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-   -   Dating... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3204)

marksbabygirl 07-12-2010 05:43 PM

And I know there's a sticky about dating and polyamoury - but this is rather more elemental.

How do you KNOW you're dating someone?

At what point does 'going for coffee' and 'getting together to hang out' stop being a friendship thing and move into an exploration of a romantic relationship?

I ask because I have never done the dating thing. Been out on ONE date in my entire life. :eek: Even my husband and I didn't date.

So while I'm not at that point yet - I like to do my research and be prepared... because I will happily carry on, enjoying someone's friendship, not realizing that the other person is seeing our relationship as something entirely deeper. Or conversely - I will be crushing, only to be crushed when I find out they are just "not that into me"

My previous relationships have been - hey, lets hook up, hey i like you, hey you're my boyfriend type things...

Even my relationship with the Man was a little skewed.

So dating scares me. Mostly, because at the tender age of 36, I don't know what it looks like to date someone. I have no frame of reference.


clairegoad 07-12-2010 06:30 PM

Dating has changed...
I'm pretty certain dating doesn't exist at all in some places...

All the old dating rules apply if you want them to... (I'm 50, so the guys I'm meeting are 45+ so they tend to pay for the meal - if there is one.)

Part is going to a restaurant/venue where you can talk to each other and hear each other. Movies suck for dates - just sitting in a dark theatre. Although the right movie, and a discussion later could be wonderful. For that matter a bit of petting during the movie could be fun... (Do people still pet?)

Maybe it helps to declare it a date, to go through the old fashioned, "I asked, so I'm paying" routine. Maybe we should say, "I feel attracted to you, I'd like to know if you feel the same way."

Like everything else, it's all about communication. Find out what others want. Let them know what you want.

rubyfish 07-12-2010 06:33 PM

I had virtually no dating experience prior to deciding to explore being poly. At that point I had been with my husband for 4.5 years and married for two.

I met someone on OKC. We messaged back and forth for awhile, and then met in person. We clicked really well and decided to get together again. At the end of that night, he asked me what I wanted out of our relationship. It was a terribly awkward conversation, but it was the first of many where we asked each other what we were to each other. The next time we got together, I asked if we were boyfriend and girlfriend, for lack of a better term. He agreed we were and that was that.

When in doubt, ask. Actually I think that is probably the fundamental advice for being poly, on all subjects.

TruckerPete 07-12-2010 06:37 PM

Have you tried asking?

I've honestly had to fall back on that a number of times. :D I know, it's hard to do!

The worst that happens is you don't feel the same about each other. And that would've come out eventually. Your friendship will either survive or not, depending on how strong the feelings are and what type of people you are.

Alternatively, you may be stressing out that the other person is having feelings you don't share. If they don't have these feelings, you're probably putting a strain on the friendship by worrying, without even realizing it, so clearing the air is good!

However, if you have feelings and don't act, you could miss your chance if the other person doesn't make a move ... except to move on.

marksbabygirl 07-12-2010 06:55 PM

Just to be clear - these are pre-emptive questions.

I am a chess player. I see things 3-5 moves ahead of where I am.

This gets me in trouble sometimes :P

Yes, there are people I'm interested in, but I haven't figured out if I'm interested in them as friends or more. At this time - I'm content to enjoy the friendships as they are - and see where things go.

If they go down path A - we'll continue to be good friends.

If they go down path B - I'll be having those ^^^ conversations.

But in the meantime - I'm just chillaxing :D

Ariakas 07-12-2010 09:32 PM

I can only use myself as an example.

I can explain this from two perspectives. My old friends and "now"

1st My friends back home, if they saw my life as is, would assume I am dating...well currently 7 women. I go on "dates", out for drinks, dinner, beer, coffees etc. However the reality is I have a lot of female friends.

When I "date" someone I am specific. I ask them out on a date. I try not to leave anything veiled or possibly hidden. This saves me from getting hurt if I expect something to be a date, and it wasn't, which has been

With my friends, there is always a chance it could evolve into more since I leave that door open. But it doesn't necessarily overlap. I have one friend I have been known to cuddle and snuggle with at the bar. But there is 0 potential of anything beyond friendship. We are just that close.

