Savage Love



I think telling on the second date is pushing it. It means the conversation that you had on the first date was intentionally misleading- otherwise there's no way your marriage would not come up. So long as he reveals everything before sex though (as seems to be the case here), I don't see what the big deal is. If she's not into that, fine. I can see being disappointed- it sucks to meet someone you think is awesome and then discover they aren't who you think they are. But that's certainly not a situation unique with poly dates. The LW needs to take responsibility for what/who she wants. She sounds uncertain. If she's looking for a primary exclusive partner, then this fellow is taken already regardless. But I think she's right that the ethical thing to do is to reveal your relationship status early on in the first date, just not such a big deal to find out later that I'd carry a grudge (so long as it was before sex or any serious decision/plan). Second date, that's pushing it IMO.

As for the third LW, who the hell are these younger people? This forum often makes me feel old. Every time someone very young (single, no kids, no mortgage) writes in to ask how to save their miserable relationship, I want to say DON'T- YOU'RE YOUNG. ENJOY YOURSELF. This is a bit different because the LW isn't unhappy, he just doesn't want a sexually openminded bi girlfriend who wants to bring other women into their sex life. I mean, really?

But, I have to call Dan out on this a bit. You aren't guilty of repressing your girlfriend's bisexuality just because you don't want your girlfriend to sleep with another woman any more than you are guilty of repressing a straight gal's heterosexuality if you don't want her to sleep with another man. If this dude wants monogamy in his relationship, he needs to be up front about that. Instead, what it sounds like is that he wants the other women in bed with him (and her) but not with her alone. Again, that's not unheard of- people who allow for threesomes but want monogamy otherwise. I don't see that this has anything to do with suppressing anyone's sexual tendencies. It might just mean they aren't compatible, they want different things, etc. It's perfectly OK to feel uncomfortable about your partner sleeping with other people, I mean really.
OH wait, on rereading, I think that's what Dan said too. I took the "yes for an answer" differently and read the ending under that impression, oops.
"He's just my type, the kind of person I've been looking for my whole life. Thing is, he's in an open relationship with someone he's been with for most of his adult life. He was sneaky—he didn't reveal he was in an open relationship until the second date, but by then I was infatuated and felt like I wasn't in control of my actions."

But you were?

"So what I've learned is that poly couples often seek out others to create NRE"

Well that's certainly disconnected. Two dates in and she's got a "soulmate" she's powerless to say no to, and throughout the course of it still very bitter that her dreams of marrying this guy didn't pan out?

There are better lessons to apply here, eek.
@1: "As for the third LW, who the hell are these younger people? This forum often makes me feel old. Every time someone very young (single, no kids, no mortgage) writes in to ask how to save their miserable relationship, I want to say DON'T- YOU'RE YOUNG."

Oh, I feel the same, but not just younger persons. It's okay to leave something that will never ever work due to people being on different planes or one party being terrible with no chance of change, it astounds me to see the cheerful "stay together" advice when the party is capable of extricating themselves, miserable, and in an unfortunate situation that time and therapy will not resolve. You don't get life points for staying in something because that's just what people [should] do! It doesn't make a person "better" to suffer for no good reason.
SHAME ~ Two dates and you're hopelessly infatuated? Get a grip! " avoidant attachment style complicates things, because one of the things that can go along with avoidant attachment is idealizing partners who are inaccessible or unavailable..." If that's true, be aware of it and do whatever the hell your therapist tells you to do to deal with it!

CUCK ~ You get what you sign up for (or tolerate). Here's an idea. If you don't like it, do something about it. Methinks thou dost protest too much.

FOMO ~ I can't stand parsnips. Girlfriend loves them. We don't have to eat parsnips together. We can find some other mutually agreeable vegetable to share. There are a lot of other veggies in the bin to choose from. In the meantime I don't mind watching Girlfriend eat parsnips by in my presence, just so long as she doesn't kiss me afterward with her mouth reeking of parsnip breath. Sounds like you only want vegetables if you can both eat them, though...better find a nice Swiss chard the two of you can enjoy.

That was easy...problems solved! My bill is in the mail!
CUCK, I'm going to set a low bar for pulling the plug on your husband's lover's cuckold fetish texts. If you find them off putting and you would rather not receive them say so. You're under no obligation to participate in this guy's kink. That said, a simple solution is simply to block his number on your phone. He can go on happily sending you texts that are never delivered to your phone. Of course, if he is demanding that you respond in some way, that's way beyond being GGG for someone not into this kink.

FOMO, no where do you mention that you and your girlfriend have discussed this possible threesome with this woman. She may not be interested in have sex with you both or with you. For the sake of argument, let's say she is interested in the idea of a threesome, then I would recommend you agree to this happening. Finding thirds is not easy, and your girlfriend is eager for this experience with this woman. In the moment, you may find watching your girlfriend interact sexually with this woman to be so arousing that you're excited to have sex with her as well. And if not, this one experience can be about your girlfriend's pleasure, and you can both focus on her. Also, in the future, you may find a willing third whom your girlfriend is less enthusiastic about, but with whom you would like to have sex. At that time, she will be far more likely to give you that experience if you've already done likewise. And when you are both flexible, the more threesomes you will both get to experience.
@5 DonnyKlicious: Your responses to all three LWs were summed up beautifully! I especially liked your veggie analogy for FOMO. Another Aack-oop for Mr. Bill and Dr. Donny.
Unless he specifically told her he was single and looking for monogamy, she was "misled" by her own assumptions. His sex/love life is personal, and I think it's fair to get to know someone a little bit before he decides whether they need (or can be trusted with) that information. As long as no lies were told, promises made, or physical intimacy engaged in, I don't see any problem with waiting until the second date.
@8: Is it beyond the pale to wonder if her horror was that she couldn't pull this "perfect" man away from his partner?
Haley, we can talk about how long it is problematic to withhold that information, but it's ridiculous to claim she wasn't misled. She went out on a date with a guy who did not mention that he has spent his entire adult life in an LTR with another person and is still in that LTR at that moment. Now unless they spent their first date discussing the plot of Game of Thrones or algorithms or something, then yes, it is misleading to have entire conversations about personal life on a date without mentioning that you are currently in a serious lifelong LTR. That is misleading, yes. She might be silly to assume that someone is looking for monogamy or that they are not dating other people or any other thing, but no you are not silly to assume that someone who is on a date with you is not in an LTR. It required him to intentionally not mention it- there is no way you could have a getting to know you talk without it. His sex/love life is personal, but by dating her, he is including her to a certain extent, and it's common courtesy to not mislead people. I don't know how big of a deal it is (I'd just shrug my shoulders at it) but it is true that there must've been some connection and chemistry for this woman to feel this way- even if they feel it to a different extent. It's shitty to not tell someone you are basically married (lifelong LTR) and it's shitty to pretend that it's presumptuous to assume that someone who goes an entire date without mentioning his LTR doesn't have an LTR. That's not being misled by your assumptions- that's being mislead by the other person.
Regarding letter #1: Wow: so many people thinking poorly in one letter!

I think SHAME is foisting responsibility for her actions onto her infatuation--apparently she's a slave to it, and it makes her act against her own self interest. She also misunderstands the way new relationship energy works.

The guy is an asshole--everything EmmaLiz said @1 and @10 is spot-on. If you are in a life-long committed relationship and somehow you go an entire date without mentioning it, it's because you want your date to have the entirely reasonable assumption that you're single and you're banking on hooking her so well that by the time you confess you're in an LTR, she will feel too much infatuation to be able to do what she would otherwise do--stay away from you.

And for fuck's sake, congratulations, Dan, you read the technique astutely, and you approve it. Because if she was informed from the get-go, SHAME probably wouldn't have given this "sneaky" guy a chance, and wouldn't that be a shame. God forbid someone not get the sex that they want--the other person's personal moral code or adherence to monogamy or feelings be damned. People have a right not to have their emotions played with and they have a right not to be misled into betraying their ideals. Yes, the guy might have a harder time finding new partners if he is honest at the outset--so what? No one is guaranteed an endless supply of sexual partners. When I hear of someone who is already happily partnered resorting to lying by omission so that their chances of getting additional partners aren't hindered, it pisses me off.
I strongly agree with Dan's advice this week -- I found it to be spot on, filled with his characteristic sensitivity and intelligence.

Now, @10, please don't misconstrue this, but the ferocity of your response makes me wonder if you aren't imposing your own experiences onto the situation described by the LW. I don't say that to be condescending -- we're all guilty of that from time to time.

But I don't think that there's anything in the letter to suggest that the first date went down in the way you describe. It might have, but we just don't know. In my experience, most first dates do NOT involve the kinds of deeply intimate conversations that you imply; typically, relationships aren't discussed. In my experience, they're very casual -- people are just sort of feeling each other out. So suppose they meet for coffee, or grab a drink after work, or a quick lunch. They have a good time chit-chatting about their interests. Then they meet a second time, and he lays everything out before things get physical -- his approach isn't ideal, but I don't think he's done anything especially wrong.

Usually, if I'm meeting someone for a first date, it's usually no different than meeting anyone else for coffee or lunch or whatever. I don't think of it as a significant emotional investment.
I have to agree with #8 and #12. Maybe this guy from first letter is a Lying Liar who Lies but I'm not willing to give him that label because he didn't share every dark secret on a first date. When you consider how many first dates don't go anywhere would you be willing to share your deepest, darkest, secret with someone you don't know very well.

Also I don't see what NRE has to do with anything. I get the feeling the LW read this in a magazine and is now applying this to her date. I mean maybe, talk to him? Find out what he wants out of this relationship. Is it just a one night stand? Or is he looking for something lasting? Instead of spinning stories about how he's using you, maybe find out if he is using you?

And if so walk away.
This woman has a few screws loose. Withholding information until the second date is NOT deception. (Unless there are exceptional circumstances to the first date.) It's worth considering the possibility that her behavior on the first date also lead to his reluctance to share information. It must be weird to have someone instantly infatuated with you and pushing unrealistic expectations on you so fast. Considering you "perfect."

In fact, maybe this is reaching a bit, but I'm suspicious of people who put so much effort into playing the victim. It's something manipulative people often do. She's acting like she's entitled to this guy's affection and she barely knows him.
Yeah, I'm gonna say both parties are in the wrong for LW#1. Poly (like kids or desire for a BDSM relationship) should be disclosed *before* the first date. Lots of people aren't interested in playing 3rd (10th?) wheel in a relationship and it's it's a pretty solid Dating Foul to waste someone's time because "hey, I know this will probably be a deal breaker, but I think I'm so awesome that I can change your basic standards." That being said, 2 dates isn't that much, and if you're getting all worked up about how he's "Mr. Perfect," you need to slow your roll. You found out on the 2nd date that he's Poly and a bit dishonest - but finding out dealbreakers (white supremacist, allergic to your dog, never shuts up about a movie you hate) on the 2nd date is pretty standard. Shrug, chalk it up to a good story to tell later, and move on.

LW#2: Have a solid conversation about boundaries and priorities with your Hubby. No, you aren't obligated to let your husband's hookup degrade you just because he gets off on it, and if your husband considers you the priority in his life he should side with you on this. But you two could compromise by blocking the other guy's number and not telling him, so he thinks he's sending the pics but you don't get them. If he's using your hubby's phone to send them, then that doesn't work, obviously, but it's an idea. Anyways, either your husband considers you #1 or he doesn't. If he does, then he should agree to the boundaries that you feel comfortable with when it comes to other partners. If he doesn't, then maybe he should be downgraded from "husband" to "fuckbuddy."
Welcome to How Not To Do Poly Week!

