Sunday, January 30, 2011
Why should I care who you sleep with?
Recently I was talking with a partner of mine about her potential new lover who is a contradiction to her normal tastes and desires. Being a bit confused, I asked some questions to which I got a response that surprised me. Referring to her potential new partner she said, "We are poly. You know I'm going to sleep with other people so I didn't think you would care."
That got me to thinking about conversations I've had with potential new partners of my own. One of my relationship rules is that I know about any new sexual partners they acquire before we have sex together again. Let me be clear with that one. It isn't that I must know before they have sex with a new partner (though that is my preference), I want to know they have had sex with a new partner before I have sex with them again so I can gauge my feelings about safety. Often the response I get to that rule is much like the one my current partner gave; "You're poly. Why would you care if I sleep with someone else?"
I realized I hear that response enough I've become desensitized by it. I fall naturally into a conversation about safety after that, explaining that I will probably want to know about the person and what conversations were had so I can decide if I still feel safe having sex with them or not.
But safety concerns aside, why wouldn't I care? Yes, inherently a poly relationship usually assumes multiple sexual partners by both parties. But as I state clearly during the "interview process" with a potential new partner; I don’t simply want a physical relationship, I want a loving relationship and the emotional connection that goes with it.
If I love you, why wouldn't I care about with whom you are having sex? Isn't it normal to care about your partner's safety? To be interested in their life, including their loves? Shouldn't I want to share in their joy and the happy energy it creates? Just because I feel that people shouldn't be limited to the number of relationships they can have, and that includes the physical aspect of those relationships, doesn't mean I don't care about those relationships.
Where that concerns me some is that I wonder if the person making the statement fully understands Polyamory. Were we engaging in a casual physical relationship I might understand their response better. The same with a Swing oriented relationship or a specific "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" agreement. But Polyamory, mine anyway, is about multiple loving relationships. If I love someone I want to be a part of all aspects of their life. A response like "Why would you care if I sleep with someone else?" gives me the impression that they believe sex is largely meaningless to me, to them, or that I don't care about their actions. All of which couldn't be further from the truth.
Have you run into this before? How do you feel about the statement "Why would you care if I sleep with someone else?" Do you think this is simple confusion or an indication of a bigger problem?
(image from nwso.net)