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-   -   Criteria for New Partners (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3303)

FormerUnicorn 07-25-2010 07:32 AM

Criteria for New Partners
So there has been a lot of discussion going around lately about how poly women seem to have a lot of relationship options and that the name of the game is really just separating the wheat from the chaff.

For the purposes of this discussion, we'll assume the above statement has enough truth to merit some exploration.

With so many options, how does a woman decide what avenues to pursue? How does being poly differ from being single when you're choosing a new partner? What things do you have to take into consideration? Granted, some times lightning just strikes and you hit it off with someone instantly, but what do you do when you have potential and you are not sure whether to pursue it? What factors help you decide?

See, I feel that looking for, or being open to new partners is an entirely different position to be in now that I'm married. I have an existing relationship that is important to me, and another person's opinion that is important to me. Right off the bat I have criteria that are based on my desire to maintain and possibly enrich those existing connections.

When I was single and looking, I pretty much let my heart or my libido guide me. I didn't have much at risk, except for my own happiness and well-being, and those were easily preserved by making smart decisions once I had established a relationship.

I find that while I might still be open to lightning striking, I'm much more invested in weighing whether or not a person would be a good addition to my life than I was when I was single and willing to figure things out in situ.

I'm less in need of a stabilizing factor. I'm not looking for someone to contribute economically unless they wish to. I'm not feeling the pull of my biological clock since I already have a willing mate. I don't have to worry at this point about finding someone that I can compatibly live with. I'm not interested in people who don't have their own life and goals. I'm not looking to fix anyone broken or act as a crutch to someone dysfunctional.

The list goes on, but the bottom line is that I didn't really THINK about whether or not someone would make a good partner. It's like I wasn't even aware that I could have a vetting process for these people beyond whether or not it felt right. It's not that I didn't have standards, I just didn't think about what I wanted or needed before I got involved.

I'm sure some people would find this pre-judgment stifling, but in the context of my own life I feel a little forethought is a more mature outlook that will contribute more towards my happiness in the long run.

What are some things that you consider?

redpepper 07-25-2010 07:47 AM

I like "maintaining and enriching" relationships that are already there. That is so important for me now. It wasn't before for me either.

Someone who is able to be independent, has similar values, I like the smell and taste of, has similar humour, that all my other partners get long with.

Might come back to this though as that is not all :)

SourGirl 07-25-2010 02:38 PM

Excellent question FU. <--( Haha had to shorten it. Just once. for kicks. )

I am much like you. I have a primary who I cherish and love deeply. We are each others #1, no questions asked. On top of that, we have a family together.

It does not mean I look at any secondary relationship as unimportant, or something that doesn`t deserve true consideration. It does mean, that I have different criteria for a secondary, or tertiary.

In some ways, there is more freedom. With someone who is a potential secondary, or tertiary, it means I don`t have to worry about the small pet peeves that drive some couples crazy.
For example ;
- Useage and spending of joint money.
- Differing views on politics.
- Living habits.
- Any fundamental differences on raising children.

I have found I do experience a higher need to have more things in common with someone of a secondary or tertiary stature. The 'opposites attract' thing does not work out very well. I now understand that.

So while I recognize that some differences are nice, on a whole, I prefer partners who have similiar hobbies, or interests to me. I enjoy getting to know someone who I can relate to, about a variety of topics.

marksbabygirl 07-25-2010 04:13 PM

I just blogged about this this morning.

Anyone who comes into my life will, by the nature of my marriage and family, be involved with them to some degree as well. That doesn't mean that we'll necessarily be "one big happy family" but they'll have to be comfortable enough with the rest of my life to come hang out on a Sunday at the lake with my kids and me. I spend so much time away from my kids that there will be overlap with my new partners and my kids - we'll occasionally do 'kid' stuff :)

They'll have to be willing to spend time with my husband as well. Not all the time - but he likes to know my friends. So even if its a matter of 10 minutes waiting for me chatting with hubby while I'm finishing up getting ready or hunting for my purse... there has to be a comfort level and maturity that allows that.

SO yeah - there is a greater consideration for whomever I will get involved with - because there's so much more to think about other than getting my itch scratched.

Ariakas 07-25-2010 04:34 PM

Reading this thread with piqued curiosity :)

marksbabygirl 07-25-2010 04:35 PM


Originally Posted by Ariakas (Post 37425)
Reading this thread with piqued curiosity :)

Ah yes, but what are your thoughts? ;)

MonoVCPHG 07-25-2010 06:08 PM

I don't have anything to add but love the use of the word "criteria" :)

jkelly 07-25-2010 07:32 PM


Originally Posted by FormerUnicorn (Post 37397)
How does being poly differ from being single when you're choosing a new partner? What things do you have to take into consideration?

One way in which being poly- differs from being single is that one (ideally) gets trusted, insightful reality checks from one's partners about new potential interests.

I suppose that I could come up with a list of criteria for poly- dating (must be reasonably enthusiastic about being in poly- relationships, must be reasonably supportive of existing relationships, etc.), but the thing is that relationships begin in some very different ways. Is it someone I barely know and am considering a first date with? My criterion there is finding someone interesting enough I'd want to spend a couple of hours chatting. Is it someone who's been a friend for a while and now there's some mutual attraction? How do I think that's going to fit into my life?

I think making smart choices about people to date is extremely important, but I'm tempted to sort of throw my hands up in the air and just say "develop good taste", which isn't very useful.

TruckerPete 07-25-2010 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by jkelly (Post 37440)
I think making smart choices about people to date is extremely important, but I'm tempted to sort of throw my hands up in the air and just say "develop good taste", which isn't very useful.

Oh agreed!

This may seem contradictory, but while single, I have been known to throw my heart at relationships that I knew weren't going anywhere from the outset, but I just had to. For the experience, for whatever reason, there was just something.

Now, I do have to be a bit more careful. Because who will be stuck cleaning up the mess if I dive into a very shallow pool? Indigo. This was a startling revelation I had the other night (we have only recently begun practicing poly) and ended with me apologizing profusely for not realizing this very obvious fact.

So, I must keep Indigo in mind. I can't throw myself at someone just to see what happens. My relationships, out of respect for him, need to be less emotionally risky than I may have allowed before we were together.

I imagine that this will only be even more of a consideration as children enter the picture. (Not for some time! :eek: )

LovingRadiance 07-25-2010 10:33 PM

I expect that any potential partners have to respect and appreciate the importance of my husband to me. They need to be able to be friendly with my family and accept my devotion to my children.

That's for sure my FIRST criteria. I don't want a "segregated" situation. I'm ok with us not sharing lovers-that's fine. But if I have a lover (or he does) I want that person to be at least friendly with both of us.

So far-that hasn't been an issue. ;)

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