I'm poly and my fiance isn't. He's okay with us finding another partner, but he's going straight into unicorn hunting. Only girls, and they have to be bi and into both of us. I've told him that setting up criteria for any new partner before you meet them isn't the way to go because you're expecting shit out of someone you haven't even met. And when you do find someone, that'll blow up if you still try to hold them to that criteria. But he won't listen and I need some advice.
Hey, do you wanna be a guest writer for this blog? What a succinct breakdown of the problems with unicorn hunting! Unfortunately, as well as you explain something, it’s never a guarantee that the person you’re talking to will grasp the concepts you’re trying to beam into their head with your words.
You could try linking your fiance to some other reading about unicorn hunting and seeing if that helps. But if he “won’t listen,” I’m not sure if he would read, either. I think the thing now is to change the flow of information here: instead of you trying to convince him of something, put the impetus on him to explain where he’s coming from. Why does he want these specific things, and what does he think they will provide, or protect him from? Talk through why he feels so insistent on “only girls,” and “into both of you” - he may actually be uncomfortable with opening the relationship and be using these rigid boundaries to try and protect himself from difficult feelings, rather than acknowledging them and working through them. Once those fears are named, they might be able to be addressed with things other than “unicorn hunting.”
He might see the challenges you’ve laid out as a feature, not a bug - if he lays down so many criteria that this third person is impossible to find, he gets ‘credit’ for opening the relationship without having to ever be in an actual open relationship with a third party involved. If he feels like he wouldn’t be able to try non-monogamy in a healthy and happy way, he should be honest with you and say “either this is just not going to work for me, and we need to figure out whether that’s a dealbreaker for you; or I’d need to do a lot more self-work on jealousy, security, sexuality, etc. before we can try this out.”
Honestly, I would think long and hard about marrying anyone who I could describe as “won’t listen” in any circumstance. Even on something silly - if there’s a restaurant I don’t like, and my partner “won’t listen” when I try to explain what I don’t like about the food, that’s still not okay, and it reflects an underlying lack of respect or communication skills that is not something I need in a relationship. Of course he’s not obligated to agree with you on everything, and this is a situation where he is very much has the right to say “I don’t feel as comfortable as you with the polyamorous arrangement you’re suggesting,” but “willingness to listen” is very different. Whether or not you two decide to go forward with non-monogamy, think about whether he has a pattern of refusing to see your perspective on something, and what his inability to hear you out means for your future together.