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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Have the rules worked?

In the last couple of articles I talked about rules others have, and rules I like to have, in relationships. In this follow-up I'll talk about rules I have had in past relationships and how they worked out.

Rule: Physical interaction (sex) with anyone else must be reported to each other as soon as possible.
We both had other partners during this relationship which was pretty open so this rule was really more about being sexually safe than anything else.

Rule: Dates or events we identify as 'dates' are attended with each other only. No playing with others, including our other partners that might be at the same event. In other words, we are there together on a date so we should be attentive and respectful to each other with that in mind.
This was a rule my SO proposed. After a few hiccups around this one I found the real reason for the rule was that she was afraid of going to an event only to find that at the end of the evening she would be going home alone. Once we modified the rule to ensure the understanding that I would be going home with her at the end of the night when we were on a 'date' together things went much more smoothly and we were both able to enjoy our freedom at events.

Both of the following rules were in the same relationship, the first made by me and the second by my SO. We had made these rules specifically to avoid the jealousy issues we were both feeling and both agreed to work on the feelings in an effort to overcome them. It wasn't long before the rules became flexible and eventually were removed completely.
Rule: OPP - One Penis Policy. My SO was free to enjoy other women and men but intercourse with men, particularly in front of me, was discouraged.
Rule: No oral. I was allowed to enjoy other men or women but giving oral sex to another woman was discouraged, specifically in front of my SO.
I don’t particularly like either of those rules and tend to avoid getting involved with people who indicate they may want those kinds of restrictive rules. This relationship however had been going on quite a while and was well developed before an internal change to the relationship started causing us both to have some jealousy issues. In this case I felt the rules were justified because 1) they were intended to be temporary and 2) they were being used to save an existing relationship, not establish a new relationship.

I'm sure not everyone will agree with rules I've lived with or applied. Just as I won't agree with the rules everyone else has or might have. But what I do believe is that everyone has their rules for a reason. If those rules support their needs and are acceptable to everyone involved in a relationship then for them they are the right rules.

Of course these aren't all the rules I've ever had in relationships; I don't have the room here to put them all down in text! But they give you an idea of where I've been and what I've done.

So what rules have you had, and how have they worked? Are there rules you avoid? Rules you insist upon? Relationship specifics and names aren’t needed if you aren’t comfortable giving them.

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