Telling Someone You Like You're Polyamorous: The Do's and Don'ts

Updated on November 1, 2016

Coming Out: A Complicated Issue

It's always hard to tell someone about your non-monogamous relationship. People have very strong opinions on the issue, and you always run the risk of someone you never expected telling you it's wrong. The process is even harder when you're trying to tell someone you're actually attracted to about your relationship dynamic. Usually, it's someone you know is interested in you romantically, but you don't want to scare them away. Or maybe you're afraid they'll stereotype you before you get a chance to explain. Either way, here are a couple of tried and true methods for telling someone you're just getting to know that you're in a relationship - but still interested in them.

The Do's and Don'ts

Do: Tell your current partner or partners about your interest, if that is what is agreed upon. When first meeting a new romantic interest, it can be easy to get caught up in the flurry of hormones, but you should always keep your partner's feelings in mind. Make sure to follow any previous arrangement you may have created.

Don't: Call your current partner while still in front of the romantic interest. Usually, "Hey babe, I just made this bangin' hot chick," isn't going to win you any points.

Do: Tell the person you're interested in early on. Try to drop it in casual conversation: "My husband and my girlfriend and I all saw that movie together, we really loved it." The earlier in the night you tell them about it, the longer you'll have to talk about it.

Don't: Tell them the morning after. In their bed. As they make waffles. Aside from just being rude, it's a lot like lying, and it is most certainly NOT responsible non-monogamy. In order for it not to be cheating or taking advantage of someone's feelings, all parties have to be fully informed of the situation. Anyway, you should probably be helping with breakfast.

Do: Explain it in language that they can understand. To someone who has never heard of it, 'polyamory' is a daunting word. 'Responsible non-monogamy' isn't really much better. "It's like an open relationship..." is a pretty good way to start. I know most poly couples balk at the term open relationship, since it's so umbrella and it has so many negative connotations, but so long as you explain your personal relationship, hopefully there won't be any misunderstandings.

Don't: Laugh at them if they don't know what 'polyamory' is, or give them a one word explanation.

Do: Answer any questions they might have! This is probably new to them, and even if it isn't, they might ask you questions about your relationship or partners. Questions are a good thing; at least they're not judging you.

Don't: Roll your eyes at questions you've probably heard a thousand times. No, it's not cheating; no, it's not polygamy; no, I don't sleep with animals. Just grin and bear it.

Do: Give them some space. A lot of the time after disclosing the nature your relationship, someone might need time to think about it. Even if they don't seem too surprised or put-off, you still want to move slowly. This kind of relationship gets complicated very quickly, and you want to make sure everyone's needs are met.

Don't: Be a missionary. By that I mean, don't force them to your side, or force them to make a decision one way or the other. It may take time, and maybe you hate waiting, but it will do more harm than good to try to force anything.

Things to Keep In Mind

Polyamory is quickly growing and gaining more ground as an alternative to monogamy, and for many people that is a great thing. But always keep in mind that there are people who are opposed to that kind of lifestyle, or who may just be misinformed. Spread the information! Knowledge is power, and if more people knew the facts about non-monogamous relationships, there would likely be more understanding.

If you're trying to talk to your romantic interest (or current partner) about non-monogamy, then give them some literature. The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, and Polyamory are great books on the subject; there are countless webpages and forums and even a podcast devoted to it. Always remember to keep an open mind and an open heart!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • GypsyDiver profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hmm. It does seem pretty obvious (which isn't always a bad thing! "Hey, I like you. I have a boyfriend, but we're polyamorous. Can I get to know you?" is fairly straightforward, but there's nothing wrong with that.) But if you want a little more chase, I tend to just bring it up in conversation soon after that. If your partner's name pops up and you're worried about losing a fish, just bring it up in conversation another way. "Well, I'm not monogamous, so I don't have that problem," or, "I really wanted to go to that event, but I'm not sure they would have given me more than a plus one for my other partners!" Bring it up in an organic way. There's certainly a knack to learn, but it's a skill worth having.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What if you currently have one partner so you cannot use the "My husband and girlfriend..." option? If you mention your bf how are you ever to tell them that you're still open to them? If you go like "Yeah, I have a bf but I'm also poly" isn't that a little too obvious that you're interested in them?

    • profile image


      9 years ago from philippines

      i agree with gypsy open communication is healthy for a relationship to grow but keep in mind guys loyal and true to your partner is the most important... No secrets!!!

    • GypsyDiver profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Oh, definitely. And that's advice that anyone can use: honesty and communication are important in ANY relationship.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image


      9 years ago from Europe

      I think you should be honest right from the start. It's not really fair to lead someone on with out all the details, and the one friend I have that lives this lifestyle, adds that it takes a very special person for this to work. It is asking a lot from all parties involved, and his advice is to be honest from the very start, never lie about it!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)