PQ 25.2 — Do I feel like I have friends I can discuss relationship problems with who will not blame polyamory as the problem?
In my line of work, I get asked certain questions over and over again. This is understandable since while no two people are exactly alike, we do share a lot in common with each other (often more than we realize). As such, we can run into similar challenges.
One of the most frequently asked questions is “How do you meet new partners when you’re polyamorous?” Or other related questions like “Are there any polyamory-specific dating sites?”
(The answer to that second one is, yes, a few exist, but when I tried them out, I found that not a lot of people use them, limiting their usefulness since I didn’t find anyone that looked halfway compatible within even hundreds of miles of me.)
I find that people are newly polyamorous (and especially ones entering polyamory via opening up a previously closed relationship) are often raring to go when it comes to finding new people to date. To get the show on the road, so speak, and make the most of what can feel in a monogamy-centered world like an exciting level of freedom.
And I get that.
But I think that seeking polyamorous romantic partners without also finding polyamorous friends or other social supports… well, it’s a difficult path. And that’s why I advise that it’s probably best, especially in the beginning and especially if you don’t already have many (or any) polyamorous (or at least polyamory-friendly) friends, to make your main goal not to find a romantic partner but to meet polyamorous people in general (here’s an article I wrote on that).
There are three reasons for this:
- People who have been polyamorous for a long time are often wary of dating people who are freshly exploring consensual non-monogamy. This doesn’t mean that no one will date you and that no one will be willing to be your “first” (that’s not true, and I have personally dated some “beginners”). However, I have found that it means that usually people will probably want to get to know you a bit first, to get an idea if you’re going to be someone they’re willing to date, knowing that they might be subjected to some adjustment stress because of it (typically, newly polyamorous folks and their partners are doing extra emotional work adjusting to consensual non-monogamy, and partners and metamours are often affected by it).
- Many polyamory meetups and social groups have classes and discussion events that teach you about important issues in consensual non-monogamy and provide valuable educational information that can help you better deal with any bumps in the road you may encounter when you’re new to polyamory. You don’t get those when you just meet for drinks with a person on a dating site.
- When you do find someone to date, it’s extremely helpful to have friends you can talk to about it who aren’t going to immediately default to thinking any relationship issues you have are a result of non-monogamy (because people have happy polyamorous relationships all the time and just like monogamous relationships, most of the problems in a given relationship aren’t typically a result of its structure). Lemme tell you… speaking from experience, it really does help to have confidants and people you can talk to who you aren’t dating and who aren’t your metamour. Polyamory is already complicated enough — it’s helpful to have social outlets who can help make things a little less complicated.
Further Reading: How to Meet Polyamorous People
This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.