Exert from The Polyamory Toolkit
Some would say that being polyamorous isn’t about the number of partners you have; that you can be in a two person relationship or even single and not dating anyone and still identify as polyamorous. And although I agree with this, polyamory in action is about having partners. So where do we meet all these poly people to get those multi partner relationships going?
Before we get into that part, I am going to share a bit of a point of contention for me. I often hear people say “I can’t find anyone to date because I’m ____”. And at some point, everything fills in the blank. My experience as an average looking married male has been that I don’t have enough time for all the people who would like to be in my life. Other people in my shoes say no one is interested in dating married males. They say ‘it would be easy if they were a sexually active female’ – and yet dawn has gone for long periods of not being able to find anyone (and she would very much enjoy being…well, more sexually active. And relationship active as well).
I’ve heard people say that they can’t find partners because they are single, married, trans, straight, asexual, demisexual, male, female, various racial and ethnic backgrounds, and more. And I personally know people who are all of the above and actively poly and in relationships.
Now, I’m not saying that all things are equal. And I will say it is true that if you are an African American male who is only attracted to other African American males then your pool of potential partners is smaller. But the first step in finding new partners is to stop saying “I can’t find anyone because I’m _____”. The next steps we’ve outlined below.
In Real Life
The most likely place you’ll meet people who identify as polyamorous is of course polyamory focused events. From the local munch to the bigger polyamory events, I’ve had the most luck meeting partners at poly themed gatherings. Sometimes they create social situations just for this purpose. At the yearly Beyond The Love event, we include both a flirt board and mixers just to make meeting people easier. And even when the reason for the gather isn’t anything to do with starting new relationships, you are after all surrounding yourself with poly minded people.
The next best place (in my experience) has been attending events that may not be poly, but are friendly to an alternative view. We really do understand that not all people are polyamorous and (kinky/gamers/etc). But I’ve met partners at kink events and many friends tell me relationships started at gaming conventions and other gathers that run from Leather (gay BDSM) to larping (live action role play games).In the above events people in general have more of an open mind and open attitude. Although not poly events, they are often poly friendly.
From here, it can get tricky. Using resources like Meet-Up or other social gathering or even at work to meet people have all worked for me, but then how you approach the polyamory part is challenging. On one hand, I only date people who are poly friendly. On the other hand, leading with “Your cute, want to meet my wife?” can be confusing for people – and although polyamory is more in the news and media that it used to be, we certainly can’t call it “mainstream” and people’s impression of it can be based on some unrealistic models.
When you speak up and tell someone you are poly is a matter of various opinions. I tend to lean toward ‘early and gentle’. ‘Early’ as in at the point I realize I’m about to ask the person out on a date – or as soon as they seem to be ready to ask me. By ‘gentle’, I mean by asking them a question or two that will help me ascertain if they are familiar with the idea of polyamory at all (and might give me a sense for how they view it).
My favorite gentle question is “Have you seen the show Married and Dating?” You can ask about Sister Wives or Big Love as well, although those are more about polygamy, which might actually muddle the waters some. If they answer yes, you can say something like “I don’t think most polyamorous people look like them; what do you think?”. If they answer No, then you can respond with something around the idea of “The gist of the show is that some relationships include more than two people, in a loving and consensual way. What do you think about that?” In either case, I’ve had people respond with everything from ‘That is a sin against (my belief system)’ to the far more fun ‘speaking of which, let me tell you about my husband…’.
Once you have met someone, then how you proceed is a different question. Refer to our chapter on Poly Flirting
Although you can try alt sites like Fetlife or Swingtowns or even those couple of dating sites that suggest they are poly friendly, most of the success stories we hear involve OKCupid. They have a lot of matchmaking questions that focus on monogamy, so if you answer those in a poly-friendly way (and mark it as mandatory) it will help sort through people. There is also a Chrome plugin called ‘OKCupid for the non-mainstream user’, It will let you filter by non-monogamous preferences.
Chapter continued in Polyamory Toolkit
The Polyamory Dating Guilde is a book about finding other people who share your view of polyamory and want to share it with you. Chapters include where to meet people, online polyamory dating sites, dating for couples (and if you should), and lots more!