As long as you openly discuss it, it will work. The nice thing about poly is I find communication easier, not harder. Being single there is a lot of guess work. So far, in my encounters, the "just ask" approach works, as long as people realize they may not always get the answer they want :)

redpepper 07-13-2010 06:33 AM

We joked about this once in our community because it is very unclear. When is coffee just coffee or when is it "COFFEE?" Because we have joked about it I am now able to say to someone ahead of time that I would love to met them for just coffee and then laugh about it.

immaterial 07-13-2010 07:00 AM

I sympathize with the dating question. I have rarely if ever been on a date, per se, despite 32 years of avid partnering. Precisely how the various shes and I have ended up together is a mystery, given the non-dating nature of the experience. Without exception, come to think of it, we just end up together and monogamous. This is how the cycle has repeated again and again, with no explicit conversation about what either one of us wants or needs or expects or does not expect from a relationship. Is it any wonder that, even when we have been great together, these little bondings have ended in catastrophe over and over again?

I have never been friends with a woman for any length of time prior to being with her sexually. If I am friend with a woman for a long time, it means we will never be sexual. Then, after my little dyads die off, I am always friends with the women for years and years. My first ex-wife and I have been friends for 15 years now.

Now I have decided I would like to go on dates. It is very awkward! I literally do not know how to do it. Me, with a relationship and sex inventory five times longer than my forearm. The funny thing is I don't know how to just have a relaxed, conversational, playful good time with a woman. No strings, no sex worries, no heavy "is she the one?" questions, no big commitments or big decisions. Just a good, simple time. So this is now what I am interested in learning how to do.

I think the suggestions to "just ask" are utterly insane! Every interaction between a man and a woman is inherently dishonest and based on a game. Surely, this "communication" thing is a trick, just another way for people to gain the upper hand in the mating dance? :-)


TruckerPete 07-13-2010 11:27 AM


Originally Posted by immaterial (Post 35704)
I think the suggestions to "just ask" are utterly insane! Every interaction between a man and a woman is inherently dishonest and based on a game. Surely, this "communication" thing is a trick, just another way for people to gain the upper hand in the mating dance? :-)

I don't believe in games when it comes to feelings in any sort of interpersonal relationship. This stems from how I was raised (or rather, how I wasn't), where it was anyone's guess as to how a certain family member was feeling and my job was to figure it out and act accordingly.

As a result, I have terrible anxiety at the beginning of relationships, romantic or otherwise. I need to be clear and communicative, appropriate of course, to how far along the relationship is.

Is it insane? I don't know about that. It certainly is awkward and embarrassing at times ... But well worth the result! Just last night, I discovered that A, a new relationship I am very intersted in, is just as interested. And it feels wonderful!

clairegoad 07-13-2010 01:30 PM


Originally Posted by immaterial (Post 35704)

I think the suggestions to "just ask" are utterly insane! Every interaction between a man and a woman is inherently dishonest and based on a game. Surely, this "communication" thing is a trick, just another way for people to gain the upper hand in the mating dance? :-)


Just curious... what is the payoff to this dishonesty?

"Are you interested in me?" Yes - we continue progressing towards a deeper relationship. If dishonest yes goal is sex/ no emotional relationship?

"Are you interested in me? " No - We continue to be friends, or not. If you're not interested, I doubt anyone would ask twice-unless you suddenly acted interested.

Is there an advantage to dishonesty? or is it just a Harlequin romance plot device.... transferred to RL?

I'm thinking about the lies of omission that I've (not) told. I'm currently unemployed. Don't mention that here or on okcupid. I'm actively looking for a job, I can pay my rent. I don't need sympathy, a hand out or a sugar daddy. Is it dishonest to NOT mention that? Yes, the timing sucks, OTOH, when I'm working... 12 hour days... I'm not able to spend time looking for a relationship... and a bed is only for sleeping.

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