoever, or always doing whatever they want! A lot of consideration goes into a polyamorous relationship’s limitations. While many poly people don’t want to impose limits on a lover, no limits or commitments can make relationships become pointless over time. It is possible to have a lover with zero boundaries, but for the sake of reducing anxiety alone, most people need some form of agreement and sacrifice that helps a relationship maintain a purpose. It’s better when two poly people that start dating already have an idea of what works for them rather than too much trial and error while trying to make it work. Making compromises is inevitable so be prepared to make your absolute boundaries clear while relenting on any soft boundaries you can. 

It’s difficult to express how important it is to not only stick to your lines in the sand, but also stay open to evolving them. Everyone enjoys their comfort zones. Many people enjoy their comfort zones way too much. Getting stuck in your comfort zone can cause as many problems as crossing boundaries too fast and hard. There is a balance we’d all do best to find. This is why forgiveness and understanding, lots of it, are both key factors in long lasting, healthy relationships. Accepting the imperfections of people, lovers and others, will prevent so many problems along your path. 

If it seems this article spent a little more time railing against ‘lines in the sand’ than helping find them, you’re right. A hard line against anything needs to come from a very real core feeling. It shouldn’t be there because society says it should, or because you’re scared of something new. In fact, if your polyamorous relationships aren’t helping you expand your views and possibilities, you might be doing something wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with embracing your very real limits, but there is everything wrong with doing it blindly out of fear or judgment. All of our relationships are about growth. Whether it be with your sister wives, your triad, your quad, or your open or closed poly family, you should be helping each other grow. Poly people should be the last to fear multiplying their love and experiencing new ways to love.

Published By: Christopher Alesich

Matchmakers, Inc: Sisterwives.com


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