Sunday School: On Disclosure
I’ve been struggling with how to disclose to women/men on I’m on dates with that I’ve been seeing a couple (non-exclusively) for a while. It seems like there’s a fine line between too soon (then you’re a douchebag and bragging) and too late (then you’re a douchebag and lying). Do you have any advice? –K.
General notice: if you, a polyamorous person, are seeing someone who thinks that being poly makes you a douchebag, perhaps that someone is not cut out to date you. It sucks, but it’s only partially on them–our culture is pretty highly critical of people, especially women, who date or (heaven forfend!) sleep with multiple people, and if you haven’t discussed polyamory with them before, you don’t know anything about their history with poly partners or the poly community. You may be stepping on a personal as well as a sociocultural landmine.
That said, sooner is nearly always better than later.
Personally, I think that sexual exclusivity is something that shouldn’t be assumed until you and your new partner have talked about it, but I also think that it’s something you should discuss before you have sex with that person for the first time. You don’t have to make it your lead-off conversation topic on your first date, but sometime between adjourning to the bedroom and clothes coming off is about the latest you should let them know.
It really is important in any relationship to be diligent about risk management, both emotional and physical, but it’s super important for polyamorous people. If everyone, including your married couple, practices safer sex all the time, every time, it is still important. One asymptomatic STI and one broken prophylactic is all you need to become a walking sex comedy, and it isn’t fair to your new partner to expose them to that risk without letting them decide if it’s one they want to take.
And of course, I don’t know how you’re meeting people, but if you’re using a dating site, it might be the better part of wisdom to just put a line in that says “Oh yeah, I’m poly, and I’m seeing a married couple.” One of my good friends has a similar disclaimer up, and it’s seemed to work out well for him so far. It might weed out people who you would really like to meet, true, but it also might help you find a new beau or belle who would be really into meeting your married friends. 🙂
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Featured image from Chicago Reader.