1. What is an "avoidant attachment style"?
2. Dishonest is "just your type"? Does this go hand-in-hand with wanting to avoid attachment, if that's what the answer to Q1 is?
3. NRE is NOT a strategy that poly people employ to "attempt to breathe new life into a stale relationship." NRE is the FEELING you get when you meet someone new and shiny and exciting. Monogamous people experience this too, don't they? What are THEY trying to breathe new life into?
Rather than saving it, if an existing relationship is indeed "stale," NRE often kills it, because the person with the new shiny neglects the existing partner, and this becomes the straw to the camel's back.
4. If this guy isn't showing you he cares about you -- if he's treating you like a secondary and you don't want to be one -- then move on. Poly isn't for everyone, and this guy failed the Ethical Slut test by not disclosing his relationship status until the second date. Eat a tub of ice cream, sob to your bestie -- as people who've been hurt have done since ice cream was invented -- and move on.

Wow, your metamour is an asshole. He's violating your boundaries, and your husband should DTMFA pronto if he can't respect you. This is like the reverse of SHAME's situation: the common partner is treating his existing spouse like dirt for the benefit of the new shiny, rather than the other way round. If CUCK doesn't want to dump his asshole husband, he should at least block the lover's number.

Yay, you're a good poly! You shouldn't have to have sex with anyone you're not attracted to, and she's not insisting. Dan's right, there are plenty of other fish in the sea, though if your taste in women is radically different this may become a persistent problem. What about a middle ground: she has sex with this girl while you watch?
Donny @5: Good analogy. If this relationship progresses, and they have a few threesomes, FOMO may get comfortable enough with the idea that his girlfriend's desire for occasional pussy is not a threat to their relationship, and happy to let her have sapphic dates on her own. It sounds like they are communicating and respect each other, so I think they have a good shot at, well, the sort of opposite-sex relationship I've always wanted. Better luck to them!

Sublime @6: No no no, the girlfriend should definitely NOT discuss a threesome her boyfriend has not agreed to with this other woman! If they're both on board, then she can attempt to bring it up with her. Imagine how awful you'd feel if someone approached you and asked for a threesome, you agreed, and then she came back and said "never mind, my boyfriend thinks you're hideous"?
Your point about FOMO lowering his standards as a bargaining chip for future threesomes is interesting. Two replies, though: (1) Threesomes really don't work unless everyone involved is into each other, and (2) I don't think threesomes are something FOMO wants for himself. If they were, I bet he'd be much more willing to overlook Ms Third not being his type without writing to Dan about it. (Voice of experience on both counts.)

Haley @8: No no no. If you're dating someone, the fact that they're already committed IS your business!!!

Nocute @11: Applause, and thanks for calling Dan out for implying that Mr SHAME's lie by omission was in any way okay. It is NOT okay to play with people's feelings like that, because otherwise you'd get laid less. Puh-leeze.

Pythag @12: I am poly and I don't think EmmaLiz's response was "ferocious" in any way. My standard of ethical non-monogamy compels me to disclose before a date, or anything even resembling a date, even happens, otherwise I am potentially wasting the time of a decent person who, quite understandably, would not date someone who is poly. Regardless of what went down on their first date, as you say, if he had disclosed, there wouldn't have even been a second one. Are you monogamous? If so, I think your experiences -- or lack thereof -- are colouring your lack of outrage here.

MsAnonymous @13: A committed LTR is not a "dark secret." Wow.
@17 - I am monogamous -- for me, the dating scene is exhausting enough when you're just trying to land one person! [ ;-P ] -- but it's interesting that would be your takeaway. As a monogamous person in the dating scene, wouldn't I be the kind of person you're trying to benefit through full disclosure?

Under some circumstances, a failure to disclose can be tantamount to a lie by omission, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. Saying, "Hey, do you want to grab a cup of coffee or a sandwich sometime?" doesn't necessarily obligate immediate full-disclosure: "Also, to avoid wasting your time, I'm into hardcore BDSM."

The best first date I've ever had didn't go anywhere -- our thirty minute walk turned into nine hours, I had her laughing so hard when we got dinner that I thought her drink was going to come shooting out of her nose, she kept looking at me with fawning eyes. And for reasons I never learned, she decided to pass on a subsequent date. That kind of thing just happens.

Most first dates go nowhere. Some do. But I guess I don't feel particularly bitter when I don't look back to the times I've hung out with a woman and, for one reason or another, we turned out to be incompatible.
LW1 could be me, right now… yeah it sux being lied to, and it sux even more looking in the mirror. I'm looking at this as a message from the universe to cultivate a better self, because the only thing I can control is my own conduct. You can't make an honest man out of someone who is fundamentally crooked. I'm so sorry you are going through this. I know it hurts. Keep pushing on.
Is introducing yourself by attachment style now a thing the way personality type was in the 90s and astrology sign was before that? I'd never seen it before.

But anyway, for SHAME-- Your letter boils down to your being infatuated with a guy (and good for you for recognizing that it's an infatuation instead of explaining that you're sure it's true love) who doesn't feel the same way back. Here's what you do: Stop seeing him. Cut off all ties. Keep dating until you meet someone else, maybe someone who's not quite as perfect as Polyguy but who is available for the sort of relationship you want.
I'm always fascinated by letters where someone has found the *perfect* life mate who also happens to be a drug addict, unemployed(able), axe murderer, out on bail, etc., yet the person is certain the fates have chosen them for each other.

Holy cognitive dissonance Batman! Humans are endlessly entertaining. I have to wonder if they are not intentionally entertaining themselves also.

Granted the failure to disclose sooner was self serving and a dick move, but still.
@17/BiDanFan: "The girlfriend should definitely NOT discuss a threesome her boyfriend has not agreed to with this other woman!" I assumed that Ms. FOMO already had some reason to think their potential third was at the very least interested in Ms. FOMO and possibly up for a threesome. In any event, the point I was trying to make was that FOMO seems to be doing a lot of hand-wringing about whether he is attracted to this woman without ever stopping to consider whether she has any interest in him.

As for my other point, I didn't think of it as suggesting FOMO "lower his standards" or agree to this threesome "as a bargaining chip for future threesomes." Rather, I thought to reframe this potential experience or broaden his sense of possibilities around what a threesome could be. While a threesome could mean everyone having sex with every other person equally, in which case having attraction to every other participant is important, but it seems equally true that a threesome could involve two people focusing primarily (or exclusively) on the third (in this case Ms. FOMO). For instance, in an MFM with two heterosexual men, I don't see how they would need to be at all attracted to or sexually involved with the other. I didn't have any sense as to whether FOMO was interested in threesomes or not, but if he is not, as you suggest, that would seem to reinforce the suggestion that he focuses on Ms. FOMO and allow the other woman to do likewise. If that is how the threesome is presented to the potential third, then I don't see her having hurt feelings.

Lastly, in thinking about potential future threesomes, I only meant to suggest that if FOMO and Ms. FOMO only look for their unicorn, then they may not have many opportunities for threesomes, but if they can be flexible about what each of them wants out of any one experience with a third, then they might find unicorns are not so rare. I didn't intend for FOMO to make this a transactional arrangement - Ms. FOMO gets one now, then FOMO is entitled to get his - rather everyone gets more when there is more flexibility.
Pythag @18: I guessed you were monogamous because you weren't likely to have experienced this situation, from either side, before.

A good friend of mine refers to first dates as "fact-finding missions." That a person is seriously partnered should absolutely be amongst one of the facts one finds on this initial mission. Saying "Hey, do you want to grab coffee sometime?" is how one asks for a first date; I admit that I'm probably being overly cautious in wishing to pre-advise, but when things like this… happen on first dates, I would prefer to err on the side of weeding out the incompatible. So prior to a first date is not necessarily required, but as Dan says, the only reason not to tell prior to the first date is that one hopes to overrule one date's prior objection to dating someone partnered by first charming them and then revealing the partner, which is less than gold-star ethical, to me. At the very least, at some point on the first date, one's partner should be mentioned -- unless, perhaps, the date goes so badly you know a second date is not going to happen. That wasn't the case here.
@21: A sibling just had this sort of experience, it crashed much more horribly than the LW's case, which really didn't work out too bad all considered. Stubborn is stubborn, but in these situations I wonder if the "soulmate" isn't really about the person they like but a forced attempt to bring the person into where the soulmate-haters expect to be in life at this particular moment. Beyond the in love with being in love, they want to be hitched or immediately in the long term coupling their friends are at and they're willing to make compromises, tart up the potential mate having very little to do with who they are but who the soulmate-seeker wants/needs them to be.

In sibling's case it meant talking children and having "so much in common" with someone they barely knew who ended up being an emotionally abusive piece of garbage and they refused to acknowledge the extent of until needing to be rescued :/

Romance is great, love is great, but this emotional Potemkin village of a "soulmate" just needs to disappear as a concept. Sadly it doesn't ever fool the people that care about the believer, it's crafted meticulously to deceive the believer and build a protective wall to distance themselves from anyone who would disabuse them of their hasty choice.
There are lots of different ways a first date can go. It can be like a job interview: I've gone on first dates where the guy was prepared--or rather, armed--with a set of questions. Many were about my former relationships and what I wanted out of the next one. I felt like I should have brought my bank statement and a five-year plan. I've had first dates where the guy seemed to have a virtual checklist running through his head, and I could almost feel him mentally ticking them off. The questions or topics of "conversation" didn't arise organically, and these guys were likely going down their lists of dealbreakers or must-haves.

I've also had first dates where the conversation just flowed, where during the course of an hour or two or more, we talked about all kinds of things, including, at times, and if it grew out of other topics naturally, people's current or former relationship statuses. You know, you'd start telling a story, and you'd refer to your ex because the story is one in which he figures to some extent (one time, my ex-boyfriend and I were camping, and we woke up to find 3 rattlesnakes in our campsite"), and he says something like, "how long ago did you two break up?" And you say, "2 months ago," or "oh, this was back when I was in college." Or he says something like, "my first wife . . ." and I ask, "how many ex-wives do you have" more out of curiosity than anything else, though the answer will be illuminating. (Some weeks or months ago, during one of these comment threads, I told of a man I went out with once who revealed to me that he had been married multiple times, and it became clear that he married quickly, considered NRE to be "love," felt like he was no longer "in love" once the cooling-down period inevitably arrived, and bailed the minute that the shiny came off the relationship.)

And I've had first dates that never got to the subject of former relationships or what we were looking for because it was all banter and flirtation and laughter.

I've had first dates that lasted half-an-hour, and first dates that lasted 2 hours. I've had a couple of first dates that were supposed to last an hour and ended up lasting 5 or 6 hours. I once had a first date last 26 hours.

There's no one-size-fits-all first date.
But whether you're meeting for a coffee or a hike or dinner-and-a-show, if you know you have or bring something that many people would consider a deal-breaker, like, for instance, the fact that you are currently in a longterm relationship of many years' duration, I think you have an obligation to disclose that immediately, preferably before the date starts. People have a right to make informed decisions.

I've said this before: If the only reason you don't tell someone something big or important or self-defining about yourself is because you think that knowing it might make that person not want to have sex with you and you're hoping that if you wait long enough, you'll charm that person into changing their mind, that's wrong. It probably won't work, and the other person will feel irritated at having his or her time wasted and possibly emotions played upon.

The distinction between being polyamorous and monogamous is a big one that will affect every aspect of any ensuing relationship, from how often the two of you see each other, to the priority you can hope to have in someone's life, to a myriad of other things. It's different, for instance, than the one between being a smoker and a non-smoker. If someone has a "no smokers" policy, and the woman hides that she's a smoker on the first date, and then smokes on the second date, the other woman has a choice: she can say, "I don't date smokers," or she can say, "I really hate the smell and taste of smoke. Can you please always smoke outside, and wash your hands and brush your teeth or eat/drink something after smoking and before kissing me?" But many people don't want to have any part of an open or poly relationship, let alone as the non-primary partner, and you can't just ask your new partner to do their feelings for the primary partner outside on the balcony and chew a stick of gum.
A year ago, I went out on a date with a woman. Mid-date, she asked me what I was looking for in a relationship. She had made her kinks clear in her dating profile, but only after I described what I was looking for in a relationship, did she reveal that she was poly, living in a collective in which she was involved with multiple people, and expected to raise her children in this collective. That's a lot to absorb on a date in which you're expecting to figure out whether you're at all a match for this one person.

