What Are You Looking For?
1) What’s your ideal type of poly relationship? (for example: triad, harem, v-style relationship, big poly family?)
2) In your ideal relationship how many partners would you have?
3) How many of those would be primary, secondary, casual…other? How many would your partners have?
4) Does your ideal relationship structure include casual sex and/or swinging?
5) Do you have any type of poly relationship that you find a turn-off or would not take part in? (i.e. “I won’t be a part of a relationship where I’m secondary to everyone else’s relationship.)
6) What nature of partners are you interested in? (sexual, BDSM, M/s, casual sex, casual play, emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, live-in, take out only, shared only, only not shared)
7) Do you have hierarchical relationships? If so, how does that hierarchy work? Are you open to a changing hierarchy or are you committed to keeping particular partners in particular roles?
8) What kind and level of involvement do you want among your partners? Is it important to you that they get to know each other, like each other, become involved with each other romantically or sexually? How flexible are you on these desires?
9) Something about time & energy management style/preference
10) Describe your communication style/preference
11) What range are you comfortable with, regarding amount that you know about your partners’ other relationships, and they know about yours? every sexual detail? nothing except that the other partners exist and maybe their first names? whatever the OSO chooses to share with you directly, but very little via your common partner?
12) How long have you been actively poly? do you consider poly part of your nature, or something you are experimenting with, or something else?
13) Do you actively seek new, more partners? If so, how? If not, how has your poly been realized? How do people become your partners?
14) How do you feel about long-distance relationships? Live-in relationships? Local relationships? Do you have particular restrictions on what sorts of relationships you feel you can have with someone you do not live with? How about someone you do live with?
15) How do you feel about your partner embarking on new relationships after the one between you is established?
Boundaries and Rules
16) What sex practices, safer sex procedures, and so on are covered? What agreements do you hope to make with new partners?
17) What other kinds of rules do you have?
18) Who do any new partners have to be approved by? Is there a policy or proceedure for that? A trial period? At what point does approval take place? (first meeting, first sex, first play…after the first…when it feels right) Does anyone have veto power? At what point?
19) What agreements, aside from STI stuff and veto powers, do you have with other partners that would affect what you can/will do with a new partner? (examples i’ve heard of include: defined date nights, no sleepovers, ‘our’ restaurant, ruling out certain sexual acts, no sex before meeting the primary, ‘taking a break’ if requested by primary, no sex at your house, DADT…)
20) Are you closeted? What concessions do you expect from your partners to maintain your closet, if so? Can you deal with being partnered with someone who is closeted, and what do you need from a closeted partner to maintain a relationship with them?
21) Is there anyone in your life (extended family, workmates, etc.) who doesn’t know you are poly, and who you don’t want to know? is there any situation in which you would ask me to pretend not to be your partner?
22) How do you define “faithful,” “commitment,” and “cheating”?
23) Have you ever cheated on anyone? Is there anyone in your past who would disagree?
24) Would you consider dating/sleeping with someone who was cheating?
25) What are three things that make you feel loved?
26) What are three things that hurt you deeply?
27) How would you be most comfortable dealing with changes over time? What are your feelings regarding rules, boundaries, and limits, whether stricter or more open?
28) What are your ideas about spirituality? How do you think those ideas are a part of your intimate relationships? How do you accept, respect and deal with diversity around spiritual beliefs and practices?
29) Do you have children? what are your policies and agreements about your kids and poly? at what point, and in what context/role do you you want your partners to meet your kids?
30) Do you want to have future children? do you have thoughts on with whom and when?
31) What if you/she gets pregnant by accident with a secondary?
32) Do you perceive your relationships as affecting each other? Do you keep them completely separate, and work to see that they have no effect on each other? In what ways do you perceive your relationships do affect each other? How’s that working for you?
33) What is, or would you want to be, your relationship to your “ex”s? If you do not know, how do you think/want it would look? (for instance do you stay friends, do you never want to see or hear from the person again) How has that worked for you in the past?
33) If I break up with you, how would you feel if I kept seeing a metamore of yours?
34) How can a partner support you when you’re having a hard time? What do you do to take care of yourself? What kinds of emotional support are you good at offering?
35) Which of these questions are really important to you, and which aren’t such big issues?
A relationship that structures itself around each individual making informed decisions about their own actions based on the consequences of those actions and usually filtered by compassion and a desire to honor and cherish the relationships that would be affected by the actions; a relationship that does not adhere to the idea of rules where one partner can tell another partner what they are or are not allowed to do. These relationships tend to rely more upon personal boundaries, where each person expresses what they are comfortable with for their own bodies but does not expect or demand or require the ability to dictate what their partners do with their own bodies. These relationships tend to have a great deal of flexibility and fluidity, where one may have partners who may fall somewhat outside of one’s comfort zone or boundaries, but one manages the relationship by arranging it or instituting boundaries between one and one’s partner to accommodate for the differences.
Often mistaken for Rules-Based Relationships by people outside of the relationship when outcomes are similar, such as when one partner self-limits behaviour in deference to a partner’s preferences. The difference is internal, where these relationships do not have any implied power exchange and neither partner has agreed to accept any degree of power over the other partner. These relationships operate on trust between the partners that each will choose to do things that honor and cherish the relationship, such as either complying with a request or being honest about not complying with a request so that accommodations for not complying can be made. Non-compliance is not viewed as a breach of the relationship or cheating, but a point at which a relationship may need to be adjusted.
These relationships will tend to address conflict within the relationship solely in terms that exclude other relationships while finding solutions to conflict solely within the relationship, i.e. if one does not feel one is getting enough time with the other, one will take care not to blame the problem on the other’s new partner and to request a solution of increasing time together without specifying where that extra time should come from such as expecting the other to reduce time with the new partner. The expectation is that the other will want to honor the relationship and can find the extra time from wherever the other deems appropriate without requiring one to tell the other where it should come from. These relationships are built on a foundation of individuality, personal autonomy, and respect for differences.
Let’s talk about talking.
Let’s say you’ve entered a long-term committed relationship with another person. How do you minimize fighting and resentment while also getting mutual satisfaction and fun out of the relationship? And the answer is (drumroll please)… you talk a lot.