Like Swiss cheese, I’m seeing holes in my plans.

Does everyone like regular editions of “things Leon’s not allowed to complain about?” I hope so, because it’s happening.

This poly dating thing is hard. That’s my complaint. Oh, it gets better…

I’m finding poly dating to be difficult because I’m a guy.

Boo hoo, right? Here we go.

As a cis straight white male, I’m finding it hard to meet women who are interested in dating a cis straight white male who dates other women.

Take a second to absorb that, because essentially what I’m saying is that, as someone in a fulfilling, loving relationship I’m dissatisfied that it’s proving difficult to date people while being above board with the fact that I’m in a fulfilling loving relationship. It’s not just that I’m a relationship, it’s not just that I’m a cis straight white dude. It’s no secret that (and I’m generalising here), in a hetero-normative situation if a girl is interested in meeting guys, it’s much easier than the alternative. I might get one message a month on online dating. Most girls who I know who actively use the service get 20 or so a day. Maybe more. That’s without messaging anyone. This simply is not a reality for guys. Perspective females for the most part aren’t as desperate as guys to have sex, because it’s not as difficult to make that happen. I also happen to be unfairly picky. To add to this, I’m not just looking for random hook ups to have sex with. I’m looking for potential partners I could form meaningful longer term connections with. There’s the rub.

When I was searching for a relationship, I had standards in place. I’m not knocking that, everyone should have standards and things that they want. Everyone should have boundaries they feel comfortable within, dealbreakers and also things that light a fire in their heart. I have a lot. I construct complicated interlinking scaffolding that erects an enormous structure around myself, with only small gaps for people of exactly the right geometrical shape. What I’m saying is I don’t date squares. Dumb, considering my propensity for dad jokes. To enter this fortress of solitude, there’s a plesiosaur filled moat to swim through, scattered caltrops by the entrance and a barricaded door behind a flaming hoop. Provided you can pass all those shit-tests I’ve set up, once you’re inside it’s quite roomy and comfortable.

Now that I’m searching for someone else to give of myself to, I’m not inclined to drop those standards. I want someone interesting and engaging who elicits a response from parts of me that’re otherwise unstimulated. I want someone I can be around who allows me to be those facets of my personality that are hidden, waiting for someone who’ll appreciate them for what they are. My as far unsuccessful options have been online dating or meeting people within the poly community.

Thing is, I’m still not at a point where I’d consider trying polyamory to be a part of my identity. It’s just something I’m doing. I certainly can’t speak for people within the community, but I perhaps haven’t explored it enough to know better. I feel like I’m just dipping my toes at the moment, which leaves me hesitant to delve too far into this community lest I’m outed as a fraud or something. Some kind of charlatan putting on a ruse in order to infiltrate this foreign society. Yeah, so it’s not like that whatsoever. Most poly people I’ve met within the community have been friendly, interesting people. Thing is, I’m not looking to date someone because they’re poly. I’m looking to date someone because they’re awesome and they want to date me. I just don’t want the fact that I’m openly dating someone to be a complication. So far the people I’ve met are lovely, but none of them have sparked anything akin to romantic interest. Not a huge problem, there are other avenues to pursue.

Online, right? I’ve done online dating before and I have a ton of high percentage matches. Thing is, once I toggle my “looking for” section to include non-monogamy, my options are narrowed significantly. I’m finding myself messaging people I probably wouldn’t have messaged before just because they happen to be non-monogamous. Doesn’t that seem disingenuous? Like I’m putting their status above what I’m actually looking for? The other route I’ve taken is to look at normal matches and search their questions for the words “open” (in an attempt to see if they’ve answered their opinion on open relationships) or searching for the book “sex at dawn” in their profiles. Even then, I feel intimidated messaging people because I don’t want to offend anyone or waste their time with messages that won’t interest them. I mention at the top of my profile:

** I’m actually seeing someone at the moment, but one of the things I’m looking into is practicing mindful, ethical polyamory. I have very little idea how to actively pursue this, so it you’re not into it feel free to tell me to bugger off. I won’t be offended.**

I still wouldn’t want to message anyone who’s not into it though. I don’t want to burden anyone with unwanted solicitation. So in reality I’m my own worst enemy here, I’m not only putting barriers between myself and people I would date, but I’m then making more obstacles for myself to overcome in order to get to the people who would potentially want to date me. Making things easy isn’t my strong point.

So far I’ve had zero success. I’ve had one response, but attempts to actually put a date into place have been dismal. She’s cancelled on me three times. I understand she’s busy and has stuff on, I don’t blame her. At the same time it’s hard not to count this against her. I can see how little of a priority I am, which would be undesirable in a partner. I’m sure things would shift if we actually started dating, but if she’s that busy all the time that might be a dealbreaker. I generally like to be able to spend time with partners. It seems like the whole point of a relationship to me.

As it stands, I’ve been looking to try this poly thing for a while now, but I’ve had a grand total of no dates. My girlfriend is encouraging and supportive, but things still haven’t worked out. It’s a bummer, considering I’m part of a generation of people used to immediacy in our lives. I want things to happen right away, because the internet has taught me that life works that way. But it doesn’t. Things, like cheese, take time. People, like cheese, are worth it. But some of them, like cheese, smell.

So for the moment, I’m without any additional partners. I do however have a block of cheese. So I’m not truly alone.

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2 responses to “Like Swiss cheese, I’m seeing holes in my plans.

  1. It’s a weird balancing act when dipping one’s toe in the non-monogamous waters. Sometimes I feel like just having the conversation can imply intent that might not exist. “Hey, by the way, I’m poly/non-monogamous/into casual FWB arrangements,” and then there’s the question of ‘are you telling me this because you’re interested, or just warning me so I don’t accidentally say something thoughtless?’

    As a woman, I’ve found the number of guys who present themselves as poly but are actually doing some bit on the side in a way that doesn’t seem like they’re being fair to their partner is startlingly high. They know all the right things to say, until suddenly you run up against the reality of ‘my partner can’t know about you’.

    There used to be a poly social meetup monthly at the Imperial – not a place to pickup, but just to hang out with other poly people and be able to talk frankly about your relationships. Maybe you could find out if that’s still running?

    • Quality comment! I know what you mean about just raising awareness of your orientation feeling like an implication. I’ve been to a meet up and it was nice finding others to share observations and learn from others with vastly more experience. It’s a nice, helpful community, but it’s dating outside of it that I’m finding challenging. Still, it’s only the start of a different path, I can’t expect to find gold immediately.

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