Hi, sorry if you’ve already answered this, but how do you come out to a prospective partner as poly? I met somebody while I was really drunk, and then we went on a date. I was so caught up in being nervous that I entirely forgot to mention that I have a casual partner. We have our second date soon, and I could use any help you have on how to approach the topic!

Ach, this is a tough one. It can be awkward, and I’ll be honest with you - sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Sometimes you tell someone you’re poly and they back out because they just aren’t into that sort of thing. It’s a sad truth about being a minority when it comes to [sexual/romantic] [behavior/orientation].

But here are the tips I’ve compiled over a whole lot of awkward coming outs (comings out? come outs? help):

One: Stay positive! Don’t convey, with your tone and/or body language, that you’re unburdening some dark secret. Try and be upbeat and casual - you’re sharing something quirky and interesting about what it is to date you, not asking if they’re okay with this weird scary thing.

Two: Make it about them! People like when things are about them. Say it’s because you really like them, and want to keep things going - but you also really respect them and believe that consent is super important, so you want to make sure they’re fully informed and on board before things get any more serious.

Three: Be gracious and honest! Answer all their questions, even if they seem dumb or borderline offensive or you’ve answered them a million times. I’m generally of the opinion that minorities aren’t obligated to “educate” anyone if they’re not feeling it - but this is a different situation.

Four: Respect consent! Don’t argue, give counter-points, or otherwise act like you’re trying to talk them into something. Any sign of discomfort or hesitation on their part deserves your attention and sensitivity - remember, it’s never okay to try and coerce someone into a sexual or romantic situation they aren’t enthusiastic about!

Five: Be good to yourself. If it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up. Pat yourself on the back for being a good polyamorist and a responsible human - for being open and honest, respecting consent, and not getting someone else into a situation they wouldn’t be okay with if they knew all the details (lying by omission). 

Corollary to five: protect yourself. Being someone’s “training wheels poly” can be exhausting. If someone gives you the “well I’m not sure about all this, but I’ll try it for you” routine, you need to decide whether you’re willing to take that emotional risk. Some people like it, others are wary. Know your own boundaries and stick to them, no matter how hot they are!