Matthew Stefanson (from sympatico.ca lifestyle, aug 30 2011)
What are the obvious indiscretions?
The obvious red flags don’t need to be mentioned. No touching below the belt or between the midriff and shoulders. No lasting meaningful eye contact. Absolutely no extramarital hand holding. These rules have been golden for a long time, the unshakable tenets of any relationship, but they don’t necessarily apply to everyone.
Sexual arrangements differ in every relationship and you will know better than me what that is for you, but it’s a good bet that if you’ve never talked about it, you don’t have an arrangement. Assuming that you are engaged in a serious relationship, which I can’t guarantee, you will either be working under the assumption that you are monogamous or you will have come to the conclusion, through a mutual arrangement, that you are allowed to seek out some manner of extramarital activity. If you haven’t reached this conclusion with your partner, then that’s where the line is. Don’t cross it.
Off Limits Lovers
If you have decided that your coupling will be more of a free-wheeling, fly by the seat of your perpetually unzipped pants sort of situation, then you’ve probably set some boundaries. But there are unspoken ones that most men wouldn’t feel the need to bring up, either because they think it’s too obvious or because they think it would make them seem restrictive. Regardless of their intentions, there are certain types of sanctioned infidelities that will completely derail the whole system. Stay away from his friends, relatives and, if you’re really considerate, your ex-boyfriends. Most men would not appreciate the knowledge that you are carrying on a sexual relationship with any of these people and it’s an invitation for drama and turmoil.
Aside from this, most men who are willing to engage in polyamorous relationships are fine with any arrangement that doesn’t diminish the quality or frequency of the sex that you are having with him. This is actually the reason that most men do engage in poly activities, it helps keep the relationship healthy by removing boundaries that are likely to be crossed anyway, but there are still smaller, more subtle boundaries within the ones that have been opened up. Try to not cross them.
Men aren’t too big on the whole emotional infidelity thing. It’s not as big of a concern to us as it is to women, not because we don’t cherish the lovely romantic, intellectual connections that we have with our female friends, but because we simply don’t operate the same way on that level. To women, a close relationship that is had by their partner with a member of the opposite sex is usually up for close scrutiny. It doesn’t usually matter if they suspect a physical indiscretion or not, or even if they sense any physical chemistry between them, the emotional connection can be enough evidence to prosecute.
Men do not see it this way. For the most part, we are only prompted to reaction by a perceived physical threat to the relationship. We are possessive of our sexual partners and can sometimes let our paranoia get the better of us if we think the sanctity of our bed is violated, but usually the presence of a close male friend is no more a problem than a close female friend. Have your emotional trysts, but be careful that it doesn’t slip into something more gratifying.
We are stupid and irrational creatures when it comes to almost anything. Our more despicable instincts cause us to be suspicious, reactionary and impulsive, and there is no more appropriate venue for this lesson than romance. We get jealous of our partners and suspicious of people we perceive as threats to our happiness, but that doesn’t mean that we are continually in the right. We can be pigheaded and stubborn, and most often these are the qualities that cause a woman to stay in the first place. If your fellow starts to drift away, to neglect you or actively hurt you, let him know this. If he still doesn’t shape up, cheat on his ass all you want or do the mature thing and break up. Your call