New poly questions

Likeapanda101

New member
Hi I'm Hannah, I'm 19 and I'm almost certain I'm poly.
I want to get out there and explore this new side of me, but I have a few questions. :)

*I know that what I'm asking probably doesn't have a definite answer as things vary from person to person, so I want to know about your personal experiences and what is true for yourself

1. I know that most people just stick to dating other poly people, but I want to be prepared for anyone that might catch my interest. How do I explain poly to potential partners? I'm personally am confused on what it means to BE poly. For me, I believe relationships don't always fill every need, so connecting with other people to meet your needs should be normal. However, I understand that if you have a "primary", the specific nature of polyness is subject to change (maybe it's just for sex, maybe its an equal playing field without hierchy). So how do I explain what I am or what poly is when I don't even know what agreement we'd come to?

2. There is a guy I'm interested in, and I have no clue if he is or would be interested in poly. In general, does inviting someone who hasn't thought about being poly into a poly relationship a bad idea?

3. If you don't have any relationships and you're REALLY into someone, but they don't believe in being poly, would you be able to "set the poly aside"? Is being poly something that you need in order to be happy and you can't change (like being gay) or is it something you could live without but is always an option (like being bi), or does that depend on the person?
 

River

Active member
How do I explain poly to potential partners? I'm personally am confused on what it means to BE poly. For me, I believe relationships don't always fill every need, so connecting with other people to meet your needs should be normal. However, I understand that if you have a "primary", the specific nature of polyness is subject to change (maybe it's just for sex, maybe its an equal playing field without hierchy). So how do I explain what I am or what poly is when I don't even know what agreement we'd come to?

What it means to "be poly" (so to speak) differs in many particulars and details, but it has a common set of principals which pretty much everyone agrees upon. You can quickly get a handle on what the basic, common stuff is by reading the Wikipedia page on Polyamory here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory

Many people, including myself, recommend this book:
Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships
by Tristan Taormino


You may find this useful, too.:
https://www.morethantwo.com/polyamory-basics.html

2. There is a guy I'm interested in, and I have no clue if he is or would be interested in poly. In general, does inviting someone who hasn't thought about being poly into a poly relationship a bad idea?

Are you thinking of approaching him for a date, or to hang out? (Personally, I'm liking the idea of "hanging out" rather than dating, since hanging out together doesn't come with bunch of prefigured baggage. But you can call it what you like.) Whatever you call it, if you are dating or hanging out together you will be talking and getting to know one another. At some point, if some mutual "romantic" interest begins to emerge then you would simply ask him if he knows about polyamory (or open relationships, non-monogamy) ... and ask what he thinks about it. If you're clear that you really don't want to do monogamy, just tell him. But it will help if you've read on and considered the topic in depth, and gotten to know what your needs and preferences are with regard to it.

Getting the timing just right, in bringing up non-monogamy, might be a little tricky. You don't want to do that too late. And you don't want to do it too early. For--I think--rather obvious reasons in both cases. (If it isn't obvious, ask. Folks here will be happy to explain.)

3. If you don't have any relationships and you're REALLY into someone, but they don't believe in being poly, would you be able to "set the poly aside"? Is being poly something that you need in order to be happy and you can't change (like being gay) or is it something you could live without but is always an option (like being bi), or does that depend on the person?

I've been with my partner for over twenty years, and he's also poly (though neither of us have other partners at this time--we're just open to this possibility, and I do "hang out" with folks now and then). If I were not in a relationship, I'd very probably tell anyone I was hanging out with (which folks call dating, which word I want to avoid) that I'm polyamorously inclined. (If we started in a "romantic" direction.)

For some people, polyamory is a type of relationship option and nothing more. For others, it's more like an orientation -- or how we simply are (like being gay). Some folks can be in either a mono or poly relatoinship and be content with either. Others really require non-monogamy, or monogamy, to be okay. It's really up to you to get to know yourself and how this is for you. There is no one size fits all recipe here. It's a process of getting to know and affirm one's own nature or preference.

I, personally, am polyamorous by nature, so it is for me an orientation and not merely a relationship type option. I could probably be in a monogamous relationship and be content and happy -- at least for a while. But most likely I'd eventually feel constrained by an expectation--or demand--that I be exclusive. (Luckily, that's not a problem 'cause my sweetie is perfectly fine with me seeing others if and when I want to.)
 
