In the past week, I’ve been approached a few times by folks who seem interested in dating me, and that seem equally interesting to me. That’s an awful lot; about as many as have previously expressed an interest in all the time that Carrie and I have been together. These all seemed a little more serious, too, although we’ll see if anything comes of it.

It reminds me, though, of all the little bits of etiquette that I have yet to learn, or perhaps that Carrie and I have yet to create. I’m not sure when to let her know that someone’s contacted me, or that I’ve contacted someone; most such things peter out before there’s even an actual face-to-face meeting, so right at the beginning seems superfluous, but I also don’t know that it’s okay for me to just drop “I have a date tomorrow” on her–at least, not yet. It would be one thing if this were an open relationship that had been humming along in we’re-seeing-other-people mode for a while, but as of yet I haven’t dated anyone else since (well before) Carrie and I got together. As much as we’re ostensibly open, if I did start seeing someone else it would be a big change in the character of the relationship.

Or would it? I guess I don’t know. The whole thing seems momentous to me, but it’s possible that’s just because I haven’t done it before. Maybe I’m placing too much emphasis on it, but I’m just trying to be sure to disclose as much as possible, and if I miscalculate I want it to be in saying too much rather than saying too little.

I think I’m doing this the right way. I’m waiting until I’ve had a couple of exchanges to bother Carrie with the information, although I may still be disclosing earlier than necessary, as people are still drifting out of contact after I let her know but before we actually meet. I’m letting people know that I’m in an open relationship but that I’m new to the idea. I feel like I’m trying to strike a careful balance between too much and too little info, but it’s possible that I’m agonizing over nothing, and that whether or not this works isn’t really dependent on micromanaging my disclosure. I just don’t know.

The last thing that I want to do is to be unable to date other people. The second to last thing that I want to do is to screw everything up royally and hurt the existing or any future relationships. The third to last thing that I want to do is to hurt people unnecessarily. These are all extremely important things, but they do come down pretty much in that order.

I just feel out of my element here. Anything related to dating makes me feel awkward and out of sorts, like I missed a day of class or something when everyone else got this info.


2 thoughts on “Contact

  1. I’m waiting until I’ve had a couple of exchanges to bother Carrie with the information

    She finds this information bothersome? What has she actually said about how/when she wants you to tell her? As far as I’m aware there’s no secret poly dating code here; this is etiquette you will need to create together.

    Personally, I like to hear what’s happening in my partners’ lives, even if it’s not important or doesn’t go anywhere – first dates, zeroth dates, work stuff, whatever. I also like to stalk their OkCupid prospects to see if they are awesome (usually they are). There’s no point at which I really need to hear about things – at least, not until there’s a date we need to schedule around – but it’s usually a fun and engaging topic of conversation for me.

    When I’m on the flip side, telling my partner about new prospects, I sometimes do feel weird about it – but that’s more about my residual, internalized guilt about nonmonogamy than about the actual “hey there’s this hottie”.

  2. I don’t know that Carrie finds it bothersome, although I do want to minimize her experience of jealousy. Still, it’s more on my side; I find it burdensome and a little embarrassing to bring up every little conversation that has an indication of interest, especially as they never progress any further than that. It’s like a constant admission that I can’t seem to manage this.

    It’s not that I want to keep from burdening Carrie. It’s that I don’t want to talk about it unless it’s going to matter.

    That’s a lot of the issue in all respects, for me. It’s embarrassing. A year later, I still don’t seem to be able to date, and I don’t have any idea of what else I should be doing. I clearly should be able to, or at least that’s what I keep hearing, so I’m obviously missing some skill that’s apparently fundamental.

    It doesn’t help that people keep reinforcing that, either. If I say that I don’t seem to be able to date, people are astonished and start drilling for what I’m doing wrong. One friend actually said, “Do you have some serious emotional problem I’m not aware of?”

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