I’ve picked up Dear Raven and Joshua again, in the hopes of finishing up the last section of it. I’ve been reading the part about O/p and polyamoury and feeling very much like they’ve left something out.

Specifically: What happens when the sub in the relationship has multiple partners?

I think that happened with Vi Johnson – and, in her case (afaict), her primary romantic partner basically got body-checked into the back seat while Vi’s domme took up all of her time, energy, and attention. Which isn’t right. But there was a lot about that relationship that wasn’t right, so I can’t say I’m surprised.
Regardless, it’s not a particularly great example of a how-to-handle-this situation.

My submissive is also my primary romantic partner.
This works for me.
I don’t think she could be my submissive if she had someone else as her primary partner. Not to the degree that she is, anyway, because “primary” means “first priority” (at least in my world). And I don’t think she could be my primary partner if she were someone else’s property because, as someone’s property, her owner must also be her first priority.

I think maybe this is why Dear Raven and Joshua doesn’t talk about submissives with multiple romantic partners (at least not much, and not outside of a hierarchical context). Because it gets very muddy very quickly.

My submissive has multiple partners. In addition to me, she has:
A non-poly poly partner – I think a reasonable word to describe their relationship is “companionship” in that Victorian sense of the word where an unmarried, wealthy woman might have a “lady’s companion” to keep her company, to be a help-meet, to exist somewhere between friend, dependent, servant, and sister;
A submissive[1] of her own – though the shape of that relationship is still being defined and figured out. Currently, it’s a long-distance, non-sexual, secondary-by-necessity relationship, but I think everyone involved (directly or peripherally) expects it to grow and deepen from where it is now.

It’s something I struggle with for a bunch of reasons, one of which being that my submissive is wired for polyamoury, whereas I’m wired for “openness”. I didn’t have the vocabulary to differentiate between those two things when we first got together. I only had “poly” and “mono” and knew that I wasn’t the latter. It’s made for a lot of Hard over the past… almost two years, as I’ve figured that out and tried to come to terms with the fact that my beloved is so much more capable than I am of loving many, many at once.

The thing is, though, that the whole situation is complicated by our O/p dynamic. Strictly speaking, I have every right to limit the number of relationships she has; decree the types of relationships and the types of interactions, that she’s allowed to pursue; and specify the amount of time, energy, and attention she’s allowed to devote to any Other People in her life. Up to, and including, requiring her to be monogamously devoted to me alone whether or not I choose to pursue other romantic/sexual/kinky relationships myself.
Not the privilege. The right. She is wholly and utterly my property.
And gods know that plenty of other dominants who do just that – who set limits on how, and how frequently, their submissive(s) can interact sexually/kinkily/romantically with anyone other than them – regardless of whether or not they’re involved in those ways with their sub(s).

And yet… It seems… not quite right.
Like it would be too easy for me to use my Dommely Veto Power as an excuse to not deal with my own insecurities. Y’know?

My Ghost tells me that there’s no prize for being The Most Poly; that no-one gets brownie points for being more or less polyamourous than anyone else; that I’m not defective for only wanting a primary and the chance to fool around with others should the opportunity arise, rather than wanting to building an extensive amoeba of sweethearts or, for that matter, a stable of servants.

None the less, I have deep-seated insecurities about “Not Being ____________ Enough” to keep my Person happily participating in whatever type of relationship we have. I don’t want to enforce a hard-and-fast limit on her love-life because I suspect I would end up penning her in more out of fear than anything else. And I don’t think that’s right.

As both her primary romantic partner and her owner – I want and need (and expect) to be her main focus in both of these areas, and so I’ve asked her not to go looking for further People to add to her life. But if a third Other Person landed in her lap, the way her submissive did – sudden and un-looked-for, but a perfect fit and so, so good for her – I don’t think it would be right for me to refuse her that opportunity.

I’ve been wanting to write about this – about D/s and poly and where it gets muddy for me – for months now, and this is what’s come out.

There might be more, later.

Ms Syren.

[1] Who, hirself, has a submissive, too. And, no, I’m not in power-exchange relationships with either of them. I may be the Boss of my Ghost, but her submissive isn’t mine, and so-on down the line. I don’t get two extra servants when they visit.