Ask Page: Can He Force Me Into Mono/Poly Just Because He’s a Dominant?

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Hi Page,

I’m kind of new to this whole thing, being kinky and poly. Been talking to someone, and I have doubts. I would love to know if you could shed some light on them.

Talking to a guy right now, and he says that just because he’s a Dominant that he can go out with other submissives while he doesn’t even let me talk to other people. We’re not in an owner/property relationship. Or any relationship, really. But if there’s a role difference, does that mean he gets to call the shots? That anything goes in polyamory when someone’s a Dom? I’m not even his.

Thanks for your time.

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Oh dear. Yeah, you’re right to have doubts here. Wow. Calling oneself a Dominant doesn’t imbue a person magically with the power and the right to control others.

And just because he’s (calling himself) a Dom, it doesn’t mean he can force you into a mono/poly situation where you can’t even talk to anybody and he gets to see as many people as he wants without even consulting you.

If you haven’t negotiated this setup with him and agreed to it, then it’s not your agreement. Period. Paragraph. (End document. Flail arms wildly about one’s head. Crumple up paper. Throw it at the wall.)

Especially if you don’t have another preexisting D/s contract that would even begin to support his making decisions — especially large ones — that affect you both without getting your buy-in. Like, he doesn’t even own you in a D/s sense.

But even then, this level of overarching control would need to be negotiated upfront. There’s no default mono/poly built into Dominance and submission. Even if he has some fantasy about it, unilaterally manifesting your fantasy without the other person’s say-so is not how healthy BDSM or healthy polyamory works. People don’t just show up with their working definitions of things and then force them on the other person with no discussion.

Now, that said, some people do have mono/poly setups built into their agreements with their Dominants where they remain monogamous and their Dominant has a variety of other submissives. For some people, this one-sided arrangement is their kink. I’ve known of submissives who frankly get off on a sense of unfairness — and others who don’t consider such an arrangement unfair at all, considering everyone consented to it. (I consider both of these to be reasonable positions so long as everyone consents.) But people need to agree on it first.

It’s also worth noting that at the end of the day, even in the most strict 24/7 power exchange setups, submissives always have the legal right to leave their Dominants. Walking rights are everyone’s recourse in relationships. True slavery is illegal, and BDSM contracts — while often very personally meaningful to the people that write them for their relationships — are nearly always legally unenforceable.

There are frankly a lot of different ways that polyamory and power exchange can coexist. And the way that he’s suggesting (in an overclaiming and offputting manner) is simply one of those options. I wrote more about that in this post, the various ways people comanage polyamory and power exchange.

But yeah, just because he’s capitalizing his title, that doesn’t mean you have to de facto agree. He thinks he’s a Dominant (maybe he is, maybe he isn’t), but he sure isn’t your Dominant. And even after you enter into a power exchange relationship, there are plenty of relationships in which submissives are encouraged to negotiate from the bottom in a polyamorous relationship system.

Listen to your spidey sense. Your doubts are giving you good info. This is not the right guy to be talking to. Run away from this.

Please also read this post: “3 Differences Between a Dominant & Someone Who Uses It As an Excuse to Be Controlling.”

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Have a question about a post? Maybe need some advice about a relationship or situation? Write me. I love getting messages from you.

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Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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