Monday, August 10, 2009

July Victoria Poly 101 discussion: Poly Dating

We had a VERY lively discussion last month about the topic of poly dating.  We started out talking about how to meet compatible people (focusing not just on poly but also on other common likes and activities and interests).  We also discussed the importance of having a Real Life community as opposed to only an online one.  The question of when to bring up the topic of poly during a date (or at what point in the dating process) brought consensus with the idea that you should try to find out if the person is at least poly compatible as soon as possible (and definitely before sex)!  It was interesting to note that the group was divided on whether it was more important to date ONLY poly people or that everyone was simply up-front, honest and comfortable with their relationship preferences. 

The topic of couples looking for poly "unicorns" or "hot-bi-babes" to date together as a couple was touched on, as was dating for the purposes of creating a polyfidelitous relationship.  As an exercise, I asked each member of the group to list one dating "rule" or an important dating guideline or condition (since not everyone likes the idea of rules!) that they use.  It was a great list!  Here it is:

- consent
- sexual safety
- just being open to connections forming rather "dating" consciously or purposefully
- honesty/trust
- no "klingons"!  (eg. clingy people, not Trekkies :P)
- polyfidelity
- communication
- self-knowledge
- disclosure (general)
- nothing that would harm the kids
- disclosure about dating others & mutual decision-making
- emotional honesty
- common interests
- courage
- hotness!
- poly-only (or poly-interested)
- self-honesty
- new person needs to be ok with current partners and get along with them
- similar ideologies
- check out partner's families and how they treat them; new people need to fit into the culture that we've already developed
- curious about sex
- ok with other genders
- want partners' partners to know about me
- feminist
- friendship first
- accept lifestyle
- no shallow people
- won't lie about poly
- knowing when to be flexible with rules
- no predetermined restrictions or veto
- won't be a "secondary"
- won't date a couple
- no rules
- won't date anyone who will hurt current partners
- want to be best friends with who I date
- they must get along with my friends and family


Finally, we discussed (at the end of the meeting!) the definition of "dating" and how the word is used differently by people.  Does dating mean sex? romance? a relationship?  going out to do stuff? When is "coffee" a date?  We had quite a long debate about whether or not ambiguity about friendly coffee dates and a sexual/romantic interest date was a good or bad thing.  Some people like ambiguity, some like clarity!  In the end, we concluded that poly people, while still romantic, also like to talk a lot about feelings and intentions and it's probably a good idea, when in doubt, to ask. 

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Here's the handout I provided with a brief list of poly dating resources:


Online poly dating sites:

The Big Ones (you'll meet local people but also people all over North America or even the World on these sites)

polymatchmaker.com (worldwide:  excellent discussion forums)
Okcupid (worldwide but easily customizable for local matches; some discussion forums to talk about poly; good matching quizzes if you like that sort of thing)
Plentyoffish (not really poly but there is a poly presence; plenty of locals)

Local poly dating

polypairing (Victoria google group)

Other sites that have large poly presence but are not necessarily dating sites but where you can likely meet polyfriendly people (watch out when approaching people here for dates, as some of these are information forums and are best used to make friends and ask questions):

tribe (various national and local poly groups)
fetlife (bdsm oriented but there are several poly forums, some of them local)
polyamory community on livejournal
local yahoo groups and livejournal communities (search for place name)
facebook groups
GLBT groups
burning man groups and communities

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