Welcome to another Two’s Day here on Kinky In The Middle! Today we are talking about transparency. It has recently come to my attention that many people don’t even know what this means, so before we dive into our questions, we need to define the term.
When speaking of interpersonal relationships, transparency is the complete lack of hiding things. It means exposing everything: your hopes, your fears, the things you don’t like but never tell anyone for fear of judgement, and the things you do. It means being utterly open with your partners.
In my not-so-humble opinion, this one thing is the crux of healthy communication. If my partners feel the need to hide things, then something is wrong between us. Transparency in any relationship – whether it be vanilla, kinky, polyamorous, or monogamous – is often one of the defining factors in long-lasting connections. It fosters intimacy, trust, and working as a team to overcome obstacles.
Not everyone agrees with me, of course. Some poly relationships have a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, where there is blanket consent to have outside relationships as long as your partner doesn’t have to know for a fact that it is happening. There are also partners who want to know their partner is having other relationships but don’t really want to know the other person or any details. It’s all a matter of your preference.
How Important Is Transparency to Me?
For me, transparency is the difference between cheating and polyamory. It’s absolutely required given that BDSM is also a part of my lifestyle.
Cheating for me is the lie, the keeping or altering of information that affects me and my choices, regarding my partner’s feelings and/or actions. Most people think of it as the action involved, when really it isn’t. It’s the betrayal. The lie. The breaking of an understood agreement. My partner could be sleeping with my best friend, and I wouldn’t care as long as they told me first and gave me the option to say whether or not I am willing to have that person influencing my life in that way.
I absolutely need that honesty. I need to give it as much as I need to receive it. It extends past the issue of outside partners though. I crave the closeness and intimacy that full transparency breeds. I want behind my partners’ walls. I want them to be behind mine. I am notorious for laying myself bare to those that I have intimate relationships with. I hide absolutely nothing from them. I will, however, instinctively hold myself back from someone that I don’t feel is being transparent with me.
The bottom line is that without transparency, I feel as though someone else is controlling me without my consent or that I am doing so to them. Someone isn’t getting a say in things that affect their own life. That just isn’t cool for me. I may be a submissive, but my consent is still required and so is theirs.
If I Have More Than One Lover, Am I Happy With Them Knowing About Each Other?
Truthfully? This is literally the only way in which I operate. All my partners know of each other and of any new interests I may have, usually long before anything even has the chance to begin. I need to be assured that no one is being blindsided by my actions. I consider it simple common courtesy.
Before I do anything with anyone, even have a cup of coffee, I make sure that Danny meets them in person. He likes to be assured of my physical safety with any given person. He may not mind sharing me, but he very much will mind if I come home to him injured or hurt because they were not taking care of me. He also likes to make sure that whomever I may be interested in understands that plays for power or position will not be tolerated. It’s redundant because people who try to make me choose tend to be the ones I walk away from on my own. It makes him feel more secure, though.
Draggy is a little more difficult because he lives 300 miles away from me. I do my best to make sure that he gets to chat online with anyone I want to pursue intimacy of some kind with, especially in a BDSM capacity. It gives him a chance to feel out new metamours, a term for partners of a current partner, and if they are going to be Domming me as well, it gives them both the ability to discuss overlapping areas and common courtesies to each other. I tend to lurk in those conversations because it will be up to me to hold those lines if anyone forgets themselves.
All in all, this has worked out well for us. Daddy and Draggy are actually friends! We all play in a weekly game of Pathfinder together and have fun. When things go wrong, we are always there for each other. I don’t worry about either trying to play me against the other. It’s quite nice.
If They Have Other Lovers, Am I Happy Knowing Them?
This is a hard rule in my relationships. I want to at least meet potential metamours. I want the option to choose if their influence is one I want impacting my world. Regardless of how separate one may keep their relationships, inevitably they will impact each other as they impact the person involved in both.
Don’t misunderstand. This doesn’t mean that I have to like these potential metamours, or that I have veto power over whether or not my partner gets involved with them. I would prefer to like them, but it is not necessary. I do have to feel comfortable that they will not bring harm to my partners or myself. This includes drugs, trouble with the law, abusive behavior, and basic cattiness. If I am not then I will discuss that with my partner. If they still feel the urge to pursue that connection, I then have choices of my own to make. That very well might mean a severing of my own relationship. It sucks, but it is a reality. I have never had this be the case, however.
I also like to know how things are going for my partners in their other relationships. Those people are a major part of their lives and I want to be supportive of them in any way I can. It’s just how I operate as a person.
Oddly enough, despite my insistence on transparency, I don’t want the intimate details though. I don’t want or need to know what happens in their bedrooms. I will only compare myself to it and find myself lacking. That isn’t their fault — it’s mine — and it isn’t fair to or healthy for anyone involved when such things occur. So, I just ask them not to share that particular information with me.
At the End of the Day…
Transparency takes work and a willingness to allow yourself to be vulnerable. It can be a risk, but it is ultimately good for any relationship style.
For me, it’s a necessary component in all that I do. It fosters intimacy and security with my current partners and avoids unwanted drama with potential new partners and metamours. Sometimes it can reveal reasons for one of us to walk away from a connection, but that is our individual choice.
As always, remember: This is your life; live it your way!