So, I am a poly mama, in an open relationship that has its own nuances and complexities, like any other relationship of any flavor.
I have for the first time opened an OK Cupid account. I have not gone on any dates yet, but I have responded to many potential suitors.
Am I obliged to let my partner know that I am on the market and actively looking? Or am I only obliged to let him know once I have a date or develop a relationship with someone I might meet?
Lemme see… Consulting the Universal Polyamory Manual, Chapter 231, paragraph C, I note that one is absolutely obligated to explain all intentional actions on pain of having one’s polyamory status revoked and being called a dirty, dirty swinger.
* Grin * Okay, I know you don’t buy that.
While I don’t know that you’re obligated to,1 I think it’d make sense to discuss your intentions with your partner. What are your partner’s comfort levels here? If you haven’t asked, do. It is my opinion that there are few downsides to talking about this sort of thing. If your partner has insecurities that need working through, better now than later. If your partner doesn’t like to be surprised out of nowhere with stuff, then knowing you’re looking keeps your partner well in the loop.
This is not to say that one has to inform a partner of every flirtation, interest or whatever, if you haven’t agreed to do such a thing. That you’re even asking about this says that you guys are still finding your feet about how to handle looking for new relationships, so it’s not like you really have a deep feel for what your partner wants to know and when. That’s okay, mind. So look at it this way, there’s less of a downside to volunteering lots of information than otherwise. It’s a good way to build trust. It’s a great way to build closeness. I mean, part of intimacy is letting partners know what’s going on in your head, yes? Besides, if what you get is a response along the lines of, “Hon, I really don’t care what you’re up to on a dating site. Lemme know when you intend to meet someone in person,” then you’ve got the information you really need.
Now, I’ve given you all this advice and I’m reviewing my own relationships. I do have an OKC profile meeself. All my partners know it. I haven’t made a specific effort to look for a partner in… Gosh… It’s been many years. I might mention it if I were to do so, but active looking is not my normal M.O. and I think my partners would want to know why the change in behavior – less from feeling insecure, but just because they’re interested in what I’m thinking/feeling/needing.
I hope you’ll forgive me for speculating, but is your real concern that you’re worried about how your partner is going to react and you would rather put off discussing the matter? If it is, screw your courage to the sticking place and go ahead and bring it up now. Get the discussions out in the open, because they obviously need to happen. Yes, this can be hard and vulnerable. Totally. But you’re building a good foundation of communication and trust that will serve you well in the future and make your relationships just that much more satisfying.
And… I just noticed that this post goes out on Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who celebrate it. And for those who don’t? It’s still okay to tell your partner(s), friends and family that you love them!
1 Not knowing your specific agreements and all.