Like many, Angel stumbled into polyamory quite by accident. She and her husband have been happily married for four years, and recently opened their marriage and their hearts to the possibility of poly relationships. She shares the ups and downs of being new to the lifestyle and navigating the emotional and practical issues that come along with it.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Shopping for spare parts

People often ask me where exactly I find poly people to date, since most of us don't exactly march around with signs or ID tags or anything. It's also not exactly good manners to approach people at random and ask, "Are you poly?"

So, how does one find partners?

Well, in my case, I seem to find monogamous people that I am attracted to and somehow convince them that poly is a great idea. I don't know how I manage it, but Jack seems sure that it must involve my natural charm.

Dating as a poly person is FAR more complicated than dating as a monogamous person. For one thing it is difficult to find other poly people, unless you really know how to look. And once you find them you will likely uncover a large or small network of people who have all inter-dated and are involved with each other on some level or another. That can be a little intimidating or off-putting at first, but I guarentee you that you have an easier time meeting other poly people throughout the network.

You might have some success with poly-friendly dating sites. The kink community wherever you are is usually easier to discover and could yield some results. At any rate kinksters are far more accepting of alternative lifestyles than most. Even if there is no organized poly group, you are likely to find them amongst people who stray outside of the accepted norms of society.

There is also the method I mentioned earlier of finding monogamous people to whom you are attracted and trying to 'convert' them to polyamory. I warn you that this is an extremely difficult road. It requires massive amounts of patience and understanding and you have to be willing to move excessively slow. You must also be willing to accept that no matter what you try, some people are just never going to adapt to this sort of lifestyle, and you have to know when enough is enough.

Since many people come into polyamorous relationships from previously monogamous relationships, it's not impossible. In fact it's more common than two or more single and already-poly people finding each other and forming a relationship. You will discover that once you date poly people who already accept and enjoy the lifestyle, it can be vastly frustrating to try dating someone who is transitioning.

The Internet is your best bet for meeting people. Join online communities and get to know people. You might be surprised how often you find other poly people in your area (or out of your area, if you don't mind Long Distance Relationships). Plus having a community where you can vent, ask for advice, and generally find support is a great thing, especially if you don't have it in real life.

The important thing is not to get discouraged. It's going to take longer and be more complicated to date as a poly person. I am afraid that longer and more complicated everything is what you sign on for when you explore polyamory. Of course for most of us that just adds to the satisfaction when things are going well and all is calm.

Whatever you do, don't be in a rush to get into a relationship just for the sake of having one. This goes for monogamous people as well but the probability of it going horribly wrong multiplies in a poly situation. It's often said that trying to find a third, fourth, or tenth is NOT like shopping for spare parts. You need to be realistic about your expectations.

Most of all have fun with it. One of the best parts of poly relating is that you get to form relationships with people who might not be a suitable match for life partners. They enrich our lives in their own way, and even if the relationship is not long-lasting, that in itself makes it worth while.

Nobody's Angel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Nobody's Angel; October 01, 2006


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