I would also say she had a really smug attitude about being poly. Laying it on really thick about how monogamy is really great, the best arrangement, but just doesn't work for her, and how people in her circle describe monogamous people as "muggles," because, of course, the people with magical powers are people who embrace polyamory.

In the end, my sense coming out of that date was that if you're poly, roll that out in your dating profile or before a date.
Oh my goodness, SHAME. I see so much overreaction and "woe is me" in such a short letter. You decided waaayyyy too early on that he was perfect and the type you'd been waiting for your whole life. When you learned he was in an open relationship (2nd date! 2nd! Not weeks into it) and that you were not his primary love interest, he's a sneaky charmer who uses you like a tool. A person could get whiplash changing directions like that.

Infatuation doesn't take away your ability to control yourself. Sounds like you decided he was the one and when the premature emotional investment you made didn't pay off, you condemn this guy, poly relationships and yourself so fucking harshly. Makes me wonder if the first "date" was actually a date or if you're rounding way up on that as well.

Try this: I met a guy I liked and who seemed like a potentially good partner. I found out early that his lifestyle isn't for me. Bummer. Next time, I will calm the fuck down and I will resist the urge to describe any human being as perfect.

See, a disappointment is not a catastrophe. Dry your eyes, give yourself and other a LOT more compassion and understanding and do better next time.
LW1, SHAME: I'm confused. I Googled "avoidant attachment style" and it described being leery of emotional commitment in one's love relationships. Yet here you are, feeling emotionally trapped after falling hook, line and sinker for Mr. So-Not-Right! Either you use a different definition than Google, or you must be a lot less avoidant than you were when you first picked up that label. I agree that it was a dick move for Mr. S-N-R not to reveal up-front that he was poly, and of course it was a conscious decision on his part - how do you AVOID talking about your lifelong partner in an hour or two of conversation, unless you fear it would kill your outside opportunities? The monogamous equivalent would be removing your wedding ring. However, Mr. S-N-R is not fully responsible for your current heartbreak. I'm sorry you're hurting, but when you say your infatuation makes you feel "not in control of my actions," it sounds like you think he used his secret superpowers to make you fall immediately and deeply in love with him - and that his amazing attractiveness now forces you to continue dating him, despite your strong preference for monogamy. Not so, SHAME. You chose to enter this relationship, and you chose to continue after you learned about his primary partner. Please consider working with a professional counselor who can support you as you reclaim your self-identity and work to break free from this relationship, because life as a reluctant, self-shaming poly partner is just going to make you more and more unhappy. You're certainly not a loser just because you fell hard for the wrong person - you've got plenty of sympathetic company here in the Commentariat on that score - but it's difficult to make wise, objective, self-protecting decisions when your brain is clouded with infatuation, lust, self-doubt, and guilt. Please don't be afraid to ask for help in getting yourself free.

LW2, CUCK: Mostly I agree with Dan. Play along if it strikes you as a stupid and annoying game that keeps Hubby happy, but make a stink or simply block the texts if you find them disturbing, demeaning or distasteful. Whichever way you go, I hope Hubby respects your feelings and makes it very clear to you that HE doesn't consider you a cuck. In fact, if you're not already getting some additional loving benefits from Hubby for putting up with his obnoxious poly partner, you should figure out what you would like and ask him for it. You shouldn't have to feel like the two of them are sharing a bedroom joke at your expense.

LW3, FOMO - I like BDF @16's idea that you consider watching GF have sex with your classmate, at least for your first threesome adventure. Could be that you will be inspired to join them at some point in the action, so make sure in advance that the classmate is cool with that possibility. I also agree that once the threesome ice has been broken, you may find yourself less concerned about GF having occasional F-F flings on her own as well as F-F-M flings with you. But everyone is different, and you should not move forward with a real-life threesome until you are fully comfortable with both the idea and the potential third partner.

I don't know what an "avoidant attachment" style is, and I'm going to use my Google-avoidant style at the moment and not bother to learn, because it seems that it is another way that people identify themselves by some sort of pop-psycho-jargon they expect everyone else knows ("I'm an ENTP." "Really? I'm an INTJ." "Ooooh!" or "he's a Capricorn and I'm an Aquarius, so you can see why we wouldn't work out").

But SHAME is using this categorization as a way to explain that she had no choice but to fall hard for this guy and to feel that she didn't have control over her actions. SHAME, sometimes we all fall hard for someone who is wrong for us. Sometimes people seem to have everything we're looking for, except for that one thing, but it turns out that without it, the person is not in fact perfect for us. Or sometimes the person who seems to be perfect for you has one extra thing, and that extra thing renders him no longer perfect for you. It sucks, but it happens. You have identified yourself as monogamous and this man is polyamorous, not merely in theory, but in longstanding practice. Although I think you are misinformed about how new relationship energy works (typically, you'd be the recipient of it, while the original partner gets temporarily pushed into the background a bit), and I don't think this guy is using you to spice up his existing relationship and then plans to dump you (or then again, maybe that is what he is doing and plans to do), the fact is that you two have incompatible relationship orientations. There's nothing that's going to change that.

Suppose you, a straight woman, took a class and in it met a wonderful man who's gay, but you didn't find out he was gay until the second time you two hung out. You clicked on so many levels. You liked the same movies, the same music. You two shared the same passions for obscure issues; you had the same hobby. Your politics were simpatico, your work ethic and future goals similar. You could laugh together about the same things for hours. To top it off, you found him very good-looking and were attracted to him. You could come to the conclusion that if he weren't this one major, self-defining way that he is, he'd be perfect for you. But would you tell yourself that you had no choice but to pine for someone whose sexual orientation meant that he'd never want--could never have--the same kind of relationship with you that you want with a partner?
Or would you say, "dang! That's a shame. He has almost everything I want in a partner!" and move on? I realize that this analogy is flawed: a gay man wouldn't be interested in having sex with you, whereas this poly guy is. But in terms of what they can each offer you and what you want, the analogy might be more apt.

Anyway, SHAME, whether you consider this guy to be an asshat because of his failure to disclose to you earlier or not, you have a choice now. You don't have to say it's too late, that your avoidant attachment style makes you have no choice but to see this man as perfect and to fall for him and then to spend your time sobbing because you were "dragged into a situation by some charmer." Break up with him, do whatever you do to self-soothe, and carry on.
Good luck to you.
@1, @3, @8, @10, et al...
First dates are where we look for the obvious red flags, you're not going to get in-depth insights into anyone that soon. Anyone can be on good behavior for one date. SHAME's date was checking her out and looking for those warning signs and instant disqualifiers (serial nose-picker, Trump press secretary, Yanni groupie) as much as she should have been. He did disclose his "open relationship" on the second date, an entirely appropriate time to do it, not much invested by either party...EXCEPT by LW who immediately decided he is "the kind of person I've been looking for my whole life"and she was "was infatuated and felt like (she) wasn't in control of (her) actions... YIKES! I don't know if the boyfriend "discarded (her) once the excitement (wore) off" or not, but I would have run screaming out the door after that second date.
Ha! It looks like in the time it took me to write my comment @29, SublimeAfterglow, Mirea, and Capricornious, @ 26, 27, and 28, said it all, too (and better than I did)!
@16, 20, 28, 30: attachment theory is a legit area of psychology, lumping it with astrology or Myers-Briggs would be unfair. Not sure if LW1 is applying it correctly, or fully, though. If I remember my psych right, quick attachment is more typical of anxiously attached people, who want to seal the deal emotionally fast.

Avoidant people *can* do fast attachment as well, but usually to people who are not available. That way, the other person does the distancing for you, and you can pretend you would be perfectly happy to engage in intimacy if only it wasn't that your object of affection is unavailable.

And then you can use this terrible experience to avoid intimacy with other people because you're once burnt, twice shy.

LW2: does your husband realize how much this bothers you? If not, can you let him know?

LW3: how well do you and the GF know this person in your class? Do you have any sense of how she might feel about an approach? If you're not looking for a repeat third, maybe someone you have less social contact with would be preferable, especially if an invite to a threesome might be disturbing to this woman?

Pythag, my response was not ferocious (really?) and the only thing in my personal life that is relevant to this letter is that I value honesty very highly. And if you find it normal to go on dates in which no one mentions anything about their personal life, OK- good for you. For the vast majority of people, dating is about potentially merging your personal life.

And I agree that it's not the date's fault for the LW to become so infatuated after one date and that the LW needs to take responsibility for her own feelings and desires. If I were in her situation, I'd shrug my shoulders at it. Perhaps I'd be slightly annoyed. As I said, disappointment is a normal part of dating. But the fact that it wouldn't affect me (or you) emotionally doesn't mean that it isn't misleading to pretend to not be in an LTR when you are. It's fucking nuts to pretend that it's perfectly natural and honest to go on a first date with someone and not reveal that you are in a lifelong LTR and then blame the other person's confusion on their presumptuousness. Uh no. You intentionally misled that person for the reasons that Dan and NoCuteName both stated.

Last Comment- the two are not mutually exclusive. The LW can have some emotional issues (in fact, she clearly stated as much in the letter) AND the date can be purposefully misleading. And really, it's not a matter of not disclosing info from your past or irrelevant info about your present, it's a matter of pretending to not be in a lifelong LTR. I mean, people date to find potential relationship and/or sexual partners. It's misrepresentation to present yourself as a potential partner without disclosing what you really are- a married person looking for a third. This was a date, not a hook up.

And a lifelong LTR is not a deep dark secret.

I think what's getting people's panties in a wad here is that the LW is overly reacting (at least as judged by typical dating experience). We all go on dates that turn out to be disappointing. Most emotionally healthy adults figure out that the rush of infatuation is not an emotion under which we should make decisions or base relationships, etc. There are all sorts of things we could say to the LW about her response to the situation- the most alarming of which is that she implies she has no free will in the situation because of her infatuation. But none of this changes the fact that the other person did, in fact, mislead her. Even Dan points it out. He did this specifically b/c it increases his chance of finding a third. It's dishonest. It might be a matter of dispute about how serious it is, but it's absurd to see people twisting it around to claim it isn't intentionally dishonest. Like it's just something that slipped his mind- oh, I forgot to mention that I've spent my entire life in a committed relationship and that I'm currently seeking a third on the side and that's the entire reason I'm here talking to you, oops, slipped my mind. Bullshit. He intentionally withheld the information because it would increase his chances of making this woman open up to him as a sexual partner.
@33: EmmaLiz, I love you.
@33 She said she has emotional issues, yes, but she doesn't demonstrate understanding of those issues or take responsibility for having them. I feel like she might just be mindlessly repeating what somebody else told her about herself, that she's "avoidant." So I don't consider her a reliable narrator. Maybe the guy she dated actually was deceptive, but this doesn't somehow make her into a "hussy," give me a break. She has invented a paranoid fantasy where she's being used and discarded by a guy she probably hasn't even seen without his shoes on.

It's also possible he wasn't intentionally dishonest. Maybe the first date was something he didn't think was a "date." Maybe he thought their relationship was casual. Maybe he tried to "politely" hint at the truth and she didn't get it. Or maybe, like I speculated, he felt pressured by her deciding he's perfect and didn't speak up when he otherwise would. Who knows.

Even if he was lying by omission I can't really blame him for not wanting to reveal something that would make 99% of women become "avoidant" instantly. Why would someone sign themselves up for an endless string of rejections?
I'm interested to see how often people say things should be disclosed before the first date, or on a dating profile. Assuming you're one of the (apparently decreasing minority of) people who doesn't date online, then when do you disclose? When before a first date? After a guy/girl asks for your number at a bar, or a coffee house, even if that's only five minutes into total interaction? That feels a bit early to me for "I'm into BDSM" or "I'm poly," but maybe it's not? Those seem like during-a-first-date things, not before.
Sublime @26: "Muggles" is a word used by many in-group members to describe people who are not in that group. I've heard it used by goths and LARPers, for instance. It's not meant to put the people outside of the group down.
I agree that one's dating profile is the best place to disclose poly. This is one reason I like OKCupid for finding dates. It can be awkward to say, "Hey, want to grab coffee sometime? By the way, I'm poly." It can come across as if you're presuming too much about how the date will go. I think midway through date one is a fine time to disclose. It did, indeed, help you figure out whether she was a match for you, right?

