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Old 12-20-2013, 01:49 AM
ALpolyman ALpolyman is offline
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Location: Athens, AL
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Default How to Approach Friend about Poly

My wife and I have been contemplating poly in some form for over a year now and have yet to actually do anything about it. The primary reason is my wife is working on some personal things and I agree she needs to work those things out (counseling is helping). She's very interested but obviously, you have to be in the right frame of mind and in the right emotional state to begin. I'm completely on board with all of this and haven't rushed her. She is interested in getting something started as it takes time anyway. Anyway, background aside, and to my point. We are in our mid thirties and we are friends with a single mother in her mid to late twenties. We are both interested in her in "more than friendship" way. To me, she seems to have the mindset that I think she *could* be open to poly. So how in the world do we try to initiate "something" in a poly sense? How do we broach the subject without jeopardizing the friendship that we have?
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:46 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Location: Yelm, Washington
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Hi ALpolyman,

I would take this matter in three stages:
  • Ask your friend what she thinks about polyamory,
  • Let her know that you identify as polyamorous and see how she feels about that,
  • Let her know you guys are interested in her and ask if she'd be interested also.
Now, if at any stage she reacts negatively, I would hold off on advancing to the next stage unless/until she lets you know that she's feeling better about it. In the meantime, in case she might come to you asking questions or presenting concerns, try to be prepared to answer (in a polite, positive, informative way). Obviously during the first stage her first question might be, "Huh? What's polyamory?" which would give you the perfect opening to introduce the subject.

Along the way you might get occasion to introduce her to a few books and movies that address the subject. And now and then these days we're hearing of famous people who have come out as engaging in open and/or polyamorous arrangements. At such times you might have occasion to ask her, "What do you think of so-and-so who's in the news?"

Some decent books I know of that talk about polyamory:
  • "Opening Up," by Tristan Taormino.
  • "The Ethical Slut," by Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt.
  • "Sex at Dawn," by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá.
  • "Polyamory: the new love without limits," by Deborah Anapol.
  • "Polyamory: roadmaps for the clueless and hopeful," by Anthony Ravenscroft.
  • "The Monogamy Myth," by Peggy Vaughan.
  • "Open," by Jenny Block.
Some decent movies I know of that portray polyamory:
  • "December Bride" (1990).
  • "A Small Circle of Friends" (1980).
  • "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008).
  • "Paint Your Wagon" (1969).
  • "Bandits (2001).
Have a look at those before deciding which would be good to share with your friend.

Hope that helps.
Kevin T.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
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Old 12-20-2013, 03:15 AM
AlwaysGrowing AlwaysGrowing is online now
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I think Kevin has some awesome advice. Just telling her you've been thinking about polyamory and seeing how she reacts would be a great first step. If she seems interested, you keep going with an open discussion about wanting to see about dating. If she seems to have no opinion one way or the other, you could try to flirt with her a bit here and there and see how she reacts to you. If she's downright negative about the idea, then you know to back off completely.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:44 AM
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Natja Natja is offline
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I don't know what your wife's issues are but Poly can be very stressful at first and it really is not the best time to start up with Polyamory if she is thinking about counselling, at the least your family could be dramarama straight off the bat. Don't put your friend through that, if you care about her, wait until your wife sorts out her issues.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:28 PM
ALpolyman ALpolyman is offline
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Location: Athens, AL
Posts: 24

Great, thanks for the advice and reading/watching material!
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Old 12-20-2013, 03:23 PM
scarletzinnia scarletzinnia is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 127

Resounding agreement with Natja and the advice of "wait until the wife sorts through her issues."

I was once in a quad with a couple where the wife had some serious issues with anxiety. The husband was my boyfriend first, and when his wife indicated interest in dating my husband (likely because she wanted to be included and I had already declined to date them as a couple on my own because I have strong boundaries against that), I thought it was great, and encouraged the relationship. It didn't occur to me at the time what her motivations might be for wanting our dyad to become a quad, I just assumed that she thought my husband was sexy and charming, as many women do. That is how we became a quad.

Her husband, my boyfriend, knew about his wife's anxiety issues, she had had at least one breakdown in the past. Even though he had been my boyfriend for six months, and a friend for longer than that, he never told me or my husband anything about her issues up front. His wife was fairly quiet and reserved and generally polite and we had no idea. All was well in quad-land until she pitched a massive tantrum and had another breakdown that lasted for months. The official catalyst was that I was moderately annoyed with my husband during an evening we all spent together (mine, not hers), and she knew it, and somehow my feelings spurred her anxiety. Or something like that. We asked her to own her jealousy and let us help her work through it, and she declined, and just kept on raging in an irrational way that was quite scary at times. In the end, I lost a relationship I valued very much, and we all lost friends.

Polyamory is not an easy lifestyle, and it can require more mental stability than monogamy does. And if just one person is lacking that stability, a lot of people can get hurt.

Last edited by scarletzinnia; 12-20-2013 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:35 AM
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BigGuy BigGuy is offline
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One suggestion, you may want to ask her about her thoughts on open relationships. While it's becoming more widely known, there are still a lot of people who know nothing about it. You could then move the conversation towards polyamory.
Me: 48 - Married, straight, male
Shiela: My wife.
Suzanne: My FWB
Adam: Shiela's LDR
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