I'm trying to date, but I keep getting ghosted

I've been ghosted more than I've had dates this year, been stood up a lot too. I just joined the local polyamory community recently, though I've been polyamorous for 7 years, and some of those ghosters are in it too. I'm getting therapy to help with my anxiety, but my certainty of getting ghosted or stood up again prevents me from trying to connect to anyone. Do I even qualify as polyamorous if nobody wants to date me? Do you have any advice for my predicament?

First off, of course you are polyamorous even if you're not currently dating anyone polyamorously. Other people's feelings about you do not dictate your identity or your worth.

It's great that you've been getting therapy to help with your anxiety - keep doing that! Be open and honest with your therapist about the social and romantic aspects of your anxiety and how they're affecting your life. If this is impacting you significantly, it's okay to take a break from dating for a while, not because you're "giving up" or you don't think you're worth it, but because being ghosted is a real risk, and if it's not worth taking right now, don't do that to your mental health!

Remember that you are not psychic! People "ghost" for tons of reasons, and usually they have nothing to do with the other person. They get busy, they can't think of what to say, they get distracted, they think you're not interested. It rarely means that they don't like you!

Consider whether you're part of the pattern, too. It can be easy, and tempting, to go for a 'light touch' with these things and figure that "if they like me, they'll reach out" - but they might be thinking the same thing! Try being a bit more forward, invite them on a date earlier in the conversation, send that double text - don't make ghosting you the 'default.' 

Know that tons of people get ghosted all the time; it's just part of dating in 2018. It's awful and obnoxious, but you gotta be willing to get back on that horse. I'd say that when I start chatting with someone, 9 times out of 10, it 'fizzles out' or I get ghosted. I currently have 4 partners - so that means at minimum, I've been 'ghosted' or fizzled out on 36 times! But if I'd given up after the first handful, I wouldn't have the amazing partners I do now. Be patient, and try not to take it personally, though that's much easier said than done, I know!

My wife is trying to date, but people are inconsiderate about polyamory

My wife and I are poly, but it seems like the girls she meets just want to flirt with her because their partners aren't giving them enough attention. The minute she makes them feel sexy enough they drop her like yesterday's trash. I'm so angry for her because this is just crushing her self-esteem. I wish people didn't see poly as just flirty fun and ignore the real person with real feelings involved.

I'm so sorry that you and your wife are having this experience. It is true that people in the dating scene sometimes have misunderstandings of polyamory that lead to real hurt for people trying to date polyamorously.

It might be time for your wife to consider where, and how, she's meeting these women. If she keeps getting hurt, it's okay to withdraw, spend time with people who are healthy and safe for her, and take steps to protect herself from this ongoing pain.

She might have better luck with an online dating profile that is very explicit about her expectations and needs as a married polyamorous person, or checking out polyamorous meetups, websites, and other communities. If it's something she's interested in, the kink/bdsm scene tends to be very poly-adjacent as well. 

Any advice for a married straight poly man new to non-monogamy my wife has no problems finding dates I on the other hand I can’t even get a conversation to last past the explanation of poly life. I try to get to the subject up front so there are no surprises and also I feel dishonest if I don’t right away. Am I rushing the subject or just not looking in the right direction?

If you take a random slice of the population in most places, the average woman is not going to be super excited about a guy who tries to pick her up by explaining that he’s already married. I haven’t been there to watch you try to find dates, but I’d guess it’s probably a combination of the two.

It’s a delicate balance to ‘come out’ as polyamorous to potential new partners, one you learn through trial-and-error, unfortunately. You gotta build enough chemistry to lay a foundation for that conversation, but you can’t wait too long, or it does feel dishonest. You also need to learn how to bring it up gently and casually, not like you’re unburdening a great secret or laying out all sorts of terms and arrangements right up front. 

And even if you explain polyamory at the exact right time in the best possible way, you’ll have way worse luck with women you meet at bars or coffee shops or whatever. Again, the average woman is not super into dating married men. Try dating avenues that let you select for, and be selected for, people who are already open to non-monogamy. I’ve found that online dating is best for this, as well as polyamorous meetups and real-life groups. Here’s my FAQ page about this.

Know also that it’s just harder for men to get dates with women than for women to get dates with men. It’s a sad reality of the dating economy that patriarchy has handed down to us. So try not to compare your dating successes with your wife. Don’t be in such a rush. Let go of a need for things to be ‘equal’ on this front. Invest in friendships or solo hobbies that mean you have something fun to do instead of dating. And just be patient!

Hey! Simple question here. My boyfriend and I are both poly and bisexual. We have had conversations and came to the conclusion that we can only date other people of the same sex, and we cannot date our partner’s partner. Was wondering if there was a term for this, because I’m not sure (and also worried) about how to explain this to people… thanks for your time!

That is so specific that there is not currently a word for that arrangement, but if you come up with a good one, send it my way!

The part where you don’t date each other’s partners falls under V-shaped polyamory, and what you are trying not to form is a triad, so there are some terms you can use!

But the best thing you can do is just be clear and honest about your terms, boundaries, and what you’re looking for. “I am a polyamorous bisexual woman. I currently have a male partner and am only looking for female-identified partners.” and “I’m okay with my partners dating other people, except I am not comfortable with my partners dating my other partners.”

It’s not all that complicated or hard to explain! Some people will get it; others won’t. Some will be into it; others won’t. That’s just part of the package when it comes to dating!