The new polyamorous person is sometimes looked down on by those of us in the lifestyle, either as a “recruit”— someone not entirely capable of being there on his or her own volition—or as a wannabe.
This is because the baggage that comes with the one who changes her mind, or who finds she just can’t cope with you having sex with other women, is complicated and often painful.
But we all got here somehow! Even if it does turn out that poly isn’t for her, kudos to her for trying something new.
What New Poly People Need from You
Give the Benefit of the Doubt
“Poly curious people too often just waltz in and exploit the freedom and security we’ve built, they put themselves out there and then they run away leaving lovers in the dust.”
That’s what someone actually said to me.
Do you know what I said?
“Grow the fuck up.”
If you don’t want to date or hook up with newbies, no problem. Boundaries serve a purpose.
But on a social level, it’s not acceptable to be closed minded toward new people who are just trying poly.
Curious people have the rights to experiment with whatever they choose, and their boundaries—whether they choose long-term polyamory or are “just passing through” are theirs to make.
As with anything else, from golf to Thai cooking to hardcore fetishes, exploring new things is natural, healthy, fun, and doesn’t imply a commitment right away.
Assume the newbie is in the community because they are genuinely exploring something about themselves. Where that takes them is not our concern.
Be Supportive around Jealousy Issues
The most difficult issue in the polyamorous life is probably jealousy. Many of us chose this life because we want to overcome the harm of this toxic emotion and reach past the limitations it puts on our pleasure and relationship possibilities.
That doesn’t mean it never rears its ugly head. Jealousy’s nature is irrational, so even someone who has been poly for thirty years and has nearly forgotten what it feels like can be surprised by a sudden resurgence of an old foe.
Belittling a new poly’s jealousy is hostile and unhelpful. She needs the support of her new lovers and friends. Give her time and support to work through the green-eyed monster stuff.
Acknowledging how destructive and unreasonable jealousy can be helps diminish its powerful hold on us. Let’s share that message with new folks.
Answer Questions Honestly
We don’t have to water down or glam up any answers about our experiences in polyamory.
While no one wants to be pestered with inane, incessant questioning, honoring anyone’s genuine inquiries is a path to peace, intimacy, and security for all parties.
Sure, some questions might sound strange, but think about how the world looks to someone in her shoes. It might be a perfectly reasonable question from where she or he stands. Whether the answers are tricky, depressing, or inspiring, poly-curious people deserve our honesty so they can best decide for themselves how to proceed.
Consider, too, that chances are, this person will one day be a part of your community and maybe your intimate life. If she stays in polyamory, she won’t be new forever. Open and honest information from us means a strong and healthy foundation for her.