Mirea @27: I nominate you for winner of the thread.

Cap @28: "Could be that you will be inspired to join them at some point in the action, so make sure in advance that the classmate is cool with that possibility."
As I once found out the hard way, this is the best advice ever.

Donny @30 et al: One important bit of information we are missing is what sort of sexual activity, if any, happened on that first date, and how many dates there were after the second. SHAME says she has "been seeing" this guy. To me, that implies the relationship may have continued after the reveal; but SHAME is so melodramatic I'm disinclined to draw any firm conclusions just from her side of the story.
Hell, it's even possible this guy made up a long-term partner just to get away from her. Stranger things have happened.

TheLastComment @35: If this guy doesn't want to "sign himself up for an endless string of rejections" because he is non-monogamous, then he either shouldn't be non-monogamous, or he should only date women he meets online after disclosing his non-monogamy on his profile.
@ciods (36): Assuming we're talking about online dating, If I was poly, I would state it in my profile. I wouldn't have to disclose it during or before a first date.
I'm monogamish, and I say so in different ways in my dating profile. If someone reading that has a couple of clarification questions, they can ask before we meet for coffee. If it rules me out to someone who reads the profile, he never needs to contact me. If I contact him, he can either just ignore me (which I find rude, but I realize that people do it all the time), or he can tell me that he's looking for a strictly-monogamous or fully-poly relationship and I don't suit, or he can just say something pleasant about how he doesn't see us as being a good match and wish me luck.

Every poly man who's ever come on to me via dating websites has already disclosed that information in his profile. I know going in what I'm getting. Recently, a guy wrote to me, saying that he was married, but thinks I'm cute. I looked at his profile: no photo, no mention of being married, no mention of being in any kind of open relationship. I told him that based on those data points, I assumed his marriage wasn't open and that while I date married men, I only date men who are ethically non-monogamous. He admitted that his marriage wasn't open and thanked me and that was that.

If you're not meeting via a dating website, then yes, there is all sorts of information we have to find out the old-fashioned way. We're in Jane Austen territory now, trying to make decisions based on imperfect or incomplete information. * Sometimes that misinformation isn't malicious, but sometimes it is; it's always self-serving. Willoughby's failure to disclose the reason for his needing to leave Marianne was probably done because it makes him look bad, he doesn't think she'll ever find out, and he doesn't assume she's going to try to keep the relationship going. And seducing a young woman herself illegitimate, while not nice, is probably not all that unusual behavior for a young man in his social position. If she hadn't gotten pregnant and didn't have more powerful connections than Willoughby probably expected, not only would no one he cared about been the wiser, but his behavior would have been shrugged off pretty easily. What he did was wrong, but Marianne has already let her infatuation get the better of her and presumes too much (maybe she's got an avoidant attachment style), and therefore she's at least partly to blame for her unhappiness; Wickham initially fails to disclose the true nature of his relationship to the Darcy family because he comes off more attractively as a wronged victim than as a wastrel cad with a penchant for vengeance. He knows that Elizabeth dislikes Darcy, and has good reason to assume she will never find out the truth, so it helps to make him more appealing to her. But that level of misleading information is dangerous.

Anyway, if we meet in the real world, as opposed to the online one, you can't be faulted for not having disclosed prior to meeting. But if this is a set up, if John's friend Sam tells John that he thinks Stella and John would be a cute couple, and John is poly, he can ask Sam if he knows whether Stella is open to poly relationships. If Sam doesn't know, he can find out by saying, "Hey Stella, I have a friend I'd think you would really like. He's poly, so I don't know if that works for you. Do you want me to set the two of you up?" Then Stella can make her decision based on appropriate information.
If John meets Stella at a bar, or sees her at a cafe, and they start chatting, maybe before asking for her number he can say, "I'd like to get your number. Just so you know, I'm poly, and am already in a longterm relationship, but I think you're swell and would love to get together sometime." Now the ball's in Stella's court. The odds are that Stella would say, no, she's not interested. Which is why people don't disclose, why they take off their wedding rings, why they mislead. It's common enough, but it's also unethical.

*I hope I have done Mr. Ven justice in my first attempt at Austensplaining.
@EmmaLiz 33 - I generally agree with you. I would say that I can't imagine having any kind of getting-to-know-you conversation with anyone, especially a potential partner, without mentioning an existing partner. However, I did have a "date" with someone I had to do an event with although he wasn't a coworker. After it was over, we were beat and agreed to grab a beer together and although we talked for an hour and had a great time, we didn't cover date-type topics and I remember wondering afterward if he were single because I wanted to see him again. We did see each other for a while and I was surprised to learn that he considered that first beer our first date.

So we have no way of knowing if the guy in question did mislead (very possible) or not. I find myself questioning the LW's take on that first "date" - was it a date, did he say something she ignored or misinterpreted? Was he reluctant to say something at first but decided he liked her enough to be upfront early on? Who knows? I think the letter demonstrates...I dunno...unreliable perceptions or unwarranted conclusion-jumping maybe... so I'm a bit hesitant to roast this guy on her word.
We never know the other side to any story someone writes in about. We don't know how the guy was talking, whether he was dropping hints that SHAME was failing to pick up on. We don't know how they met, whether there was any kind of natural way he could have disclosed that information prior to their meeting.
We don't know what she means by date, either. She could consider a first meeting to be a date or the first planned date following a meeting. We don't know how much contact they had between the first date and the second one, nor how much time had elapsed, nor even at what point during the second date the guy disclosed his status.

Maybe they were texting/calling multiple times every day between the two dates, and SHAME felt there had been ample time for him to disclose and for her to become infatuated. Maybe the disclosure on the second date came after they'd had sex together--at the end of the date, rather than the start of it. Maybe they'd had sex on the first date, which came after a coffee meeting, and a lot of emailing and texting, and a phone call, and then they spent a week between those two dates, texting flirty little nothings multiple times through each day, and having long, intense phone calls nightly. Then they had a romantic dinner, and sex again on their second date, and during pillow talk he revealed his poly status. Or maybe that first date was a meeting, there was little contact between that event and the disclosure date and by date two, as someone upthread said, SHAME hadn't even seen the guy shoeless when he told her he was in a long-term poly relationship.

We don't know. Unless he writes in with his side or SHAME write and clarifies, we're not going to know.

I'd agree that SHAME seems to be over-dramatizing this situation--surely it's not the guy who thinks she's a hussy or he's a cheater and she's abetting his cheating, or going to be discarded after she fulfills her purpose. She's either projecting what she thinks (or knows) her own typical social circle thinks of women who have sexual relationships with men who are already in a sexual relationship with someone else, or what she has always thought of such women.
She is shunting responsibility for what seems to be her ongoing behavior (I couldn't help myself--by then, I was too infatuated to stop).

Yes, she is dramatic; she invested an awful lot emotionally by the time date two rolled around. But who is to says what is "too much" for anyone else? We only know a part of the story, and even so, people's emotions and their emotional responses are their own. What works for me may not work for you.

None of that changes the fact that someone in a longterm, polyamorous relationship knows full well that anyone he or she meets in any way other than a poly social/dating group of some sort operates on the presumption that someone asking them on dates is single. That presumption of unattached-ness is the default, and this guy knew it.
Withholding that information until someone is romantically and sexually involved with you, in the hopes that they will decide to continue that relationship because by now they are emotionally involved is dishonest and unethical. Period.
@nocute @38: I enjoyed your Austen-splaining, full points! Although I note you only picked for examples those who end up to be the bad guys of the mention of, for instance, Edward, who also fails to disclose a pre-existing relationship when he falls into his love/friendship with Elinor. In fact, he doesn't disclose for quite a long time, and yet we forgive him later on because he managed (or lucked) to wriggle out of it. Presumably he should have told her earlier, but I think people often miscalculate that timing because they think a statement about a relationship they're already in can sound presumptuous, like an assumption the other person is going to fall for them.

Nonetheless, I think that's an explanation, not an excuse. I appreciate the examples of how one might phrase such a thing in a more casual, real-life way. (And I agree that an up-front dating profile is best, assuming you're doing the on-line thing.)
@40 I agree, best to get it out in the open and be direct is the lesson to be taken from this.

I do find it likely that if it was told/expressed she would have still ignored the signs considering how powerful and one-sided her narrative of his perceived perfection was (and how quickly she went along with it anyway). Some people have a great talent for skewing reality to their design :(
@41: Ciods, you're right about Edward. Where do you put Frank Churchill in the pantheon of Austen information-withholders? He definitely intends to mislead, but because no one really falls in love with him or hopes to marry him by the time his secret is out, it is a sort of non-issue--a character flaw, but no harm was done. But Edward isn't really the hero of Sense and Sensibility (I suppose Colonel Brandon is, but I think that books is much more about the sisters than any of their suitors). So let's see: Henry Tillney, George Knightly, Darcy, Edmund Bertram, and Wentworth--do any of them intentionally mislead the women who interact with them?
CUCK's partner's playmate is way out of line. You don't involve someone else in your kink without their consent. He's an asshole.
I can certainly understand your perspectives, BiDanFan and nocutename, and I think you make strong points. I've read your comments to other posts, and I like you both. And to reiterate, I definitely wasn't trying to talk down to @10 or invalidate her views; I just detected a pang of bitterness in her response and wondered if she wasn't recalling a time that she had been misled.

We all agree that people should have the right to know what kind of relationship they're entering into. For you, that needs to happen right away; for me, it should be early on, definitely before the relationship gets sexual -- but I also think it's perfectly legitimate to first broadcast your positive qualities before then informing a prospective partner of possible dealbreakers. The potential partner should fully understand what they're giving up. With the right person (and when making concrete decisions, rather than thinking about things in the abstract), people are remarkably adept at redefining their "dealbreakers." Yes, he doesn't want the kind of relationship I'm usually looking for, but he always makes me laugh and I love his smile (and besides, I've hit a dry spell and need to get laid); God, she's swimming in credit card debt, but she gives great back rubs and is the smartest person I know; etc. Certainly I think my perspective is influenced by my experiences as a straight guy (just as your experiences shape your perspectives).

And, at the risk of stepping into the quagmire of gender politics, on the whole, heterosexual dating adheres to the following norm: man makes a pass, woman accepts or rejects. Yeah, standard disclaimers apply, that's a coarse generalization, not ALL men (and not all women), yadda yadda yadda. But the data overwhelmingly back this up. According to OKCupid data, men are 3.5 times likelier to initiate contact. That accords with my experience: I've known women who refuse to make the first pass on principle, and the women I've known who prided themselves on their willingness to hit on men typically hit on people far less frequently than the average man. As a consequence of this mate selection strategy, women often get far more offers (or online messages) than they can evaluate on the merits, and men are constantly rejected. (On the flip side of this horrible state of affairs: that guy you responded to? Good chance you were his tenth choice.)

To deal with this unmanageable flood, women (from my perspective) seem to sometimes adopt absurd or at least arbitrary criteria for disqualifying prospective partners. (You should have listened to my former roommate list out the things she'd never tolerate in a partner.) On the other hand, women are quite a lot more open and tolerant when they have gotten to know someone. (That roommate? Happily married to a GREAT guy who violated quite a few of her "dealbreakers.")

Believe me when I say this: as a guy, I would LOVE to begin every date by describing all of my baggage, shortcomings, insecurities, etc. I think that would be very liberating. But that is a horrible strategy. From my experiences as a straight guy, during those first couple of dates it sometimes seems like women are looking for reasons to cast you aside. (Curiously, this would seem to accord with BiDanFan's perspective on first dates: hunt for dealbreakers.) A man who gives a woman reason to be cast aside will *certainly* get cast aside -- before he has a chance to show why he shouldn't be. And if a man were to adopt that strategy of being 100% open about everything, the results would be not just inefficient, but catastrophic -- he would be highly unlikely to experience sex or romance at all. (And for that matter, I don't believe that women are usually open about their potential dealbreakers, either.) So in this murky world where we need to be honest, but still need to present our best side in order to "market" ourselves, I'm maybe a little more forgiving when I hear that a guy waited for the second date -- after he's had the chance to get to know the potential partner, but before things have taken a serious turn -- before revealing something that harms his prospects. (Maybe he was shitty in how he went about it: hard to judge, given the lack of specifics.)

