I’ve talked elsewhere about why I think it is important for metamours to meet at least once. The short version:
1) It helps with general comfort levels in the relationship and allows everyone to know everyone else as a person, and not an imaginary caricature.
2) Because you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Nothing is more awkward or uncomfortable than meeting your partner’s other significant other across their unconscious body lying on a hospital bed.
Still, even meeting in a cozy diner or at the local coffee shop can be damned awkward for folks who are new to poly. And questions about meeting metamours are staples of polyamory forums. To reduce that awkwardness, we’re going to look at what you can expect and ways to make everyone comfortable.
Where to Meet
Where ever you meet, you want your partners to be comfortable. Or as comfortable as possible. For some people, this will mean meeting in “neutral territory.” A coffee shop, a local park, or even the next town over can all be good options. If you don’t want to be outted, a mall or other busy area makes a surprisingly good place to talk. While you are surrounded by people, none of them will hear more than a few words of your conversation as they hurry on their way.
Alternatively, one or more of your partners may prefer to meet on “their” ground. In which case, they may invite your other partner to their home (your home if you live together). If a partner wants to meet on their ground because they will be more comfortable, go for it! If this might be the start of a power play between your partners, be wary.
While you can not control your partners’ behavior, you can set boundaries about what you will put up with. Personally, any partner of mine (and I mean any) who starts playing social power games with another partner will get one warning. If they don’t heed that warning, I will no longer be a part of their life. I’ve been on the wrong end of that shit and have no patience for it.
Ideally, you want to find a place to meet where your partners are comfortable. Sometimes, what makes one partner comfortable will make the other uncomfortable. All you can do is your best.
After the Introductions
The basic introductions are straight forward. “Michael I’d like you to meet Chris. Chris, this is Michael.” It’s after the introductions that things can get awkward. You know your partners, they don’t know each other. It can help to introduce a topic they are both familiar with. With most of my partners, geeky stuff is a safe bet. The latest Avenger’s movie, a hot new video game. At the moment, I’d start with PokemonGO, because what geek wouldn’t 😉
If you don’t know any topics they both enjoy or are familiar with, you can fall back on the usual getting-to-know someone topics. Where they work, what their hobbies are, etc. If that doesn’t work, pull on something interesting that happened in your life recently. “I told you both about the publisher that was interested in my book? They’re doing some kind of major restructuring and I’m still waiting for the contract…” The one thing you can be certain they share an interest in is—you!
Idle Hands Are a Pain
Awkward stuff is more awkward when you don’t know what to do with your hands. I don’t know why this is. But if possible, try to have something for you and your partners to do while you talk. Get everyone drinks they can fiddle with, meet over dinner, play a multi-player game together (depending on personalities a non-competitive game might be best). Dinner and games have the advantage of having built-in conversation. “Have you tried to chili here?” “No, but the fish is always fresh. I’ve never gotten a taste for spicy foods.” etc etc
This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.