Looking for love and the right long-term connection with a primary partner is one of the great challenges of life.
It is one of the major themes in art and literature, as well as traditionally being honored in many cultures as a sacrament or a major personal and cultural event.
It’s also one of the hardest journeys to make, with many stops and starts along the way: missed connections, mismatched relationships, poor choices, impossible dreams, unruly impulses, and then of course, the struggle that goes into the relationship itself as two unique individuals strive to forge and merge their identities into a working unit.
Ready for a Primary Partner?
The irony for many polyamorous people is that they may have many lovers and yet not have a primary partnership.
For many poly people, for much of the time or always, having many relationships or many lovers works wonderfully. Many of us want to maintain independence and aren’t interested in a traditional narrative. Some reject the hierarchical nature of the idea of a “primary partner” or primary relationship. Others are simply too busy with work, family, travel, or interests. Still others are happy engaging in several relationships without the need to focus.
But it’s also natural for some of us to long for the security, love, longevity, and shared adventures and life circumstances that are part of a primary long-term relationship. Sharing finances and responsibilities as well as offering mutual support through life’s struggles can ease burdens and enrich intimacy.
Whatever the reasons, you may find yourself looking for a “main squeeze.”
Finding the right person is tricky for anyone. Polyamorous people sometimes feel as if they have to give up their current relationships or lifestyle to make that connection. But this can lead to bitterness and resentment and unrealistic expectations on someone else before you have even met them!
So how do you go about seeking a primary partner when you are polyamorous?
Here are some ideas to help you find the one.
4 Tips to Find a Primary Partner
1. Let nature take its course.
You hear this story over and over: love happens when you least expect it—when you’re not looking.
When you decided to be happy independently, and life started to work out the way you wanted it to, suddenly love appeared on your doorstep.
This is a very romantic notion and very appealing. It is also the version with the least work involved. And it’s true that it happens this way sometimes, and that story is magic, and we want to believe it’s the best way for us—to let the universe provide.
This might be the best approach if you’re in no hurry or don’t have a strong motivation to find a primary partner. If you are equally happy with or without one, this may work great.
But if you have a very strong desire to pair up, then waiting around for your king or queen to rescue you is foolish!
2. Live your best life.
There is something to be said for accepting life on its own terms and blossoming as an individual. The best success in meeting people is when you are ready and blooming, not when you are needy and broken and have loose ends.
This is not the same as waiting around for someone to find you, but is about laying the groundwork and foundation for a solid relationship.
If you are just coming off a messy divorce, you might be lonely. If you just went bankrupt, the thrill of new love and the mirage of security might feel electric. But being sick or wounded or messy means that’s what you’re bringing to a relationship.
Getting your life into reasonable order and shape and being “ready” for a relationship means you are offering your best, and giving yourself the best too. Meeting a primary partner is much easier when you are stable, comfortable, and have something to give.
Don’t be unrealistic—there is no such thing as a perfect life or completely smooth sailing. But hoping to land the right relationship at your messiest point is not a great start to love.
3. Be clear, specific, and honest in your online dating profiles and with dates.
Don’t wait until the perfect match professes her undying love to spring your fifteen other girlfriends on her. Respect your partners and your own choices enough to offer full disclosure. Since your ideal match will probably also be polyamorous, state clearly in your online search that you are looking for a primary partnership and currently involved in secondary relationships, sexual affairs, or whatever the case may be.
Make sure you clarify what it is you’re looking for, and where you’re at right now, and what you expect from the relationship you’re seeking. This weeds out new dates who are not looking for what you are.
4. Look among the lovers you already have.
Don’t assume that your current lovers aren’t interested in changing course. If you are dating someone already who you have deep feelings for, ask where she stands on getting closer.
Just because she was looking for something different when you met doesn’t mean things haven’t changed. While I don’t recommend trying to make one kind of relationship into something that it’s not, I know our desires and needs change along the way and someone you already love and trust may be open to meeting you where you are. Sometimes the best possibility is already happening.
How did you meet your primary partner? Share your story in the comments!