There are very few articles out there about how to get involved in the world of polyamory if you are not already part of a couple. I’m finding, increasingly, that that’s me. I mean, I’m very open to where my romantic and sexual relationships might take me, and the more I date online, the more I realize that this means deciding that I’m also open to dating people already in open relationships. But, as a single gal open to poly couples, I need a little bit of guidance, because making a wedge of yourself can be tricky. My research brought me to a golden little podcast on a brilliant website called PolyWeekly.com and after listening to the entire – long – recording so you don’t have to, I’ve summarized some very useful information for you all here.
First off is the question of where to meet couples looking for a third or one person in a relationship seeking a secondary or tertiary partner. The presenter of the podcast, a Miss Cunning Minx, offered a handy list of poly-friendly communities, which include:
-Online dating websites (such as PolyamoryDate.com and even OKcupid.com)
-Online communities like FetLife.com (which has a kinky bend to it)
-Pagan events and Renaissance fairs (if you’re into that kind of thing)
-Gaming and Sci-fi conventions
-Burning Man festival
Another helpful point covered in this podcast was the question of how to represent yourself and your boundaries. Miss Minx had a very interesting and also practical idea – just write your own user manual! Presumably, this would only have to be done once, and you could show it to whomever you were interested in becoming involved with, so they could understand you a bit better, and figure out which questions they needed to ask that hadn’t been covered in the manual. It’s suggested that your manual includes:
Family history – briefly outline your family structure, significant events (were your parents divorced?) and any baggage you might have (ie. abandonment issues.) Also, you can cover your life values in this section if you want to include them.
How you work emotionally – What do you need from a partner or partners to feel good, and safe? Include gestures that are important to you, like how much phone or texting contact you like, or how much physical touch you need.
How you work sexually – Which touches turn you on? What is your idea of the perfect date?
What is ‘sex’ to you? – Include turn-offs, turn-ons, what you are and aren’t willing to try, and your take on casual sex. It’s important to mention a commitment to safe sex practices, and what this means to you.
In addition to the bizarre yet brilliant user manual, Miss Minx talks about something she calls The Secondary’s Bill of Rights. This is a thorough outline of the things you believe you have a right to demand from the couple (or person in a relationship) you are seeing, and should be added as an appendix to your manual, so it’s all spelled out ahead of time. Some of the rights listed in this document might be:
-You have the right to spend time alone with your lover.
-You have the right to spend time alone with your metamour (your lover’s partner.)
-You have a right to spend time with both.
-You have the right to know what rules and restrictions are being placed on you.
-You have the right to state/clarify your own needs and wants.
-You have the right to expect regular STI testing
Of course, you should edit and add to this list as you see fit.
Have you got any tips or pointers not covered here for singles looking to leap into the poly lifestyle? Share them in the comments!