I find it funny that Nina Hartley knows the dynamics of my relationship. My partner V and Nina became fast friends after they met at a workshop at the Pleasure Chest in New York. V started spending time with Nina when she came to town and I knew V went to her when we were struggling in our relationship. I always knew what problem V was going to Nina about: my problem with dating woman who are not poly. So I decided, maybe I needed to ask Nina for some advice of my own.
A few months ago when she was in the city, I worked up the nerve to ask her. “Nina, as I am sure you already know, I have a problem,” I say. “I keep dating woman who are not poly. They always end up wanting me as a primary and messing with my relationship with V. I’m not sure what to do.” Nina smiled back at me with blue sister-girl eyes and said, “Girl, you need to start dating people in your own poly species. You must date people who understand the dynamics of having multiple loves and who identify as polyamorous. Otherwise, it’s just gonna be drama.”
It was quite some time before I took Nina’s advice (only because I am super stubborn). I continued to be attracted to women who were not polyamorous or were in bad relationships with their primary. This was a constant source of tension for me and my partner. I always felt disempowered, confused and torn between two women. V always felt like she was being pushed aside and silenced by my actions. What was more heartbreaking was trying to stick-it-out with a woman, hoping that one day she would cross over to the poly-side and I would miraculously have the relationship I wanted. I found myself constantly disappointed and upset, stuck in relationships where my needs where not being met and unfortunately dragged V right along with me.
I finally decided to stop being so stubborn and take Nina’s advice. I realized that any relationship that makes me and my partner feel hurt and disempowered is not a relationship worth having. Suddenly I am seeing reflections of myself from the past in couples around me. I am constantly meeting men who are dating woman, trying to convert and persuade their partners to be poly or kinky. I look at these guys and all I can see is their sheer disappointment of being with a person who is not interested in being poly. Trying to convince someone to be poly is a project I suggest no one take on. There are people who have done it and succeeded, but in my experience, I have found I’d rather put effort into a relationship with someone who is open and willing to follow a new set of rules.
So for all of you reading who are looking to have a stable, poly experience, I advise you to search for a poly community near you and inquire within. Dating folks who align with your idea of relationship is so important and is key in developing a strong sense of your poly self. You get to make the rules in your relationship, even if that means dating multiple people at once but if you date someone who doesn’t align with that, you will just continue to be disappointed.
Besides, if you’ve been following my column, you know I take advice from the best of the best! Thanks Nina Hartley
(If you are a fan of Nina Hartley, you may now that she is due for surgery in the next few weeks. Please support her by donating to http://www.giveforward.com/giveitawayfornina)