Time for a new topic*, and this one is a doozy. We’re going to be talking about polyamory etiquette. Basic courtesy is always in fashion, but a lot of the cultural customs go flying out the window when you introduce new types of relationships. And etiquette is basically cultural customs for dealing with other people. For some reason, Emily Post never covered etiquette for non-monogamy. I’m going to attempt to fill her shoes.
Why Do We Need a Polyamory Etiquette Guide?
For folks who are socially adept, a lot of what I’ll be covering here will be obvious or easy to figure out on your own. I’m not socially adept, which is one reason I loved etiquette guides growing up. Clearly detailed instructions for every imaginable social situation so I didn’t need to worry about making a fool out of myself before I even said “Hello.” Unfortunately, etiquette guides had fallen out of fashion in the US. Most of what I read was 30-50 years out of date.
For those of us who struggle with social situations questions like “How do I introduce my partner’s other partner to my partners?” or (I ran into this one recently) “Who in my family is this invitation meant to include?” can be difficult to deal with–especially when the situation comes at us on the fly.
Why Is Someone Who Admits to Being Social Inept Writing an Etiquette Guide?
Folks who are socially adept don’t think about what they do. They learned the rules on a subconscious level. After a couple of decades studying the rules of social interactions, I can explain how that shit works better than people who handle social situations 10 times better than I do. And as the folks I met at Poly Living last month can attest, I’ve done a fairly good job of putting my learning into practice. New social situations still throw me, but give me some time to think it through later, and I’ll figure it out.
There Are No Rules
This blog series is intended as a guide, not a rulebook. Take what works for you, ignore what doesn’t, and share your own variations in the comments.
I usually try to keep my writing as universally applicable as possible. Unfortunately, this topic will of necessity be very US-centric. Etiquette is, as I said before, a custom, and customs vary insanely both between countries and within countries.
Polyamory Etiquette Blog Posts
The Building Blocks of Polyamory Etiquette
The First Rule of Polyamory Etiquette: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Introducing Your Polyamory Partners and Metamours
The Etiquette of Unexpected Encounters
Etiquette for Polyamory Partners and Children
Running into a Poly Partner in Public
Bumping Into Your Metamour
Meeting Family About Town
Let’s Talk Invitations
Formal Invitations for Poly Folks
Telling a Date You Are Polyamorous
Introductions in Polyamorous Relationships
Introducing Polyamorous Partners
Meeting Your Metamour
Metamours and “Disrespecting the Primary”
Kitchen Table Polyamory, Parallel Polyamory, and Etiquette
Managing Parallel Polyamory
Audio Post: What Does Respect Mean in Polyamory?