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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Reminder of Relationship Status & Some Definitions & Boundaries 
24th-Sep-2012 02:10 pm
Sugar Bowl
Relationship Status
Judah and I are poly people whose relationship has been closed from Day One. (Saturday was our two-year anniversary!) Adam is monogamous. Our relationship is, and will be until further notice, polyfidelitous. We do not have sexual relationships with anyone outside the relationship.

I am stating this multiple different ways because apparently it is a really difficult concept for some people. Look. Treat us like we are all three monogamous. Mainly: do not initiate sexual activity with us. Any more than you would a monogamous person, unless you are the person they are monogamous with.

(I know, some of you are like "I can't believe you have to spell it out like this." I know, right?)

Flirting != Harassment. Flirting != Sexual Activity
I phrase it like that because the impression that I am getting from certain boundary-challenged people reminds me of the comments on posts about the Readercon harassment issue that whined "does that mean we can't flirt anymore?!?" Flirting and harassment are very different things. Flirting and sexual activity are also very different things. It's not as much a 1:1 comparison because one tends to be flirty with people one is fucking, yes. But I think that non-sociopaths can agree that there is a line between flirting and sexual activity. Where that line is for me is fluid exchange; if you can get an STI from it, I think of it as sexual, because it is right there in the name, guys. This is my line, and I think it is a reasonable one.

I Don't Care If You Think My Line is Reasonable
I actually really don't. You don't have to agree with me in order to respect me and my line. I have any number of friends I disagree with politically, for example, and yet I respect them. I don't understand some things about them, and you don't understand some things about me, and that's okay. Just be respectful.

The way I roll is that I think that in any relationship and set of relationships, one should adhere to the strictest set of boundaries. If one partner is cool with no latex for oral sex, but the other partner's partner requires it, we are using latex. If I need a heads-up before sexual activity (or immediately after if it's totally unexpected, but we'll get to that later) and no one else does, I expect a heads-up. I have dated people who had, or whose SOs had, boundaries that I didn't understand and thought were overly conservative. So the conversation went like this:

Person: "My partner has X boundary."
Me: "Really? Even though [Condition Y]?"
Person: "Yep, no exceptions."
Me: "Okay."

...and I'd never bring it up again. Sometimes boundaries like that mean I don't get to do things I really love to do. That's life. Other people's emotions and relationships are more important than my orgasms. And if that's not how you feel, wow do I ever not want to date you or have one of my SOs date you. Because honestly, I think that's really shitty.

But Why Is Your Boundary There?
Irrelevant.

I Just Need to Know
I don't like surprises. If you are one of my primary partners - and honestly, I don't think anyone but Judah and Adam ever will be - I don't want to turn around and see someone being sexually intimate with you when I had no idea that that was even a possibility. Hell, Adam has one female friend he gets super-snuggly with at cons, but since he only sees her there, I forget that that's a possibility, so every time I turn around and see her on his lap and giggling, I go through a brief "WHOAWHATTHEohyeah." I get to oh yeah quickly because we've talked about this friend before, and the snuggliness isn't out of the blue. I've noticed that I don't have that startle reaction with secondary partners, only primaries, and it's taken a bit to sort out, because monogamous Adam was my sole primary for a decade. I've never had more than one primary before, and prior to Judah, I haven't had a poly primary partner this century. So we sorted things out and decided that what was bugging me was the surprise factor. If I know sexual activity might happen, I can say "okay" or "LION."

LION?
I do not like to use the word crazy because it is ableist. So what Judah and I say, regarding people who are clearly ticking time bombs of massive hideous drama, is "lion", short for "JESUS CHRIST IT'S A LION GET IN THE CAR."



In 2005-06, I was in a relationship with someone whose OSO was such a freaking lion that it clearly left a lot of scars. I refuse to be locked into a relationship dynamic with a lion; I have way too much going on in my life to have my balance wrecked and my home fucked up by someone else's attention-seeking bullshit. I have broken up with people who chase lions. I like to know if my partners are planning sexy funtimes with people because I have a hypersensitive lion detector.

Okay. What if There are Unexpected Makeouts?
Sure. That does happen. When I've unexpectedly had makeouts with someone (read: before I started dating Judah, because closed relationship), I would go home and immediately talk to my partners about that. "So X and I kissed. Is that cool?"

And, since I have found myself in a situation before where the person lied to me and told me their partner was okay with things that they were not okay with, I will always, always, speak directly to my surprise makeout buddy's partner. "So X and I kissed. They said you're okay with that level of contact, but I wanted to double-check. Are we cool?" Sometimes followed up by "I'd like to continue/advance things with X, only if you are totally okay with that."

And that's what I expect from others. I expect respect.

(Of course, if I know that there's interest in advance, I'll ask the partner in advance.)

I think that is it for right now because I just realized I haven't eaten lunch and my body REALLY WANTS LUNCH. But there's more! Expect thoughts on how I got so insistent about my boundaries and how you can tell that I want to have sex with you (hint: I say "I would like to have sex with you!").

Two things:

1. If you're wondering if I'm talking about you, rest assured that I'm not. I never post anything like this before speaking directly to the person/people I'm having a problem with. If I have a problem with you, you absolutely know it.

2. "I'm difficult!" I said to Judah last night, curled up in bed after a long, exhausting conversation. "I know I'm difficult."
"But you are so very worth it," he said.

(And as long as both of my partners agree that I'm worth it and that my boundaries are reasonable, I do not give a good goddamn what anyone else thinks of 'em.)

(Lunch.)
Comments 
24th-Sep-2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
(And as long as both of my partners agree that I'm worth it and that my boundaries are reasonable, I do not give a good goddamn what anyone else thinks of 'em.)

