What do you think?

I was thinking of newbie questions and got curious.

If polyamory is multiple loving relationships with the knowledge and consent of all involved members, how do you approach a potential dating prospect? How do you respect your love interest’s existing relationships? Do girlfriends/boyfriends input matter to you? Do husbands/wives?

If you like to have input or involvement on your partners prospects, do you respect other people’s partner’s input too? Would them being a married partner or a committed partner affect how you’d answer that?

5 Comments

  1. Excellent questions! I think that one of the things newbies don’t quite get is that when you’re involved in multiple relationships, you’re also kinda/sorta involved with the people they’re involved with – boyfriends, girlfriends, fuck buddies, husbands, wives, and so on. If you’re gonna date someone new – and especially if you’re thinking about having sex with them (no, being poly isn’t always about sex), then for health reasons, everyone should know about that.

    But a lot of what the ‘right’ answer would be depends on exactly how involved you are with your poly partners’ partners, if at all. It’s not like you need their approval if your poly situation is wide open but, yeah, you should tell them, “I met this guy/gal I think is hot and I’m going to go out with them and see what happens.” Their reaction to the news could be positive or negative because while you’re looking at your poly situation from your point of view, they are looking at it from theirs – they might have different thoughts about you dating someone outside of the known poly connection.

    As you know, poly groupings can be quite complicated. For instance, I was in a closed triad so dating someone else wasn’t an option and when we did add our fourth, we actually voted on it after much discussion. For us, being closed made such things easier, if there’s really such a thing but when you’re wide open and the ‘commitment’ to each other is rather loose, you might think not conferring with them is okay… but it may not be and, personally, I’d confer with them and get their thoughts, feelings, impressions, and even warnings about the person I’m gonna date if they happen to know something about them.

    It is said that it’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission but, in this, I’d rather ask permission if only to keep my fingers on the pulse of the relationships because what you do could impact the others you’re with.

    Whether my partners are married or not doesn’t make a difference in this because the bottom line is about managing the relationships which involves active and effective communication between everyone concerned, just like in a monogamous relationship. Maybe they don’t care if you date someone else… but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know – I wouldn’t just assume that they don’t care or that it doesn’t make a difference… because it just might.

    You should respect whatever they have to say… but another bottom line is that after you’ve gotten any input from them, the final decision to go/no-go is still yours and now you have to think about two things: What’s best for you and what’s best for your relationships with the others.

    The person you’re gonna date outside of the connection may not be admitted to the connection as an active member as it were but the big picture says that if they’re involved with you, then they’re involved with everyone else you’re connected to by proxy so, yeah, I’d talk to my partners about dating someone outside of our group.

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  2. I think that if you’re closely bonded to a partner, you value their opinions and input about all sorts of things (like job changes, life choices, etc) and new relationships or partners are part of that. I trust and value my guy’s judgement, and experience has shown that he will hold back some of his thoughts so as *not* to influence me about things, unless he sees big danger.

    As for me having input on *his* potential relationships? Yeah, it’s there. It’s not a formal approval and/or veto process, but he recently told me that he values me and Meta so much that he would give up a potential partner if either of us felt strongly enough to ask for such a thing. I think the key is that we are all reasonable and work hard to be supportive through things like jealousy and insecurity, so he knows that if either of us felt THAT uncomfortable, it would be a very big deal.

    ~Ginger

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