How do I bring up that I’m polyamorous to someone I met outside of a polyamorous space who may or may not have ever thought about polyamory before? It’s a guy who I’m crushing on, who I think is crushing on me, too, but I haven’t let things progress because I feel like he should know about my polyamory before we get too involved… thanks!
I tend to think the best approach to telling a crush is the most direct one. And trust me when I say, you don’t want to wait too long to do this. At least you remember that you don’t know if this person is non-monogamous or not. Because, I’ve been in situations where I misremembered someone telling me they were non-monogamous when they weren’t and… it really wasn’t fun.
There are some people who like to ‘let things develop’ but generally those people aren’t people I tend to work well with anyway, because that feels too restrictive to me. You might think it’s better to keep it under wraps so you can enjoy the flirting you have with him but… it definitely doesn’t become worth it down the line.
I think just tell him honestly. Say something like, ‘Listen, I really like you and I’m interested in a relationship with you, but I need you to know that I’m non-monogamous/polyamorous/only interested in an open relationship. Are you still interested?’
And if he says he is and you get excited, I still think you need to keep things on hold for a little while. A lot of people like the way non-monogamy sounds on paper, but when the reality smacks them on the face, it’s not exactly what they thought it was. As much as he may want to open his mind to non-monogamy, you should accept that he may not want non-monogamy. It may not have anything to do with whether or not he’s keeping an open mind — he just may legitimately not want it.
I hope this helps and good luck!
Edit: I’ve had some people respond to this suggesting breaching the subject of non-monogamy in general and seeing where that goes. I don’t really advise this.
Here’s the thing, when you’re coasting on NRE with someone, the butterflies will make you agree to things you don’t really want all to keep going with someone. If you wait to divulge this, I think it’s more likely that someone who isn’t really all that interested in non-monogamy will go along with it just to keep you in their lives.
My first technical time being non-monogamous was after my first boyfriend dumped me because of our relationship was long distance — but I didn’t care and acted the exact same way as I did when we were together. He found someone new and I still didn’t care. That was how I found out I didn’t care if my partners dated other people. And it was only when he told me that I had to stop telling him I loved him because he was falling for this new person and it was making him feel bad that I actually got hurt. But really, I should have realised when he dumped me that it wasn’t going to happen. But love and the feelings I had for him kept me going, even when I logically knew better.
Love or even new feelings for new people will make you go along with tons of things you don’t want to do. And until the reality smacks you in the face, you just keep going. And if you wait too long to tell someone, you may end up in a situation where the feelings are there and they agree to non-monogamy even when they aren’t sure. They will try to see the bright side, they will do their best… until it blows up in both of your faces.
Save yourself the trouble. It may hurt to have someone not call you back with you being so up front. It may be awkward. But, personally, I’d take a bit of awkwardness over being heartbroken down the road any day.
Note: I wrote this response in 2017 so it is possible I have changed my perception and may answer this question differently. Feel free to ask it again.
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