Question: If I am seeing someone, and I want to break the ice so to speak, or to tell her I really don’t mind if she sees other people. When is it too soon to tell her I am OK with it? If I meet someone that can’t understand, should I move on? Or try to convince them?
Answer: First, thank you for your question! This is always a delicate topic. For those of us who want to date more than one person, when is a good time to let that be known to a potential partner? And how soon do we want to know if they are okay with that and if they would do the same? (There are mono/poly relationships that work, where one partner sees more than one person and another remains monogamous – some work and some don’t, like most relationships in general).
Personally, I tend to err on the side of disclosing earlier. Here’s an example: last year, I met someone who I was really excited about. He had never been poly before. I met him at a party that I went to with someone I was involved with at the time, so when we met, he knew what my situation was. The new person and I had our first date several days later and it went really well. We had a lot in common and we got along well. He seemed to be fine with poly. The next day, I was over the moon and when I’m happy, I get flirty. I gave my number to 3 people. In the evening, I picked someone up and took them back to my place. The next day, I was helping throw a party for poly people and I invited the new person. Toward the end of the party, he told me he wanted to go for walk after the party was over; I could sense that things were about to end between us. Indeed, we went on the walk and he told me he didn’t think he could handle poly. I was really disappointed, but I will say that I’m very glad I found that out early on. If I had met him in a situation where he didn’t know about my relationship status and I wouldn’t have told him until, say, the 4th date, my hopes would have been even higher and I would have been even more disappointed.
In terms of people who can’t understand, you can try to explain it to them but be careful – there are times when poly is misunderstood and of course, everyone has a different understanding of what polyamory means to them. If you feel that they would be a good partner, come at it from an angle of dialogue. For example, you could ask them what they want in a relationship and if they describe some things that you are not into, you can tell them that they would be welcome to find it elsewhere if they choose. I think polyamory should be about freedom of choice – there are times in your life where you will only be involved with one person and if you enjoy that, great. If you are doing something like online dating, many poly people let it be known on their profile that they are dating more than one person or that they would like to be dating more than one person. Some people are nervous to do that in case someone they know finds out. Being the open person I am, my online profiles show my relationship status. If people want to contact me, great. If not, I know that there are many people out there who would be keen to date me. Good luck out there in the dating universe, dear reader!
If you have a question, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org Later this week, I will be talking about some exciting stuff that is currently going on in my life. Stay tuned…