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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Newbie drowning in “Hunger Games” dating pool

Dear Mischa and Leon,

OK, so - help. I'll spare you the intricate details, at least for the moment, and do my best to sum up my dilemma.
  • We've been together for 20 years.
  • We were each other's first at 18 and have been each other's only for all this time; vanilla.
  • Solid, faithful, best friends
  • We are living in separate apartments and will be still together, coparenting, and attending as many Open Love NY events as we can, but also are very ok at the moment with the other dating other people on their own.
For me - I'm on OKCupid and I feel like I keep walking into the wrong classroom every time I message someone... or that I'm jumping into the dating game armed only with shit I've seen on TV shows and in movies while in real life it's more like The Hunger Games. At least 75% of the 75% and above matches (even more so >90%) are very attractive bisexual 27-year-olds. Now, lol, as exciting as swimming in that dating pool sounds, and despite the fact that I don't get nervous or embarrassed and can literally talk to anyone, I can't help but feel some kind of hybrid of inadequate/incompatible/intimidated.
I don't want to get chewed up and spat out, or simply not get any responses at all because I'm ringing all the wrong bells. What's up with them visiting my profile, then liking me, and then ignoring totally reasonable, brief, and genuine messages? I'm like. . . but... mutual..?? Ok, digressing... back on track:
  • I want to see other women who are open to the poly lifestyle.
  • I'm 38, never been on a date, and don't know how to proceed.
  • Sex with another woman has been in my imagination for 20 years and boy it sounds fucking awesome, but what the shit... who is going to be #2?!  You know? Like, while I would love to have experiences with many more women in my life, I'm clearly not promiscuous. Are there support groups for this!? lol
  • And holy shit... someone told me that "do you want to come up for a drink?" is not even a thing! How the hell do you even ... I'm clueless. lolol
Ok. That's it. Thanks in advance for any advice you can share and thanks for just... existing and having this site!

Volunteer Tribute


Hello Tribute!
May the odds be ever in your favor! But while my knowledge of young adult fiction and movies may be extensive, my expertise in online dating is not so I'm going to ask my good friend Chrissy (and current Open Love NY president) for advice before Leon chimes in. Chrissy?

First and foremost, cliché as it may be, find ways to relax! Let go of everything you’ve been told about dating and start over. Dating online means you can actively pre-screen for common interests and values. Create an inventory of keywords that have meaning to you and a list of non-negotiable deal breakers and use them in your profile. There’s a browser extension called OkCupid (for the Non-Mainstream User) that’s useful for filtering non-monogamous people. If you’re only getting matched with 27-year-old bisexual women, you can use the plugin to filter your age range accordingly and note what you’re looking for.

Your messages should be short, show proof that you read their profile and only used to establish first contact. Geek out over something you both like in a few sentences. Once you’ve exchanged a few messages, propose a drink, dinner or coffee. I find that the more thought and creativity you put into a suggestion, the more likely the person is to take interest and actually show up. Offer a suggestion that would excite you and leave it open enough for them to counter with a suggestion of their own. Don’t worry about the sex for now. Everyone’s body is different and it’s always a learning experience. We always start over with each new partner.

With your current partner, learn together but independently and share the info as you go. Enjoy community building together at in-person events (like Open Love NY events!) As you begin to navigate the community, you’ll likely be more comfortable navigating dates and talking about yourself and what you need. Welcome again to the dating world, and I hope to see you at future events!

Leon, what do you think? 


Welcome back to the dating pool!  Sounds like you're afraid of drowning without your safety buddy, but like most things, it gets better - and more fun - with practice! 

Instead of writing a traditional online dating profile, why not post a version of what you've asked here?  Something that boils down to: "My partner and I have just opened up our relationship and I'm completely clueless as to what happens next!  Anyone want to hold my hand and explore with me?" might actually get exactly what you're looking for.  Don't try to play by default rules if you're not familiar with them.  Write your own!
Have a friend (or better yet, your partner) recommend some good photos and help you tailor your profile to find the most compatible matches, not the highest number of people.

And for what it's worth, online dating has SO many people on it these days, you're bound to find what you're looking for, as long as you're asking for it in the right way. Hell, my mom goes on more online dates than I do, and she's in her 70s.  Worry less and get excited more!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Can this relationship be saved?

