“I [24F] am the hinge of a V and have been dating my nesting partner [23M] for a year and a half, and my boyfriend [29M] for about 3 months. Both of my partners are relatively new to poly, and I’m really their first genuine exposure to the practice. My NP has gone on dates/slept with other people while we have been together, but has never gotten serious with anyone else besides me. My boyfriend and I have currently agreed on polyfidelity with each other as our relationship is still growing and developing. I feel really blessed to have open and honest communication with both of them.
My boyfriend was interested in meeting my NP from the onset of our relationship, and knows that my ideal arrangement is kitchen table poly (maybe even with some group cuddling further down the line). My NP was very hesitant to meet him in the first few months, but recognizes that the boyfriend is here to stay and that it’s very important to me that they meet. He says he doesn’t feel like his arm is being twisted, but he is definitely quite anxious about meeting. In general, he has some issues with insecurity, particularly now that I’m seeing someone 6 years older “with his life together”.
I talk about both partners to one other regularly (and consensually) and both have expressed admiration of each others’ lovely qualities, and empathy for each others’ occasional struggles. They’re both really happy that I’m so happy! They also have tons of shared interests, and I genuinely think they would like each other a lot!
I’m wondering how to best get everyone prepared for this meeting. Where should it be? I was thinking maybe our place for boardgames? But then the boyfriend has to go home at the end of the night while NP and I stay together. Should I invite other friends as social lubricant, or should it just be the three of us? What kinds of conversations should take place before and after?”
Dear U Bloo My Mind,
Welcome to polyamory! Unicorn sugar cookies are over there at the kitchen table and cuddle puddle is happening in the living room. I hope you remembered to bring your most comfy onesie!
Introducing your partners to each other can be a very challenging and daunting task. Doubly so if this is their first time ever meeting their partner’s other partners. There really isn’t a pre-determined social script that tells you how you should behave around your partner’s other partners. So that might explain why your nesting partner is feeling anxious, and why you’re feeling so nervous.
Kitchen table is my personal preference for metamour engagements, so I’ve had a lot of experience introducing my partners to each other. So let me share with you what I’ve learned so far.
The first advice I have for you is to meet at a neutral, public location. I know it will be tempting to meet at a place that you personally feel the most comfortable in. But that kind of first engagement usually puts one or multiple people in competing positions of authority and differing levels of discomfort. I personally treat the metamour meet & greet similarly to how I treat first dates: a quick get-together for an introduction. So that means grabbing drinks at a cafe or a bar nearby. In some of my past meet & greets, we all drove separate cars. In others I drove with one partner to meet the other at a predetermined location. But I have never had the first meeting happen inside a car. So figure out your own logistics accordingly.
These meetings don’t have to have a second location. In my previous experiences, the metamour meet & greets can take thirty minutes to a couple of hours. After they’ve had a good first impression, it is the best to leave things on a high note rather than to drag it out beyond each of their respective comfort level. Especially since they’ve JUST met for the first time.
The second piece of advice I have for you is to recognize that everyone’s experience and expectations are going to be different going in and coming out. This is their first time meeting each other. Not a lot of people just click that easily. And while your NP and your boyfriend have heard a lot about each other through you, all of it was hearsay through you. So while you’ve done your best to talk about each other, they’ll have to do their best to carve out what their connection feels like on their own. And depending on how it goes, your boyfriend is going to have one impression of your NP. Your NP might have another impression of your boyfriend. You might see completely different versions of your boyfriend and your NP come out. And your boyfriend and NP might each see a different version of you come out.
This might mean that you might have to take on different roles depending on the social circumstance. So for example, I usually approach my meet & greets with enthusiastic curiosity and presence. But in one of my previous metamour meet & greets where I introduced my two partners to each other, I could sense that both were very hesitant to talk about themselves. So I tried my best to facilitate the conversation and guide it to the shared interests I know they were both very much into. You mentioned board games, so steering the conversations around to talking about things they’re both passionate about is a win-win-win.
The last piece of advice I have for you is to R-E-L-A-X.
Your anxious energy will be very noticeable if you let it dominate your frame of mind since you are their shared partner. Just breathe and continue to be you. They are with you because they both care about you, and it is in their mutual best interests to make sure that this meet & greet goes well for everyone involved.
It might also be important for you to recognize that this is only their first meeting. And there might be some awkwardness especially in the beginning, and some things might not go perfectly. Like I said, it isn’t like there is a script they can follow here. So recognize that there is only so much you can do in preparation of this experience and go with the flow when it feels right.
If things all go well, then I like to debrief with my partner(s) after the experience to gather impressions and recommit to my desire to maintain a kitchen table poly style even if things were a little awkward at first.
I hope you have a lovely metamour meet & greet and please let me know how it all went after it happens!
Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.
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