Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mistress Matisse’s Tips For Happy Polyamory, #17

Thou Shalt Not Oust The Incumbent Partner from his/her living space so you can have a date with the mutual lover. This is a violation of important poly tenets Root For The Home Team and (the self-explanatory) Be Very, Very Nice To The Primary.

I have come to the conclusion that one of the reasons my poly life runs rather smoothly is that we have physical space to spread out in. The Big House is, as you may have inferred, fairly big. And I have my own domain as well. (Don’t think for a minute having space for my poly adventures didn’t figure strongly into my choice of workspaces.)

Because nothing creates disgruntlement like a situation where Partner A wants to come home from a long day at work, flop on the couch, eat pizza, and play video games, and Partner B is running around lighting candles and putting on sexy music because they have a date – with someone else. Partner A may very well be able to go over to a buddy’s house and flop/eat/game over there, but there’s probably going to be some resentment about that.

And resentment is what kills relationships. People think it’s the big things, but it’s not. You can forgive your lover One Big Mistake a lot more easily than you’ll forgive ten thousand niggling little irritations.

For one thing, petty resentment is what erodes the sex in relationships. (Any romantic relationships, not just poly ones.) It’s because it’s the easiest thing to deny a partner without actually having to cop to there being something wrong. Most of the time, people don’t consciously think, “Oh, fine – make me wash your dirty dishes again? Turn the TV up to eardrum-shattering levels even though I asked you not to again? See if you get laid tonight.” But the resentment takes root, and it is subtly poisonous.

Everyone annoys his/her partner sometimes. But if you want to be happily poly, you should strive not to let your other involvements impinge on your sweetie’s preferences and comfort, and that starts with not denying them the simple creature comforts of home.

If you're the non-domestic partner, make sure this isn't happening. You do not want the resident partner to be feeling resentful about something as easily fixed as physical space/privacy and start associating that feeling with polyamory in general and you in particular.

Therefore, if you want to have a hot date with someone who lives with a partner, have the date elsewhere.

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