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lunabunny

New member
Hi I'm Hannah, I'm 19 and I'm almost certain I'm poly.
I want to get out there and explore this new side of me

Hi, Likeapanda. You're young and currently single (correct?)... therefore the first thing I'd say here is: it's really important to get to know YOURSELF and figure out what YOU personally enjoy and what you want from life and from relationships. If you're not completely sure you're polyamorous, but wish to explore that side of yourself, then date more casually for a while, instead of committing to any ONE particular person.

Meanwhile, take the time to do some reading and research on polyamory and see what resonates with you. This forum and websites such as More Than Two would be a great start. (Check out the Blog section of this forum for people's personal stories.) Also, do some reading on safer sex practices, hierarchies (solo poly, primary/secondary models, poly-fi triads, unicorns/unicorn hunting etc.) and how to manage jealousy.


1. I know that most people just stick to dating other poly people, but I want to be prepared for anyone that might catch my interest. How do I explain poly to potential partners? I'm personally am confused on what it means to BE poly. For me, I believe relationships don't always fill every need, so connecting with other people to meet your needs should be normal. However, I understand that if you have a "primary", the specific nature of polyness is subject to change (maybe it's just for sex, maybe its an equal playing field without hierchy). So how do I explain what I am or what poly is when I don't even know what agreement we'd come to?


It's difficult to explain to another person what you ARE or what you WANT, unless YOU know yourself very well and have come to understand the answers to these questions - without a partner or partners already being in the picture.

ALL relationships - mono or poly - are different. There is no one-size-fits-all way to approach a potential new partner/relationship. You cannot decide ahead of time what "agreements" might be made, until you meet someone with whom there is a mutual attraction, and get to know a little about them, their personal situation and beliefs.

2. There is a guy I'm interested in, and I have no clue if he is or would be interested in poly. In general, does inviting someone who hasn't thought about being poly into a poly relationship a bad idea?

Not necessarily. I'd guess that quite a few people in your age bracket either haven't heard the term "polyamory" - or if they have, they probably have a limited understanding about what it really means.

A lot will depend on whether your potential love interest already has some idea about what polyamory means (which you'll only be able to glean by asking)... and if they do, your approach will depend on whether they're already in a relationship with someone else (or if you are).

If you're both single, (and you're reasonably sure you're polyamorous), there is no harm in seeing if there is enough mutual attraction to warrant bringing up the topic. I wouldn't leave it too long - you don't want to become super emotionally invested in someone who simply isn't up for that style of relationship. You could just ask fairly casually if they have heard of poly/ethical non-monogamy, and if they say no, then give a brief definition and explain that while you like them a lot and wish to continue seeing them, you're not interested in becoming "exclusive". Maybe direct them to a relevant website or podcast if they don't shut you down immediately.

3. If you don't have any relationships and you're REALLY into someone, but they don't believe in being poly, would you be able to "set the poly aside"? Is being poly something that you need in order to be happy and you can't change (like being gay) or is it something you could live without but is always an option (like being bi), or does that depend on the person?[/QUOTE]

Once again, everyone is different. Personally, although I am in two relationships right now (a closed "V"), I don't identify strictly as polyamorous. I would be able to revert to monogamy pretty easily if I were in a different situation.

Others however - perhaps the majority of people who identify as poly - may be able to go mono temporarily, especially while in the midst of NRE, but would struggle to contain their need for multiple loving connections over time.

I think those who truly "identify" as polyamorous (in the way that people identify as being gay, lesbian, bisexual etc.) would find it impossible to shut down that part of themselves that requires more than one romantic/sexual relationship. In such cases, those people would be best off seeking partners who are either poly themselves or strongly believe in non-monogamy on an intellectual basis. Knowing from the get-go that you're poly, but hoping to ignore/repress that part of yourself for someone else's sake will ultimately be a recipe for disaster.
 

River

Active member
Nicely said, Lunabunny.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Hannah,

I want to recommend Franklin Veaux's Poly FAQ at this time, it is a really good introduction to poly, and will give you some ideas of how to introduce the idea to potential dating partners. It is okay to date someone who is new to the idea of poly, as long as they react positively to the idea. Just be aware that a person may think they won't mind poly, but then when poly becomes a reality, they don't handle it so well. Love is always a risk, you can't know everything there is to know about a person in just one sitting.

For me personally, I would not want to date someone who was not poly-friendly. Even if I weren't actively poly, I strongly believe in poly and want the possibility to remain open for me in my life. Others may not feel so strongly in which case, they may be able to live a monogamous life with a monogamous partner and be happy. The thing to notice is that every person is a unique individual, and what applies to one person, may not apply to another. These are just some of my own thoughts, and I hope they are helpful for you.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
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