So I need help. I have a wonderful nesting partner that I love more than anything. We we're looking for our unicorn a female. But I really want to date other guys as well. I've been talking to a guy that I really like. Enough to date. But my primary partner doesn't want me dating guys. What should I do?
There’s a lot here. I’m going to encourage you to break down your language and look at what unspoken assumptions are being revealed by it.
“…that I love more than anything” Well, then why are you seeking another partner? I understand that this is a relatively standard way of expressing love and commitment in our monogamy-centric culture, but you may want to reconsider how you’re expressing this feeling in this context. If you’re experiencing your love as something that is not hierarchical or zero-sum, don’t express it as such.
“our unicorn” She is not “yours,” she is her own person, out there in the world, with a complete life that doesn’t involve waiting around to fit into your life. She is also not a “unicorn” - I know that this word is common in polyamorous communities and conversations, but it has a whole mess of connotations and significance. Consider shifting to think of what you want as a partner or a girlfriend, or just…a person, to date and connect with. Don’t think of people just in terms of the role you want them to play in your life.
“a female” This is a pet peeve of mine. “Female” should never be used as a noun to refer to human women or girls. Especially since later you use the term “guys” instead of “males.” Think about how your language may betray an objectification or dehumanization, even if you yourself are a woman, and consider interrogating that.
“my primary partner” First they were a “nesting partner,” now they are a “primary.” So I’m confused about how this search for a “unicorn” is going to work. If you start dating a woman, would your partner stay your “primary”? If you hope to date her together, do you plan to stay each other’s “primaries”? Do you intend to permanently and indefinitely center your existing relationship and treat a new partner as an add-on, dating you two as a unit, never equal? That’s not wise, healthy, or fair.
So, the first issue here is how you’re framing and understanding this search for a “unicorn,” who you think she will be, how you hope this relationship will work. Check here for more information about this.
Your actual question, which is about your partner not wanting you to date other guys, refers to what’s commonly called a “one penis policy” or a “one dick rule” in polyamory. It’s sexist, possessive, frequently transphobic, and generally unfair and unhealthy. It implies that your partner sees relationships between women as inherently less real and less threatening (which sets up major issues for your potential future unicorn, since he will see that relationship as always lesser), and it creates an imbalance where he’s allowed to date all genders he prefers (assuming he’s a straight man) but you’re not. OPPs rarely end well. Read more here.
You can try and talk him out of it, discussing and examining the assumptions behind it - here’s a place to start, and another - but that isn’t guaranteed to work. If he insists on this rule, you’ll need to decide whether you want to stay in a relationship with those parameters.