How To Introduce Your Pre-Existing Partner(s) to a New Dating Partner (as a Polyamorous Person)
As a polyamorous person, introducing your pre-existing partner(s) to a new dating partner can be exciting but also nerve-wracking.
Do you ever experience that anxious feeling when your partner goes in for a hug with your new lover for the first time? You hold your breath for a moment, hopeful that they’ll hit it off so well that you can all hang out together and get down with some kitchen table polyamory –– the dream, right?
It’s natural to want everyone to hit it off, but it’s important to remember that not everyone may click right away. While you can’t control whether or not they’ll like each other as much as you like them, there is a lot you can do to create a foundation of trust and safety. From prepping for the big day, to navigating the meet-up, to providing support afterwards, here’s my advice for introducing metamours when you’re polyamorous.
1. Communicate Early On That You Met Someone
I highly recommend that you have a conversation with your polyamorous partner(s) as early as possible about how much information you want to share about your other relationships, in what contexts, and what supports you both need during those chats.
Refer to this info when it’s time to tell your partner(s) that you’ve met someone that you’d like them to meet. The new person that you’ve started seeing should also have an awareness of your pre-existing dynamics. This way, no one is surprised when you bring up the potential of everyone meeting!
Read More: 5 Polyamory Mistakes You Don’t Need To Make
It’s important to keep in mind that obtaining consent is an essential element of disclosure. This includes seeking permission before revealing information about a relationship to someone else, as well as ensuring that you have the necessary consent regarding what you can and cannot share.
2. Be Mindful of Everyone’s Readiness
It’s amazing to feel excited and ready to introduce your partner(s) to the new person in your life, but your eagerness won’t always line up with the comforts of your existing partner(s) –– or your new human.
Be open to hearing from either of them that they aren’t ready, and to hold space for conversations around their potential doubts, fears, and insecurities. This is a great time to offer validation that reminds your existing partners how much you care for and love them, and that your new feelings for someone else don’t minimize that.
An existing partner’s fear that you may get swept up in NRE (new relationship energy) is valid. Be honest with yourself about what you’re actively doing to maintain the intimacy and importance of your dynamic while leaving room to explore developing stability and love in your newer relationship.
3. Discuss Needs and Boundaries
Practicing polyamory involves considering many people’s needs, boundaries and desires, some of which may be contradictory to someone else’s. Before the meet-up, ask yourself what you need in order to feel safe and supported, and ask the same from the partner(s) you’re hoping to introduce.
Consider checking in about things like PDA or how the meeting will end. Are you planning to end the evening heading to one partner’s place and having your other partner go their own way? Collaborate with everyone involved to create a safe and enjoyable experience for all, with equal participation and consideration.
4. Set The Date
Once you’ve had the big chats, it’s time to settle on where and when you’ll meet. It should come as no surprise that scheduling can be tricky when navigating polyamory (which already involves flexibility and patience).
Be prepared for some potential back and forth when it comes to settling on a date! You can either act as the go between or suggest putting everyone a group chat to figure it out together. Whatever suits everyone’s needs best! When it comes to choosing the location, I recommend opting for a neutral place to meet. This would mean not meeting at your place if you live with one of the partners being introduced or someone’s place of work.
5. Manage Your Polyamorous Expectations
With the amount of prep that’s likely gone into getting this on the books, you’re probably trying to imagine how the encounter might go. Maybe you’re asking yourself what you’ll talk about, whether everyone will get along, or what you’ll do if things aren’t going well.
As best as you can, try to remember that while it would be ideal if the meeting went smoothly and everyone hit it off, that’s not guaranteed. In fact, it’s okay if it doesn’t happen!
Be mindful of the moments you may notice yourself micromanaging the conversation or pushing too hard towards them getting along. Some folks just don’t fit together, and so long as everyone meeting has your best interests at heart and is supportive of your choices, it should be okay that they don’t want to be besties. Being polyamorous is about freedom, remember?
6. Offer Validation
Consider offering words of encouragement, validation, and gratitude, both during the meeting as well as afterwards. It can be so nice to be reminded of how important this is to you and how much you care about your partners, especially in moments that feel sticky or extra nerve wracking.
You may want to discuss what kind of aftercare or support your partner(s) need from you individually and vice versa. Remind yourself (and your pals) that it may take some time and multiple meetings in order to build trust. Patience and communication are key!
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