How to Discuss Open Relationships on a First Date

first date

Going on a first date is often an exciting, but equally stressful adventure. However, when were a part of an open relationship, polyamorous culture, there’s added gravity to the situation. Given that polyamory and open relationship dating isn’t completely mainstream (at least, yet), it can serve as an obstacle if pitched incorrectly.

So how do you bring up your non-monogamous lifestyle on a first date that reflects sensitivity, respectfulness, and mutual considerations?

Let’s explore.

Understanding Open Relationships

If you’re new to open relationships, consider starting with our open relationship tips and benefits guides. Its critical that you educate yourself on how open relationships work and what’s required by all parties to help them thrive. Especially important is the role of trust in an open relationship.

An open relationship is a polyamorous relationship that in some capacity, includes more than two people in a physical and sometimes mental connection. Open relationship dating is growing in popularity due to popular monogamy continuing to display high numbers of failures. This isn’t to say that open relationship dating is for everyone, that’s certainly untrue. But it is to say, if you’re curious and exploring the possibility of open relationships, it may be a wonderful solution for you going forward.

But what if you’re currently single? Maybe you were in an open relationship prior but have found yourself single. Maybe you were in a monogamous relationship prior and have decided that your way forward is open relationship status.

In any of these cases, at some point, you’ll meet someone you adore – someone you want to get to know better. And that will lead to a first date. There’s a high likelyhood that at the point of walking into the first date, your prospective new relationship won’t know about your open relationship desires, or previous/current lifestyle.

This blog is about how to approach a first date when you desire, or partake, in the open relationship lifestyle.

Honesty is the Priority

We talk a lot about honesty in open relationships. Its a bit ironic that open relationships sometimes get mislabeled by traditionalists as purveying a dishonest, “excuse to cheat” appeal. But open relationships, including throuples, swinging, and others, rely heavily on trust and authentic communication.

If honesty is central to an open relationship, then honesty must be the priority way of engagement right from the inception of the relationship. Fear not, we realize how tricky and murky that statement is, so we’ll expand.

If you meet a girl at the grocery store, it’s likely not appropriate that you work in the concept of an open relationship.

If you end up with her number, texting her that you are a swinger isn’t likely to work unless you incidentally found a girl who shares your exact desire.

Moreover, let’s add perspective. A first date isn’t signing a relationship status so technically, both you and her are engaging one another with an understanding you can both see other people.

So it’s important not to force-feed unnecessary information. However, you want to be honest. So what gives?

Well, the core motivation in discussing the open relationship lifestyle is to deflate risks of either of you wasting time moving forward.

The Role of Tact in Discussing Open Relationships

Put simply, tact refers to a keen sense of what to say or do in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense. When discussing an open relationship, particularly with someone you don’t know a whole lot about, utilizing tact is of the utmost importance.

This is more than only focusing on your delivery of the information, it’s also about how you react to their responses. You’ll want to be mindful of the other person’s potential response.This means expecting poor, even toxic, responses. Or responses which don’t reflect your values at all.

Remember, for many people, you’re dropping a social bomb on them. This is huge news to digest.

Delivering the news with tact can make the difference between a respectful, open conversation and a challenging, uncomfortable situation.

So how does this work?

Navigating Negative Reactions

Earlier, we discussed preparing for potential negative reactions. Visualizing yourself as calm, collected, and sensitive during a multitude of potential poor responses to the news is central to your mission.

Keep in mind, many people have little exposure to open relationships. Many people have been cheated on (we know, the irony isn’t lost on us). The subject of an open relationship can spark emotions and these emotions may not always reflect their position on the open relationship lifestyle concept. Of course, sometimes it can. But in the latter cases, remain calm while understanding that you won’t waste you, or their, time.

In other cases, reiterate that your intention was not to upset them, but to be transparent. Understand that it’s okay if they need space or decide not to continue with further dates. Remember, it’s about finding a relationship that fits both parties’ preferences and lifestyles.

Using Dating Apps May Help Quell Issues

Our above advice focuses on situations whereas you meet someone offline. If you’re using a dating app, like Open Relationship, you should put your desire for an open relationship status at the forefront. That just makes sense.