How do you tell them you're poly?

How do you tell them you're poly? June 9, 2012

Christina here…


Alex says:

Since you offered to answer questions… what do you think is the best way to let people you’re interested in dating know that you’re poly? I’m new to the poly thing and I’m struggling a bit to decide how best to do this.


Depends. Do you have an Okcupid or other online dating profile? Put it in there. Just throw yourself out there. Here’s what my OKC profile says:

I’m married to Flimsyman!

Don’t stop reading! Keep going.

Love is not like a bathtub, where one person must get out before another can get in – it’s more like an ocean, or to be pragmatic, more like a swimming pool. Think of it this way: say you have a child, whom you love with all of your heart and mind. Say you have a second child. Assuming that you love them equally, do they each get 50% of your love? No, because love doesn’t work like that. It is not a commodity that can be spent. It’s not this thing you can give away until it runs out. So, we’re more or less polyamorous. We are people. We are individuals. We do not own each other’s mind or body. We’re big fans of compersion. That means, to be blunt, that we’re not monogamous.

Did you meet some random cute person while attending jury duty, and you’ve exchanged numbers and Facebooks and plan to get together later?

Don’t do what I did and let them figure it out for themselves and bring it up after a make-out session.

That really happened. That was me. It went like this:

Juror 345: *smooch, boobiegrab!* So.. are you engaged?

Juror 777: Why yes! You know, I was trying to find the best time to bring that up.

Juror 345: Yeah, me too! I saw it on your Facebook.

Juror 777: So actually, we’re in an open relationship and…

That situation went okay, but it could have easily not gone okay.

I realize, meeting someone on the streets or in person makes it a little harder to have that conversation. There are ways you can ease your potential partner into a conversation. One thing you shouldn’t do is act like being poly is this big scary secret, a turn off, a detriment, or makes you less worthy. Being poly isn’t like having terminal halitosis. It’s an ASSET to the kind of person you want to date just like it’s an asset that you’re an atheist to the kind of person you want to date. Think of it like this: to a homebody who hates traveling, it’s a detriment if their potential partner loves to travel and can’t stand going two months without visiting some far off land. Yet we usually see “loves to travel” as a huge asset – worthy of prime placement on your dating profile.

If you’re out flirting with someone, I’ve found a good approach is to – before your flirting gets too heavy-handed – casually mention your other partner. If they ask about your partner, they’ve just given you an opportunity to tell them about your open relationship. If they don’t, you can mention said partner again a little later and say, “by the way, I’m not flirting with you behind my partner’s back, because we’re in an open relationship…”

If you don’t have any other partners currently but are poly and meeting someone new, you could probably wait a until you know that person a little better before you let them know, when it looks like they want something more out of your new relationship.

Above all, be honest!


This is post 24/24 by Christina for the SSA blogathon in support of the Secular Student Alliance! Go donate to them!

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

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