PQ 12.10 — If I start a relationship with someone who is already partnered, what kind of input do I feel is reasonable for their other partners to have in our relationship?
This question sits at the intersection of two separate — but important — issues.
The first is that whenever possible it’s best to stay out of other people’s relationships, especially when it doesn’t directly affect you in any logistical way. You’ll have enough to deal with (in life and relationships) without searching for extra-credit trouble. As my wise friend Gull once put it, “Face the demons if they approach, but don’t go demon hunting.”
Being too much of a Buttinski into your partner’s other relationships isn’t just exhausting (though it is). It’s also poor boundaries.
Personally, at this point in my poly life, I wouldn’t want to take on a metamour who had the expectation that they could dictate how my relationship with our shared partner would unfold. In essence, controlling metamours are my Kryptonite. It’s where I tap out.
That said, you really do gain a lot of valuable information from how someone new you’re dating treats their existing partners. Because after the New Relationship Energy wears off, that could be you in their shoes.
This means that I’m not much of a fan of dating people who don’t care how their other partners feel about things and who never seek their other partners’ input, even about important things. So I totally get when a shared partner wants to make sure my metamour is comfortable, even if it inconveniences me. This is true whether that person is a newer partner than me or a preexisting one.
Bottom line: It’s good when a shared partner shows courtesy to existing relationships but bad when a metamour bosses them around.
Having been on both sides of this one, I feel the same way about this whether I’m in the new partner or existing partner role.
Balance is key.