There are some rules I think we all need to get out in the open.
First let me just say that I really want a glass of wine right now but I want it in such a way that tells me I should not have it. So I’m eating lonesome cheese.
The rules are regarding your partner’s friendships with people of your partner’s preferred gender*. These rules should not be followed to arbitrarily and tyrannically, like curfews in ghettos at wartime, but should be considered for the spirit of safety and fairness. Because we want to. Because it’s better.
Okay, so I guess there really is only one rule. It is this:
If you are friends with someone and they have a partner, you must demonstrate to that partner that you are not a threat. It doesn’t matter how stable their relationship is. You must introduce yourself and be nice to them. Pay attention to them, be courteous. Make them feel like you respect/like them. Think of the animal kingdom, be a little bit submissive. You don’t have to go over the top but a small gesture goes a long way.
There’s no excuse for not following this rule. This rule is especially important if you are attractive, and there is even less excuse for not following it if this is the case, since you are used to being threatening. If you find yourself resistant to compliance, really ask yourself why. Ignorance is not valid; we’ve all been there, and we all know at least intuitively how to create (un)safe environments. But if you claim you weren’t aware of it, now I’ve told you, and don’t say you would have lived your life different if only you’d known this before.
*I’m trying not to be heterosexist. You get the idea: If you are a queer man and your partner is friends with another queer man, or if you are a straight woman and your male partner is friends with another straight woman, etc.