Tips & Advice

4 Tips for Telling Acquaintances that You’re Poly

Four Friends Having Coffee

So, you’re ready to tell people that you’re polyamorous? That’s great, but before you shout your allegiance to non-monogamy from the rooftops, there are things you should consider.

Telling acquaintances about your multiple partners is a little different than outing yourself to friends. The latter care about you deeply enough to protect your feelings, whereas the former may not so much.

Here are some tips for navigating what could be a very rocky road to honesty, and how to tell people that you’re polyamorous.

4 Tips for Sharing Your Poly Lifestyle

1. Make a Long and Short List of Who to Tell You’re Polyamorous

Being selectively tight-lipped about your poly lifestyle doesn’t mean that you’re ashamed of it. It’s okay not to tell certain people, especially if doing so could harm your career, or create unnecessary drama. Sure, it’s nice be open and share the details of your love life, but it’s not always a good idea.

Think of all the people you would tell in a perfect world, then cross off all the ones you know would make your life hell just by knowing. Go through the list a few times, then sleep on it.

2. Plan What You’re Going to Say

Once you have your list nicely edited, decide on how you will deliver the news. You’ll probably be nervous, so keep it simple. Will you wait until someone asks you if you’re in a relationship, and try to work it in naturally? Will you initiate the conversation? How much detail will you go into if someone’s curious?

In my experience, people are usually surprised. They say something like, “I could never do it, but if it works for you, that’s great!” Then, if they’re daring enough, they ask about the sex.

3. Be Ready to Explain What Polyamory Isn’t

If the person you’ve told feels chatty and doesn’t abruptly change the subject in hopes that you NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN, you’ll likely be treated to a whole host of assumptions about polyamory. You might find yourself saying, “It’s not quite like that,” then clarifying exactly how it is.

You might also find that you need to repeat yourself a lot, and adopt a kind of reassuring tone that suggests that monogamy is alive and well and that you and your poly posse are not out to obliterate it. It can be exhausting, so come prepared with water and snacks.

4. You Don’t Have to Justify Your Poly Lifestyle to Anyone

At some point in the conversation, especially if it is long and drawn out, you might feel that you aren’t explaining so much as you are justifying your decision to have multiple partners. If you start to notice a debate forming, it’s totally fine to step away.

You have the right to reveal as much or as little as you wish about your relationship dynamic, and you certainly don’t need to convince anyone that it’s an acceptable way to live your life. I prefer to keep my circle tight by telling mostly friends and loved ones, but you have to decide what’s right for you.

What tips for sharing your polyamorous lifestyle with acquaintances do you have? Please leave a comment!

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