I met this guy on OKC and we had a very intense emotional connection and messaged every day and talked about really deep stuff but when we finally met in person I found that I wasn’t attracted to him. I felt awful. I knew he was still attracted to me and all i ended up feeling was anxious. I had a 2 day long anxiety attack and am riddled with guilt because even though he is a great person I just am not attracted to him romantically and I feel awful about it. got any advice or encouragement? Of course I admitted to him that I wasn’t attracted to him but I was really into him before we met so I know even though he was understanding he was also confused. I feel so shallow but I just wasn’t attracted to him physically when we met and I tried to deny it but in the end I know how I feel and despite our deep emotional connection I am just not attracted to him and I just feel so guilty about it. I’m not sure how to calm down. My guilt based anxiety keeps coming in waves because of it.

You are not obligated to be sexually or romantically interested in anyone. Ever. No matter how you met. No matter how well you connect in other areas. Period. End of story.

It can be really frustrating to connect emotionally with someone over messages, then realize that you aren’t physically or sexually into them. I think it’s unfair that our culture conflates those feelings - there are people I have spectacular sexual chemistry with who I don’t click with emotionally; and there are people who meet my emotional and intellectual needs on a deep level, but I don’t want to sleep with them. One thing polyamory and relationship anarchy have helped me do is find the space and the language for different kinds of relationships.

It’s okay to tell this guy that you really enjoy your conversations and would love the opportunity to pursue a friendship based on your connection, but that you aren’t interested in a sexual or romantic relationship. It’s okay for him to say no - he might see online dating exclusively as a way to meet people for sexual/romantic connections. But he might say yes! Either way, neither of you have done anything morally or ethically wrong, you’re just being honest about what you want and whether you can provide what the other person wants.

If this is creating a serious issue for you, it’s okay to take steps to mitigate this in the future. You can take a break from online dating while you work through the underlying causes of this severe anxiety (more on that below). Or, you can add a note to your OKC profile saying that it’s possible for you to meet someone there and discover that you’re better suited to be friends, and that you don’t expect or demand that every OKC connection turns into a sexual/romantic connection. We don’t assume that everyone we get along with well who we meet through work or mutual friends must become a sexual/romantic connection, so we don’t have to make that assumption about OKC as a way to meet people either.

Finally: a two-day-long anxiety attack and continued waves of guilt and anxiety over a social situation like this is not normal, and you deserve help for this. You can get help learning how to set boundaries, identify and meet your own needs, and say no. I don’t know if you identify as female and/or were socialized female, but this is a really common source of pressure and guilt for women and people socialized as women. The world likes to act like we owe men our attention and affection, and like we’re shallow and cruel if we don’t return their sexual interest. That’s garbage, and it’s a lie designed to control us. It can be really hard to find healing and learn to let go of this shame that’s been pressured into us for our entire lives, but there are lots of therapists who specialize in issues like this. Please consider reaching out to a mental health professional for help.

When do you think is a safe time to give a partner your phone number when you’ve had an ldr? My partner and I have been together for several months but I still don’t have their phone number or even have them on any social media accounts anymore because the one they had was deleted. We don’t skype either because I’m never really able to but we send photos back and forth but I feel really weird about only sending skype messages? Is this normal or what do you think?

There are plenty of reasons someone might not want to use a phone to chat. Anything from the innocuous (maybe they can’t afford a monthly phone bill, maybe they just prefer skype and don’t realize you want their number) to the sad but understandable (maybe they are hiding from a stalker/abuser) to the sketchy (maybe they are catfishing you, maybe they are doing this with multiple people and don’t want to get caught).

Your best bet is to just ask them: can I have your number? Can we talk over phone call or text? If not, why not? If they give you a reason and it’s believable, great! With a skype app on your phone, it’s basically the same as texting. If you have lingering questions, though, or feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to press for more details: when will you be able to use something besides skype? why was their old social media deleted? 

Be careful about people who are so locked down with their availability - usually, it means they’re hiding something. Be clear with them that this is a situation that makes you feel concerned. Someone who’s healthy to be in a relationship with will be honest and understanding. If they get defensive or aggressive, take some distance. Your safety is the priority. 

Are there any good websites or anything that you would recommend using to find other poly people? Particularly relating to partners?

The ones I use are OKCupid, which lets you be very open about your nonmonogamy and filter others by their stated preference; and Meetup, which has a lot of poly events in my area.

Other people use certain areas of the personals section on reddit, an app called 3ndr, and FetLife (which is specifically for kinky people, but there’s a huge overlap with the poly community.)

do you know any good sites for two girls who are starting the process of finding a third person for the first time ever?

I am not an expert in online dating since I have never done it, but I know lots of poly folk have had good luck on OKCupid. You could also try the subreddit r/polyamory and poly forums, like the Poly Forums and Polyamory Online. I don’t belong to any of these forums, though, so I don’t know their community policy on things like personal ads, nor can I actually recommend them.

You should also consider using the internet to find local poly meetups - the best directory for that is here.

Faithful readers, help me help these girls! Where have you had luck meeting other poly folk online?