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Everyone Wanted Her, But No One Wanted Me

If only I'd known this was the most difficult part of polyamory

By Thomas BrandPublished about a year ago 5 min read
fizkes |

Beginning your journey into ethical non-monogamy is exciting. So many possibilities lay open to you. Things that were out-of-bounds in monogamy are suddenly back on the table. Hedonism beckons, and no one could begrudge you for getting a little over-excited about the possibilities.

But when my wife and I opened up our relationship, we discovered things weren’t as easy as we’d thought. I found myself facing what I now believe to be the most common difficulty newly open couples run into.

What do you do when you can’t find anyone interested in you?

Looking for our first polyamorous dates

When my wife and I decided to open up our relationship, I couldn’t have been more excited for what was coming. You see, I had never been what you could call “popular with the ladies”. I didn’t have my first girlfriend until I was 19, and only had one other before meeting my future wife when we were both 21. It wasn’t that I hadn’t wanted to have casual sex and lots of relationships before settling down. Oh, I’d wanted it, all right. But wanting wasn’t strong enough to break through the self-esteem issues that prevented me from taking the risks needed to make it happen.

But now, things were different. I was no longer the person I had been back then. I had been with my now wife for six years. We were married. I knew I was desirable to at least one woman, which gave me the confidence to pursue others. I was confident, ready to meet people, and eager to explore what this new world had to offer.

And so, we got on the dating apps. We had an account together to meet people as a couple, and we also both began searching for people to date alone.

Want to guess which of these three accounts had any real success?

If you’ve spent any time around the polyamorous or ethically non-monogamous community, I’m sure you know the answer. Within days, my wife was chatting to multiple people. Being a sensible person, she was pretty picky about who she connected with. But despite this, even filtering through the creeps, she soon had potential dates lined up.

Our couple account, meanwhile, was struggling. (At this point, we’d never heard of the term “Unicorn Hunting” or knew that’s what we were doing.) We’d managed to find a few matches, but they mostly fell into one of two categories. Some were fake accounts, run by a single person pretending to be a couple to get people to talk to them. Others were couples who were actually only interested in meeting women and were hoping my wife would drop me to see them alone. There were a couple of glimmers of hope, but it was slow going.

My account, on the other hand? Empty. Dead. Not a single bite. If I did manage to Match with someone and chat, it would usually end with a curt “not interested”. If I was lucky. More often, they simply Ghosted me. And I couldn’t see what I was doing wrong. I was available, I was openly and ethically non-monogamous, and I was ready to get out into the dating pool. The problem was, nobody wanted me.

The hard lessons

It’s been over a decade since I made those first steps into ethical non-monogamy. And in that time, I’ve learned a lot. And one of the things I’ve learned is that the situation I found myself in is one of the most common problems newly non-monogamous couples face. Join any polyamory community, and eight out of ten couples will tell you some variant of this story. Go on r/nonmonogamy or r/polyamory on Reddit it can feel like every other post is someone telling this same story and asking for advice.

And I wish I could give them better advice. Because the only solution to this situation, for lack of a better word, sucks.

Wait it out. Keep your head up. Don’t let it get to you.

The hard advice

Because at the end of the day, going nowhere doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Every couple beginning their journey into ethical non-monogamy will make mistakes. Part of that journey is seeing these mistakes and learning from them. But sometimes, fixing those mistakes doesn’t automatically fix your problems. Even doing everything right the first time won’t guarantee you finding someone. You can polish your dating profile until it’s perfect. You can go to in-person events and be a perfect dating prospect. You can do everything right and still get nowhere.

Because, in the words of the great Jean-Luc Picard (or, more accurately, Gene Roddenberry or David Kemper, the two writers credited on the episode this quote is from):

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness, that is life.”

As much as it sucks to hear it, the only way through this difficult patch is to keep going and tough it out. Some of us — and I’m 100% including myself here — are not one of those people who seem to be able to just go out and meet people. And while “just ride it out” may seem like weak reassurance, if you keep it up, you’ll find there are benefits to polyamory that you might not be expecting.

Eventually, you will find that person that kickstarts things for you. In my case, it took three years before my wife and I had any luck dating as a couple. And even then, this didn’t mean the floodgates had opened. One date didn’t mean they all began raining down on us. And while I met a couple of people, it was eight years before I finally started dating someone long-term. And I hadn’t even been looking, but met them at a bar when I was out with friends!

Dating is hard, and polyamory doesn't change that

Dating is hard. And unfortunately, polyamory doesn’t make it any easier. Maybe if we had better relationship education, we’d be better prepared for this fact. But would knowing it all in advance help at all? Probably not, to be honest. I would still have gone through the feeling of being undesirable. I would still have had to see my partner put her journey on hold because she felt bad having something I didn’t. I would still have had to wait the same length of time before things finally clicked for me.

Unfortunately, sometimes the only option is to be patient and to remember how many couples have experienced the same thing. Polyamory isn’t equal or fair because neither is life in general. But hopefully, knowing you’re not alone will help.


This article was originally posted at


About the Creator

Thomas Brand

Blogging about polyamory, ethical-non-monogamy, mental health, and modern relationships | (He/Him) | |

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