Non-monogamous dating is becoming more common. There is more social, cultural, legal and even religious recognition of various sexual orientations, of gender nonconformity, and of polyamory and other non-monogamous relationships.
Even so, when dating you will encounter the reality that many people assume or expect that monogamous relationships are the norm. Non-monogamous daters looking for hookups, relationships, and love will save themselves and others from surprise or disappointment by being upfront about who they are and what their expectations are.
You can learn to advocate for yourself and your non-monogamous needs in a way that is clear, positive, and respectful, while asking the same for yourself.
13 Tips for Successful Non-Monogamous Dating
1. Let Dates Know that You’re Non-Monogamous Upfront
Don’t assume that others in the dating game understand or even know about non-monogamous dating. Even as polyamory finds growing popularity, many people see monogamy as the norm, or have chosen it consciously. Others are simply unaware that non-monogamous dating is a thing. Also, not everyone dating is experienced at dating.
There are people who were in long-term relationships that are divorced or widowed. There are people who have recently moved to a new country from a very different culture. They may not be familiar with non-monogamous dating or assume that it is rare.
Your dating profile should mention that you aren’t interested in monogamous dating and that you are polyamorous or non-monogamous. You might say that you’re looking for non-monogamous partners. When you date someone from online or daily life, let them know right away that you are interested in non-monogamous dating.
Don’t assume that people who are less familiar with modern non-monogamous dating styles will judge you or be morally outraged. And if they do, you’re really doing yourself a favor by figuring that out fast.
There are wonderful people from different generations or lifestyles or cultures who are in the dating pool. They may become interested in non-monogamous dating themselves, soon or in time. Many if not most non-monogamous daters were monogamous once.
2. Disclose Your Current Relationship Status
It’s one thing to say you are not monogamous, and another to be clear that you have current committed relationships and several lovers. Let new connections know where you stand.
Even if they are also looking for non-monogamous dating, they may be looking for a primary partner and you already have one. They may assume you’re looking for something serious when they are looking for casual companionship. Candid honesty is the best way to avoid confusion and set things clear at the start.
3. Answer Questions with Honesty and Openness
Non-monogamous dating can bring up a variety of questions and concerns from people you connect with. Try being open without the limits of your privacy and as honest as possible.
The more people talk about non-monogamous dating, the more conversations that happen, the more information gets around and the more different perspectives are expressed and addressed.
4. Be Clear About Your Boundaries
Non-monogamous dating means something different to each person. It isn’t “anything goes.” And it may change for you within different relationships you have. Don’t expect others to figure out what you need and what your boundaries are. Express them clearly.
5. Address Your Date’s Concerns with Patience
It can get tiring fielding off criticism and concerns about non-monogamous dating and polyamory lifestyles. But even if you are only dating non-monogamous people, they may still have concerns about how non-monogamy plays out for you.
Whether the issues are monogamy or hierarchical versus non-hierarchical polyamory, people bring different needs and ideas to the table. Be respectful about any respectful concerns.
6. Understand that Rejection of Non-Monogamy Isn’t Personal
It’s natural that non-monogamous dating feels like the best choice for people who choose it! But some people relate best to their lovers one on one. The traditional models of dating may make sense to them.
Read: 11 Types of Monogamy
Many choose monogamy consciously, as opposed to having it be chosen by society or culture. Some have even explored polyamory and decided they prefer monogamy. Whatever their reasons are, those reasons likely have very little to do with you.
It can be disappointing if you are attracted to someone or have developed feelings for them when they say they want a monogamous relationship. But rejection or disappointment are part of dating. Being secure in your choice for non-monogamous dating means weathering occasional losses, just as it does for the person who hoped you would consider a one on one with them.
7. Jealousy Can and Will Happen
Jealousy is a natural human emotion. Non-monogamous dating means we have chosen not to cultivate jealousy or be defined by it, by we do experience it. If jealousy is natural, the nature of jealousy is also irrational. It doesn’t always make sense. It’s not consistent. It can appear unannounced or unexpected.
The challenge is to be in control of your own jealousy and compassionate about another’s. Don’t tolerate possessive or controlling behavior from anyone, but do understand and expect that jealousy can appear when no one is expecting it.
8. Cultivate Compersion
Compersion is the feeling of pleasure and joy when your partners or other people in general experience pleasure and joy. The more you cultivate compersion, the more natural it becomes. Jealousy or indifference can destroy new non-monogamous relationships. Fight those with compersion!
9. Be Aware of the Power of New Relationship Energy
One of the most profound benefits of non-monogamous dating is that you don’t have to break off a good relationship just because you are in the dizzy throes of a new relationship.
The either/or restrictions of traditional commitment models can be destructive to deep relationships because you are expected to throw away what you have if you feel the heady excitement of new attraction. Often we want the secure relationship back after the rush wears off.
Non-monogamous dating allows us to reinvigorate our connections and sexuality by holding secure relationships and fresh exciting ones too.
Even so, we may neglect a relationship when swept up in a new one. Be considerate of your partners when you are falling in love with another partner.
10. Be Open to Joining an Existing Polycule
Non-monogamous dating means that sometimes you are dating couples, throuples, or polycules rather than single individuals. This can take some practice or adjustment. Learning to cope with different people and care about them is always as tricky as it is expansive and rewarding.
But being open to joining a polycule or a couple can double or triple your love life and bring you into a family or community.
11. Join Non-Monogamous Dating Sites
Set your profile up on one or more non-monogamous online dating sites to meet like-minded people.
12. Consider Swinger Parties and Clubs
Sometimes non-monogamous dating takes place not alone but with your partner. Swinging is a non-monogamous dating lifestyle where couples socialize with other couples, “swap” partners for sex, and enjoy hot parties and events.
13. Know the Different Types of Non-Monogamous Relationships
It’s not just monogamous people who don’t always understand non-monogamous dating!
Non-monogamy is a blanket term for many different kinds of relationship styles. It’s a good idea to be familiar with different kinds of non-monogamous dating. Polygyny, polyamory, cuckolding, swinging, hierarchical polyamory, non-hierarchical poly, and don’t ask don’t tell non-monogamy are not all the same!
Are you non-monogamous and dating? What tips can you share?