Of course first dates differ in both form and content, but for me, a first date is sort of like a trial run. It's a chance to feel someone out to decide if the person is someone you I'd enjoy spending more time with -- it's noncommittal practically by definition. It's entirely possible that the guy in the letter cruelly misled her; on the other hand, maybe he neglected to mention his SO because he wasn't sure if he was even interested in pursuing her. Based on the letter, we just don't know.

Part of the reason I have difficulty in fully coming around to your position is that it's hard for me to wrap my head around the bad outcome. A couple of pleasant dinners with someone you decide not to pursue? Maybe a bit of disappointment? All of that sounds like the nature of dating after college. The approach might not be ideal, but it hardly seems unethical to me.

Anyway, BiDanFan and nocutename, I appreciate hearing your perspectives, and I apologize for the length of the reply. They call me "long-winded Joe." Actually, they don't. But they should.
@EmmaLiz: There's been a lot of traffic on this forum and it's been hard to keep up -- argh! Pesky work keeps getting in the way of my reading! I read the replies by BiDanFan and nocutename that seemed to directly relate to my response, and now I've read yours, too. I think I would have altered my response (above, @45) a bit in retrospect, but not much -- it still summarizes what my response would have been to your comments.

Just putting this out there, I felt REEAally shitty phrasing my response to you in the way that I did. Truly, I wasn't trying to cast aspersions on your judgments or insights or whatever. You gave a very heartfelt response that deserved to be read. But while reading it, my first reaction was, "She sounds like she has been burned before, and the original letter does not actually include much information about how things went down." Accurate reaction, inaccurate reaction -- fact is, that was my initial reaction to your reply.
Hey, pythag3, I'd like to respond to you, but some of what I want to say shouldn't be written in a public forum. If you would like to continue this conversation, send an email to
pythag3 @45: Excellent comment. You said some things I was rolling around in my head, but you said them better than I would have. Thanks.
@pythag Thanks for the response, and no offense taken. I know it's a busy forum and a lot to keep up with, but if my response sounded intense, the intensity was not about the fact that the date misled the LW by withholding the info. If you look at my first post, you'll see that throughout I've said it's actually not such a huge deal. A disappointment for sure- sucks to find out someone you had a great first date with is not compatible with you. And it's shitty to mislead someone intentionally- second date is probably pushing it a bit but as I said repeatedly, it's something any emotionally healthy adult would probably shrug off with a little annoyance at least.

The intensity of my response was not directed to this "betrayal" but rather to some of the subsequent responses that claim that the date was not misleading the LW and that it's perfectly normal to withhold information like being married when you are on a first date or that LTR status wouldn't naturally come up or that it's similar to withholding some deep dark secret. My tone was because these claims seem outrageously absurd and I'm responding with disbelief. Obviously the dude was misleading the LW b/c it increases his chances of getting laid for exactly the reasons that you and Dan and NCN all describe. And yes, that is misleading, yes it is intentional, and yes it is initially dishonest and somewhat unethical. Is it any really big deal? Nah, so long (as I said) as he didn't sleep with her first or make any big plans that affect her while she doesn't have all the info. But it is still a lie and it is unethical. BDF and others are much more qualified about how to navigate the poly world. As for me personally, no I've never been burned in any serious way. I tend not to assume most people are self-serving in the first place, and my dating experience has been pretty self-serving as well. I have found out someone I was dating was married but I was not emotionally involved so it didn't depress me or anything- I figure you take your chances when you are casually dating and you have to set your own limits and boundaries. I've been immensely lucky with the few people I do trust and have trusted over the years. I take the few real relationships I have very seriously, and I don't have a bit of respect for people who mislead and lie to others. Life is hard enough as it is, and this LW is already emotionally fragile. You never know what you are dealing with, so it's best to have some self-awareness and be clear and honest to others since you can't possible know the stakes with someone you've only recently met. But conflating "being honest" with "being 100% open about everything including baggage, shortcomings and insecurities or deep dark secrets" seems willful to me. We aren't talking about submitting a biography and references and confessionals. We are talking about simply being honest about whether or not you are married. I mean, come on, surely you see the difference?

NoCuteName, thanks! I love reading your posts and wish I could think so clearly.
Oops I meant to say that I tend to assume most people ARE self-serving in the first place.

(Reason it's written the way it is is because I first wrote "I tend not to assume most people are honest in the first place" but after I typed it I realized that's not true. I think most people don't intentionally try to lie, they just try to get what they want/need from the moment which is slightly different. So I edited it but I did it incompletely.)
🌈LW1 is going a little overboard emotionally after just two dates. What did their profiles say they were looking for?
Not disclosing before or by the end of the first date, if he knew he wanted to see her again, is an inconsiderate move, depending on what he wrote on his profile. If he wrote he was just looking for something casual, then she doesn't have a case, as I see it.
That the LW was lost to it by the second date sounds a bit intense and has probably made the guy move on first.
Don't give your heart over so easily LW, check the person out over time first, otherwise heartache will be your constant friend.

@pythag3: There's a difference between "putting your best self forward," and "intentionally hiding something you *know* is probably going to be a dealbreaker." Once you're in the latter's territory, you're intentionally trying to get around someone's boundaries because you think they shouldn't have said boundary. That's pretty fucked up. Even if someone has a boundary that seems silly to you, you don't get to make that choice for them. It's their call - not yours.

Now, there's a lot of talk about what are normal should-be-disclosed dealbreakers, but Poly is generally agreed to be one. A lot people really don't want to be in an open relationship and they have a right to know going in that this date will go no where. Also, trust, honesty and communication are HUGE parts of ethical polyamory. So a guy that intentionally conceals shit at the beginning because "well, I didn't tell you because if you knew right away you might say no, so I thought I'd have a better chance of getting a 'yes' once you were more invested," is someone you should steer the fuck away from.

Also, it is absurdly easy to let people know that you're in a relationship. You can name-drop a relationship into any bit of small talk. "Wanna get coffee at X? My wife and I have been meaning to go there but never seem to get around to it / my wife said it was a great place / I went there with my wife once and we liked it / I was walking with my wife when we passed it and I thought 'that's a cool coffee place I should visit sometime."

Her: "Your wife?"
Him: "Yeah, we're Poly."
Her: "Oh."
See? Easy. And if you're talking about yourself on a date and your significant other doesn't come up once in the conversation of things you like, do, or did, either you spend absolutely no time with this person, or you're intentionally hiding it.
Pythag @45: "I also think it's perfectly legitimate to first broadcast your positive qualities before then informing a prospective partner of possible dealbreakers"

See, that's the thing. To a compatible person, poly IS a positive quality. To a compatible person, never wanting to have children IS a positive quality. To an incompatible person, it's a dealbreaker.

I would argue that the more likely a quality is to be a potential dealbreaker, the more necessary it is to disclose, not the other way round. For instance, if 1% of the people in the world will be put off by the fact you hate peanut butter, there is no need to disclose early that you hate peanut butter. If 99% will be put off by a scat fetish, you'd better disclose that scat fetish as soon as you can.

You seem to be looking at this only from the perspective of the poly person seeking dates, rather than the people he is seeking dates with. In their shoes, wouldn't you rather know something potentially dealbreaking as early as possible, so that you can make an informed decision? Ethical non-monogamy means considering the other person's/people's needs to be as important as one's own.

"With the right person (and when making concrete decisions, rather than thinking about things in the abstract), people are remarkably adept at redefining their "dealbreakers." Yes, he doesn't want the kind of relationship I'm usually looking for, but he always makes me laugh and I love his smile (and besides, I've hit a dry spell and need to get laid); God, she's swimming in credit card debt, but she gives great back rubs and is the smartest person I know; etc."

Exactly. In these examples, the dater knows the potential dealbreakers and has made a conscious decision that they're not that bothered by them.

I agree that there is a gender disparity here, and that men seem to be far more willing to date (or at least fuck) women who aren't their type or who exhibit any number of dealbreaking qualities (…). But this does not justify hiding something as absolutely pertinent to a second-date decision as one's relationship status.
Think of this: The more men approach women with a bait-and-switch ("I'm going to present myself as a single man, surprise! I have a long-term partner"), the more that contributes to the general feeling among women that men can't be trusted, and puts us off responding. How's that for a "bad outcome" you might not have considered?
Jesus you guys, it was the second date.
And seriously, what's the % of people who
practice ethical poly? Poly is not a religion and people lie, or distort the truth, doesn't matter what sexual category they are in.
I agree with LavaGirl.

BiDanFan, I think you're twisting my words, or at least severely misunderstanding me.
(Second attempt at a response. Seemed like the server crashed before. Aargh.)

"Exactly. In these examples, the dater knows the potential dealbreakers and has made a conscious decision that they're not that bothered by them."

The point I was making is that criteria that might have caused someone to be categorically rejected can (and should) be weighed against other information that a person wouldn't be in a position to know if they have rejected that other person out of hand. And for that matter, women don't typically reveal damaging information at the outset, either. I was simply saying that it is perfectly understandable (and for straight men, absolutely necessary) to reveal the positive before revealing the negative -- with the understanding that enough of the negative should be revealed to let other people make an informed choice.

But at this point, we've reached an impasse. I don't feel you've even acknowledged the core points that I was making. Which is fine. But I believe that I have already accurately -- and very fairly -- described my position above.
pythag3: "But I believe that I have already accurately -- and very fairly -- described my position above."

Yes, and people understand what you're saying - they just disagree with you. Also, you're trying to support your point by confusing specific and general dealbreakers. People keep saying that Poly (like several other extreme dealbreakers) really should be disclosed up front, and you keep trying to drag it back to the general "well, some dealbreakers aren't that set in stone, so maybe not everything needs to be disclosed up front," while ignoring the specific "Poly should be disclosed up front."

Also, your posts have very creepy undertones of "but women have all these silly dealbreakers that aren't really important and women don't really know what they want anyways, so if we men can't at least intentionally lie by omission to get around women's (totally silly because women, amiright?) objections, how are we ever supposed to get laid?" Most everyone puts their best foot forwards when dating, but you're taking it past that. You're veering uncomfortably towards "intentionally try to get around people's boundaries by lying through omission, because you don't think the person has the right to their boundaries." That's not cool.
@57. Yes. It's obvious what people are saying. Except, we have no idea what / how these two got together. Was it thru a dating service and if it was what did they both say they were looking for? Until we get this information, all I see is a bunch of people ganging up on a person, ie pythag3; because you know, that's how it's done.
@58. People are disagreeing with pythag3 because of the things he's said about how men intentionally hiding dealbreakers is ok because dating's hard for men and besides, women have silly dealbreakers and they will be happier if the Right Man gets around them.

Regarding the LW's dates, the simplest interpretation is the face value "when she said dates she meant dates" - which rightly or wrongly has no bearing on what people are discussing with pythag.
Yeah what? I think women hide dealbreakers as well , on their first fucking date.
" oh, fella, just so you know. My mother was a bitch and competed with me all my life. But hold on, I did five years of therapy for that. And my father died when I was fifteen, and I was reared a Catholic, but I swear, it's all all gone from my continuum", shall I go on?
We All put our best foot forward on the first fucking date. Not just men.
🌈like I said, we have no idea what these two wrote re their profile, and what they were looking for. And this woman has surrendered her heart after one date, how desperate and dependent is that?
Like. It's not six months and multiple fucks later, it's the second get together. He was remiss and she was ready to collapse into the guy.
Both of them were lying.. and why is anyone surprised.
As a poly guy, I completely disagree with pythag3. I tackle big potential dealbreakers right from the first date or before. My live-in gf identified as mono when I met her. I let her know that I was poly, she decided to give it a shot, and off we went.

