Where do you start?

arrowhead

New member
I have been a jumble of thoughts for weeks now. I lurked on this forum for many weeks off-and-on over the last year before finally joining. I have come to realize that I think I am poly and now I don't know what to do. I am a fish out of water trying to navigate something where I don't know anyone personally that is in this lifestyle. I am afraid of saying anything to anyone about it b/c I am not sure of my footing or that I'll be misunderstood. Nobody except one really good friend knows that I think this way. Has anybody here started from scratch and built a poly life?

I could really use some advice here. Thanks.
 

redpepper

New member
I have been a jumble of thoughts for weeks now. I lurked on this forum for many weeks off-and-on over the last year before finally joining. I have come to realize that I think I am poly and now I don't know what to do. I am a fish out of water trying to navigate something where I don't know anyone personally that is in this lifestyle. I am afraid of saying anything to anyone about it b/c I am not sure of my footing or that I'll be misunderstood. Nobody except one really good friend knows that I think this way. Has anybody here started from scratch and built a poly life?

I could really use some advice here. Thanks.
ya, most people.

Look in the events section here, on dating sites to find events and like minded people... and decide what you are looking for. A "lifestyle" indicates you could be mono with someone if it should happen; make sure you know one way or the other is this is your identity or a lifestyle and what kind of people you want to attract.
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Hullo there!

Yes, there are plenty of people who have started out single, building their networks from scratch. I did a bit of reading on poly (print and online) before braving my first ever visit to the local group. I've met my male partner Moonlightrunner through the group, and was also for a few months in a triad with him and his wife Windflower. I joined OKCupid around the same time and was briefly involved with a guy who contacted me there, and through him I met my female partner VanillaIce. My first ever polyship was with a married man whom I met through online gaming. So there are lots of possibilities for open-minded people who don't have too definite expectations as to what they are looking for :).

I've read this forum with gusto ever since joining. Just like with any major life-change, be it conversion, moving to a new country or embarking on poly, it pays to prepare beforehand and do your reading. People's experiences are ultimately not that different from each other. Do a tag/thread search on "singles", "dating" and "solo poly" and see if there's something you can resonate with!

The biggest beginner's mistake I think many people do (and I certainly did) is to go out with a very specific shopping list of how many partners in which relationship geometry they want, where everyone will live, who will see whom how often and who is allowed to go out with whom to do what with etc. ad nauseaum, often before meeting anyone who could actually be a potential partner. Real life is organic and full of surprises, and so are real relationships as opposed to fantasy. Generally the more open you are to love, the more love will find your way.

Welcome!
 

nycindie

Active member
I have been a jumble of thoughts for weeks now. . . . Nobody except one really good friend knows that I think this way. Has anybody here started from scratch and built a poly life?

Yes, I am starting from scratch, so to speak. I chose to embrace poly after my husband unexpectedly asked for a divorce and moved out. So, I'm a solo act, hoping to build my male harem (;)). I guess things are going more slowly for me, now. When I first became separated, after a few months of utter devastation and sobbing, I kind of jumped into some situations that backfired on me. But I was feeling lonely and needed some validation. Now, I am being a little more level-headed about engaging in relationships, I think. I tend to be very introspective, and like my alone time, so I'm not in a hurry to have three boyfriends (which would be my ideal). I'm a straight woman, which seems to be a bit of a minority in poly-land, so I do not limit my socializing and looking for potential partners to the poly community, which in NYC is surprisingly small. I find it easier to date "civilians" -- folks who have never heard of the word polyamory -- and I generally just discuss it as being non-exclusive.

It could help to fantasize a bit about how you envision polyamory in your life so you can possibly see how you can realize it. Feel free to sort out your "jumble of thoughts" on this thread: Solo poly people - what's your ideal?

And welcome! :)
 
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nicothoe

New member
I remember not so longer ago when overnight I went from being mono to poly, and was left wondering, "okay, now what?" Hmmmmm...perhaps it was a over a few days, or maybe weeks, but let's forget that, I am going for the dramatic!

So anyway, while the wife now found herself with a boyfriend, all I had was my insecurities and the dreams of what may be. (Yeah yeah people, I'm still being overly dramatic). One conclusion I did reach however, was that I wasn't going to find a new romantic interest passing through my living room. For that, I needed to socialize. To actually leave the house and meet people. It was quite the revelation!

I was fortunate in that I immediately found a local poly group. While such groups aren't necessarily "meat markets", I did meet my current girlfriend there. But I also made some new friends. The hostess of the poly group also hosted a game night, and a drum circle (neither of which are poly-related). I even acquired friends from the girlfriend. I went camping with her, and made even more.

