Veto Rules in Polyamory

Polyamory primary couples often use veto rules as a way of expressing disapproval for their partner’s choices. This is sometimes discussed early in a relationship and worked into a contract. So how exactly does this rule work. I asked around.

A veto may be issued by either partner and does not necessarily need to be explained. For example, if one person was interested in going to a “party” and asked their primary if it was okay to be intimate if they were attracted to someone, their partner may veto this.

I get the idea behind this, but it seems a bit controlling and more an avoidance of feelings – jealousy, loneliness, anger – that could be worked out through discussion, thus deepening communication in a relationship. Instead of listening to a lover’s reasons for wanting to explore something or someone, you could abruptly cut them off with a veto.

I also heard from a couple that exercises absolute veto when it comes to looking for a third. If one partner is interested in someone, but the other one has an issue they will boycott them from joining the relationship. I wonder how long it takes them to find a person they can both agree upon?

A veto suggests a final ruling, avoiding conversation and confrontation, which I think is unhealthy. Negotiation and a certain amount of compromise are a natural part of an ongoing relationship. What makes a partner happy may not be what we expect, but their satisfaction should also make us feel good.

You may think you know what’s best for your significant other and want to veto for their own good, but letting individuals learn from their mistakes and working out bad choices together will only strengthen your commitment to one another.

Another possible problem with a veto – what if it’s ignored? Those that abide by it say it doesn’t happen. This black and white approach seems unrealistic. If someone wanted to use veto power with me, I’d have to veto that!

What do you think of veto rules? Have you used them in your relationships?

Tell us what you think

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