But I do think omission is common among men. When I chat with men online, I've learned to ask them very directly: "Do you have a wife or significant other? Do they know what you are up to?" That puts the onus on them to tell the truth or actually lie, rather than simply not mentioning the LTR.
I think you're all full of shit.
One or two dates is not about defining some future connection/ marriage/ mortgage. How constraining and constricting.
If this young woman had her bridal gown picked out after one date, then the problem
Is here. Is she not in the modern world, does she not see the men around her. Has she no life?
The man, he was interested after one date so he got another one arranged. Then he told her he was in an open marriage. He played his hand the way a lot of men would.
And she was thinking of what flowers she would want in the church.
Both played their gendered roles and both came out wanting. Hope they learn from the experience.
Lava @54: "Poly is not a religion"

You don't know us very well, do you? ;)

Pythag @56: What do you think I've missed or misconstrued?
I think we have indeed reached an impasse -- you're talking about what people often do and why they often do it, and I'm not denying that many people do do this, I'm addressing why it's (generally) a bad idea.

I guessed you were monogamous because you seem to make one core, incorrect, assumption: that the potential dating pool for a poly guy is "all women," when it is not. It is "all women who are non-monogamous or not currently monogamous." All poly people know this! If a hypothetical Mr Poly confined his search to only women who list themselves as non-monogamous or interested in casual sex/hookups, he wouldn't be alienating 99% of women by stating his relationship status up front; it would be more like 29%. A similar proportion to those who'd be alienated by, say, his having a non-custodial child or being 5'5".

I'm not saying that people need to reveal all potentially unpleasant facts about themselves on the first meeting. I'm saying that relationship status is kind of its own thing, like sexual orientation. If you were going to ask out a woman, you'd first want to make sure she was straight, right? Mono vs non is more like that than it is like whether you snore or declared bankruptcy ten years ago.

ThatOtherGuy @62: Thanks for your perspective. It's sad that people can't trust (many) men to voluntarily disclose such necessary information, but it seems like useful advice.
Fan, I don't use dating sites.. does a person state what they are looking for?
yes it is good if people are as honest as possible, up front. And for a general rule, disclosing one is poly before meeting, would be the most honest way to go, if the other person had been looking for a LTR. If people present as wanting something loose, that is different.
This is a gap for me with this story, how did they hook up and how did they present themselves online.
Lava @65: Yes, a person does state that. I am on OKCupid and you can list yourself as single, married or in an open relationship, you can list yourself as looking for monogamous or non-monogamous people, you can list yourself as looking for long-term or short-term relationships, hookups or friends. This is one reason I like using OKCupid to meet people. It solves the problem when to insert an awkward "I'm poly" into a conversation with someone you find interesting.

There are many gaps in this story, and I'm 100% with you that SHAME made a lot of mistakes and assumptions here too. It is in fact possible that the first meeting was not, in fact, a date, or that at least her date didn't think of it as a date, and did in fact disclose on the first actual date. But we have only her admittedly hyperbolic version of events, and if true, whatever her missteps may have been, the guy should have disclosed sooner.

As Nocute says, the assumption is that people who are going on dates are at least hoping that if all goes well, a monogamous relationship may be possible. If it's not possible, the onus is on that person to make that clear.
@LavaGirl: I'm unclear as to why it's so important to know how SHAME and her boyfriend met. They may have met via a dating site or app and they may not.

I also don't understand why you are so upset with those of us who say that the guy who is poly was wrong not to have disclosed his status earlier. I'm leaving SHAME out of this right now and talking about the general issue. I agree that she seems very emotionally invested by the second date, but I have a difficult time blaming someone for not adhering to a timeline for emotional involvement. Emotions are hard to govern and they shouldn't and can't be legislated or dictated by others. EmmaLiz, for example, says that although she thinks what this guy did was wrong, she wouldn't be particularly bothered by date two. I know from my own experience that I've dated some guys for a few months without becoming emotionally invested, and I've felt quite a close and intimate connection with some people after a couple of dates.

@pythag3 and LavaGirl: I will echo BiDanFan, Traffic Spiral, and EmmaLiz by saying that there's a vast difference between putting one's best foot forward and downplaying all the little things that might be off-putting and intentionally misleading someone though lying by omission about already being in a longterm committed relationship while setting up a date or being on a date with someone that you have every reason to believe is monogamous and looking for a monogamous relationship.

I also think that your examples of potential deal-breakers are not analogous to someone's mono or poly orientation. Credit card debt, having had a mother who was a bitch and a father who died when you were a teenager are nothing like being polyamorous and already having an established longterm primary relationship, and I doubt that anyone who's monogamously oriented would decide that smiles and back rubs make up for a partner's polyamory and the existence of a primary partner. In fact, it seems to me that that's what SHAME tried to do--to focus on what she thinks are all the qualities about this guy that make him "perfect for" her--and it's making her miserable.
Sheesh. All this debate about disclosure. This was not an ongoing deception. They had a date, the guy took a bit to process what happened and told her the second time they got together. I see no ill intent. Just as a general rule, I would never assume anyone was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth after only one date. I have herpes, but that may or may not be something that would have come out on a first date. Depends on whether it looks like things are going to get sexual and/or how well we were communicating. If things feel iffy it may or may not ever be relevant. Telling a person you don't know that you are poly (or gay, or a Ted Nugent fan) carries a risk if that person might use said information to stir up trouble for you. A little judicious consideration of information is understandable.
OK, maybe "gay" wasn't a good would think that would be something that would be right out front first thing.
@69: But DonnyKlicious, "gay" was exactly the right example. Because if you think of being polyamorous or monogamous as orientations, then you see how different this is from being a Ted Nugent fan (which conveys a political ideology, a commitment to apologizing for gun violence, racism, and terrible taste in music) or having herpes, which has comparatively little effect on most people who have it, and the risk of transmission can be lessened (though not eliminated) by a variety of precautions.

Donny @69: Congrats!
What the monogamous people are missing is that being gay IS in fact the closest example of something analogous to being poly. A gay person is not available for a relationship with an opposite-sex person, and they really ought to make sure anyone interested in them knows they are gay. A poly person is not available for a monogamous relationship with a monogamous person, and they really ought to make sure anyone interested in them knows they will never monogamously commit to them or anyone else.

When to disclose in meatspace, I think, a good rule of thumb would be when it is obvious the other person has a potential romantic interest in you. So Bill sees an attractive woman in a bar, he has no idea whether she is potentially interested, so he can say "Hi, I'm Bill," not "Hi, I'm Bill and I'm poly." After she says "Hi, I'm Jane," and they have 10 minutes of friendly conversation, there is still no indication of whether she is interested or merely friendly. He then says, "Would you like to meet up for a coffee sometime?" He has not specified this is a date; her acceptance therefore does not necessarily offer proof she is interested romantically versus interested in having a friendly chat. As Pythag says, this could go either way.

Bill could, at this juncture, choose to err on the side of caution by saying "Great! Let me check with my primary partner to make sure she's got nothing planned for this Friday. I'll confirm by text, what's your number?" If Jane's body language has indicated she has a romantic interest, this is the most honest route to take. If not, Bill could wait for the date to happen. On the date, it should be obvious whether both Jane and Bill are romantically interested, or whether, as Pythag says, it will be one of those first dates that becomes a pleasant memory and nothing more. If Bill wants to continue to date her, it's now incumbent on him to specify that it won't be exclusively. Particularly if she is giving off the sort of "infatuated" vibe that is ringing like a klaxon in SHAME's letter.
I think gay is the perfect example. Again, if some guy told me he was gay on the second date, I'd be like, "WTF?" Again, I would shrug it off and not seriously be upset about it, and it would give me a good story to tell the gals at the pub that weekend, but for sure I'd wonder why he didn't say so before we wasted our time going on a second date. Same thing if someone told me he was married.

Again, I think it makes a difference that this was a date and not a casual hookup or a mutual NSA fling. And poly is not just about getting laid outside your marriage- it's about finding potential relationship partners, right? So yes, it is misleading and intentionally so and seems a bad strategy now that I read what BDF has to say aside from that which is why I think Donny's analogy of sexual orientation works, even though he was kidding.

For sure, being a Ted Nugent fan is a major deal breaker. Likewise, being a picky eater or a Republican. I'm not dating these days, but if I were, there is no way I'd make it even through the first date without first guaranteeing that the person were an open minded eater and not a Republican. It wouldn't occur to me to ask about marriage or sexual orientation. As for debt and bitchy mothers and custodial children and herpes... well I'm not your therapist or doctor or babysitter so I don't really care.
Ultimately, that disclosure is preferable and the best option but I doubt it would have prevented her wildly inappropriate expectations and the anger they lead to.

The poly-disclosure is really an afterthought of her focus.
Okay, pythag3 said @45 that this tends to be a gendered thing, and I think BiDanFan makes a good point when she says that defending or doing shit like this guy did contributes to the gendered stereotype so many women have that men are pigs.

When I was young (as in, under the age of 22), I ended up dating or having sex with three men who were married or living with someone and withheld that fact from me until well after we had had sex (and in one case, I was deeply infatuated and emotionally invested pretty quickly. In my defense, I was only 19). In one of those cases, when the guy revealed to me that he was married, he presented it as an open marriage (which I had my doubts about, due to the lengths he went to to avoid mentioning the existence of a wife for the first several dates, including after we'd started having sex); in the other two, the men, when they confessed to being married or living with a girlfriend, made it clear that they were cheating on those women.

Now that I'm older and meeting most of the men I date via the online world, I have seen a large number of men whose profiles make clear that they are married and trying like hell to cheat on their wives. But I have also seen plenty of profiles of men who don't say it outright, but are suspiciously quiet about a few points and when asked directly whether they're married, will admit to it. I met a guy once on one site, who was explicit about being married and looking to have an affair--or two or three--and we corresponded for some time, even met for a drink, before I decided that I didn't want to contribute to someone else's unhappiness by having sex with her husband, no matter how otherwise "perfect" for me he seemed. A few years later, he contacted me on a different dating site, OkCupid, where he'd seen my profile. He was still married, still looking for outside sex every chance he got, still attracted to me. I politely declined and we exchanged a couple of brief catch-up messages, and curious as to how he was marketing himself, I checked out his OkCupid profile.

Despite the fact that, as BiDanFan said, you can identify yourself as single or married or in a relationship and you can say what kind of relationship you're looking for on OkCupid, he had listed himself as "single," and had not mentioned anything that could hint at being married anywhere in his written profile. He said he was looking for casual dating and also a longterm relationship. The term "longterm relationship" implies a level of public openness and commitment he cannot give, though to be fair, he didn't say he was looking for a monogamous relationship (however, he didn't say he was looking for polyamory). He also didn't have a photo showing his face, which I think is always suspicious. Considering what I knew of his life, it was an extraordinarily dishonest profile. Now, I don't know what he would have done had he begun a correspondence with someone, how soon he would have indicated that he was in fact married and his wife knew nothing about his cheating but had caught him at it once and was monitoring him and had made it clear she would leave him if he cheated again. If I give him the benefit of the doubt, I can pretend that he'd disclose before meeting any woman, but since he had clearly lied in his profile for the purpose of increasing his chances of getting laid, I have to think that he'd be just as likely to reveal that he was married after getting laid, rather than before.

So stuff like this contributes to many women's perception of men and subsequent judgment of them as dogs, or cads, or pigs, or assholes. Guys like this tar a lot of men with their brush. The message, which pythag3 and DonnyKlicious appear to be defending is this: Do whatever you have to to get laid. Lie, if necessary, to get access to that pussy. Getting your dick wet is so important that it should be achieved by any means possible, and the fact that that vagina is attached to a woman who might have some thoughts or feelings about the limitations she might want to put over who gets to stick his dick into her vagina is irrelevant. And by the way, it's only a short step from this attitude to having sex by coercion, which, if not rape, is damn close. The minute you rob a woman of her agency or intentionally do something to inhibit her from using her free will in a way that won't get you laid, you are on the road to rape.

