Surprised by Boundaries

“If you guys want to play, fuck, whatever, go for it. I’m going to bed,” she told us.

The three of us had just gotten home from a birthday party for a mutual friend. We were all tired. But her husband and I had been flirting for a month solid, and he’d invited me home with them to play.

So he and I retreated to the pull-out couch across the room and made out quietly while she slept. That is, we assumed she slept. Meanwhile, we explored each other’s bodies and began the process of learning how to make each other moan and sigh.

In the morning, she admitted she hadn’t been as okay with what had happened as she thought she would be. We talked about it. We talked about what to do differently in the future. We listened to each other.

And while the communication was important, and set a tone for our relationship,  it’s not the only thing I remember about that day. See, until then, I wasn’t really aware that you could think you would be okay with a thing, and then not be okay with that thing. I might have been aware of the concept, but I certainly had not seen it play out in such a way.

I think it’s an important concept to keep in mind, however, when negotiating anything – poly relationships, play partnerships, or power exchange dynamics.

The brain is a tricky place. This isn’t news, but it is easy to forget when starting something new. And if you’re starting a type of relationship that you’ve never been in before, it’s almost impossible to know for sure what you will and will not be okay with.

You can make an educated guess. You can know what you want to be okay with. But it’s not always that easy. And issues you didn’t know you had can come up and bite you in the ass.

In those times, it may be necessary to renegotiate the boundaries you already set. It will absolutely be necessary to communicate your needs. Like most things in life, ignoring what is wrong will only make it worse.

Discovering a new boundary doesn’t mean everything has to end. It  may mean you have to explore more slowly. You may have to develop patience with yourself. I’m not good at this – I want to be the perfect partner now. I want to figure out all my issues instantly.

Life doesn’t work that way either, unfortunately.

So take your time. There’s no reason to dive into the deep end of poly, kink, or anything else before you’re ready.

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