Over the weekend, something happened that caused me heartache. Not because I was lied to or betrayed (though that’s surely where my PTSD brain tried to take it), but because poly and D/s relations are very different, and their overlap—while common—can often cause a massive colliding of hurt feelings.
The problem? Poly rules don’t always apply in kink/poly, which I’ll get into. For the sake of understanding though, I’m going to refer to these things as standard poly, and kinky poly (or according to the hubby, consensual non-monogamy). Here’s a bit of what I mean…
In standard poly, my husband and I, as well as other poly partners we’ve had, have certain protocols. First, we let the other party(s) know that we have new interest. We might have a date or two, and if there’s still interest, then it’s time to introduce partners. Rules from there are laid out, things like STD testing, that person’s other partners’ statuses, personal boundaries with time and sharing, and these can get detailed. Like, only we can be intimate in our bed, or no fluid bonding detailed. The rules vary, depending on the couple(s). So while the hubby and I are pretty open and super flexible with our rules, there are certain things we do out of respect for one another, as well as other partners. Even if others’ rules don’t align with what we believe, we respect them.
Also in standard poly, I would never read my husband’s texts or emails from other partners. Ever. That would be a huge invasion of his/their privacy. I don’t need to see his messages, and he doesn’t need to see mine. We respect each other’s privacy. That’s part of our standard poly beliefs.
In kinky poly, this is not the case. For one, a D doesn’t have to ask before taking on a new partner. There isn’t a required meeting, though in my circumstance, my D did honor the husband’s request on that, because he respected our poly rules. But this isn’t standard.
If I’m the D, I don’t ask my sub’s permission to take on new partners either. I will at least have the talk and let that person know I’m taking on someone new, but I would not ask their permission. That negates the point of that person being a full-time sub. I might also demand to see an email, or text, if I suspect a rule has been broken. This is not a matter of invading privacy, as much as it is accountability. When a D and s make an agreement, the D will hold that s accountable. Which means privacy doesn’t apply.
As you can see, this is proof of how different these two forms of poly can be.
These things get trickier when you’re mixing standard poly relations, kinky poly relations, and for me, maintaining the differences between my relations to subs compared to my relation to D, and the hubby. It’s complex, because each relationship has different rules. Each is unique. And what applies to one party won’t always apply to another.
This is where communication becomes soooo important. What happened over the weekend was a change in conditions, and I had not been made aware before hand. There was no deception, no dishonesty, just miscommunication, because what applied in my other circumstances, did not apply with D. And once I explained why I was so upset, he was respectful to how I felt, he honored my thoughts on the subject, and showed great care in making me feel better about what transpired. (Watch for my next post on how his response affected me.)
It all boiled down to standard poly and kinky poly crashing, slamming into one another so hard, that I was left spinning, and D was left feeling awful because what began as something fun, ended with me in tears. Certainly not the intent.
And this is actually fantastic.
What came of the heartache was great conversation, and rather than a break in trust, we used the misunderstanding to build a deeper level of trust. All parties have to be flexible though, or it doesn’t work. No matter the poly relationship, if there is defensiveness (which yes, I’m still guilty of having, though working on it), or excuses made, then the relationship is pretty much doomed. There is too much room for failure.
Poly, no matter if it’s standard or kinky, is complex. With each relationship unique. No one way is right or wrong. Just what works for you. All my experiences have led me to the same conclusion, any dynamic is possible as long as there is great communication and healthy respect for one another. If you do run into a conflict between standard and kinky poly, talk about it. Find a way to compromise. Because what’s really important, is the relationship(s), and those can’t function where pride and defensiveness get in the way. Every mishap is an opportunity for growth and a deeper level of trust.
And remember, don’t judge someone else’s poly just because it doesn’t align with yours. I’ve run across one penis policies, that in some circumstances I’ve known had to do with an insecure partner. Yet others, have more to do with a girl ‘wanting’ that policy placed on her. Acceptance and communication is at the core of healthy poly, no matter what brand you subscribe to.
Signing off as the standard poly, kinky poly, submissive, and Domme! What a complex life I lead.