Online dating, from a polyamorous perspective

By Lilith Bealove

Let’s be honest, no one really likes online dating. Most of us don't, at least. There are creeps, catfishers, liars, fuckboys, deceptive women, and a million other reasons why it flat out sucks most of the time. You can find a plethora of articles online detailing why everyone hates it. The reasons vary from app to app, from gender to gender, and even from sexuality to sexuality.

Tinder is flooded with people just wanting to bone. Join MeetMe or Badoo and you'll drown in dick pics (I have even gotten unwanted pussy pics!!!). On OkCupid, you are met with checklists of qualifications and expectations you are to meet in order to even talk to someone. As a polyamorous woman in the online dating world, it comes with an entirely different set of reasons to absolutely despise it.

~ Poly Problems ~

Here are some of the issues I have run into and the things that make online dating absolutely horrid for me, as a polyamorous person.

1. Poly relationship does not mean FWB 

When I fill out my profile on a dating website or app I have the mindset of being as honest as possible and to avoid repetitive questions. I introduce myself, list a handful of hobbies and interests, outline what it is that I am looking for, and mention that I am in a polyamorous relationship. I am specific in stating that I am not looking for FWB, one night stands, or NSA. Despite filling out my profile, I have to deal with the same people who don't read your profile either.

Sometimes someone will scan my profile and see that I am in an open relationship. For some reason, "polyamorous" or any form of the word translates to "fuck buddy," even if I explicitly put that I am not looking for one night stands or a friend with benefits. I have been met with more than one "can I just eat you out" and "but you're married, you can't have a second meaningful relationship and I just wanna fuck."

2. Open relationship does not mean open book 

Then there are the people that believe that since I am in an open relationship, that means I will share any aspect of my life with them. I have been asked personal questions from "you must be really loose, huh?" to "do you and your husband share partners?" These questions always come from complete strangers in the first couple of messages in the conversation. I usually just tell the person off and block them, or blast them on facebook if I know we have mutual friends.

3. Assumptions about my marriage 

I have had more people than I care to admit insist that something must be wrong with my marriage or that I obviously do not know the true meaning of love. As I have mentioned above, I have had people accuse me of not being able to have a meaningful relationship. I have also had people try to push me into the box of a "unicorn," "wife swapping," and other things I am not interested in. But because I am in an open relationship, must mean that I am open for all forms of play, right? No.

4. Accusations that I am cheating 

Living where I do, I come across a lot of closed minded people. Most of these people accuse me of cheating on or trying to cheat on my husband. I have even been met with invitations to meet someone in a private setting so “we won't get caught.” The worst is when someone who is cheating on their partner expects me to understand their infidelity. Cheating and polyamory are two completely different things, my dude.

5. There isn't an option for “Open Relationship” on most apps 

Facebook aside, that’s a whole different topic, many dating apps don’t give you the option to put “in an open relationship.” The options are “single,” “taken,” or “it’s complicated.” And of course, there’s Plenty of Fish that does give you the option for “open relationship,” but then insists you use Ashley Madison. A website for affairs. 

Personally, I live by "if you won't say it to your random cashier at Walmart, don't say it to someone you just started talking to online.” If it weren’t for my desire to meet new people, but my aversion to going out, maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with all these problems. But like many people my age, I think I’m addicted to swiping. 


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