Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts will be found at www.polymeansmany.com . This month, our topic is “Dating”.
Dating as a non-monogamous person is just the same as for monogamous folk, right? Well… not really. Monogamous folk are looking for exclusivity, perhaps even to ride the relationship escalator1 right to the top. You’re looking for something entirely different. You may use some of the same avenues, but to different ends. This post is meant to be some helpful hints and tips on how to approach dating as a non-monogamous person, where to meet folk open to non-monogamy, and where to not waste your time.
1. Picking up people in bars/clubs/street/parties
First things first: although there are a lot of folks open to non-monogamy, we aren’t the majority. You’re unlikely to randomly meet someone both genuinely non-monogamous and compatible with you at a bar/club/party, because your potential dating field is narrowed. That combined with the fact non-monogamy takes a lot of explaining to get someone to understand it doesn’t necessarily mean cheating or sex, means I just don’t bother with this route.
2. Dating sites
I’ve always been a fan of online dating, but that’s because I’ve always been dating a narrower field of people: kinky, and now non-monogamous (and ideally kinky). Online dating allows me to be utterly clear about who I am, and what I am looking for, as well as setting parameters for people to be able to contact me. I’m not saying that this weeds out all the timewasters of the world, but it certainly sorts the majority of the wheat from the chaff.
The obvious question is ‘which sites should I use?’. I’m a fan of http://www.okcupid.com, having met a good few partners and a ton of friends on there. Over the years OKC has become more and more inclusive of the hoardes of alternative lifestylers that are joining the ranks of users, and have added new categories for gender and relationship status to profiles. It’s entirely free to use, and for those in the UK, I can recommend it.
I don’t recommend Plenty Of Fish, because it seems to be full of the ‘hey sexy’ message type of people, and seems very much more about hetero, monogamous relationships. Which is fine, that’s their market.
For those non-monogamists looking for more sex-focussed connections, I hear http://adultfriendfinder.co.uk/ and http://www.craigslist.org/ are very good for meeting people. Kinksters, as always, should check out https://fetlife.com, and seek out local munches/play events.
There are specific poly dating sites such as http://www.polymatchmaker.com/ and http://www.poly-date.com/ but these seem to be very US-focussed, with not many current or active members for Europe or UK.
3. Dating organisations, speed dating
There are organisations out there that are specifically designed for non-monogamous dating, and often run non-monogamous dating personals, and speed-dating events. Again it’s a case of tailoring your time and energies to the right target audience. Often local poly social groups will organise speed-dating or date nights for their groups. Check out the following links for more information on events close to you:
4. Non-monogamous social groups and meet-ups
Never underestimate the effect networking can have. There are a growing number of non-monogamous social groups across the UK (and the world), and going to them can not only bring you new friends, a great support network, and a chance to speak openly and freely about the lifestyle, it can also be an opportunity to meet new partners. There’s a reason Star Wars geeks go to Star Wars conventions! (beyond prancing round dressed as Jedi). You’ll find information on local groups via Google, or using any of the many useful sites listed below.
5. Regional, National or International Non-Monogamy Conventions
It might sound a bit far fetched to travel the country or to a different country in the name of dating, but think of it as a supersized #4. You’ll meet people you never would have, have amazing discussions, and there’s a good chance someone near you will be there too. There are a couple of events that are either explicitly for or accepting of non-monogamous relationships in the UK, http://opencon.org.uk/ and http://bicon.org.uk/. Also check out the following sites for events information
I hope that’s been useful, and that for any newbies to non-monogamy, let me urge you to check out your local non-monogamy meet up! The best way to cope with this massive lifestyle change is to become part of the community to which you belong. If anyone has other useful links to resources, please comment below.