I often got a question “So if you are polyamorous why you have only one partner?”. I know this question is wrong in so many ways, but let’s use it to talk about how I manage to be polyamorous while traveling because that’s one of the main points for me to be with one partner at the moment.

Disclaimer: To be polyamorous doesn’t mean you have to have multiple partners, just that you Can.

Dating as polyamorous and as monogamous

Let’s say you can sort relationships like this:

  • Hookups
  • New friends
  • Short-term dating
  • Long-term dating

In my case I’m ok with all of this. Actually I’ve ticked all of those options in my OkCupid profile.

I like sex and I understand non commitment so I’m good with hookups, I’m always happy to meet awesome people and make new friends as I “slow-travel” (meaning I often spend few months in the same place) so I’m ok with short-term dating. And as I’m mostly interested in long-term dating I’m good with that too.

Now here is what happens in practice:

Hookups

Dating as polyamorous
Photo by Mahrael Boutros from Pexels

You would think this one poses no problems? And you would be wrong.

After trying different approaches, I’m now completely straight forward with my lifestyle, meaning on a dating app (which I don’t particularly like but it looks like the new way of dating nowadays) I write that I’m poly and with a partner in my profile description.

The problem is the way people use the app. They will open it and mindlessly sweep left and right just looking at a photo.

Then later they will look at matches organizing them into which ones are the “hottest” (in their opinion) and even sometimes will answer messages before even looking at a profile description.

Now let’s say you are in my snickers, your smartphone rings, you have a match, yay. Let’s take a look and send a message.

Plus one day or later (cause you are not on the top of their “hottest” list) you get an answer, then a minute later the chat and the match disappears :).

The person on the other end just read your profile, ah, ah, ah.

Now sometimes, very rarely, you would match with people that actually read things and everything will be smooth, and even better you can just go out and have a proper normal human interaction which I find much more productive than using an app.

That’s pretty much how it works for me, and I can’t really complain about it because we are talking hookup here.

Friends

The easiest one. I’m a very social person so I like going out, check out events and talk to people. Sometimes I would as well match with someone, we would have great conversations but no attraction. But I would get a good friend out of it. It had even happened from hookups :).

Nothing stops you from getting new friends.

My only rules in friendship are that I awfully hate small talks and empty friendliness which I often notice coming from Americans (only from my personal experience).

After meeting you one time you become their best friend and they hug you, tell you how happy they are to see you, that you are awesome etc. And all that would be completely empty, because they forget about you the next day. It’s just what they do.

In that regard, I spent 2 years living in Germany and it was what it took to make friends there. Germans don’t serve you creamy talks and hugs, quite the opposite actually.

They will let you in very slooooooowly. But when they trust you and see that they can count on you as a friend, they will completely open up, and you will win a friend for life.

So my point here is that usually I’m very judgmental when I see certain kind of behavior, and I tend to dismiss those people as friends and put them into an “acquaintance” box which is for me like 99% of people, sadly.

Short-term dating

As I explained it, I tend to stay in the same place for several months, usually 3 at a time. Yana and I would do 3 months in Ukraine, then 3 months in France, then 3 months in Thailand, then 3 months in Vietnam, then that’s been a year already :).

It’s nice this way because you get the time to know people and culture, different communities and be a part of them, and after a while you set up your routine.

It also allows short-term relations with other travelers or locals sometimes.

It happened to me few times in Thailand. Sometimes you cross path with another person who doesn’t want to invest in a long term relationship but would enjoy some company for a while.

Those happened only through OkCupid though and only with fellow travelers so far, and it has always been a good experience for me.

Now of course there is always a risk of falling in love and suffer from the separation so you should be aware of that. I didn’t experience it, but it can definitely happen especially if you are single and lonely, or you date someone who is single and lonely so be mindful of your and others’ feelings, and be sure that you can manage that kind of relationship.

Long-term dating

And finally the type which most people look forward to create, the long-term relationship, tadaaaaa.

Well, this one is almost a fantasy when you travel, especially if you are non monogamous and in a couple.

Those are two BIG walls to pass through for a potential partner, and honestly I understand it completely.

Dating someone who is already in a couple can be challenging as you could feel that your are in a competition for attention and love (which should not be the case). So as a future partner, be careful with that and discuss how everything gonna work before investing your time, and as the one in a couple be straight forward in that regard as well.

For example, I do not practice hierarchical polyamory. I’m more of an egalitarian in that way, a relationship anarchist with zero couple privileges.

My view on it is that all partners are equal and should be treated and loved the same way, and if I date multiple people it’s my job to make a new partner feel loved and secure.

Now some have a more hierarchical practice and even couple privilege rules. Dating someone like that can be super challenging as in that dynamic there always would be the “one” and that’s not you.

To wrap that up

It’s not easy for sure. I love meeting people in real life, but let’s admit it, using apps is the new normal and it makes first contact easier and faster.

Now when you are already in couple and advertise it, your chance to meet another partner drops to, well, I don’t know where it drops but it’s very low.

Of course, thanks Universe, there are open minded people out there so keep looking. I’ve personally had the chance to connect with fantastic people and I’m grateful for that.

My only advice would be this: if you are a single poly (yes, it’s a thing) be straight forward with the fact that your are non-monogamous and explain your practice & the way of managing partners from day 01.

Not every poly lifestyle is the same so don’t let your future partner imagination draw a false picture and suffer from the consequence later.

If you are already in couple, well, same as for a single one, plus, discuss your rules of dating with your partner before!

Discuss everything: do you use app? do you go out? what do you say in your profile? did you put pictures of you both? can you bring a partner home? can you sleep over? etc… Go deep so there is no surprise, and everybody is happy.

And if you want to share your experience here – feel free to do it, I’m very curious :).

PS: App I use: OkCupid, Tinder and Bumble. Unfortunately Tinder is the one with the most people, but it’s also the worst one to my opinion. Both Tinder and Bumble are not gender inclusive nor relationship types inclusive and manipulate what they let you see, but that rambling for another post!