When I started out, my initial goal was simply to develop a network of friends, and perhaps find new activities and hobbies. Dating was always at the back of the mind, but it was never the primary focus. Relationships have a nasty habit of springing out of nowhere when you least suspect.
 
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arrowhead

New member
ya, most people.

Look in the events section here, on dating sites to find events and like minded people... and decide what you are looking for. A "lifestyle" indicates you could be mono with someone if it should happen; make sure you know one way or the other is this is your identity or a lifestyle and what kind of people you want to attract.

Thanks RP. I will look in the events section for groups in my area.

Regarding whether I know if I am poly or not - I seem to gravitate to lots of different women my whole life. They all have had something to offer and I loved them for that. I also want to give to many different people. I came to the conclusion over the last few years that it made little sense to expect one person to meet all my needs all the time or me for them. The ownership model in our patriarchal culture seemed broken and that I didn't fit in it. I am not down on a mono relationship, just thinking it may not be totally for me at this place in my life. So...making sure I know whether this is my identity or not seems incomplete w/o at least some experience. Intuitively it seems like I would like it though.
 

arrowhead

New member
Hullo there!

Yes, there are plenty of people who have started out single, building their networks from scratch. I did a bit of reading on poly (print and online) before braving my first ever visit to the local group. I've met my male partner Moonlightrunner through the group, and was also for a few months in a triad with him and his wife Windflower. I joined OKCupid around the same time and was briefly involved with a guy who contacted me there, and through him I met my female partner VanillaIce. My first ever polyship was with a married man whom I met through online gaming. So there are lots of possibilities for open-minded people who don't have too definite expectations as to what they are looking for :).

I've read this forum with gusto ever since joining. Just like with any major life-change, be it conversion, moving to a new country or embarking on poly, it pays to prepare beforehand and do your reading. People's experiences are ultimately not that different from each other. Do a tag/thread search on "singles", "dating" and "solo poly" and see if there's something you can resonate with!

The biggest beginner's mistake I think many people do (and I certainly did) is to go out with a very specific shopping list of how many partners in which relationship geometry they want, where everyone will live, who will see whom how often and who is allowed to go out with whom to do what with etc. ad nauseaum, often before meeting anyone who could actually be a potential partner. Real life is organic and full of surprises, and so are real relationships as opposed to fantasy. Generally the more open you are to love, the more love will find your way.

Welcome!

Thanks for the advice on some of your early-on experiences with local groups and dating sites. Just wondering...did you say you were poly on the dating site? If so, do most people know what it is or did they just ask a lot of questions.

Good advice not to be too rigid in what I want to begin with. I generally know what I want but want to be open too b/c it could lead to something really great - who knows. Without knowing the potential partners involved and their situations and such, it would seem way too early to make decisions about who would live with whom, when, etc. Real people are definitely not fantasy; they have needs, wants, and desires just like I do. Real relationships take time and answering questions like those seem way down the line.
 

arrowhead

New member
Yes, I am starting from scratch, so to speak. I chose to embrace poly after my husband unexpectedly asked for a divorce and moved out. So, I'm a solo act, hoping to build my male harem (;)). I guess things are going more slowly for me, now. When I first became separated, after a few months of utter devastation and sobbing, I kind of jumped into some situations that backfired on me. But I was feeling lonely and needed some validation. Now, I am being a little more level-headed about engaging in relationships, I think. I tend to be very introspective, and like my alone time, so I'm not in a hurry to have three boyfriends (which would be my ideal). I'm a straight woman, which seems to be a bit of a minority in poly-land, so I do not limit my socializing and looking for potential partners to the poly community, which in NYC is surprisingly small. I find it easier to date "civilians" -- folks who have never heard of the word polyamory -- and I generally just discuss it as being non-exclusive.

It could help to fantasize a bit about how you envision polyamory in your life so you can possibly see how you can realize it. Feel free to sort out your "jumble of thoughts" on this thread: Solo poly people - what's your ideal?

And welcome! :)

Thanks for the welcome.

Interesting hearing your story nycindie. I am in the middle of a divorce but have decided this is the way I need to go for the future. I understand the feeling lonely part and needing validation. I go up and down with that too but it has got better over time. I want to go slow. Funny...I would like 3 girlfriends (LOL).

Is being a straight woman really a minority in poly land? So are most poly women bi? That doesn't bother me mind you. Perhaps I need to read up some more.

I will look at the solo poly people thread. Thanks.:)
 

arrowhead

New member
...One conclusion I did reach however, was that I wasn't going to find a new romantic interest passing through my living room. For that, I needed to socialize. To actually leave the house and meet people. It was quite the revelation!