Yes, not all men. Yes, some women lie to get sex, too. But this stereotype exists for a reason, which is that a lot of the time it is true. If you don't want to be tarred by this brush, the first thing you can do is to not stick up for those who use tactics like this to get laid.
@68: DonnyKlicious: "I would never assume anyone was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth after only one date."

Yes, a date is not a deposition. But there are some things people have a right to know before deciding to date someone. And whether or not that person is available for the kind of relationship you want from someone you date is one of those things.

I don't walk into a first or second date with my hand on a bible, but my life is also an open book. I never do or say anything to intentionally mislead anyone about how I conduct my life, about who I am. Frankly, I think it is sad that people say they assume their dates are lying to them, and it suggests something to me about the way they conduct themselves if they operate under the assumption that everyone is lying on the first or second date. Despite all the times I have witnessed men lying to get sex, I don't assume that all my dates do the same. Maybe I'm naïve and a slow learner, but since it doesn't occur to me to misrepresent myself, I don't project that onto others. I guess I also operate under the idea that if a date goes well, it will lead to others and sooner or later the truth will out--and then where will you be? I guess people put a lot of faith in the idea that once the other person has gotten to know the real them, the lies that helped get to that moment won't matter. Well, perhaps sometimes that's true. But it's risky and it's playing with other people's emotions and agency and I think that it shows a lack of integrity.

Not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth is not the same as showing off your best qualities and trying to make a good impression.
@74: Honest thanks for the contribution, that anecdote definitely helps confirm that it really ought to be more of a duty for guys to state this stuff ahead of time because of "the other ones" who make it all seem shady, even if not "intended" to be so.

As someone not poly and not using dating sites, stories like that definitely help give perspective.
SHAME - There are many reasons people choose to be poly, and I don't think that keeping a half dead relationship on life support is a common reason. Similarly, monogamy isn't just for people who can only manage to attract one person in their life, people have other reasons to choose monogamy. The only thing you can assume about a poly person is that they are open to having more than one relationship.

Secure attachments take a long time to develop, because it takes a while to reasonably judge if someone is trustworthy. When you find yourself attaching so quickly, committed on the second date!... your emotions aren't serving you well. Perhaps you can learn to see this as a sign of the wrong partner. Similarly, if you go months dating someone but don't start to feel attached.. wrong partner, leave. It's hard to pass up that tempting cock, or Big Mac.. it's hard to act in healthy ways some times. Once you start to implement new healthy habits it usually gets easier. Stop hanging out with someone if you feel bad about them. Get back on that app and find another person who might make you feel bad and practice backing off from them too!

felt like I wasn't in control of my actions
This means you need to see a therapist, it doesn't mean you're a loser but you're in danger of getting there. IME, once this is said, people stop taking responsibility for their actions and everyone around them gets pissed off. Or broke.

CUCK - I like Dan's advice. But I don't like how CUCK's partner is so into this cuckholding thing when it turns off CUCK. Maybe blocking the guy's number will work for everyone. But I don't see what's so wrong with asking his spouse to look for another cock-on-the-side who doesn't come with the annoyance. Bonus: maybe extramarital cock #1 can cuckhold extramarital cock #2.

FOMO - You wouldn't feel left out if you were watching, right? And yes, you could wait for something better. But there are no guarantees that something better will happen. Watch, participate, give a hall pass, veto.. do what appeals to you, just be realistic about your choices and their consequences.
Well, I guess I think we are all probably closer to agreeing than it seems, and are just imagining vastly different first and second date scenarios, and different types of people. But I'll hop in one more time to say two things.

First, this isn't 100% gendered (at least in this forum), since I'm generally agreeing with pythag & Donny here. Let's not make it about what horrible straight men do to poor innocent women, which is how it's starting to come off from the nay-sayers. It's more about what someone in the position of initial-hitter-on might do--and yes, although that's often straight men, it's not always--consider, e.g. all gay relationships, and quite a few straight ones too.

And nocute, although I usually agree with you, I don't think either of them are saying "Do whatever you have to to get laid," that feels to me like an unfair characterization. Both have explicitly said that you should reveal these sorts of things before any sexual contact or emotional commitment. So they are in fact exactly not doing "anything" to get laid. They're allowing for lies of ommission for brief periods of time (one date!) in order to let someone get to know you a bit. Now, I think I agree that in general, it's better to be up-front, especially if there's something like an on-line dating site involved where it's very easy to be clear about your situation, but that's not always the case.

Second, I think it's interesting that y'all think poly and gay are the best analogies, and that may well be true. But I feel like I have to once again pipe up for the less urban, less blue parts of the world and say: lots of people still have no idea what the hell poly is. I had a conversation with a friend *just two days ago* about it, and he thought I meant a couple where both people were CPOS. He'd never heard of any other way non-monogamy happens. If I were poly, and wanted to hit on him in a bar, and opened with "I'm married but the marriage is open," that would have been that. Is is lying to wait until a date or two, when we have some small connection under which I can explain? It seems you guys consider it so. But to me, as long as I am clear about it before any sex or implied commitment (and as early as I feel I can), that's fair.

So can we admit that not all circumstances are the same? Maybe if you're dating online, or if you are in a bar in downtown Seattle, you have one way to behave ethically--but if you're dating in the middle of Alabama, another way might also be ethical.
@ciods: Better to proactively position as an obligation than worry about any "deception" after the fact.
@ciods, I can agree that not all circumstances are the same. But lately I have started to ask myself cui bono ("who benefits") when I hear someone defend what seems to me to be an unambiguously immoral or skeevy position, especially when I see them twist themselves up in knots trying to establish a technicality that makes something which most would agree is wrong, sound right.

George Orwell, in his 1946 essay, "Politics and the English Language," said this:

"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism., question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.
The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.
. . .

"Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

So I look for defenses of the indefensible; I apply this in politics all the time. For example, who benefits from taking all reproductive choice away from women, through lack of access to both abortion and contraception? It surely is not women. So the answer is "men." But it isn't all men either, and in fact, many men are as outraged at these restrictions as women. So it's men who feel they have to control female sexuality. Well, what kind of man needs to have control over women's sexuality? A man who feels threatened, because he believes he needs that edge over women or they will control him. And that really comes down to this: a woman who is in charge of her own sexuality may choose to have sex with a different man, and may decide she doesn't want to have sex with that man. If she controls her sex life, then he has lost a kind of access to her, even if that access is largely symbolic and hypothetical most of the time. But these men can't say that they feel threatened by autonomous women or women who want to control their own sexuality, so they say it's about religious freedom or a right to life.

Or try this: who benefits from making healthcare inaccessible to millions of people? Extremely wealthy people, because the way that poorer people's healthcare is subsidized is through taxing the very rich. When you see this, you see that the current healthcare proposal has nothing to do with keeping campaign promises to the working poor, and everything to do with keeping the top 2% at the top. Hey, what do you know--some of these very politicians are in that category of the top 2%! Many of those politicians get campaign donations, sizable ones, from members of that top 2%. And politicians want to be re-elected. But they can't say this, so it becomes about "choice," and "big government," and "socialism."

Now, it is a stretch to compare what politicians do to what some of the commenters in this thread have done, but I see them as being in the position of defending someone who lies to get what he wants because he knows he won't get it from that specific person if he is honest.
That's wrong. How is that in any way right? This man got to have sex with this woman because he deliberately misrepresented himself to her. How do you defend that? Well, you start questioning how they met. You downgrade the importance of polyamory or monogamy to people and liken it to being in credit card debt or having had a bitchy mother. You get heavily invested in the definition of the word "date" (kind of reminds me of Bill Clinton and "is") and in timelines. You attack the sanity or essential worthiness of the person who has not benefitted from the dishonesty. You get hyperbolic and defensive ("the whole truth and nothing but the truth"). So maybe I'm going overboard and accusing these commetors, not all of whom are men, unfairly. But I'm not saying look what all these "horrible straight men do to poor innocent women;" I'm saying, what do you (theoretical "you") gain by defending the dude in this scenario?
I'm with pythag3 @18 and DonnyKlicious @30 regarding SHAME's letter, and I say that as someone who really hates the process of dating itself - if anyone's going to consider time spent interacting with another human being "wasted", it's me. In my experience, nearly all first dates go nowhere (and plenty of planned first dates don't even get to the first date stage, like nearly all of my attempts to use dating websites), and someone who's completely infatuated after a couple of hours with another person, to the point that she can't control her actions (!!!This is a rape culture meme!!!) and considers an early (second time they met up!) disclosure "sneaky", is throwing out more red flags than a matador at a socialist parade. Now, maybe that's not the case - maybe the people in question have been communicating (online, in person, whatever) while not "dating" for a while, but we can't assume facts not in evidence, and the way this situation is described in the letter, as presented, SHAME looks like the problem to me, not her date.

And regarding the assertion that this should have come up in the first date: first dates are indeed fact-finding missions, and the poly person who potentially faces massive, life-altering backlash (not everywhere, but in conservative areas with at-will employment, disclosure can result in a loss of livelihood, for example; hell, women get fired by sex-policing employers for having sex while not being married far too frequently, even if it's with a stable, long-term partner, or another woman, etc.) might be using that to determine if the other person seems trustworthy, poly-hostile, likely to vindictively try to out the person to everyone in zir social group, etc. before deciding whether to disclose. Disclosure is necessary to move the relationship forward, and SHAME's poly date did so at what I think is defensible as the earliest possible relatively safe opportunity, the second date.

For the record, I would also state relevant sexual/romantic inclinations of mine like polyamory on an online dating profile, but we have no reason to think that's how these people met, and it seems to me to be an assumption underlying a lot of the early-disclosure advocates' statements.

Maybe bisexuality is a better analogy than homosexuality, becasue a bi person is more likely to wind up dating someone who might consider that a deal-breaker. Or how about trans status? Is everyone advocating ethically-mandatory pre-date or first date disclosure of polyamory/other partners* also an advocate of ethically-mandatory disclosure of bisexuality or being assigned a different gender at birth than one's present presentation/identity on the same timeline? I guess I just don't consider waiting until the second date to open up about oneself to be a problem in any way; I'm not expecting disclosure of possibly-stigmatized facts about oneself (STI status, kinks, bisexuality, polyamory, a Donald Trump campaign donation) on the first date at all. I really don't think that meeting for coffee or drinks or dinner once or twice obligates full disclosure of things that might be relevant to a possible long-term relationship and/or sexual activity, since one is still evaluating the potential for that relationship or sexual activity at that point, and that's especially true of things that can be socially stigmatized.

*I'm also curious if this is different for someone who is dating a few people at once or lining up multiple dates in sequence before making a monogamous commitment to one person versus someone with an established long-term partner who is polyamorous.
@ciods: @78 you said: "I think it's interesting that y'all think poly and gay are the best analogies, and that may well be true. But I feel like I have to once again pipe up for the less urban, less blue parts of the world and say: lots of people still have no idea what the hell poly is. I had a conversation with a friend *just two days ago* about it, and he thought I meant a couple where both people were CPOS. He'd never heard of any other way non-monogamy happens. If I were poly, and wanted to hit on him in a bar, and opened with "I'm married but the marriage is open," that would have been that. Is is lying to wait until a date or two, when we have some small connection under which I can explain? It seems you guys consider it so. But to me, as long as I am clear about it before any sex or implied commitment (and as early as I feel I can), that's fair. "

First of all, I'd say that in a lot of places in the world, people still have no idea what being gay is all about: witness all the letters/calls Dan gets from women who are afraid that if their boyfriend wants to have anal sex with them, he must be gay.

I guess I would say that it's a drag to be poly and living in rural or small-town, red-state America, just like it's often actually dangerous to be gay and living in rural or small-town, red state America. That's a shame. It really is. But I don't believe it justifies manipulating people. Maybe it means doing a better job of educating them, in both cases, which is why I think Dan is doing such important work. And that's why I get so angry when he acknowledges and appears to approve lies of omission because it gives someone greater access to people who don't want what he or she has to offer and are trying to stay away from it.

