I’ve been feeling rather introspective lately, and I’ve been mulling over what identifying as poly means to me – how much a part of my identity it is, how important it is to me in future relationships, how I envision it working for me and my partner(s), and so on. I can do monogamy, and I’m not even opposed to it. I can be happy in a monogamous relationship (although I wonder if I can be happy with monogamy long term or if I would just end up needing to extricate myself eventually?). But, ideally, I do want to end up with someone who is either poly themselves or poly-friendly.
In the meantime, I’ve been dating a lot… and there have been a few guys who I’ve been more interested in than others (although things never really go anywhere; instead they just taper off before taking up off the ground, they end up meeting someone else in the same city as them, or it just doesn’t fucking work because life is this big fucking mess of people who may or may not come to like, let alone love, each other).
So I know what I want and need. And this is helpful in dating because I know when it’s time to jump ship, I know when I’ve met someone who is a decent fit for me, and I know when someone will make a good one-nighter. It works for me. I’m trying to deftly traverse the dating scene so as to maximize my own experiences and minimize the male carnage I leave in my wake (seriously – the myth that men just want no strings attached sex or that men aren’t seeking committed loving relationships really fucks people up and makes dating an emotionally messy place, sometimes. And it’s just plain incorrect).
Knowing that polyamory is a huge part of my identity, I’ve been thinking about when I should be bringing this conversation up. There have been times I’ve brought it up on the first date, and there have been times I’ve just never brought it up at all. There was one date I had (it was probably the best date I’ve had to date, but he was from out of town and met a woman whom he really connected with, so it kind of ended there – although I have to say I was thrilled for him meeting someone that he had such a strong connection with) who had read some of my articles about polyamory. He’d asked me about it and I’d explained it, and he’d said it was something he might be interested in trying. I was so very excited about the prospects of this; I’ve had some serious insecurity that that aspect of my identity is going to be the biggest barrier to my finding someone that I would eventually want to settle down with (much like when I was widowed at 19 and feared that being a mother would hinder my finding a significant other). While this relationship didn’t go anywhere, it did give me hope. So thank you, for inspiring in me the hope that there are open-minded men out there who will not only accept me for all of the culturally compliant aspects of myself, but also for the disparate aspects of my personhood, as well.
Part of the reason I’ve been pondering when to have this conversation is because sometimes I hold back when I feel something for someone because I want to develop that chemistry (for lack of a better word) or relationship – to get to know someone without the word ‘poly’ floating around in the back of their minds. Although then I feel as though I’m being disingenuous because would this man really be spending the time to get to know me with the big “P” floating around? Some would. Most probably wouldn’t. Or maybe I’m just projecting my fears, again.
At any rate, I was inspired to think about this because a guy I had kind of been seeing had mentioned the ‘g’ word. And up until he’d said that, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it – eventually being someone’s significant other, again. What I realized was that I’m definitely not there. I’m not ready for that… I am not exaggerating when I say that I fucking love being single. It has been the absolute best nine months of my life. I relish the freedom on so many levels – and not just the fact that I can hook up with whomever I want, whenever I want. There really is a personal freedom in not having another human being’s emotions to concern oneself with. But part of what made me so reticent about the whole exclusivity conversation is that when he said it there were a couple of men in particular who flashed into my head that I don’t want to give up: I always have a lovely time with Out of Town Guy (and, in fact, will be spending an evening with him when I return from my reading week trip) and the thought of not being able to continue that was uncomfortable; and then there’s Out of Province Guy (who will surely read this) who will be in the province the weekend I return from my reading week trip. And the thought of not having the opportunity to spend a weekend with him was also a little disconcerting.
I guess what it showed me was that I am poly. There’s no denying that (not that I would have bothered trying to anyway), but more importantly, I have to bring who I am wholly into anything that I get into. So when do I start talking about being poly with a guy I like? Is that really a first date subject? A post-sex subject? A fifth-date subject? I don’t know the answer. I don’t know if there is an answer.
I’m apparently just feeling tangential this evening. And thought I would use my blog as a sounding board. So thoughts, opinions, and advice are welcomed!