One of the major hassles of being poly is finding other poly folk to date. Some of us only date through local poly groups or online, where we can be sure our date is poly friendly. Some of us can be more comfortable diving into the local dating pool. But when you are dating someone you don’t already know is poly, or poly friendly, sooner or later you’re telling a date you are polyamorous and seeing how they react.
Bringing It Up Immediately
Ideally, honesty and respect require telling a potential date immediately. If they ask you:
Them: Hey, would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow?
You: Sure, I’d love to go out with you. Um…I should let you know, I’m polyamorous, I don’t do exclusive relationships.
They’ll either be cool with that or not. I suggest always adding some explanation of what polyamorous means. At this point, you don’t want to get bogged down in long explanations.
- I don’t do exclusive relationships.
- I have an SO, and we have an open relationship.
- I’m dating two other people.
What you don’t want is to have them asking “Polyamorous, what’s that?” You can explain the details over dinner.
If you ask them, same deal.
You: Hey, would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow?
Them: Sure I’d love to go out with you.
You: Great! I should let you know, I’m polyamorous, I don’t do exclusive relationships.
Bringing It Up on the Date
Sometimes, you don’t want to or can’t say something immediately. Maybe you are still in the closet and they asked you at a company party. Or somewhere else in public. In that case, bring it up on the first date.
You: While we’re getting to know each other, I should tell you that I’m polyamorous. I’m (currently in/currently not in) other relationships, but I believe in being able to have multiple relationships and won’t be exclusive.
Waiting Until You Feel Safe
Some people live in areas where just up and saying “I’m poly” is not a good idea. If this is you, wait until you feel safe saying something, but do make sure you aren’t starting the relationship with dishonesty.
You: So we’re clear, I’m not ready to have an exclusive relationship after one date.
You: I like you, and I’d like to see you again, but I’m not ready to be in a committed relationship right now. Are you cool with that?*
When you are ready to say something, start with what you said on the first day: You know how I said that I wasn’t ready to be exclusive? Well, I need to tell you that I actually don’t do exclusive relationships. I’m polyamorous.
*I know, I know. But to monogamous folks “commitment” means exclusivity. Sometimes you gotta speak the other person’s language.
This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.