A. I knew I liked them fellas. Now I like them moar.

B. THIS. So long as youse guys are all on the same page with each other, the rest of us can go pound sand. (Not that I disagree with you. Au contraire. I agree wholeheartedly, so I'll forego the sand for now.) But principle.
24th-Sep-2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yep. The only people whose opinions about the rules of my relationships matter are the people in my relationships.
24th-Sep-2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
"But you are so very worth it," he said.

Aw. That was sweet. :)
24th-Sep-2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
Seconded :-)
24th-Sep-2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
That's what she said. (FTW, BTW)
24th-Sep-2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
Have to catch a plane, but I did want to comment on this,

"I'm difficult!" I said to Judah last night, curled up in bad after a long, exhausted conversation. "I know I'm difficult."

That may well be true, but not about this. What you're saying here doesn't paint you as difficult at ALL.
24th-Sep-2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Ooof societal pressures! There's a lot of pressure from certain facets of the community to be a lot more promiscuous than I am. It seems to be a problem for some that I'm only going to do what I'm comfortable with.
24th-Sep-2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
Sometimes boundaries like that mean I don't get to do things I really love to do. That's life. Other people's emotions and relationships are more important than my orgasms. And if that's not how you feel, wow do I ever not want to date you or have one of my SOs date you. Because honestly, I think that's really shitty.

You, out of my brain. :)

24th-Sep-2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
Yes. So much yes.


(Oh, and hi! LC linked to you on Facecrack and I followed. And read. And found it interesting.)
24th-Sep-2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
"But I think that non-sociopaths can agree that there is a line between flirting and sexual activity."

I think other classifications of people have problems distinguishing the difference, and a number of them regularly frequent cons.
24th-Sep-2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
But they agree there is a line that exists, even if they have problems finding it or navigating different people's opinions of where that line lies. Which was the point, I believe.
24th-Sep-2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Basically: fuck yea! with a side of can't wait to hear more.
24th-Sep-2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
I'm just hoping to meet you in person someday. That would make me happy. Also, here is a goat. (see icon)
26th-Sep-2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
I would like that too. :)
24th-Sep-2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
The next time I see that picture, can I call it the Lion of Judah?
24th-Sep-2012 07:37 pm (UTC) - Morals support
This is all personal ethics, and by definition we get to define those personally. I like that you're very definite in your boundaries, I wish we had a way to use you as a vaccine and create a shot for the universe that would create clear boundaries, firmly expressed from everyone. Yes, all drama llamas would instantly burst into flames... no real loss there.

I gut-laugh roared when I read the lion paragraph. I want permission to borrow that, may I?

I hope it gets easier, rather than harder. I, unfortunately, imagine it will not. You are smart, attractive, and to those with no boundaries appear vulnerable. Do us all a favor? Try NOT to leave them with a bloody stump? Would hate to have you on trial for injuring those who desperately deserve it.

With respect, admiration, and support.
Ric
24th-Sep-2012 07:49 pm (UTC) - Re: Morals support
Borrow away!

The only thing I miss about Florida: Down there, you can just throw the bodies to the alligators. ;)
24th-Sep-2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
I have the feeling that people who are lions also frequently possess what we in my household call "Charisma of the Damned". And it takes a lot of work to hit the point where one can escape the gravity of CotD and be able to identify the lion in advance.
24th-Sep-2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I'm immune to CotD at this point. But Judah, who is apparently new to being found sexy, isn't. So I always provide my "lion" statement with lots of background data.
24th-Sep-2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
None of this is you being difficult. Poly != promiscuous. They're their own words for a reason. People need to GTFO this fact. Yes, there's a venn diagram in effect, but not everyone in the groups overlap.
26th-Sep-2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
Yep. And I have nothing against megapromiscuity, as long as everyone involved is happy with it!
24th-Sep-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, I need to start using LION. That situation was just crying out for a word and now it has one.
26th-Sep-2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
*bows*
24th-Sep-2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
I've read all three of today's posts, but don't want to blather comments all over (mostly cuz I'm impressed & appreciative of what you've written but don't have a lot to add that isn't just All About Me).

I love this Lion concept! I am going to have to explain this to Andy, because we haven't been able to define/put good words to the alarm bells that I experience (and him as well; I just have more experience with lions). Thank you for sharing that idea, because it's always good to have new methods.
24th-Sep-2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And stuff about you is fine, too! I feel like some of this is pretty universal.

I like the lion thing because I'm really trying hard to get "crazy" out of my vocabulary; I have friends with mental illnesses who find it problematic. So I like having a very specific term for this that isn't problematic. And has a cat macro.
24th-Sep-2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
Two thoughts:

1) I have trouble with the idea of checking in with the others partner. I totally, totally get why you do it, and do not get me wrong I am not having an issue with the way you do it - it would just be an issue for me/my relationships, because of my issues with trust and honesty. I guess I feel that if a partner can't be honest with me to begin with, then why the f*** would I want to be with them?

2) how you can tell that I want to have sex with you (hint: I say "I would like to have sex with you!"). I do this too. It still throws my boyfriend off after 5 years, which is funny but...frustrating. Subtly is just not my thing :)
24th-Sep-2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
On the checking-in thing, it is just that that one experience was so awful. And the guy in question would do sexual stuff with me when his partner was in the next room! With the door open! So I really had no idea, because if she didn't know, why would he do that?

Thank goodness she forgave me; he'd done it before. It was a pattern. Still, I can't bear the thought of ever hurting someone like that again. If I have to be overly-cautious to make sure, I'll do it.
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