This is a response post to the Poly Means Many topic of the month on “Dating”
I wasn’t sure I was going to date after I found myself in the happy poly family I’m in. A combination of allowing my current relationships to find their own paths and nervousness of reaching back into the world of online dating seemed to halt me looking for a while…but the time came where I realised it would be nice to go on a date or two, make new friends at least and if it was right, the possibility to have new relationships in my life would arise.
I’ve always been a fan of online dating – it allowed the chance to quickly identify those people definitely not right for me (a cursory search on Google will show hundreds of results of blogs dedicated to the kinds of random, confusing and sometimes downright insulting messages men & women get on dating sites). It also afforded me the opportunity to find people with a similar outlook on life. OKCupid’s match % is scarily accurate for me – a brief chat with someone classed as an “enemy” was good enough indication that they’re pretty on the button with their estimates.
It only seemed natural to use OKCupid to cast my net back out into the dating world – it allowed me to put my status as “in an open relationship”, and their tailored questions meant I was able to be open about my poly lifestyle – and in turn hopefully appear in search results for others open to the same things.
In reality, I got a few messages asking more about poly in the intellectual sense which was nice – always happy to point people in the right direction if they’re looking to learn more – and more than a few messages offering NSA sexual encounters, since obviously being poly meant that although it stated otherwise in my profile, I was just looking for casual sexual partners. I even had one or two messages from people who were “also poly, except my girlfriend/boyfriend/partner doesn’t know” and they haven’t ever discussed it. It seemed it was going to be more of a challenge than I thought, no matter how open I could be in my dating profile.
The main thing I learned from the experience? Nothing will stop the barrage of strange messages which come through on these sites. I hate to throw out sweeping generalisations but male counterparts don’t seem to get the same as many women I know.
In the end, I never met anyone from OKCupid, I deactivated my profile in exasperation and decided that if I was going to date, it’d happen naturally. Lo and behold, I met my now-boyfriend through Twitter after becoming friends, and ended up dating from the local poly scene. There might be a future for OKCupid and myself some other day – but right now my dance card feels happily full and it’ll likely be just for like-minded friends. The biggest difference I’ve found when dating in a poly setting is my communication skills are now – thankfully – a lot better than they ever used to be. I’m more able to talk about things I’m looking for, can accept if that’s not right for the other person and take my time to really make sure everything feels right, a luxury I haven’t always afforded myself in the past.
It’s not poly dating which is different, the difference lies in me.