Dear Leon and Mischa,

So here's the situation - me and the man I love have been at each other's throats for weeks now; he's poly and I have been monogamous to him. For the last month or so he's been taking his ex on trips, leaving me home, telling me to basically eff off, but still wants me around (I think?). He hasn't given me any closeness or sex or anything lately so I decided to take someone up on an offer while he was away with that ex. It wasn't full on sex just some foreplay and getting a man's attention for 4 hours.

Now the poly man I love who throws his poly-ness in my face is hating on me because I sought what I needed. Some more details: he's full-on poly and I was monogamous until the other day when I went outside everything I believe to get a little comfort. He straight out told me he doesn't need or want my permission to do anything and will not be asking for it. I didn't agree to be anything with him; he took me for granted big-time and because he decided to be amazing to me for almost 2 years and I came to expect that.

Out of the blue he shames me, tells me he's going back to full-on poly but he still loves me but don't ask or tell him anything, because it's none of my business. I am not perfect, I have an explosive short fuse, but only because he pushed me to there. It's because he decided to start leaving me home, no sex, no love, and taking his ex out, whom he says he can't stand or live with for more than a week at a time. Like now, he ran away from home yesterday because of our fight and where did he go? To the ex's house. And he hasn't come home yet, he's a man-child. He said I restrict his movement, which is ridiculous, I couldn't tell him what to do if I had super powers. I was so happy to be with just him, but when you start arguing all the time and then he uses it against you, tells you he doesn't take you anywhere because your teeth need to be fixed, you ask to be held and he tells you to hold yourself!!!! WTF!!!

Signed,
Loving Woman Who Thought She Was Good Enough

Dear Loving Woman:

You're in the all-too-common "mutually frustrating relationship death spiral." You're pissing each other off, each trying to make your partner miserable since you're hurting but can't seem to communicate in any other way than leveraging years of acquired knowledge into the most hurtful ways possible. (Your teeth?  Really?)

So... explain to me exactly why you want to save this relationship? This guy sounds incredibly immature, using his version of polyamory as an excuse to be a selfish dick. (Pro tip: polyamory and "none of your business" don't belong in the same sentence.) That's not polyamory, other than he's apparently telling you where he's going and what he's doing. There's that whole thing about AGREEMENTS and BEING ON THE SAME PAGE that he's apparently forgotten. Plus throwing your playdate in your face
- especially after he encouraged you to do it - is an uber-dick move.

Just because you love someone is not a good enough reason to stay in a relationship that isn't giving you what you need - let alone is mentally abusive. You're entitled to pursue what you want out of life, and if you want a connection with someone who is emotionally comforting, supportive, sexually satisfying, communicative, and most of all doesn't act like this guy, go out and find one (or more than one!). Sounds like the totality of NOT being with this guy is way better than all his good parts combined. Jump back into the dating pool and consider the last two years the source of some very valuable life lessons.


Mischa?


I have to agree with Leon that it seems your relationship is in a lot of deep water. Based on recent letters to this column, it seems to me that quite a few people (mostly men, I have to say) define "poly" as a license to "love'em and leave'em." Being poly does not give him the right to ignore and insult you, and you have the right to call him out for using poly as an excuse for his hypocrisy of applying different relationship rules for you than he does for himself.

One of the key tenets of polyamory is consent. People who enter into relationships with other people deserve to know what kind of relationship they are agreeing to, which is why honest and open communication is so vital. He sounds like he wants a relationship with you where he is free to come and go as he pleases, but when you try to do the same he objects. Do you consent to these unequal terms because he identifies as poly and you self-identify as monogamous? What if you were to identify as poly? Would that change the way he views your relationship?

Whatever the answer, you have to make clear what you are willing to agree to in order to remain in a relationship with him. But before you do that, I think you two have to address the current lack of genuine affection and physical intimacy that you're describing. And frankly, the anger and emotional abuse you describe is atypical for a poly/mono relationship. I would suggest that you examine your relationship through the lens of a book such as Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (a current Amazon bestseller) because the early warning signs of abuse are all going off with the behavior you're describing.

Good luck and be safe!