Anyone but him?

I just read a posting about an all-too-common situation. To summarize, a married couple (M/F) has been having an open relationship and dating only women for some years. The wife then meets a man she wants to date, but her husband doesn’t want that unless and until he has a woman to date. When the husband eventually meets a woman he’s interested in and the wife wants to start a romance with her male friend, husband says he doesn’t like him.
Read the LiveJournal post here (opens in new window).

There is an obvious issue here with the inequality of dating women versus men. Although the poster does not bring it up, it clearly underlies the situation and is a common misunderstanding and/or inequity that arises between heterosexual MF couples. Since she doesn’t ask about it, I am going to write about it another time and link to it here: Ok to date women but not men? (new window)

First I think I should state that I have more than one point of view on this. In general, I believe that polyamory works best when everyone involved is happy with all involved. That if any party is not happy and comfortable that the situation (and the relationships) cannot last. However, short to medium term uncomfortableness is often useful and bearable if all involved are working toward a shared vision in good faith, and any people that need help and attention in keeping sane through the adjustment process get the help they need.
It all comes down to my third basic rule of open relationships: “What is your commitment?” (new window)

My original comment (with some editing) was:
What is your commitment? Yours to him, and his to you?
Is it to be comfortable with each others’ partners, and if not, to veto them? Or are you committed to getting comfortable with each others’ partners if needed, so that you both get to see whomever you want?
Some relationships agree on veto power. Others agree that everyone has a right to do what they wish in life, and that everyone will make every effort in good faith to get comfortable with the people each brings into your “family”.

If you don’t know, then discuss it until you do know. Waiting until you hit the real world situation where someone is uncomfortable or unhappy is a sure way to screw it up.

The important thing is that you have an agreement that makes you both happy, because if one or both of you agree to something that doesn’t truly work for you, eventually it will fall apart with resentments and drama.

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