Here We Grow Again – How Our Veto Power Has Changed

Had an interesting poly conversation with Daddy yesterday. We were talking about the inherent risks of dating a married man/woman, especially someone who has been married for a long time… someone who has a long history with their significant other.

One of the main risks that came up in the conversation was the one where the significant other has the power to end the external relationship with the expectation of the one in the relationship actually ending it. We call this the veto power.


**Example – (This is just an example – no shanking necessary, baby girl):** Daddy finds himself attracted to a new woman. They are getting to know each other, maybe they are organizing some face to face time – either with me or without me. I have veto power over this new interest. Now, look… I’m not a dick. I’m not going to veto a new interest just because I have the power to do so. I’m not going to veto the new interest over jealousy or insecurity or the fact that maybe I can’t handle the NRE. If I exercise my veto, there is going to be a very, very good reason for it and there is going to be an awful lot of communication before it happens. If that reason is there and I exercise my veto at this stage in the relationship, I have a fair expectation for Daddy to respect that veto and end things with this new interest.

The way we poly sets being vetoed as a risk any new potential external partner takes when becoming involved with us. It’s not a huge risk because we’re not dicks and we don’t exercise our veto power without very, very good reason. But, this is a long established part of our external life that has served us really well.

We’ve always had veto power, however, we are currently more deeply involved with our externals than we ever have been before and for the first time in our 15 years together we have externals who we are involved with separate from each other. This particular set of circumstances raises some new questions, offers an opportunity for us to grow and this is where the interesting poly conversation started.

It was brought up that this veto policy of ours could be a little rough on our external relationships if they have to ALWAYS be worried that at any given time our SO could veto them or the relationship away. {Now, there are some circumstances where this is a very valid thing – like if our marriage starts falling apart, we may pull ourselves inward and focus on fixing that primary relationship, which could result in external relationships being put on hold, ended or limited.} But, that severe situation aside, should our externals ALWAYS have to worry that at any given time our SO could veto them out of our lives? I imagine that sort of constant risk would make it less than enticing for an external to really want to make a deep invest in the relationship.

With that in mind, we started to ask questions… should there come a point in the relationship where the veto either becomes a thing that can be contested / discussed or not a thing at all? At what point do the needs of an external partner begin to weigh into our life decisions? At what point do our external partners become more than just boyfriend(s)/girlfriend(s)?

In monogamous relationships there is usually a set pattern of commitment. Dating, boyfriend/girlfriend, engagement/marriage/more serious commitment, living together, etc… in non-monogamy how does that pattern work, specifically for us… how does it work? Can our externals become more than casual romances? Can they become OSO’s (other significant others)? Can they become co-primaries? Can we cohabitate?

We agreed that they can become more than casual (as we are both involved in relationships that are much more than casual, this seemed to be a given). We agreed that the term OSO definitely works for us. And, we agreed that there most definitely should come a point in the relationship where the needs of the external relationship weigh more heavily into the decisions of the primary relationship and when the veto should not be applicable any longer. We talked about how to determine that point…

Is it a time thing? Been together six months get x amount of extra weight / say in the primary relationship… six months later, get a little more. That one doesn’t really work for us, though. We were involved with a couple a few years back for the better part of a year and wouldn’t have given up our veto power or allowed their needs to weigh too heavily on our decisions. We had fun with them, but we just weren’t all that heavily invested emotionally with them.

So then, is it the emotionally invested thing that should determine it? This is where we seem to find our sweet spot. Daddy and his baby girl have been together now for about 9 months. He is heavily emotionally invested with her and their relationship runs deep, their commitment to each other steadfast.

They are good for each other, make each other very happy and bring good things to each other’s lives. She has proven herself trustworthy (from the perspective of a SO) several times over. She is careful with his heart, cares deeply about him, respects my place as his SO and cherishes her time with him. I no longer consider her an external. She is his OSO. Her needs weigh heavily in our decision making process, especially where lifestyle related decisions are concerned, decisions on new play partners, events we attend, etc. I would not use my veto on her at this point for any reason. If a problem arose, it would be communicated through and through before any decisions were made and she would be a part of any decisions made. Even if our marriage was in a bad place, whatever decision we made to make it right… she would be a part of that decision as it would greatly affect her life and well being.

It is the external relationships that develop to this level of commitment and emotional investment that will be the ones that will develop without the constant fear of being vetoed, the ones that will have weight and say in our decisions.

Another moment of growth in our lives has created a healthy change in the way we poly. While we will maintain our veto power in the early stages of a new relationship, that power will diminish as the new relationship develops and proves out that it is a healthy and happy addition to our lives. We never expect perfection but there is a balance of good and bad that makes a relationship, on any level, a desired addition to our lives… and, that is what we are looking for. People, relationships, loves who enhance our lives and our love.

EDIT 08.06.15

I feel like I should clarify that it’s not the length of time that will cause the veto power to lessen as much as it is the proof that the relationship is a healthy, happy, mostly drama free addition to our lives. A relationship where both sides work hard to communicate and make the dynamic(s) work, one where there is a depth to the emotional bonding and respect for all partners involved will earn the lessening veto. Any relationship that proves itself unstable or drama filled, upsetting the norm for our life would most likely keep the veto option around a lot longer. The goal is to develop relationships that enhance our lives not complicate them. When that goal is met, there is room for change in the practices, rules and policies of the way we poly 🙂

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