Playing by the Rules

Someone said that taking time to sit down and go over our boundaries was “too complicated”.

Additionally, Mark said he thought our boundaries were too complicated (because of that statement).

I want to address my thoughts on this.


When we sit down to play rummy with someone new, we go over what rules we are playing by. The reason is because there are a number of different ways to play rummy and each way has its own set of rules. So EVEN THOUGH they are all called “rummy”-they are all actually played by differing rules.

If we didn’t specify the rules in advance, every player could assume that we were playing by a different set of rules and then end up frustratedly struggling through a game where all of the players were operating on a different understanding of how to play.


there are many different expectations and rules that people have for how they deal with friends, lovers, marriage, dating etc.

In polyamory-there are as many possibilities as there are people considering poly! It is unfair and unrealistic to expect to socialize without identifying what the boundaries of acceptable/unacceptable are for any given person we wish to socialize with.

It is in fact, setting them and us up for failure. It is disrespectful of them as an individual and it is disrespectful of us as an individual and it is particularly disrespectful of our already existing relationships.

It’s not “too complicated” , it’s actually LESS complicated.

If one thinks about what their UNSPOKEN expectations and boundaries are, they would probably find that there are many more of them than exist on our boundary list. Furthermore, they probably have many more depths of nuance. Unspoken expectations and boundaries are TOO COMPLICATED.
Guessing what someone else needs is TOO COMPLICATED.

In BDSM there is negotiation before play of hard limits and soft limits. This is a SAFETY MECHANISM for both players. It’s a MUST DO. It’s not something you can just skip because it’s “too complicated”.
In our poly dynamic, there are boundaries. These are current hard limits. Sometimes, with time and effort, hard limits become soft limits and then cease to exist at all. But, while they exist it’s imperative that all people who may be effected by them, know about them. KNOWING these hard limits doesn’t just allow you to protect us, but it also protects YOU.

If you fall in love with one or the other of us, knowing these boundaries could be the difference between creating a functional, happy, healthy relationship with one of us or getting your heart crushed in a quagmire of confusion.

It’s imperative if you want to participate in our FAMILY-that you understand what you can or can’t expect from us. It’s for YOUR SAFETY and YOUR security and YOUR comfort that you need to know what our boundaries are. It may seem AWKWARD to take that time to find out what they are, but I can assure you, awkward is NOT the same as “too complicated”.

The negative consequences of not knowing could annihilate your heart. Fixing a broken heart is TOO COMPLICATED to make it worth avoiding an awkward conversation.

3 thoughts on “Playing by the Rules

    • Yes. Yes precisely. But, he won’t see it. He says he likes her, he has a connection with her and he wants to make allowances in order to be with her.
      I can only raise my eyebrow in consternation over the fact that he can “like” someone who insists on disrespecting HIM so much that she cares not about his family and the life he’s spent 15 HARD years building.

  1. I think the issues go far deeper than just one person’s self-centered lack of interest in putting time and energy into a relationship she doesn’t deem worthy of the effort.

    Boundaries in any relationship are more than just a set of rules to be jumped through like hoops. When a monogamous couple makes a commitment to one another, they establish compatibility by discussing their values, expectations, needs, goals etc. If they decide to commit to the relationship long-term, they exchange vows as well which are intended to symbolize the covenant and “contract” of sorts between the couple.

    In a poly relationship, those values, expectations, needs, and goals have to be discussed between EVERYONE involved with the dynamic in order for this mutual compatibility to be established. Anyone who doesn’t grasp this concept, or isn’t willing to put in the extra effort it takes to accomplish this basic foundation of ANY relationship, has no business being involved in a poly dynamic. Particularly when the person in question claims to be experienced in “poly” relationships.

    It’s my impression that she actually has NO experience in polyamorous relationships. There is no question she has experience in OPEN relationships. According to her own accounts, her spouse is OK with her seeing whomever she wishes, but her boyfriend is NOT. Despite this, she actively pursues other relationships which has resulted in at least one physical altercation. This communicates to me that what she actually desires is to have a relationship WITHOUT boundaries of any kind. She can’t be bothered to sit down and go over “complicated” lists of rules and boundaries, not because she doesn’t value this potential relationship, but because she doesn’t value rules and boundaries PERIOD.

    She’s already demonstrated she does not respect her current significant other’s boundaries and they are less important to her than her desire to be able to do what she wants. Furthermore, she’s demonstrated it’s not important to her to learn what the boundaries/rules are in Mark’s dynamic. She has learned from Mark that he broke his own rules and violated his covenant with you. The reason this wasn’t significant to her is because she doesn’t value rules and boundaries, not because she values the relationship with Mark. The reason she wants him (and you) to make exceptions to the covenant you made with each other on her behalf is not because she thinks YOUR rules shouldn’t apply to her. It’s because she thinks rules shouldn’t apply to her PERIOD.

    Personally, if I were in your shoes my terms for her and Mark pursuing a relationship of any nature from this point forward would be very simple. There would be only one requirement: ABOLISH YOUR ENTIRE BOUNDARY LISTS. If he and she wish to pursue a relationship without boundaries or rules, then that goes both ways. He needs to decide exactly how important rules and boundaries are to HIM.

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