PQ 12.11 — Do I feel safe opening my heart to someone who has given the power to end our relationship to someone else?

a concrete barrier that has a sign on it that reads "safe area." The top of it has yellow currogated metal plates and some orange and white safety cones.
Image by Peter Kaminski / CC BY

PQ 12.11 — Do I feel safe opening my heart to someone who has given the power to end our relationship to someone else?

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It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

-J. R. R. Tolkien

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I never feel safe opening my heart.

It never feels safe, regardless of the circumstances.

And that’s part of why it’s exciting.

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I showed this question to one of my friends. “Do people really approach relationships and think about safe?” he said.

“They must!” I said. “Look at this question!”

“Most people are just as open or closed as they usually are,” he said. “They don’t really think about how ‘safe’ their feelings are. Unless we’re talking about physical safety. But then it gets weird. And do feelings need to be kept safe?”

He paused, before adding, “Or are we worried about a metamour going nuts?”

*

Note: I’m not a big fan of veto power, and can only see its utility in extreme circumstances (for example, to stave off abuse in partners who are compromised). That said, I had veto power many years ago when I was a newly poly person, though I never exercised it. But if I’m being honest with myself, I know it made me feel less apprehensive opening up.

It’s interesting because I’m fairly certain now that it was an illusory sense of safety. (Again with this ‘safety’ thing, right?)

In working with polyamorous clients, I’ve never really seen a veto do exactly what it was intended to. Nearly all of them created resentment.  Many of the vetoes were ignored and backfired, actually strengthening the other relationship and causing rifts that were difficult to repair.

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It’s not a fun reality, but the truth of it is that all relationships involve some degree of risk — for everyone.

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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 and answers, please see this indexed list.

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