Archive for the ‘dating’ Category

A fellow with a 93% match percentage on OkCupid sent me a message last night. It was harmless enough, but my answer clearly upset him. Minutes after receiving my reply, he took down his profile (or possibly blocked me, I’m not sure how that works).

His question was this:

I decided to address his question in terms of online dating in general, and here is my response.

Hi, I’m glad you sent me a message, but upon reading a bit further through your profile than I was able to using quick match, I don’t think we’d be very compatible. 

In response to your question of why it’s “easier” for women, the answer is somewhat complicated. For starters, it’s a matter of perceived risk. A guy’s worst imagined scenario for matching with the wrong person is finding out the other person is unattractive in real life. In contrast, a girl’s worst imagined scenario is that she’ll end up drugged and raped by a serial criminal. Women are socialized to be a lot more selective and careful with how much we share online. Simply posting a photo of our face can be dangerous, let alone our bodies. Guys, on the other hand, feel safer looking for romance online. They face fewer, less serious risks and when it comes to photos, are not told repeatedly that their appearance is to blame for their own harassment and assault. Since men feel safer, there are more of them willing to put themselves out there. 

Because there are so many more guys online, women have a perceived advantage of choice. We can be more particular and choosy because there are more options. Anonymous guys with low match percentage flood our inboxes with one-word messages. We use stricter filters to keep this problem at bay. We stop filling out our profiles because it seems like nobody reads them anyway. We hide our answers because creeps will bring up sexual preferences in chat that are really nobody’s business until at least the third date (yes, ALL of these things have happened to me and every woman I know). In spite of all of this, there are still guys who don’t understand any of it and make stupid demands about how much of our body or face they can see in a photo. 

Dude, it may seem “easier” but trust me, it’s not. I’d trade this “advantage” any day for half of the advantages dudes have in every other aspect of life.

Thanks again, but I don’t think you and I would get along at all.

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Happy New Year, readers! (I probably should have posted this last month, but at least it’s still the first week of 2016.)

New Year

This year was an adventure in new beginnings and false starts. I moved to a new city full of new dating opportunities and job prospects only to find that none of these panned out the way I had hoped they would. In the end, it meant I was closer to defining exactly what it is I want and what I am worth.

I don’t want to re-hash specific relationships, but there were some stand-out experiences. I met several people on OkC. One I had an excellent first date with, then by the third wanted nothing to do with him. The others ranged from “meh, not too bad” to “I THINK I AM IN LOVE.” I dated more than one person I didn’t meet online, which is a rarity for me, and even though they ended up fizzling rather quickly, I’m proud of myself for asking them out at all. Finally, I was contacted by someone who I never expected to hear from again and whose presence in my life is a surprising and exciting treat.

I learned that it is not worth staying in a crappy job if I can’t stand the people I work with, and it’s ok to stand up for myself. I learned that I deserve better from a first date than, “Yeah, this person isn’t too bad I guess.” If there’s not an affinity that makes me fluttery and flushed, then I’m probably not going to feel that way by date three. I learned that when searching for jobs, it pays to be persistent and actually talk to people in person. I regained confidence that I am still an attractive, sexy, funny person deserving of love. I learned that Sydney, despite having more schools, is a saturated market for teachers. I learned how to break up with someone succinctly and politely. I learned, once again, that I should not get involved with people in ‘somewhat open’ relationships. I finally felt like it was ok to really want someone, to truly desire them, and that it was ok to tell them I did. I also remembered that it’s pretty great to be desired too. By the end of the year, I took control of my mental health, my love life and my career.

It’s been a difficult year for more reasons than the ones above and next year could be harder. But I am coming through stronger and more complete. I literally crawled through mud, faced my fears and found out what I was made of. Next year will be a piece of cake. Or not. Either way, I’ll make it count.

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One of the first things that comes up whenever I come out to someone as poly is the J word.

“How do you handle the jealousy?”

“Don’t you ever get jealous?”

“I could never handle the jealousy.”

And a video I watched recently put it rather well. Jealousy is not exclusive to romantic love or sexual partners. We get jealous of colleagues, friends, siblings and even strangers. How do you deal with that jealousy? I think the common answer to that is, all kinds of ways!

The worst thing you could do is assume that being poly means never being jealous, so if you feel jealousy, you must not be truly poly. Don’t let your guilt get the better of you! Learn to listen to your jealousy, as it has some important things to teach you. You can manage this without throwing everything away.

My personal method for dealing with jealousy involves several steps. The first, I identify and name whatever is making me jealous.

