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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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Does sex really die in every relationship after two years?

In gay relationships, I think it does unless you make an effort. Certainly, it won't help if you have un-resolved tensions outside the bedroom.

Are there any couples out there who are completely monogamous after 5 years? What percentage of the gay community is monogamous?

I believe that 0% of gay couples are naturally monogamous after five years. There might be exceptions but only when there are pressures limiting outside play.

It seems to me that the failure to communicate expectations about outside play is one of the greatest challenges to gay relationships.

Men, straight or gay, do not instinctively look to sexual behaviour as an indicator of fidelity. Many people believe that sexual monogamy is a female trait. So, it's presence in male relationships is a learned, intellectual expectation. In his gut, your partner is not betrayed by your having sex with another man, but by the insecurity (perhaps because of tensions in other parts of your relationship) that you will fall out of love with him and betray your commitment to him.

If you can communicate, with words and actions, your commitment to the relationship, outside sexual play should not feel threatening.

The veto is both a practical and symbolic demonstration of both parties putting the relationship before outsiders. The purpose of the veto is not to stop you from having sex, but to prevent a (usually recurring) person from becoming a threat to the relationship. This is one reason why I prefer the veto to be after the fact. If the veto is abused that's not a problem with the veto, but an issue that needs to be communicated. On the other hand, if you find yourself needing to sleep with someone your partner hates, that's another issue.

You say elsewhere that you are on your third counselor, and then you list things I would consider red flags. I think what you should be looking for is someone who should be facilitating communication who hopefully has some experience with gay couples. (I personally think the kink issues are important only to the extent of making sure your counselor doesn't consider them pathological.)

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