The New Party Guest: Trusting Our Partner’s Partner Selection

a needlepoint sampler with the words "let's sway under the moonlight the serious moonlight" stitched from it (lyrics from David Bowie's song "Let's Dance")
Image by goincase / CC BY

One of the best ways to be successful in polyamory? Surround yourself with people whose judgement you trust.

As I mentioned in a previous post on setting boundaries with partners and metamours, it’s important to be able to trust your partners to make good decisions.

Because while systemic consultation definitely has its benefits (surely some poly person has stitched COMMUNICATE ~ COMMUNICATE ~ COMMUNICATE on a sampler or two by now), you won’t always be able to run everything by everyone. Especially not in a large, complex poly system.

It all starts by selecting partners whose judgement you really trust.  That you trust so much that you would trust them to pick other partners who will also exercise reasonable judgement. And those partners, so on.

We don’t get to pick our metamours and certainly not our telemours. So it’s essential to select direct partners whose judgement you trust an awful lot. Who seem to make decisions as reasonable as your own, or maybe even better. Because as you move down the line, the certainty of the soundness of any one person’s judgement may be diluted.

Trusting a Friend to Bring a Guest

But, wait a second, you might wonder. That’s all well and good, but this is all a bit daunting. How can I trust my partner to choose well when it comes to partner selection? Let alone metamours and telemours.

People do it all the time. And not just in polyamory.

Take the romance out of it for a second and consider the following:

You’re throwing a party and have carefully decided on a guest list — a group of friends and loved ones that’s well balanced. Full of people who know how to have a good time and will be good, respectful house guests.

And once you’ve sent out the invites, a friend RSVPs yes. And asks you if they can bring someone new with them. Your friend says that they’re a cool person and should fit right in.

But it’s someone you don’t know. At all.

So you consider the source.

If your friend is responsible and has good judgement? The endorsement is a no-brainer. Full steam ahead.

Trusting a partner to choose their other partners well is very much like this.

Now, choosing well doesn’t mean it’s who you would pick for them. And you don’t have to be best friends with your metamours. Some you might not even personally like that much. But ideally metamours should be relatively stable, responsible, and emotionally healthy people who share and communicate well.

You know, maybe the other person your partner selects to date isn’t the life of the party. Or even all that popular.

But  then again, the last thing you want? To get a metamour who is the kind of party guest who binge drinks to the point of threatening to hit another guest in the head with a bottle. Worst. Party. Ever.

 

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