This special guest post is by Haley Carter. A civic entrepreneur and writer, Haley lives in an intentional poly community in California and co-administers the Polyamory Discussion group on Facebook.
One of the questions most often asked in polyamory and other non-traditional relationship practices is, “Where do I find potential partners?” Haley says they might be most easily found in the very first place you’d look:
When I began embracing polyamory, I had some vague idea that I’d be able to continue dating the people I’d been seeing for a while. However, as I discovered, even though they’d either said they were polyamorous, or that we were “just friends” and my other relationships didn’t matter, those friendships faded away. There was a time after that when I didn’t actually date anyone outside my chosen family (nesting partners).
From there, I decided I needed to seriously search for polyamorous folk to date, and I spent much of 2009 on over 100 first dates, and a handful of second and third dates. That effort yielded a wealth of personal growth, a greater awareness of how to be a better friend, and the realization that I wasn’t into online dating.
But more recently, I’ve discovered that I truly enjoy dating people I already consider friends. I’m no longer “searching” for partners or sweethearts. Instead, I focus my time and and loving energy on people I’ve met while doing things I love — campouts, local art projects, monthly music socials, local (regional) Burning Man community development, polyamory discussion, both online and local/in-person, and hosting social gatherings. I’ve discovered such meaningful connections with friends who have become my sweethearts, sexual adventure companions, and partners. I could not have foreseen the depth and variety of these relationships — reality has become far more wonderful than my imagination!
And further, I will add that I don’t always know whether or not I consider someone a partner or sweetheart. Some relationships move in and out of that heart space, depending on proximity, mutual availability, and where my focus in life may be. I *love* knowing and loving other phenomenal human beings for whom that is also true.