Mono/Poly Dating: Problematic Situations

Mono/Poly dating is defined as a mixed relationship between a monogamous person and a polyamorous person. The monogamous person is only interested in being with one person, and sometimes that one person just so happens to be someone who is polyamorous. I always say there is no ‘right’ way to do poly, but I do have some opinions about how I do poly, and about mono/poly arrangements and how they work for me. They don’t. I avoid dating monogamous people, to me, the pain that I might cause them or vice versa is too great and I would rather just date someone who has the same relationship preferences that I do.

Story Time

I wanted to give a very specific example of how going on a date with a mono person went extremely poorly. As you will see, this person I went on a date with had plenty of other reasons why he would have made a terrible partner, but there are some ‘warning signs’ I want to point out for mono/poly dating.

I knew Bobby (name changed for privacy reasons, even though he was a turd) from college. I hadn’t seen him in 3-4 years. We had flirted a little bit in college, but I was much more interested in one of his female friends than him. He moved to LA. I continued on with my life and grew very happily into my poly/kinky/queer lifestyle. I have two solid partners, and I wasn’t actively looking for new ones. Bobby sent me a very sweet message on facebook, saying he lived in my town again and he wanted to take me out to a fancy dinner and a movie. I agreed, as I saw no harm in it and I had a free evening. We went out to a great restaurant, and as soon as we sat down he asked me my intent for us meeting up. Good sign, he said that he didn’t know if I was in a relationship or not and just wanted to catch up. I told him my situation, that I was dating two people who I loved very much and I was very much poly. He didn’t cringe, good sign. The night ended, I kissed him goodbye, helped him scrape off the snow from his car and thew a snowball at him. I had a great date.

A few weeks later, he contacted me again asking to spend time with me. I agreed, and because the first date had gone so well and I felt low energy that day, I invited him over to my apartment to watch a movie. He asked if I would like some wine on the phone. I politely declined as I didn’t want to drink that night. He arrived with a bottle of wine. Not a huge deal, but he insisted on opening it immediately. We sat down to watch a movie, and he was immediately very handsy. He kept making comments like “We would make such cute babies” and “You are so amazing, and you are the cutest” which in some contexts could be considered cute, but were making me extremely uncomfortable. I kept deflecting, and trying to watch the movie. He kept steering the conversation into the direction of a relationship, which I absolutely did not want to discuss at that time. Bobby was drinking the majority of the wine at this point, and continued to be physically in my bubble in a rather forceful way. Bobby was not kinky but knew I was kinky, and misinterpreted that as an OK to be rather rough with me. I established several times that I was not comfortable with the way he was acting. In retrospect I should have kicked him out. Somehow we ended up in my bedroom, where I continued deflecting his very aggressive physical advances. I finally told him I had enough. I told him I wasn’t interested in having sex with him and I wasn’t comfortable with the way he was acting, that I had other partners and I would not leave them for him. The line that finally did him in was “But I thought for me you would be monogamous”. I shut down. He got up, stormed out the door and slammed it behind him. He was obviously too drunk to drive. I later found out he totaled his car on the way home.

But For Me I Thought You Would

That statement should make everyone cringe. I consider that a red flag phrase. I can break this down in to several parts. 1. Assumption: The statement implies that the person assumes things about what you are and are not willing to do. 2. Misunderstanding of boundaries: Someone who says this phrase obviously doesn’t understand your boundaries, or wasn’t listening when you did discuss your boundaries. 3. Selfish intent: Saying ‘but for me’ shows that a person doesn’t care what you want. For whatever reason they think that they are deserving of special treatment from you. The statement as a whole just discredits that you are poly, and that is who you are FOR you and not for anyone else.

Stand Your Ground

After this interaction, I have for sure changed my patterns about when I invite someone to my apartment. I also ask harder questions, and push back if I don’t like the answer. Here are some valuable questions to ask a date or a potential partner:

  • Would you consider yourself polyamorous? If yes, what does that mean to you?
  • If no, what do you know about polamory?
  • If no, would you be OK with dating someone who is polyamorous even though you are not?
  • Do you have other partners?
  • What would you hope to have happen after this date? (Yes this is a very direct question. Someone might not have the answer to this question immediately, but the way they answer it can help you understand if their intentions are in line with yours)
  • Are you aware that I have other partners?

Will these questions scare away some dates? Probably. Is having a bad date the end of the world? Absolutely not. If you think about how many people are in the world, and how many are actually your partners (even for those of us with multiple) there are so many more potential partners than actual partners. To me, it is completely worth it to start even my flirtations with a new person by asking if they are poly.

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