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Assumptions Jenga

Assumptions Jenga

In the stereotypical narration laid out by our culture, there are a lot of assumptions. A heterosexual man will meet a heterosexual woman, they will date, fall in love, get married, have children, and you know their relationship is a success because one of them died instead of getting divorced. This is a life that many people want, and that’s great for them, but there are also many people that it just doesn’t seem right to. These are the dangers in assumptions.

On the one hand, if something is so broadly assumed, you will feel like a complete outcast if you don’t fit that assumption. Whether that means you’re gay, or don’t want children, or want a career in juggling, or really anything that doesn’t fit the mold, it’s something you either have to speak out about and risk bad reactions, or stay quiet on, and live a life you don’t want.

Those are all huge assumptions, though, and here I want to talk about the many, many smaller ones we make day to day. Sometimes these smaller ones will pass by unnoticed, but often times they lay the foundation for one of the bigger ones, and the longer the assumption stays in place, the harder it will fall.

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Rules Are Made For Those That Break Them

Rules Are Made for Those That Break Them

There is a school of thought in the polyamory community that you shouldn’t have rules, only personal boundaries, which you make agreements around. This may seem like a subtle distinction, or maybe even just wordplay, but it’s an important difference.

In poly, making a distinction between rules and boundaries is important, because it’s no longer about two people. Two people in a relationship with only each other can make rules with each other all day long as long as they both agree to them. In poly, when you create a rule between two people instead of stating your personal boundaries, the rule also affects any future third party but they didn’t have any say in it.*

Rules are declarations, whether agreed to or not, that you will enforce someone else’s behavior otherwise they will face consequences. Boundaries are clear definitions that you state about what you are comfortable with, and you act on your boundaries, instead of demanding that someone follow your rules. When it comes down to it, you are deciding whether you’re controlling someone else’s autonomy, rather than your own.

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