I’ll preface this by saying things are good. Cookie has been diligent about communicating when I can expect to hear from him next. I had a third date Saturday night with a different dude (the Runner? Goatee Dude? Still trying to figure out his nickname). I’m supposed to see a new guy on Wednesday. And the bug that I had last week seems to be completely gone.
The issue at hand lies in a new challenge in navigating these new-to-me polyamory waters.
Cookie has been in these waters for a few years and the Sexy Professor had been for a year or so before we met. Goatee Dude is only a few months in, same as me.
When the Sexy Professor and I first started dating, he asked how I wanted to handle talking about other partners. Should we discuss them openly? Should we be a little private at first? What was my comfort level?
Being new and incredibly unaware of what my feelings were going to be, I didn’t have much idea how to answer this. I did what felt natural, and told him I was completely fine chatting casually about other people we were seeing.
Reader, this turned out to not be the case.
Lessons were learned when I was dating the Sexy Professor, and I gained a better understanding of myself and my comfort level around talking about other partners with the men I’m seeing. My approach is different now than it was with him.
Goatee Dude has mentioned someone else he’s had a few dates with. He’s not said her name; she has a nickname he uses. This works for me. It keeps her as an abstract concept, not a real person, and doesn’t interfere with him and I getting to know one another.
Cookie is seeing someone else, and he’s mentioned her when it’s relevant to a conversation, which hasn’t been often. This, too, works for me.
However, twice now, Cookie has known I’ve been on a date and has asked enthusiastically how it has gone. He’s so happy if I say it was a nice time, but I’ve held back from saying much else.
Things with Cookie are progressing down a nice path, though, and it seems an appropriate time to talk about how to discuss other dates and other partners. Thus, when he asked about Saturday’s date, I brought it up.
I let him know I’m holding back not because I don’t want him to know what’s going on with me, and that I appreciate his interest and support. I love that he gets excited for me and cheers me on. It’s adorable and makes me feel adored.
Rather, it’s because I’m still figuring out what I’m comfortable knowing about the dating lives of men I’m seeing. It’s an area where my newness to polyamory is noticeable to me.
He said he understands the reasons for my reluctance and he’s happy to help explore or guide me through the edges of that comfort, but won’t pressure me in any way. So, basically, he responded perfectly, as he always does. (*swoon*)
For now, things for me in this new world of polyamory still feel mostly the same as they would in my ideal version of the early stages of monogamous dating. I’m getting to know new men but don’t feel like what I have with any of them is all that serious. I’ve barely known any of them for any length of time yet.
I’m enjoying getting to know each of them and seeing what dynamic exists. If there’s some chance of long-term potential, there will be plenty of outside factors and situations to navigate. There’s no need to rush it.
At first, while everything is so new, I’m happy just continuing going on dates and figuring out whether we actually like each other or not.
Maybe that’s against the rules. Maybe I’m doing things wrong. I’ve heard references to “compersion.”
Compersion: The feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy, such as in witnessing a toddler’s joy and feeling joy in response. The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/compersion
That’s not what I’m feeling. Not yet. Not right now.
Until I feel confident and comfortable in whatever is happening between me and a new guy, I don’t think I feel good talking much about other dates and partners. I mean, it’s fine to acknowledge them, but any detail isn’t necessary. Discussion about a guy’s feelings for another woman isn’t something I have interest in while initially getting to know a guy.
Again, maybe that’s not okay. Maybe that’s not how things are done. I’ll have to figure that out. Just as I’m figuring out so many other things about dating and relationships these days. What’s one more thing, right?