PQ 2.6 — How much space do I leave for new partners’ needs?

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Image by Sweetie187 / CC BY

PQ 2.6 — When I visualize the kind of relationship I want, how much space does it leave for new partners to shape the relationship to their needs?

I’m not very goal oriented when it comes to new relationships. I know what I like when it shows up.

I can’t precisely visualize the kind of relationship that I want. My “picture” of an ideal partner is rather general.

People who are kind to my friends and my other partners are great. Plus, ideally a new partner would be very comfortable with non-monogamy, both philosophically and in practice.

I also know that for any sort of ongoing serious romantic relationship that I need my partners to be reasonable and mature.

Adult behavior is so sexy. Mmm, that’s right… Yeah, vote, fix things, pay bills, fulfill your obligations, resolve conflicts civilly. Friggin’ hot.

Passion is a great thing, but not necessarily worth it if a high price is paid in drama and disruption to my life.

I appreciate all of these same qualities in a metamour.

But all that said, I don’t have some kind of detailed master plan for future relationships. It’s delightful to be surprised.  To find someone unexpected and to have things develop in a way that I didn’t foresee.

It was that way with Skyspook, after all. We’re married now, anchor partners, primaries. But at the time I first became interested in Skyspook, he was seeing or pursuing something like 4 other girls casually, and while I never would have thought I could be satisfying for him in any serious capacity, being his “Everything,” I could easily envision being his “20 Percent.”

That was the gig I showed up for.

Joke’s on me, I suppose. On both of us, really.

Their Needs Are Only One Piece of the Puzzle

The other major issue here is that you can absolutely leave too much space for someone to shape a relationship to their needs. This could be anyone: New partners, existing partners, etc.

The spirit of the Chapter 2 More than Two questions seem to be oriented towards unicorn hunters and poly newbies who may not have realized that their potential new partners are human beings with needs and wants of their owns. It’s a noble goal to give this kind of perspective check.

However, as a poly vet and a recovering people pleaser, I know it’s entirely possible to take it too far. While bending over backwards for others sounds like it would be a good thing (yay for Twister!), doing it too much comes with some nasty side effects.

You can take it too far:

  • Focusing solely on pleasing others leaves your own needs unmet.
  • People pleasing is the fast track to breaking promises you have made to others. It’s possible to commit to more than you can accomplish. And you might not realize until it’s far too late.
  • If a person’s expectations are unreasonable, disappointing them is not only okay, it’s the APPROPRIATE response.

So the answer to how much space I would leave for new partners to shape things is: Some.

Beyond my own self-care and emotional needs, I have adult responsibilities. I work a lot, own a home. I’m married, and we both have some other satellite relationships going on (friends with benefits, newer relationships unfolding at ent pace, etc).

Compatibility Isn’t Just About Feeling a Spark and Can’t Be Forced

A person who is compatible with me and my life won’t need a lot of crowbar-ing to fit into what I’ve got going on. Small tweaks are fine, especially if I am wild about someone, but I’m a fan of things that are easy and mutually beneficial without a lot of drastic alterations (for either of us).

If that means I don’t date much, then it’s perfectly fine.

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.

 

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