A lot of people (a LOT of people, including myself) who just “opened up” their relationship, that kind of security. It feels scary to leave the possible security of monogamy, so you will start to try things.

One of the ways to keep having a sense of control is by agreeing on a so called “veto right” when it comes to partners.

“If I feel insecure about one of your partners, then I should be able to say that you have to leave that partner, no matter if you want to or not.”

It seems like a pretty good deal beforehand. Sure, before is happens, you actually think that you’ll let that partner go because it’s important for my partner to trust me…and out of experience, I have to say that there is something beautiful to be found in that willingness to let your other partners go for another person…

For sexual, non-monogamy, you can actually use that veto right when there are plenty of other sexual stimuli going on. But for romantic “poly”, this story takes a whole other twist.

This article is for people who are focussing on poly or for those who want to try that romantic kind of polyamory… (and for people who not only make love with their underbelly, but only really start to enjoy sex when their heart is involved as well… you might keep on reading too).

Trust or security by means of control

If you start to have a better perspective on things, and there might already be an established relationship, maybe it’s only a feeling of being in love or it already turned into an adult relationship, then certain agreement will start to feel very different.

During my career, I’ve often seen that actually calling on those veto-rights results in the destruction of that relationship.

Just try to imagine what is happening. Someone is falling in love, starts feeling a little crazy about things, calls it NRE* en has butterflies in his belly which results in the actual partner actually getting less quality attention. It hurts –which makes sense- and results in jealousy –also makes sense-. That partner also does not like that feeling and decides to do something about it: “you cannot see your partner anymore!”

What does it do with the heart of your partner? Or to makes it even clearer. You will not get rid of that “feeling in love” phase because you know: that sweet “craziness” will come to pass. But then you start forming a deeper connection. There is not only sex and fun, but also deeper feelings. Maybe your partner is doing something with that new partner that he/she is not doing with you (anymore). Maybe that other relationship is a bigger time investments than you had originally planned. Maybe your own “other relationship” is taking a nosedive which causes you to not feel equal anymore in that relationship. It’s a difficult feeling which can be solved by:

“I’m calling on the veto-right which we have agreed on!”…

Calling on a veto-right is breaking hearts

If you start looking at things from the other side –no matter how understandable your side is- then you will understand that you will put your partner in a difficult position. Although your heart is going crazy for that new relationship, you will have to end it. It hurts! And it shouldn’t, but it does! Not only does it break your own partner’s heart, you also break the heart of your partner’s partner. Besides of the fact of how ethical such an agreement between the both of you is when it comes to your partner’s partner. Calling on that veto right might result in a lot of sorrow or sadness and cannot be comforted by your partner.

Can you remind yourself what happens to you when you want to comfort someone but someone else is not allowing you to do so? Or maybe it results in a lot of anger from your partner’s partner. Can you imagine that the anger of someone you love might be “infectious? That you can easily start feeling angry as well, even when you also love the person that your (ex) partner is angry at?

If your partner has these kind of complicated feelings, even when you agreed on these things and even when things should be completely rational, you might imagine that your heart might not be able to keep up with your mind.

It is my partner giving me these kinds of feelings?

The bad thing is that you’re the one who’s “causing” those double feeling for your first partner… and if you can break up a relationship because your partner is giving you those difficult double kind feelings…Towards you and towards the cause of those double feelings, as well as the partner’s partner which all of the sudden turned into the emergency partner.
If you demand your veto-right, then you’re doing something in your relationship. Then you take a huge withdraw out of your “relationship bank account”. In my experience, this has been the cause multiple times when it comes to the actual break-up of that relationship.
You also do things to the relationship of your partner and your partner’s partner. You inject a lot of adrenaline into it.. an exciting substance at times where the relationship was pretty exciting to start with for your partner.

The “Solution”

There is no such thing as a “solution. You can just not start working on it. OR you can decide that it felt really good to promise this to your partner but in the end it’s just not doable and unethical to cash in on that promise.

It’s an attempt to seize control when you want to demand for it. On the hand, it’s a gift you want to give to your partner, a commitment you’re offering to you partner when you want to agree on it.

On one hand: if your trust is not big enough to open up your relationship to others without that veto-right (romantically or sexually), then you might be better off not doing it. Maybe your commitment needs to grow a bit more. Or maybe it might not actually be your things, even it might sound very exciting in your mind, your heart needs to be able to keep up with your mind when you start walking down this road.

On the other hand: there might be other ways to prove you commitment instead of promising your partner something which he/she cannot cash in on. That is because commitment is also an agreement which your head which will be followed by your heart.


In short: If your partner promises you that he/she is willing to give you veto-rights about their romantic relationships, just pass on that offer. It’s a nice gift, but immediately mention that everything between you should be based around trust. That everything can be talked about and you’re not planning on hurting him/her but that you just cannot accept this as a gift.
When your partner asks about this right…then let them read this article and together you should look into if both of you were actually looking for security instead of trust. Together, look into the things you could possibly do or can discuss (or which “proprietary rights” you can let go off) so you can feel secure enough to take these steps.
I hope to have helped you with this article so all of you can work on more clarity together. I would like to hear if this has helped you and if I can help you in any way, then please be in touch. (To contact me: *click here*)

Hans has over a quarter of a century of experience in the mental health sector. Hans is a certified physiotherapist, psychotherapist and relationship coach. The debilitating effects of shame and taboos have always had his attention.


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