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I read that the key to an open relationship is for both partners to agree on the rules of the game. So, I made a list of what my partner and I want out of polyamory and shared it with him:

His list

  1. No sex with Master Ted (this is a shame, because Ted is a great guy who has given me some of the best scenes of my life)
  2. No sleepovers (one of my wishes lately is to have a late Sunday morning sleep-in with annoyinghandle and a copy of the New York Times)
  3. Only meet guys at our house, preferably when my partner was home
  4. Only safe sex (I agree with this one, if it allows some slightly unsafe edgeplay)
  5. I should be home whenever my partner is home… no late nights away
  6. Limit computer use (stop surfing and chatting so much)
  7. Don’t cum when I am with other guys… save it for my partner later
  8. Try to only play together in threesomes
  9. My partner wants to meet any tricks beforehand, and reserve veto power if he doesn’t like them
  10. More hot sex with me (we haven’t really done anything together in a few years)
  11. I have to give all my cum to my partner
  12. Do more things together as a couple
  13. Show more love to each other

My list

  1. Complete sexual freedom – I get to decide who I have sex with, and when
  2. However, this is tempered with respect and love. For example, on a Friday night, I’d rather be with my partner than at the baths
  3. I would be able to tell my partner everything about all the hot encounters and scenes I had
  4. Sleepovers (but will try to limit to no more than twice a month)
  5. Travel occasionally to see the Master I met last month to serve Him for a weekend
  6. Attend leather conferences alone (but try to limit to no more than one weekend every other month)

As you can see, our lists diverge wildly. It seems my partner and I can love each other and stay together forever, but only if either 1) I stop having sex with other people and suck it up, or 2) my partner learns not to mind when I run around fucking other people and not him. I don’t see a compromise between those two positions. My partner notes that if he gives me one weekend a month, I will want two, and then three…

We talked about the above lists last night (before watching “Valley of the Dolls”). There was no crying, there was no argument. This is the first time we have both had the sad realization that our paths are not parallel, and that trying to remain together might be causing a hell of a lot more pain than a separation. I think this is the beginning of the end.

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We're on our third counselor in three years, and I'm looking into a fourth. The first guy said I had a sex addiction, and didn't say much more than that. The second guy was a cool S&M hippie biker who liked to talk about his experiences more than help. The current guy thinks it's great that I'm on a "voyage of self-discovery", and tells my partner that if he can just hold out for a few years, I'll get this out of my system and come back to him.

All in all, not very useful. At $100 an hour.

Ah. I see you've already hit some of the classic responses from therapists, then. "You're a sex addict" ... not the point even if true. With polyamorists, it's just as fair to say they're LOVE addicts. ;-) "It's a phase." Heh, and what if it ain't? And what if your partner can't stand to wait?

Dude, do you network with other poly people? What's more: would HE be willing to do that? There *are* other people who've done this. Some of what you guys are wrestling with has been hashed out by others. Including by people who started with lists like his. Or like yours. And then met somewhere in between.

You really don't have to reinvent the wheel, although you might have to customize it a lot. ;-)

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