I’ve been identifying openly as polyamorous for about seven years now. Even so, I’ve found dating in the lifestyle rather difficult. I wrote about some of the obstacles in the article 7 Truths About Being Nonmonogamous.
Firstly, I don’t meet very many people who are open to the lifestyle. This is tricky because folks pretend to be only to change their mind later, but also not want to give-up the relationship. We know it can’t work this way. Yet, I understand the attachment and not wanting to let go of a seemingly good thing. Like…”we’re so good together, why don’t you just be monogamous with me.” I can’t, nor do I want to. So it just won’t work.
Through the polyamorous groups that I’m in on FB, I find this to be a common issue among polyamorous folks. Monogamous folks attempting to turn you monogamous. It has been tried and all it does is kill my creative spark.
Secondly, for so many folks in the “lifestyle” their interest are sex and sexual fantasy based, mine aren’t. I see women that are in it to appease their man sexually and aren’t really into the lifestyle at all. I even see folks using the polyamory and swinger lifestyle interchangeably. These are things I’ve had to learn the long way. It can be so hard to find your flavor of polyamory when there are so many versions.
There are many dynamics of polyamory and I just cannot seem to find the one for me, so I decide to do an exercise where I write out my ideal polyam dynamic and how I see myself and each of my partners interacting within that dynamic. I want to see how this helps me in keeping out of those polyam dynamics that I ask myself, “How did I get into this mess?” Because you didn’t set the right intentions maybe.
I’m a hopeless romantic. It’s true. I know this and for that reason, I keep my distance for awhile when it comes to establishing a new relationship. Even then I get it wrong sometimes. Whoa is my humanity. For folks like me, there’s this article How to Date Casually- Even if You are a Hopeless Romantic and it has some really great strategies that I’ve found to be helpful as I navigate poly-world. Many of these I had to learn the long way once again through personal experimentation. I’m so glad the insight on polyam lifestyle is more accessible these days.
My final obstacle in dating in the lifestyle is emotional competence. Emotional labor is not my favorite thing to partake in especially when I have a partner that isn’t listening or is pretending to listen which is quite common. They do this for many reasons: they have not interest in altering their poly, they just want you to be part of their poly vision. They aren’t considering your needs within the dynamic, they believe they know more about the lifestyle and how it is suppose to go than you do. I had a person once tell me that a woman with two male spouses isn’t how polyamory is supposed to go. I wasn’t sure whether to be angry or laugh. I just ended up educating him on polyandry which he had no clue about.
I’ve found that too many people lack the knowledge to articulate what they feel, why they feel that way, and notice that many times it has nothing to do with their partner. That instead, their emotions are something that they must work on, and not burden their partner. It’s completely unreasonable yet folks don’t see that. Emotional immaturity is a huge pitfall of polyamorous relationships. Grown folks are emotionally handicapped.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that folks have a lot of healing to do around toxic monogamy, the idea of owning your partner, and wanting to control their behavior. Being polyamorous requires a great deal of surrender and folks just aren’t willing to give up their perceived control. They will lie to manipulate you and confuse you out of doing things you want all while still advocating for the fact that they want a healthy, honest polyamorous relationship. Well honey, actions speak louder.
This list doesn’t even cover my many other preferences. It can be exhausting doing the poly-dance. It can also be fun, experimental, educational, and quite empowering.
I’ve lived mostly as solo poly simply because I cannot find a dynamic that is good, or right, or best for me. I trust that writing out what I desire is helping me manifest just that. I’ll keep yall updated on how it goes.