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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What do you mean the rules have changed?

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I use the word 'rules' quite often. You also probably know that my relationship rules are fairly high level. Things such as complete honesty and safety first are good examples. Rarely will you find me supporting a detailed, low-level rule such as; No tongue kissing in front of me or, I'm always the priority over other loves.

Recently a love and I attended an annual festival in the mountains. Being a somewhat sexually charged festival we did a bit of talking beforehand. Who would be off-limits, possibilities, and a few "what if?" situations. Since we have attended the festival many times, know most of the participants, and have had the same conversations many times we really didn't need to discuss a lot. Knowing the group as well as we do neither of us really expected to be interacting physically with anyone anyway and didn't think we would really need to worry much about our rules.

But as life does sometimes it throws you a curve. Before we knew it we were developing a relationship with a young lady. This is where things got interesting.

Typically I require quite a bit of conversation when entering a relationship. I'm not the guy who jumps into bed with just anyone, even after the requisite STD talks. I like to know how a person thinks and understand their decision process first. If I don't have confidence in their decision process, attitude, morality, and honesty it doesn't matter to me if they are a supermodel with a perfect health record. We probably aren't going to get physical. My lover with me at the festival behaves much in the same way.

At festival however the requirements change a bit. Because we know the community we both know the history of most of the participants. The prerequisite conversations are much less involved, partly because it is a sexually casual atmosphere and it is more about freedom. Partly because we know the participants. It isn't a swing event, nor do we swing at all, but the possibility of a casual encounter with someone we know fairly well but with whom we probably won't have a relationship is possible.

So here we are having some mild prerequisite conversations with this young lady and it quickly becomes apparent there is mutual attraction between the three of us, availability for us all, and we seem to be on the same page about most of the high level stuff like safety, long-term hopes, etc. But life must throw curves and finds this an amusing time to do so. My lover and I got busy running events at the festival and the timing just never worked for any of us to consummate our new relationship.

Fast forward a week and we are now all home from the festival. But now, the situation has changed. The prerequisite conversations normally required but suspended during festival are now required again. We have had a few of the conversations and things are still going well. What struck me was the idea that the rules change in different situations. That we make exceptions to our own rules to satisfy our needs and desires.

Does that make us unsafe? I don't think so. It is an adjustment to the environment. Meeting someone new on the street I don't know their history. Meeting someone in our community I probably either know their history already or can acquire it very quickly.

What I found amusing was that although I entertained the possibility of physical interaction with this woman at the festival, once we got home physical interaction was pushed aside in favor of first determining emotional compatibility.

Is this something that others do? Do you change your rules based on the situation? Do you relax your rules at times?
And if you have interacted with someone while your rules were relaxed what happens when you return to your normal rule implementation?

Incidentally, I ran across this picture while looking for an image to lead this article. It seemed fitting but then I remembered seeing the TV show once and it had nothing to do with Polyamory, Open Relationships, etc. So what's up with the picuture implying it does? Anyone?

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