Solo, poly, and dating: What's it like for you?
New to this forum, but I've been poly for well over a decade. I'm a single woman in midlife, a successful independent professional who enjoys my autonomy, and I don't have (and am not seeking) a "primary" life partner.
The confluence of these characteristics seems to make me kind of an odd fit in the poly community and the dating world. I'd like to be dating, since my last long-term relationship (with a married poly man, 3+ years) broke up suddenly and unexpectedly a couple of months ago not long after I moved to another state. We'd originally intended to continue in a long-distance relationship -- but that's not happening now, and I've moved on emotionally after mourning that loss.
I've been going to local poly meetups and events, have lots of friends in the poly community, and I've been active on OK Cupid. But I haven't really found anyone I'd like to date where the interest is mutual. So far. But I'm not obsessing over it. Anyway I have a full life, busy career, lots of friends, and lots of fun things to do. I figure the dating will happen in time, and I'll continue to put myself out there and be open to what life brings.
Still, the dearth of men (I'm primarily straight) who seem interested in contacting me or dating me makes me wonder: What's the issue?
Is it that I'm in my mid 40s? That I'm not looking to jump on the "relationship escalator" -- but neither am I interested in purely casual hookups with little or no personal connection? Or that I'm not particularly kinky (although I'm very sex positive)?
Might my unpartnered status make me appear somehow suspect or threatening to poly people who are already coupled up?
I'd love to hear from other solo (unpartnered) poly people (especially other mid-life women) about what the dating landscape is like for them, and how they get perceived, approached (or not), or treated by potential partners.
And if you're a partnered poly person who dates straight women (or if your partner dates straight women), how do you view and deal with unpartnered poly women? What are your assumptions, questions, concerns, and experiences?
Trying to assemble a broader context to understand my own experiences better and to spot options.
There are a few of us Solo Poly peeps (and I just realized that all the ones that seem to discuss it here are women, IIRC), and I'm one of 'em.
Feel free to add to our thread, which I created, where we talk about what we want as solos practicing polyamory, here: Solo poly people - what's your ideal?
I'm also a solo poly person who is not seeking a primary partner. I'm only 31, but I expect to still be happily unpartnered in mid-life. :)
Currently I have one lover (male; I'm a straight female), whom I met through OKCupid 10 months ago. It was sort of a fluke that I met him and clicked with him, as I was in a weird place emotionally and kind of mentally a mess at the time.
I was brand new to online dating, newly aware of my non-monogamous orientation, unsure how to articulate what I was seeking, struggling with anxiety & depression & insomnia issues, and struggling with a difficult graduate program. I was also grieving the bizarre and traumatic ending of an important relationship/friendship (which also affected my career very negatively) and dealing with a lot guilt/hurt/confusion over how/why the relationship had ended. This tied directly to my own sexuality and my feelings about non-monogamy & being solo, and meanwhile, I felt totally alone in a world of couples & monogamy. Plus, related to all that, I hadn't had sex since over two years previously. (I had largely forgotten that I liked it!!) So I felt, very, very confused.
In short, I have no idea how to advise you on solo poly dating, because I have no idea how I ended up in a healthy, happy, super-sexy situation that works for me! But somehow, I did. And now that I'm in it, I can articulate much better what I want and what I'm looking for. I feel a huge sense of peace, and I am now very confident in my dating life.
My lover is actively dating other people. In theory, I'm looking for other people as well, but in practical terms, I won't have the time or energy to date again until my thesis is turned in (three months from now!) and my grad work is over. Which will be awesome!
When that happens, I'll be back on OKCupid. I just don't cross paths with any single men these days. Despite having many interests & activities, I just don't.
Via online profiles, I will be doing some trial-and-error to figure out what works best to describe myself and what I'm looking for. Like NYCindie, I've found that the term "non-exclusivity" resonates with more men than "polyamory." Also like her, I am seeking mostly "casual relationships" or friendships with a sexual component.
I am no longer going to use the term "friends with benefits," which I had liked myself; but all men on OK Cupid think FWB means just casual sex (no actual friendship). So I learned something from my experiences with OKC last year.
I am comfortable with the idea of dating someone who has a primary partner, but my ideal is a man who, like me, loves being single and wants to have several "lover-friends" for fun & affection. We'll see what happens when I start actively dating again.
In the meanwhile, the issue I have been encountering is that it's really hard to convince friends & family that 1) I really do want to stay single because that's who I am and what makes me happy, 2) my lover is awesome but he's really not my "boyfriend" and I don't call myself his "girlfriend," 3) yes, I'm really okay (more than okay!) with him dating other people, and 4) yes, I really am non-monogamous myself, and I intend to stay that way for life.
The only other dating advice I can give is that I had to move my OKCupid profile from the tiny college-town-ish city I live to the big, awesome city an hour away. That's how I met my current lover, and that's where I expect to meet future lovers. The bigger city has a pretty large community of ethical non-monogamous folks (overlapping with the also large poly community).
Oh, I guess I should also say, as a solo poly female, I have felt more connection to the "ethical non-monogamy" crowd than to the folks who identify as "poly." (The poly people are nice & supportive & interesting, but they just don't seem to get where I'm coming from and don't seem compatible to date me). Maybe my brand of ethical non-monogamy isn't quite poly. That's fine.
thanks NYC cindie & Meera Reed
Quick note on a busy day, but thanks so much for sharing your experiences! Helps me put my own experience into context.
BTW, I'm blogging my experience as a solo poly person at:
I'm publishing there guest posts by other solo poly folk. Let me know if you want yours there. I can work with you on that.
Oooh-oooh, yay! I've often thought of starting a blog about practicing poly as a solo, but I'm not very good at keeping up with things like that. I just took a look at yours and see some intriguing posts I will have to read at a later date (I should be studying for a Spanish exam right now). I updated my thread here where I list our members' poly blogs (hosted elsewhere), to include yours. Thanks! I am looking forward to more discussions here from the solo viewpoint. I often feel like I'm deep in the forest yelling, "I'm here! hey! Over here!"
Thanks, I just published my first guest post!
Thanks Cindie & Meera
FYI, today I published my first guest post on SoloPoly.net:
It's a great piece, I'm so honored to be able to run it.
I'd love to have more guest posts on the blog. If you're open to sharing your story there, let me know and we can work it out.
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