A Poly Primer… What Should we be Talking About

I am currently involved in a lovely { Q and A thread } in a group I’m a member of on Fetlife and the questions are so good. One that came through last night, was so good I feel like it needs some of it’s own space in my little corner of the world so I am sharing it here.

 

### Q: Aside from generic open communication, are there specific questions that should be asked or topics that should be discussed that help keep the communication open and flowing?

A: Specific questions to ask and topics that should be discussed… there are so many.

I would say a few of the most important would be (in no particular order of importance or timing in the relationship to discuss):

polyprimer_1

– Talk about your sexual health policy.
When was the last time they / you were tested?
What were STDs were tested for?
What were the results?
Are you willing to show those results to each other?
How many partners do each of you have?
How many partners have they / you had since the last time they / you were tested?
What safe sex practices do you each engage in?
What will they do to keep you and your other partners safe? What do you expect them to do to keep you safe?
What will you do to keep them and their other partners safe? What do they expect you to do to keep them safe?
What happens when someone wants to bring on a new sexual partner, what is the process?
Are they fluid bonded with anyone? Are you?
What is the process if you decide you want to be fluid bonded?
(Our sexual health policy is [here][https://fetlife.com/users/1160206/posts/3040447])

– Talk about available bandwidth.
How much of your emotional bandwidth do you have available for them and how much of theirs are you going to need?
Do those things match?
Can they be adjusted to match better?

– Talk about available time.
How much time in each month, each week, each day do you have available to spend with them, texting, talking, face to face?
How much of their time are you going to want/need?

– Talk about relationship expectations.
You may not know everything that you’ll come to expect from the relationship, but there is some early ground to be covered here. If you are looking for a long term partner who you see once a week for some flirty fun and easy dating and they are looking for a primary partner who they will eventually marry or move in with… you might want to know about those differences early on. This one gets a little tricky because it requires you to know yourself and what you need from your relationships pretty intimately. Not everyone is self aware enough to do this one well. This is one of those things that changes… ALOT… it’s good to be aware of those changes and address them, communicate with your partners so that they know when things change and together you can adjust to those changes.

– Talk about interacting with each other’s other partner(s).
Do they want to meet your other partners?
Be friends with them?
Do they want you to meet theirs?
Do you want them to meet your other partners?
Do you want them to develop their own relationship with them (whether that is a friendship or something more intimate)?
To what level do they want to be involved with your other partners and you with theirs?
When do you meet them?
How can you expect them to behave around you when their other partner(s) are around?
How will you behave when your other partner(s) are in the same space as you and your new partner?

– Talk about and rules and veto power.
Who has veto power? How do they exercise it and when? What does that mean for what might be developing between the two? Does that veto power ever change?
What, if any, are the rules that your new partner might be expected to respect and what, if any, rules does your new partner have that you might be expected to respect? (For example: maybe you can’t have sex with a new partner until your primary partner has met them. Maybe you aren’t allowed to spend the night or date during the week. Or, your new partner can go out any night except Saturday nights because that is their regularly scheduled date night with their other partners). It doesn’t matter why the rules are there, but if they are, they should be discussed so that toes are not accidentally stepped on and lines inadvertently crossed.

– Talk about your previous poly experiences.
I think it’s important to know how previous poly went for those we involve ourselves with. Poly looks so different to everyone that it would be good to find out if your poly view and theirs matches.

– Talk about how much you want to know about their other relationships and how much you are willing / want to share about yours.

– Talk about your jealousy triggers and how you process and handle jealousy and then talk about theirs and how they process and handle it.

– Talk about what sends them up the freak out tree and how you can help get them down when it happens and then talk about what might send you up the tree and how they might be able to help you back down when it happens.

polyprimer_2Sounds like a lot of talking, doesn’t it… lol. I’m a talker, a lover of words but I’ve never talked as much, had as many hard (and I mean really fucking hard) conversations as I’ve had since we started living as poly. We talk A LOT.

Poly has made me far more self aware than I have ever been in my life. It’s brought me face to face with my own needs and forced me to define what I want / need from my relationships and to give voice to those needs and wants. It has also given me a safe place to voice those needs / wants and to see them met, by not just one, but so many amazing people.

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