I was fortunate in that I immediately found a local poly group. While such groups aren't necessarily "meat markets", I did meet my current girlfriend there. But I also made some new friends. The hostess of the poly group also hosted a game night, and a drum circle (neither of which are poly-related). I even acquired friends from the girlfriend. I went camping with her, and made even more.

Socializing is one of my big questions. So what should I expect at a poly event? Is it one big chat? Are there speakers? What? I am sure they are all different or perhaps have a different vibe. I keep imagining it is like an AA meeting for recovering mono's (LOL) - I have never been an alcoholic BTW.

When I started out, my initial goal was simply to develop a network of friends, and perhaps find new activities and hobbies. Dating was always at the back of the mind, but it was never the primary focus. Relationships have a nasty habit of springing out of nowhere when you least suspect.

This sounds like me right now. I just want to meet new friends of like-minded people. Having support and knowing there are others like me is what I need right now. If something develops later, that would be real fun too, but it isn't primary at the moment.
 

sagency

New member
I sort of fell into poly relationships 16 years ago and have has poly and mono relationships intermingled since. I first heard the term polyamory six years ago when I was ending a mono relationship that was faltering because of my poly mindset and lack of jealousy. Five years ago I began to self-identify as poly and stopped trying to fit into mono world.

The most helpful thing in developing my polyife is a weekly poly potluck I attend in the Seattle area. That has been helpful not in acquiring partners but in defining who and what I as well as providing examples, good and bad, to learn from.

As far as finding partners, I have found that there are three imortant aspects:
1) Be the type of person someone would want to be with.
Take care of yourself, be active, and be friendly.

2) Be good to your partner(s).
Take care of your partner, express how great he/she/they is/are, and do not let NRE blind you to what you already have. Why would anyone want to be involved with someone who treats existing partners poorly?

3) Speak up about your lifestyle.
You might not talk about being poly at work, but with friends and new acquaintances vocalize your view. If you have friends who are rabidly antipoly, that could be a problem for relationship development (it adds stress to the situation where accepting friends might welcome any new partner). As you identify and talk about poly views, people may identify as well, and you'll become more comfortable with being an open poly (and comfort = confidence = sexy).
 

nycindie

Active member
Socializing is one of my big questions. So what should I expect at a poly event?
I asked this question soon after I first joined, and got some good feedback. I also shared my experiences, but mind you, it's from a single woman's perspective:

Going to poly events/happenings

I went to a few more after that last post of mine. I guess I should add an update next time I go. Maybe some others can also add to that thread after attending a function?

In NYC, we have both types of events -- some "educational" where speakers are invited to give a talk, and some more social (monthly basis), where hitting on people happens (but they do have rules to keep people safe and comfortable). There are two major organized groups here. One of them split off the original, I think because of some differences in how they wanted things run. They both announce their meetings via meetup.com and yahoo groups. You can sign up to receive emails from them for announcements. I don't go very often because the community is so small here, but maybe I will check it out next time. I did make a very nice friend connection at one event, and other more casual friendships. Having poly friends in real life is nice, to be able to bounce things off of -- and to use poly lingo and not get weird looks. :eek:

Check out the regional and "Meetings and Events" forums here for your area - perhaps someone posts announcements there. Whenever I get my email from the group I post it here.
 
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Blondie2

New member
Thank you for the input above. I am new to poly and am trying to navigate it as well.

I'm currently reading 'Opening Up - A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships'. Also, I'm going to get my hands on 'The Ethical Slut'.

Sagency, I appreciate what you have written as advice for someone new to poly. I've been to a few events already, am meeting someone in a few weeks whose been poly for 10 years and will hopefully be attending a women's group that meets regularly, the next meeting which is in September.

I was married and involved with my ex-husband for 17 years. I honestly don't believe that one person can fulfill all the needs of another.

I've discussed what I would like in the way of a poly relationship, with a guy I know who is poly. Two guys and one girl, but I'm just at the moment, trying to meet people and not have great expectations of who, what, when, etc.

Anyway, I appreciate what people post on here and it helps :)
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Just wondering...did you say you were poly on the dating site? If so, do most people know what it is or did they just ask a lot of questions.

I used OKC, where you can highlight words so that they come up in searches other members make. I'm not sure how it works, but at least some polyfolks do regular searches for new OKC members in their area who use the word poly, polyamorous etc. in their profiles. I've not received any questions, two people have contacted me specifically responding to the mention of my polyamory and were interested in a relationship, and two guys who were single and looking for monogamous connections I had to turn down after browsing their profiles because they clearly hadn't either read my profile or didn't understand what polyamory was. In OKC you can answer questions around poly, monogamy etc. and then emphasize those answers so that members who have answered similarly to you show higher match procents.

