As I’ve stated before, Hubby and I have very few rules for our polyamory.  It wasn’t always this way, however, and I have to constantly remind myself of this fact every time I encounter a couple who is just opening up. The more I read other poly blogs about rules and how much they hold us back, the more I think sometimes we all forget that we were once new at this, too, and that the fears and hesitation that spawned those rules were very real.

There’s a flip side to this coin.  At what point do rules become restrictions, and at what level do restrictions start to become detrimental?  

When Hubby and I opened up we had a “no kissing during sex” rule, which was not only extremely hard to follow but extremely silly.  Here we were welcoming new people into our hearts and our family, and we weren’t allowed to kiss them sometimes because of what we perceived the attitude and environment of the actions involved to be.  My first couple of experiences were awkward.  On top of the stress that already surrounds a new encounter, there were these stupid little stage notes I had to follow, and it made everyone tense and a little withdrawn because we all felt like we were being graded.  I remember very clearly the night I eschewed that particular rule right in front of Hubby in the most free feeling french kiss I’d ever given anyone.  This died the “no kissing during sex” rule and thus began the beginning of a serious re-evaluation of what essentially boiled down to micromanaging of something that should be very organic.

What changed our mind on these rules?  Trust.  We realized at that moment that there are things we couldn’t, and shouldn’t be, controlling about relationships that needed to form their own shapes.  I could mask my insecurity with a litany of things Hubby wasn’t allowed to do with someone new, or I could trust him to be a decent human being and act accordingly.  After some growing pains and restructuring it was the best decision we have ever made for our marriage and our respective relationships.  It not only fosters trust but respect for the trust given to us by our partners.

A new relationship is like a seedling .  If you nurture it and give it the fresh air it needs, it will grow to it’s full potential.  With the right maintenance and some appreciation, under the right conditions, it will be enjoyed for a long time.  Rules tend to put that seedling in a pot, which isn’t always a bad thing.  There are some integral broad rules, if you choose to call them that.  Honesty.  Respect.  Safety.  Communication.  However, the more rules you add to the mix the smaller the pot gets, and the relationship can eventually be restricted in its growth or completely choked.  The whens, the wheres, the words, the whats…none of it is important if you can hold to the tenants of the broad set.

So, I refer back to the beginning.  Patience and understanding versus a relationship’s need to form and grow organically.  Can the two reach a level of homeostasis that is healthy for everyone involved?  I think they can, though I sometimes question the spirit behind the rules.  A little help can quickly become a crutch.  A seedling can very quickly become a bonsai tree, even when it could be a great Sequoia.

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