PQ 12.1 — Under what circumstances do I feel it’s appropriate for me to use veto?
Welcome to Chapter 12!
I futz about on Quora from time to time. Not as busy or as active as some, for sure, but occasionally I get on there and answer questions.
And even more rarely, I ask them. In fact, I’ve asked exactly one question on Quora:
“Is there ever a good reason to have or exercise veto power in a polyamorous relationship?”
The responses I received were overwhelmingly anti-veto power — (i.e., the power to unilaterally end a partner’s relationship with someone else). Especially for trivial reasons. Things like “I don’t really like them” or “she’s skinnier than me, and it makes me jealous.”
However, a few folks chimed in that there are some circumstances that might warrant taking such a hard line.
They specifically cited instances of protecting their partner from abusers, when the partner isn’t thinking clearly enough to make the decision to walk away themselves. Their partner’s inability to recognize the abuse could be due to a number of reasons: Perhaps emotional manipulation directly resulting from the abuse. Or their physical or mental health is otherwise compromised in a way that renders them vulnerable.
I can definitely see intervening in situations like those and am incredibly grateful I’ve never had to.
I haven’t had proper veto power since back when I was very newly polyamorous. Sure, having veto power gave me a sense of security to know that I could stop the train at any time if I wanted to get off. But still, I never used it. There was never a reason to. I had moments of insecurity, for sure, but I worked on building a sense of security instead. And it always felt like a veto would backfire and create resentment.
And these days, the closest thing I could consider to “veto power” is my complete unwillingness to live with someone who resents my existence. So, if Skyspook wanted to move in another partner, she (Skyspook is straight) should be comfortable with the fact that he’s polyamorous and has another partner (me). And somewhat civil to me, even if we’re not super good friends or anything.
But even that’s covered by another set of poly principles I live by: The Good Roommate Standard. That guideline roughly boils down to the following: If it’s rude to do to your roommate, don’t do it to your nesting partner.
Moving in another hostile roomie? Yeah, that qualifies.
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 and answers, please see this indexed list.