Many polyfolks simply mention their partners' OKC user name on their profiles too, which is easy enough to get :).

Is being a straight woman really a minority in poly land? So are most poly women bi?

There's some discussion around that in the Gay, Bi, Queer Polyamory-thread. If you look at all forms of consensual non-monogamy (polygamy and swinging/open relationships/BDSM scene included), straight women are probably the majority. However, very specific types of women seem to gravitate towards active participation in the poly community. Of those, many more than you would expect based on conventional statistics alone are bisexual/pansexual (attracted to genderqueer people also).

Just take a look at the lingo; triads, unicorns, HBB (Hot Bi Babe), OPP (one penis policy). One Vagina Policies exist but are much rarer, as are male unicorns (some would argue that by definition, an unicorn has to be female). Although this is the fantasy image of poly (one man, two women all romantically involved) many encounter first, it is actually much rarer than vees, for example.
 

nycindie

Active member
I'm a straight woman, which seems to be a bit of a minority in poly-land, so I do not limit my socializing and looking for potential partners to the poly community . . .
Is being a straight woman really a minority in poly land? So are most poly women bi?

Well, I don't know enough to say that most poly women are bi- (or pan-sexual) or not. Probably the women in religious polygamous situations are mostly straight, I'm just guessing. But it sure seems to me that being straight and a woman, I am definitely among the minority at the poly gatherings I've been to! But I've only been to a few.

At least in NYC the polyfolk that gather together are very closely associated with LGBT and sex-positive groups, so when I go to poly happenings here, I've often felt like the only straight woman in the room. It makes sense -- these are safe spaces. If I were bi or gay, plenty of women showed interest in me.

I certainly feel welcome, don't get me wrong about that.

But even when I tell mainstream types (outside of a poly setting) that I've embraced polyamory, they are often surprised that I am straight. Well, actually, it's mostly straight men who are surprised. The women I talk to totally get wanting to have more than one guy, heh-heh (although a few mono women I know have lamented, "I can't even meet one guy, and you want two or three?" How selfish of me, right?).

I guess straight men just assume that poly is something that would only make sense if a woman wants both a male and female partner -- and I've seen a look of disgust come over them if I tell them I'm not bi and they realize I want more than one penis in my life, like that makes me super slutty. Of course, they'd be totally into it if I were about to kiss another woman in front of them :)rolleyes:). You know those straight guys!

I am sure there are plenty people of all genders and orientations practicing poly, but perhaps many of them haven't yet discovered that there's a word for it, or they're happy behind closed doors and not about to socialize with a bunch of radicals like us (heh-heh), and so they're not showing up at the get-togethers I know about. But in NYC, everyone is so busy, stressed, and has long commutes that it's hard to get a regular crowd in any topic of interest to come together beyond a core dedicated few. The poly community could be very different where you are.

Gosh, I've been rambling. But now I'm re-reading my quote above and I think what I said is a bit odd. I don't think it's only the issue of being straight that makes me want to look for potential partners outside my local poly community; it's that the gatherings, for me as a woman, have tended to give off a bit of a meat market feeling, AND I haven't been attracted to most of the guys I've met there (though I have made some nice friends). But talking about it in this thread has motivated me. I will definitely check out the next poly event here and see how it goes!
 
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affablegreen

New member
I think I started by thinking about myself differently. That was all. Just sitting with the idea and thinking about who I was, who I had always been... the kind of relationships I felt, the way I felt towards everyone around me.

So, that was the first step. And then things just flowed out of me differently... how I behaved towards people, how I loved everyone around me... it just came out of me differently.

Not to pick on you, but of course you can't "start from scratch". You've got a history of relationships, you have friendships and flirtations and so forth... it is all part of who you are.
 

NeonKaos

Custodian
Yes, but BDSM isn't really a form of non-monogamy, as BU categorized it. It's simply a wide-ranging dynamic that people practice, whether they are poly or mono, correct?

Correct. Not a form of non-monogamy. Could be a "structure" though. "Structure" and "dynamic" are to "relationship" as "particle" and "wave" are to "quantum physics".
 

nycindie

Active member
:)

I realize I asked the wrong question when I posted "Since when is BDSM considered a relationship structure?" But it was almost 3am when I did that and I should have been asleep. I was actually balking at it being called a kind of non-monogamy.
 
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