I get lots of questions from couples looking to “add” or “bring in” another person to their relationship. This is generally referred to as “unicorn hunting,” as the third person is a “unicorn.”
I cover most of this in my other posts, but here is a breakdown of what I’m likely to tell you if you send me a question about finding a third:
One: Be patient. There are approximately one berzillion books, songs, movies, comics, and whathaveyou about how hard it is for monogamous people to find partners. It takes time and effort. And it’s much harder to find someone who is attracted to two other people and is attractive to those two other people. The math is not on your side. Don’t assume that you’ll visit a few poly meetups and make a couple’s profile on OKC and suddenly be awash in options. That’s not how dating works, for anyone, of any relationship style.
Two: People are not sex toys. Most messages I get are phrased as people “looking for a third to add to their relationship.” That’s a pretty objectifying way to frame it. Would you be into someone if they said “hey, I’ve been looking for a boyfriend to add to my life, I am hereby inviting you to be included in what I want to do”? People are people - you gotta treat them like it.
Three: Why are you doing this? Ask yourself why it’s critical to you that you and your partner find someone to date together, as a unit. Is it to offset jealousy on one side? Because what you really want is a threesome? To try and explore non-monogamy without threatening your existing relationship? All of those require more self-work and honesty on your part. Try to work out those issues together - adding a third will not magically solve existing problems. Consider whether it’s possible to try V-shaped non-monogamy, even if that takes more time and emotional work on your part.
Four: What do you have to offer? Most requests for a third look just like that - requests. “We want a bisexual woman who wants to be exclusive with us.” That’s nice. But people don’t come special-order like American Girl dolls you can build online with the exact specs you want. Again, would you be interested in someone whose dating profile read “I’m looking for a woman, preferably blonde or redhead, into hiking or swimming, with left-leaning politics and a passion for oral sex”? You want to be a couple that other people are drawn to organically, not a couple on the prowl.
Here are some of my posts on the topic:
- A breakdown of the numbers - why it’s statistically much harder for a couple to find someone who wants to date both of them
- People are not sex toys you include in your relationship to spice it up
- Highlight what you have to offer, not what you’re looking for
- Focus on what you have to offer, not what you’re asking for part 2
- Finding a third is more complicated than just picking someone up to add to your relationship
- Honesty, fairness, and the issue of “couples privilege”
- The issue with requiring anyone you date to also date your partner
And here are resources elsewhere:
- Unicorn Hunting
- Unicorns R Us
- To Unicorn Hunters, From An Ex-Unicorn
- Unicorn Ranchers: Don’t Hunt, Create A Sanctuary
- The Care and Feeding of Unicorns
- The Tropes & Troubles With Unicorn Hunting
- Sick Of People Assuming You’re A Unicorn Hunter?
- Polyamory and Couples Privilege
- Adding A Third
- The Last Unicorn
- Adding a Third
- Unicorn Hunting & Couple Privilege
- Couples: What Do You Offer To New Partners?
- It’s not 2+1, it’s 1+1+1