Two points that assist my irritation:
First, the comparison between being gay and being poly and already happily-partnered, is false in one significant way: partnered poly people aren't lacking for sex or companionship or intimacy. They may want more partners, but they have their essentials. The complaint sounds like a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it, too. Of course we all want that, but no one is owed multiple partners, just because they want them. We can't always get every single thing we want, and if the only way you can is to lie, then I think the advice should be to keep on trying until you find someone who is open to poly or is already poly at the outset, and in the meantime, count your blessings that you already have a partner. I speak from the perspective of someone who would love to be in a relationship, and can't find one--I confess it looks like greediness to me.

Secondly, I have my own obstacle to getting what I want relationship-wise. It's the way I look. That's apparent from the get-go; I couldn't mislead someone if I tried. Maybe I'm bitter. Come to think of it, I could mislead: I could catfish, pretend to be someone I'm not. I could post old photographs of myself on my dating profile, so I'd look younger and slimmer than I am. But unless I wanted to keep that relationship purely on the internet, sooner or later I'd be seen--and likely humiliated. I know some people do this. They lie outright about their age, they post years' old (sometimes decades' old) photos of themselves. I guess they're counting on or hoping that the person has gotten to know them and will overlook such differences. I think the person will probably be furious at having been lied to and will not simply shrug off the 20 years and 50 pounds. I think it is futile to do this and ultimately sets the person doing it up for a painful rejection when they are not what they claimed to be physically. Therefore, I wouldn't consider doing it. Maybe I'm jealous of those people who intentionally misrepresent themselves as single in order to gain access to someone and succeed.
@undead @79: I don't know what "proactively position as an obligation" means? Sorry, I may be having a dense moment. Oh, and I meant to say before, your post @3 was quite funny.

@nocute: Thanks for those posts. I agree with everything you say, really. I think there are some situations in which it's tricky to tell what's going on--where you might see an attempt at manipulation when I saw an attempt to be honest at the appropriate time (as @John @81 mentions, it's a certain risk to reveal things about yourself before you know the type of person you're talking to)--but I think that in real life we'd probably agree on 95% of scenarios we both witnessed.

Maybe everyone would be closer to an agreement if we phrased it as a number-of-hours statement, instead of number-of-dates. For my part, I certainly think it would be appropriate to mention an existing relationship within the first three hours of talking with someone. I can imagine that lining up with a second date, or a first date, or a moment before the first date, depending on circumstances. (And again, I'm assuming no previous internet knowledge, either; to me, online dating is a much clearer case of "state your status up front.")

🌈 If this man stated on his profile that he was available for long term, then he has misrepresented himself, that's why I'm interested in how they got together nocute. If he said he was looking for a casual connection, then there was no need to disclose his poly status up front.
@83: "I don't know what "proactively position as an obligation" means?"

Sorry, awkward wording on my part.

I meant that the people who misrepresent their poly status probably create more of an obligation to for others to off the bat state their lifestyle, intentions, and (most importantly) incapability for monogamy.

@84: Well, we see how it worked out for them both, suggesting that there is a general need to disclose sooner than later.

He didn't set her expectations properly (within the means of capability, still no guarantees that she wouldn't have had a negative reaction to the couple) and they both had a bad time of it all.

But at least that one factor couldn't be an excuse.
🌈@80.nocute; I didn't mention credit card debt, did I. And where does this woman say she slept with him?
I put those examples up to point out if I did blurt such words out on a first date, I'm sure they would be a deal breaker.
This post of yours I find really offensive, comparing any of the words written on any post on this thread with justifying the dropping of bombs which killed millions of people or creating a health policy where millions are not covered.
What a leap.
@86: LavaGirl, you mentioned your family stuff; pythag3 mentioned credit card debt. I don't know how many first dates you've been on, but I can assure you that if I heard someone say that his one parent was difficult and competitive and his other parent died durning my date's formative years and the family was religious, and my date had gone through what he characterized as very useful therapy, I would not be shocked, nor would those things be deal breakers. At my age, they sound pretty typical.

Speaking of my dating experience and my age, I don't know why other people go on a lot of first and second dates, but I go on them with the fervent hopes of not having to keep going on first dates. In other words, I'm looking for a committed, long-term, intimate, partnered relationship. I understand that first (and second and third, for that matter) dates are screening processes, and I'm not typically disappointed if they come to nothing, because at that point, I've got little invested, in either time, energy, or emotion. But I don't want to go on a date with someone who is representing himself as being open to the kind of relationship I want to have when in fact, he is not available in that way. That really is a waste of my time and my hopes. I rarely go on a second date with someone unless the first date went really well. Many first dates are inoffensive enough, but I'm not left with any interest in seeing the guy again (and I think, vice versa); I don't bother. So that by the second date (which I personally generally characterize as the second time we get together if we met for any length of time on our first meeting), I am excited to see the person; I have hopes for the date; if that date goes well, I am on my way to being a bit infatuated. Sue me. So yeah, I would view someone who let me believe he was available for what I'm looking for when he knew damn well he wasn't, as wasting my time. And perhaps being only too willing to fuck with my emotions. At the very least, he's manipulating me into going against my stated desires.

You're right: SHAME doesn't state explicitly that she's had sex with this guy. But it seems logical to assume she has. For one thing, she thinks she might be characterized as being one of "the people on the side, the ones who might be perceived to be cheating with someone's partner, as some sort of competitor, a hussy." Cheating with implies sex, as does "hussy."

As for comparing failure to disclose or lying by omission to euphemistic political speech (not the act of bombing itself), I admit that one is a less grave offense. I was trying to show how when you apply critical thinking skills and ask who benefits from the speech or representation, it leads me to people who in Orwell's words defend the indefensible. While it's on a far smaller scale, I find knowingly manipulating someone into doing something they wouldn't do if they had the correct information for one's own sexual gain to be an indefensible act.
Fair enough nocute, if my stated desires were ignored, I'd be pissed off too. That's what I've been saying, we have no idea what the stated desires were for these two.
This woman is 34 yrs old, old enough to know the ropes and young enough to still have some time, if she wants babies. A second date is still only five seconds into any relationship.
I can understand your frustration and desire for a partner. The second date is still only five seconds into any relationship.
🌈 keep forgetting my sign in.
Maybe she's sleeping with him now, and it's implied this is maybe ongoing.. hard to tell, was this before or after he disclosed his marital status?
As I've said, I'm all for disclosure about this as a general rule. The more honest profile people put up the better chance they'll have to find an authentic connection.
One has to suss people out though and keep the infatuation in check, way past a first date. Otherwise, bang, another broken heart. Compatibility, real deep meeting between two people, takes time and more time to establish.
LW 1 needs some tough love or therapy or honest friends....she doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on reality. She says this guy is just her type, perfect! Except he's poly and she's not. Hellllo?? Spoiler alert - He's not perfect for you. And she's so infatuated she's lost she 16? Given those 2 nuggets, I highly doubt her first date was more than just a coffee or something simple that she conflated into a 'first date'.
Are we under the impression that she slept with him *before* the poly reveal? Because I certainly think it's a dick move to not reveal before sex. But I thought the letter indicated they hadn't slept together at that point (if at all). I guess, on re-reading, it isn't specific, but I figured she would have mentioned it if that had been the timeline.
Nocutename, I agree that sleeping with someone who doesn't know who you really are or where the relationship really stands is very bad. In many cases it would qualify as rape, or close to it. However, I think there's a difference between lying to someone and not revealing information.

A lot of this does depend on if they met online or in person. In online dating attempts I've presented all of my kinks and fetishes in a way I would never do in real life. On an online dating site there's an understanding. We all know we will find people who are incompatible in many ways, and we aren't shocked by it. It's also difficult for a stranger online to hurt you without going through a lot of effort to do so. In real life there is no understanding. I live in a very liberal, urban area, and I would never trust a co worker or something with highly personal information unless they gave me a reason to trust them. Even if it doesn't ruin my life in any meaningful way, being mocked behind my back is something I don't want to deal with and shouldn't have to deal with.

The fact that poly people also need to prove they aren't cheating adds another layer of complication I didn't consider before. They don't just have to worry about being palatable to normies, they also have to be trustworthy. Revealing stuff sooner does put you in a different place on the truthful to liar scale.
If she HAD slept with him before the reveal it would have been on the first date. In my book, first date sex is by definition "casual" and should have no expectation of full transparency or any other expectation other than a mandatory reveal of any STIs and a "Thanks, that was fun!" afterward.
@93: I'm glad that's what it says in your book, DonnyK. Not everyone reads that.
Some people operate under a different book with a different timeline.
Some people want and expect honesty from the get-go. Some of us give it, too.
on a side note, having dabbled with the poly crowd in the bay area of california for a few years, i decided poly stands for "processing-on; lengthy yawns." yeah the food at the potlucks is pretty good. i'll say that much for them.
Really, you couldn't walk away after the second date? That's on you.
@94. Nocute, it's great you don't compromise your integrity by lying online or misrepresenting yourself. C'mon though, you're a feminist, we live in a Patriarchy and women need to be vigilant, to protect ourselves.
I admire your persistence, nocute. And as Dan says, I'm rooting for you.
I'll stand up for the morality of delaying disclosure of possible dealbreakers, under certain conditions. Just delaying as far as the end of the first date, I'm talking about, and before any sex (in a date context, I dunno how stranger-hookups operate). Disclosing in person with a certain amount of rapport, versus putting it in your profile.

The type of thing is 1) facts about me that could be a dealbreaker for a fair number of people, but I'm only justifying if 2) it's a dealbreaker for significantly fewer people when disclosed after meeting. And, this is /critical/, 3) those people who "switch" to go for it are making a better decision -- on their own terms -- than if they'd filtered me up front, because they now know more about what it means. NOT that they're just giving it a go before I applied a high-pressure sales job or I have devastating cheekbones.

I'd always have to keep in mind that while this is hopefully a positive for the "switchers" (and be real, a small positive, how great a catch am I?), but it is definitely a benefit to me. So there's implicitly a 4) I need to have the unclouded judgment to identify (3) accurately. It's always risky business to think "I may know their best judgment better than they do", but... sometimes it's not wrong.

How about if I'm positive for the herpes virus? I think it's legitimate to want to talk about what this actually means, like the statistic that they probably are too. Though, okay, in online dating I might be able to put an educational link up front in my profile, and that weakens the justification for waiting. But say in an in-person situation, choosing to talk about it in conversation rather than before even buying coffee. Legitimate, I'm saying. Even though the person's own stated preference /before/ learning more would have been "I want to know ASAP so I can walk away."

Maybe "I have mild cerebral palsy symptoms" -- I think that in my profile would be a "no" for a surprising number of people, or you might not be surprised. But meeting me they get to see what that means and find if they actually care or even notice. Or maybe "I'm bi", in a dating pool where a large number of decent people think that means "must be non-monogamous".

I would have said being poly does not qualify, because people know if they want that, and they're not going to learn more by meeting me. But @ciods makes a point I hadn't thought of, if that happens much that people really don't know what it means, and hear it as "cheater".

All of these require a factual basis, that I can in fact tell/show people something that actually informs their decision, in their own assessment. If they don't learn anything, or don't agree with me, it's wrong of me to waste their time on a date.
I haven't read all of the posts and I'm sorry if I'm being repetitive. I'm confused by DS taking "I've been seeing a guy I really like. He's just my type, the kind of person I've been looking for my whole life." and gives "You knew he wasn't "your type" or "perfect" for you the second time you laid eyes on him, SHAME, and you needed to go your separate ways at that point." as his advice. Did DS mean on the second date, not the second time?

I may be old fashioned, but how many people go on even a first date with a total stranger. I'm curious about what took place before the first date. How much time and effort did the guy put into seducing SHAME. Granted that (seduction) is an assumption on my part, but I'm trying to consider how SHAME could be smitten by the first date. If seduction it was, then the guy was reprehensible (and cynical) from the get go for not disclosing his relationship status at the very beginning. SHAME had/has this image of the perfect man for her. Did the guy take advantage of that or did SHAME delude herself.