how to casually come out as poly?
May 21, 2006 7:54 PM   Subscribe

What are some casual ways to come out as polyamorous or as being in an open relationship?

I'm a female in a long-term relationship with a female. It's easy for me to come out as a lesbian in everday conversation ("so, this weekend me and my girlfriend..."). But this also makes people think I am off-limits. I am starting to hang out around other lesbians, but now they all think I'm taken, which is not strictly true. Are there ways to drop that I'm in an open relationship that are as casual as the above?

I'm not involved in any way with anyone but my long-term girlfriend now, so casually mentioning exploits with other women isn't an option. My girlfriend IS, but I have yet to have reason to say "so, my girlfriend's girlfriend...," not to mention that's quite a mouthful.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Anonymous - You could try flirting with these other lesbians that you're starting to hang around. They'll probably get the message pretty quick.
posted by bshort at 8:07 PM on May 21, 2006


Host a key party with your girlfriend?
posted by bugmuncher at 8:30 PM on May 21, 2006


Maybe refer to your girl friend as my lover, or better as one of my lovers. I think, however, polyamorous people generally have to make the first move: most people will be intimidated by the rules of your other relationship and will probably wait for a cue from you.

I'm not polyamorous, but I did have a brief affair with someone in a committed but open relationship before I met my partner. I never would have made the first move, and I have to say, I was never really comfortable with the whole thing.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:41 PM on May 21, 2006


There really is no casual way, particularly if you're interested in something with the person you're talking to.

Being Poly is more accepted than ever, but it's still not mainstream, nor is it easy. God, just the notion of lesbians dating non-exclusively freaks many lesbians out.

I'd say your best bet is deep conversation and a couple of key questions. "What about you, are you in a relationship?" And if they say yes you can query it's nature. They'll likely respond accordingly or with "what do you mean, it's nature?" and you can reply with "well, my girlfriend and I are poly.", etc.

Still not casual.

And flirting with people after you tell them you have a girlfriend and before you come out as Poly is a really bad idea. Gives the complete wrong impression. Trust me.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:00 PM on May 21, 2006


"I'm seeing someone, but it's not exclusive"
posted by masymas at 9:06 PM on May 21, 2006


"So, do you know anyone cute who'd be interested in casual dating?"

"So, I'm looking for a secondary partner..."
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:08 PM on May 21, 2006


Some poly people use the term "primary girlfriend/boyfriend/partner" to refer to their main s.o., which casually implies the possibility of secondary and subsequent partners. It sounds a bit unromantic to my ears, but people familiar with poly lifestyles will get what you mean immediately.
posted by rhiannon at 10:11 PM on May 21, 2006


You could frame it in terms of your girlfriend having that freedom. "So the other day my girlfriend was over at her other girlfriend's house..." and if they ask, or look surprised, you follow it up with the "we're not exclusive" thing.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:02 AM on May 22, 2006


You: Who's that girl your girlfriend was flirting with at the BBQ?
Coworker: Oh, that's Jenny, just a girl she's having a fling with. I'm dating her girlfriend.

posted by soma lkzx at 4:06 AM on May 22, 2006


The only "casual" way is to just drop whatever public safeguards you are using and just get on with your life. Act in public just as you do at home. You know...act normal.
I think the absolute wrong way is to start running around as if there is a big sign over your head, screaming "Polyamorous!!!!"
Just start being yourselves.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:43 AM on May 22, 2006


Also, in terms of clueing in other poly people, there are some poly symbols you can wear (just google for "poly symbols").

At this point they're fairly obscure but known by most people in the community (in terms of recognizability they're like the equivalent of a labrys for lesbians).
posted by allterrainbrain at 4:55 AM on May 22, 2006


Isn't this what personals ads are for?
posted by Carol Anne at 6:34 AM on May 22, 2006


There's such a strong taboo against coming onto other people's partners that you'll have to make the first move. Any polite person who is unaware of your status will assume you are off-limits. Other than using poly-specific vocabulary (like "primary") I don't see any casual way to mention this.

If there's a specific person you're interested in, ask them out and see what happens. Just be honest about your relationship.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:10 AM on May 22, 2006


Casual? "This girl I'm seeing."
That way, you're not saying "girlfriend," which tends to connote a level of exclusivity. You can explain later that you've been "seeing" her for a while, and are pretty serious, if open.
posted by klangklangston at 11:09 AM on May 22, 2006


I'd say to find other polyamorous people to date (online is great for that, god knows) rather than trying to figure out a way to bring it up around people you already know in some "subtle" way. Or just plain ask someone out and tell them that you're nonmonogamous.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:40 PM on May 22, 2006


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