I'll come up with something in a minute.

The New People

Let’s talk a slightly more squishy (or squishier if you happen to be Word’s fucking grammar corrector) and difficult subject. Having covered… whatever it is we’ve already covered in my earlier Poly Postings let’s talk about one that I rarely hear about, but is often a difficult problem.

So you’ve met someone, right? And you’ve been through the crush stages and you like them and they like you and if the stars were to align then there will be snugglebunniness in your future, yeah?

Well… maybe. See, there is a problem that doesn’t exist in the normal world of mortals, you’ve already got someone. Now, sure, that’s not always a difficulty. It may not be a problem for you and your partner because you’re poly and thus already five stages above the rest of humanity, agreed? Good, I’m glad to see you’re going with me on this. So where is the problem? Why with the third person of course. Or fourth person, because having one and wanting another doesn’t seem to be a problem for most people, they only seem to object when there are already two girlfriends. As if three would just be greedy, but going for a fourth would indicate I was simply a collector of rare and wonderful beauties and that wanting another after that would cause no problem at all.

Where was I? Before the sidebar… oh yes. Thank you.

So, this new person, whatever number he or she happens to be, let’s say they aren’t a poly person. Not that they’re necessarily against it, per say, but that they’ve never tried it, been exposed to it, watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, whatever the reason is. How do you A) introduce the idea B) address any concerns, and of course C) convince them that you’re not a freak intending to make a skin suit? I have no answer for C, because I am intent on one day having a skin suit… maybe you should just forget I mentioned that bit. Look, just rub this lotion on your skin lest you get the hose again.

Now, introducing the idea carries a few questions with it. Questions like, “When and how do I broach the idea of poly?” and of course “When do I tell them I’d like them to be a part of my relationship?” as well as “How do I convince them that they don’t have to be with my other partners.” and of course “How do I look in this skin suit?”

There are several answers to the first question, and one of the most important things to understand before I start answering is that there is no right answer, or wrong answer. That’s probably the most important thing to understand about all of human relationships of all kinds. An answer that works is the right answer. However, if you’re reading this you’d either like a guide, are interested in poly, want to go out with me and think this will give you some key, or you just obsessively read anything that scrolls in front of you. Either way, you deserve to get some kind of answer.

Most the books, websites, people, magazine articles, voices in my head that may be from Irish and French fairies or possibly the result of heavy doses of Ritalin when I was at and early age say you should be up front and honest from the word go. Now obviously I’m a little with them, since I’ve told the entire internet, but not entirely. There is something to be said for telling people what’s going on and how you live, and honesty is easier then remembering what lie you’ve told. It also avoids stupid questions later.

That being said, there is a lot to be said for not wanting to be the subject of office gossip, looked at as filling some diversity quota either at work or in your circle of friends (no one wants to be the ‘interesting’ friend) or even just wanting people not to know about what you do at home even if it is just watching James Burke documentaries. No one ever deserves to know your private business so long as you behave within the law of the land. Even then, you need some pretty good reasons to invade someone’s privacy. Also, for all my perceived openness, there are a lot of things I don’t tell people because they don’t need to know those things. Even with my kindly manner, long noses have a way of getting slammed in doors when I’m in a mood.

Still though, at some point if you’re going to express interest in a person, you should mention what’s going on before you get to the whole asking them to be with you. You have to give them a fair idea of what to expect so they can come in with open eyes. Someone who has never been in a poly thing before needs a gentle explanation and a helping hand to get over a few of those mental bumps. I would tell them about being poly before asking them to be with you. Even if there is no one at home, if it’s part of who you are, you should probably mention it.

The time to tell them you want them to be part of the relationship is either when you’re ready to tell them or before you ask them out. DUH! Sorry, I’ll stop being flippant now* and get down to business. I would say you shouldn’t make a formal offer until your intended has met the other people in your relationship. Long distance relationships can make this difficult, and it’s something you’ll have to work out on your own, but there should be some information exchanged to all groups. Letters of introduction would be a wonderful way to do it, but those died out with Calling Cards when it comes to personal relationships. Sad really, I could use those from time to time…
*This is a blatant lie.

Now convincing someone that they don’t need to be with your other partners is easy. At least as far as I’m concerned. You just say “You don’t need to be with my other partners, it’s just between you and me.” or something like that. Will that convince them? Not at first. Particularly if you’re like me and have a flavor for group gropes. The convincing is something you’ll have to deal with on your own. That of course doesn’t cover the reverse, which is what if you want to keep people separate and they want to hang out, play together, talk about you behind your back, so on. I have no answer for that, because while I understand the wish, it seems sort of dishonest to try and keep people from talking to each other and having a relationship if they want one.

Now that leads to another question, “What if they can’t handle the whole poly thing?”

Well, that depends on what the term “can’t handle” actually means in this context. Do you mean they can’t handle the idea of you being in another person’s arms and heart? Do you mean they can’t deal with you paying that kind of attention to another person? Do you mean they can’t hack the idea of you loving them? Serious on that last one. It’s not TruFax that poly people and swingers don’t mix, but there are difficulties when they’re in it for the fun and recreation while you’ve got deeper feelings. I’m not going to go more into that, because there is a lot more to say on the subject and there probably needs to be a whole Swinger Vs. Poly deathmatch post somewhere in the future.

Now, some people think they can’t handle the idea of you being with more people than just them, and some people think they can’t deal with you caring in that way for more than one person. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, sometimes they’re fine with anyone who was in before them but don’t want anyone to get in after them. The thing is sometimes people think they can handle it and turn out to be wrong, right, worried about the next person on the horizon, and it’s very hard to tell which person is going to be what kind. Actually, sometimes you also get the person who wants to pretend to be poly, with the idea of kicking the established person out of the nest as it were, but that falls under the Chick’s Psycho rule. It can be the dude who is psycho, but we named the rule before sexual equality came along and we’re not renaming it, so deal.

There are more issues here, lots more in fact, but as usual I’m going to leave them for another day. Questions and comments to the usual address.

September 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment