PQ 11.4 — What will I do if a secondary partner becomes dissatisfied with the rules that apply to them? Am I willing or able to involve that partner in renegotiation of those rules?
As I mentioned in an earlier post, agreements that don’t take the needs of everyone they affect into consideration aren’t ideal. In that post, I compare this practice to a chore agreement shared by roommates:
Now imagine if that meeting took place before you even moved in with them. If that chore agreement was drawn up even before you answered the “roommate wanted” ad. And once you’d signed the lease and hauled your stuff up 3 flights of stairs into your new space, your roomie handed you a list of things that were now your responsibility. No discussion.
Pretty silly, right?
And yet, I’ve seen couples who are opening up writing up detailed relationship agreements in quite a similar manner. Dictating the behavior of future partners they haven’t even met yet.
The trouble with this of course is that couples who are opening up their relationship and are new to polyamory need somewhere to start. And part of this process often involves setting a relationship agreement.
Unless the entire relationship agreement is composed of a giant question mark written on a piece of paper (whimsical but not advised), some assumptions are likely going to be made. Ones that may or may not square well with future partners.
The good news is that relationship agreements can be renegotiated. In fact, it’s rather normal to find that things work out differently in practice than they seemed in theory.
Please see this post for some guidelines on managing the stress of a relationship agreement renegotiation. These same basic principles apply whether the changes are initiated by your partner or by your metamour.
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.