Example: I’m super into my new lover. We have only been on two dates but I am already totally smitten. I’m still chatting with other people on OkC, but this is really exciting and new.  Then he tells me that he has been chatting with one of the girls I’ve been chatting with. I tell her, “Haha, a guy I’m seeing says he’s chatting with you too!” She replies that they’ve been on a couple of dates.


Ooh, that hurt.

STEP ONE: Why am I hurt?

  1. I feel slightly scared because I don’t remember him saying he went out with her. I am worried that he might have lied, and if he lied, then I might not be able to trust him.
  2.  I feel slightly let down because if he went out with someone else, maybe that diminishes my specialness.
  3. I am a little jealous that she met him first, which could mean she knows him better, and I am envious of that.

STEP TWO: I have a little chat with myself, and try to think of some other stories I could be thinking of:

  • It’s possible that he said they went out and I don’t remember. It’s possible that he isn’t sure what my boundaries are and what I want to know about. It’s possible that even if he didn’t mention it, he was using discretion for her sake rather than his own.
  • My specialness is not diminished because he found someone else to go out with. I am interested in meeting other people too. Hell, I am even thinking of asking her out too, and that doesn’t diminish his specialness to me, so this is clearly a double standard. I am amazing, whether he thinks so or not. And he has made it clear that he thinks so, so I have nothing to worry about.
  • It’s not who got there first, it’s who is there now. He also has a girlfriend, who I am not envious of. There is no reason to assume that because he went on a date with her first that she has any sort of advantage. Besides, it is not a competition. I am happy that he is meeting lots of cool people and that I am one of them. Having more people interested in him increases his value. If someone as cool as her found him attractive, then I am in good company!

STEP THREE: I create an action plan.

  • I make sure to let him know I felt like this, (using “I” statements, of course) and let him know about my boundaries about honesty so we can find some common ground and build trust (even casual relationships require some trust).
  • I remind myself how amazing I am and go catch up on my other OkC match messages.
  • I feel the feelings and recognise that they are valuable reminders to take care of my needs and make sure I am not placing too much pressure on the relationship to fill them.

This is loosely based on the ABCDE method of self-management which I learned in teacher education. It’s a valuable tool to work through strong emotional reactions and negative experiences.

A funny thing happened while I was writing this, my metamour called me to help her deal with some jealousy she was experiencing and I walked her through my process. I think it really helped her to hear how I deal with this and she said she would give my method a try. It probably didn’t hurt to know that even us old veterans of poly still experience those pangs from time to time!

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Oh, man. Have I got a bone to pick with this little monogamonormative gem.
To be fair, I haven’t heard it in years, but someone made a reference to this “get out of cheating free” card and it just chapped my hide something fierce. It bugs me for several reasons.

Reason 1:
If you are seeing other people, BE UP FRONT ABOUT IT or you risk hurting someone. You are completely responsible for handling this information and if you drop the ball, you are removing somebody’s ability to consent to it. Consent is not the absence of a ‘no.’ If you don’t ask, you can’t get a ‘no’ but you also cannot get a ‘yes.’ The default in every other case is a ‘no.’ Can I have this car that’s just sitting here with the keys in it? NO. Can I take the last Pepsi Max that’s just sitting here in the fridge that I didn’t buy? NO. Why should it be otherwise when sex is involved? Oh, right. Entitlement. Uuuuuggghhh.

Reason 2:
If someone is hurt by your actions, (i.e. sleeping with someone else, being interested in someone else, having a wife) they have every right to have those feelings. Feelings don’t get to be flushed away by “Well, we never discussed this possibility so you don’t get to feel bad about it. I’d be fine if you did the same to me.” Well, that does not cut it. Your partner is not to blame for your lack of self-respect.

Reason 3:

It is cowardly. It’s a coward’s way out to avoid having uncomfortable discussions because you are afraid of missing out. Well, if you are in a relationship where your relationship styles don’t match, what are you expecting to get out of it?

On the other hand, if you are the one expecting an exclusive relationship, you might want to make sure you make that expectation clear. If you are making an assumption that your partner is going to be monogamous, let them know. How? “I know it’s a bit early to make assumptions and this might go without saying, but I am monogamous and I prefer my partners to be too.” That is not to say it’s your fault if the other person is shady about their other sexual partners if you do make that assumption, but if you have heard the line “We never said we were exclusive” more than once, chances are, you need to make your expectations more explicit to avoid that scenario again.

Once again, it’s all about communication and the courage to accept the consequences of your actions. That’s what it’s all about, folks.

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