Tuesday, March 31, 2009

notes from 24/03/09 poly 101: boundaries and negotiations

We had a fantastic poly discussion at our March meet, with almost twice the number of participants from the first meeting, in a wonderful space at Camas. I for one was delighted to meet so many diverse yet articulate and thoughtful people and to hear what all of you had to say about some very sensitive and tricky boundary issues. I also really enjoyed hearing about everyone's varied poly backgrounds and experiences. I can't wait for the next meet, which I'll announce for next month as soon as I figure out a date that works. I'm going to try to rebook at Camas for the time being since the space (and the yummy potluck) was so conducive to safe, relaxed conversation. I'm also considering ordering a poly uniform, possibly consisting of polyestery polypants and "Got Compersion?" t-shirts. Go, us!

I'm including some very brief notes from our discussion, mostly because although I meant to take actual notes I found I was enjoying listening raptly to what everyone said, so couldn't be bothered to write it down. Please feel free to post and add bits of what you remember to this.
We discussed what boundaries are: Are they rules? guidelines? flexible or dealbreakers? It was agreed that poly people like shades of grey.

How do we communicate boundaries? By setting aside specific time, picking good times to talk, continual communication and checking in and by being self-aware and flexible (because needs and opinions can change over time).

What boundaries work for you? Tailoring to each relationship, knowing our own needs and stating them clearly, working with a spectrum of responses to an issue, and the importance of firm boundaries so that everyone knows where they stand. Honesty and trust was also discussed. I really liked what one person said about beginning with being centered in their own heart and speaking from that perspective. Living truthfully is tough but rewarding and can make things easier, even in a seemingly complex web of relationships.

Specific boundaries talked about included: being "out" -- different people have different degrees of comfort with this, TMI boundaries, either among partners or with other friends and family members with regard to poly and intimacy

Thank you all for a great discussion and please feel free to send suggestions to me for future topics. Ones I'm considering for next month are:

- What different types of poly relationships are there?
- How do we deal with jealousy, envy and get to compersion?
- Poly dating challenges

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