Poly Is Not “Asking Everyone Automatically For Permission” (Poly Is Not, Part XVII)

Poly Is Not “Asking Everyone Automatically For Permission” (Poly Is Not, Part XVII)

I got a question from a friend about play that went like this (paraphrased):

Someone contacted my SO after a play party for more play. Shouldn’t they also contact me?

No.

Never putting responsibility for your relationship protocols on others. That is up to the two of you in the relationship to maintain.

So, for example, if you have a relationship policy that you BOTH approve a play partner for him, and someone asks him to play, it is up to him to tell them that they will need to also contact you if they want to play with him.

Not up to them to know this.

And it’s not a requirement for them. They get to make the choice whether they follow-through or not, whether they want to participate in your relationship protocols.

Even if they want to play.

If they continue asking him for play without contacting you, it is up to him to cut off/refuse further contact.

You have zero right to force your relationship protocols on others. You also have zero responsibility to continue to engage them if they don’t interact with you both as you wish.

Or, another way to look at it is with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“Hey, can I have a bite of your sandwich?”

“It’s my policy that I don’t share foods with others, but the supplies are in the kitchen, and you’re welcome to make your own.”

They then can decide whether it’s worth their trouble to do so…

“Hmm. No. I just want a bite.”

“A bite is out of the question. I told you what it will take to have a PBJ in your mouth. If that doesn’t work for you, you get no PBJ.”

“Please. just one little bite. I don’t have anything.”

“Now, you’re ignoring my stated preferences on consent. I’d like you to leave. I withdraw my offer of any PBJ.”

Granted, this does not obviously involve a partner’s rules, but it could. It’s just one person stating their protocol and boundaries and sticking with them.

To me, this is poly.

Choose your partners.

Love them.

Trust them as human beings.

And expect others to treat them like adults who can make their own decisions as well.

If you create protocol, inform others and maintain your boundaries, but don’t expect them to know.

So much easier than trying to police the whole world.

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