Dear Mischa and Leon,
OK, so – help. I’ll spare you the intricate details, at least for the moment, and do my best to sum up my dilemma.
We’ve been together for 20 years. We were each other’s first at 18 and have been each other’s only for all this time, vanilla. Solid, faithful, best friends. We are living in separate apartments and will be still together, co-parenting, and attending as many Open Love NY events as we can, but also are very OK at the moment with the other dating other people on their own.
For me – I’m on OKCupid and I feel like I keep walking into the wrong classroom every time I message someone… or that I’m jumping into the dating game armed only with shit I’ve seen on TV shows and in movies while in real life it’s more like The Hunger Games. At least 75% of the 75% and above matches (even more so >90%) are very attractive bisexual 27-year-olds. Now, lol, as exciting as swimming in that dating pool sounds, and despite the fact that I don’t get nervous or embarrassed and can literally talk to anyone, I can’t help but feel some kind of hybrid of inadequate / incompatible / intimidated.
I don’t want to get chewed up and spat out, or simply not get any responses at all because I’m ringing all the wrong bells. What’s up with them visiting my profile, then liking me, and then ignoring totally reasonable, brief, and genuine messages? I’m like. . . but… mutual..?? OK, digressing… back on track:
I want to see other women who are open to the poly lifestyle. I’m 38, never been on a date, and don’t know how to proceed. Sex with another woman has been in my imagination for 20 years and boy it sounds fucking awesome, but what the shit… who is going to be #2?! You know? Like, while I would love to have experiences with many more women in my life, I’m clearly not promiscuous. Are there support groups for this!? lol And holy shit… someone told me that “do you want to come up for a drink?” is not even a thing! How the hell do you even … I’m clueless. lolol
OK. That’s it. Thanks in advance for any advice you can share and thanks for just… existing and having this site!
May the odds be ever in your favor! But while my knowledge of young adult fiction and movies may be extensive, my expertise in online dating is not so I’m going to ask my good friend Chrissy (and current Open Love NY president) for advice before Leon chimes in. Chrissy?
First and foremost, cliché as it may be, find ways to relax! Let go of everything you’ve been told about dating and start over. Dating online means you can actively pre-screen for common interests and values. Create an inventory of keywords that have meaning to you and a list of non-negotiable deal breakers and use them in your profile. There’s a browser extension called OkCupid (for the Non-Mainstream User) that’s useful for filtering non-monogamous people. If you’re only getting matched with 27-year-old bisexual women, you can use the plugin to filter your age range accordingly and note what you’re looking for.
Your messages should be short, show proof that you read their profile and only used to establish first contact. Geek out over something you both like in a few sentences. Once you’ve exchanged a few messages, propose a drink, dinner or coffee. I find that the more thought and creativity you put into a suggestion, the more likely the person is to take interest and actually show up. Offer a suggestion that would excite you and leave it open enough for them to counter with a suggestion of their own. Don’t worry about the sex for now. Everyone’s body is different and it’s always a learning experience. We always start over with each new partner.
With your current partner, learn together but independently and share the info as you go. Enjoy community building together at in-person events (like Open Love NY events!) As you begin to navigate the community, you’ll likely be more comfortable navigating dates and talking about yourself and what you need. Welcome again to the dating world, and I hope to see you at future events!
Thanks Chrissy! Over to you, Leon!
Welcome back to the dating pool! Sounds like you’re afraid of drowning without your safety buddy, but like most things, it gets better – and more fun – with practice!
Instead of writing a traditional online dating profile, why not post a version of what you’ve asked here? Something that boils down to: “My partner and I have just opened up our relationship and I’m completely clueless as to what happens next! Anyone want to hold my hand and explore with me?” might actually get exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t try to play by default rules if you’re not familiar with them. Write your own! Have a friend (or better yet, your partner) recommend some good photos and help you tailor your profile to find the most compatible matches, not the highest number of people.
And for what it’s worth, online dating has SO many people on it these days, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for, as long as you’re asking for it in the right way. Hell, my mom goes on more online dates than I do, and she’s in her 70s. Worry less and get excited more!