Finding a ThirdAug 13th, 2012 | By AidenRN | Category: Advice, Aiden, Columns, Contributors
I have spent the last three years in poly arrangements, and spent a lot of time ‘dating’. Sometimes the intent changed–casual versus romantic, vanilla versus kink–and sometimes even the gender of the person I was looking for was different. But needless to say, I’ve scoped out quite a few personal ads on dating sites and craigslist, and I’ve taken notes on the trends. The largest of which, I’ve found, is pre-established couples looking for a third partner, sometimes for a one night stand and sometimes for a long term relationship.
I steer as far away from those ads as possible. Why? Because while I’d love that arrangement in an ideal world, I have seen so many couples handle it so badly that it’s never been worth it. Too many couples are woefully unprepared for the level of emotional commitment it takes to introduce a third into their relationship. Even if it’s just for sex or for a play scene, emotions such as jealousy, anger and insecurity thrive in that situation and love to join the party. It ends up being a mess of a problem, and one that most ‘potential thirds’ want nothing to do with.
But if you and your partner have discussed it in depth, have worked through the issues, and really are ready to bring someone else into the dynamic, then those wary thirds can be frustrating. Trying to insist that you are ready and respectful can sound desperate if you do it too much, and even the smallest red flag can send someone running. So how are you supposed to proceed?
With caution, and a good first impression. This article is all about how to put your ad out there and get a response. While not a guarantee, these are tips supposed to get you going in the right direction.
Some standard web abbreviations I will be using will include W for woman, M for man, and T for Transsexual. These are the most basic and common abbreviations, although more advanced sites may have more options. The number “4” is often used instead of “for” on websites as well.
Post in the appropriate areas:
There’s nothing that frustrates me more than going into a “W4W” (Women for women) section and finding that 90% of the posts are from women- but who also want to include their boyfriends/husbands/etc. To me, it feels like I am being tricked into reading this person’s ad, only to scroll to the bottom and find out in the fine print the extra being added on. It might not be as horrendous as showing up and then being introduced, but it is a type of false advertisement. I am looking in the W4W because I am looking to play with a woman, not with a man and a woman.
The only posts that should be going in the W4W section (or W4M or M4M sections) should be a singular person looking for another singular person. And, I’m sorry, saying “he just wants to watch and won’t participate” does not count! By being there, the other person is participating, and that was not what was agreed upon or advertised. Some people, however, are totally into being watch; just find the right section for it!
Most websites will have areas for couples looking for additions, or a miscellaneous area. This is where you should be posting. It also helps if you put the appropriate description of your coupling (WW, MW, etc) and what you are looking for (singular Woman = W, another ‘straight’ couple = MW, etc). This way you’re not luring people in with promises of a juicy cheeseburger, only to offer fish sandwiches- people aren’t fond of that.
Reply to the correct ads:
This goes along with the first point. A few weeks ago I put out an ad in the W4W section of a website looking for a female partner for a scene. Because of the personal nature of the scene, the dynamics, and my own comfort levels, I put a disclaimer in the ad. “Women only please. No couples or men.”
My first email back was from a man. Biting my tongue, I replied back and learned that he was unfamiliar with the abbreviation system; a little lesson and I sent him on his way. My next was from a very gorgeous and charming woman. I was pretty excited to have found a match so quick, and so I kept reading.
Yup, boyfriend who “wanted to watch, maybe participate”.
This made me very upset, beyond the fact that I hadn’t lucked out on finding someone. It told me that she hadn’t taken the time to read my two paragraphs of the scene, or at least enough to read the disclaimer. Someone who cannot take twenty seconds before initially contacting me about a delicate personal moment is NOT someone I want to spend that moment with. Don’t be that person.
Read very carefully what the ad says. If it is in a section that is not looking for couples, they probably do not want to include a couple. You can always email, but try to be polite and courteous to them by saying something like “I read your add, I know you only wanted one person, but…”. At least then you are being respectful of what they had said. However, if they included a disclaimer saying no couples or men/women/etc, it is probably best to just move on.
Understand that ‘Bisexual’ has many different meanings
I hate the term bisexual. It’s an umbrella term for so many different kinds of people and sexualities, and it can lead to more misunderstanding than enlightenment. For example, I would technically be bisexual; I have had and am willing to have relationships with both sexes. However, that would be giving false hope to most of the male population; yes, I’ve dated guys, but I’m really only looking for women. A good friend of mine is the opposite; she mainly dates men, but can’t help but admire a sexy woman. We have such different tastes, yet are labeled the same.
Realize that the potential thirds you are looking for may fall into these categories. If you’re a lesbian/gay couple looking for someone of the same sex, this isn’t a problem. But if you are a straight-ish couple, whoever you bring into the bedroom may have a strong preference for one of you over the other. This can sometimes make the jealousy/insecurity issues better, but a lot of the time it can make them worse.
Communicate with your third, don’t assume. Ask them honestly about their sexuality, and what they imagine the relationship looking like. It’s another great way to show that you don’t think of the other person just as a prop for a scene, or another warm body in bed. It will also help you find the best person for the ‘job’ and someone who is going to fit well with your pre-existing dynamic.
Don’t take it personally
You’re going to get rejected. Everyone does at some point in their life, but this particular circumstance might lead to more rejections than you’re expecting. Some people simply aren’t comfortable being a third or being poly, and may not be interested getting involved with a couple. Others still might be open to that arrangement, but have had bad experiences in the past or bad impressions. And then there are just people who might not be attracted to you and/or your significant other.
Don’t get frustrated. This is a form of dating after all–there are going to be some people you’re really interested in, some people you’re really not interested in, and then one (or more!) who ends up fitting perfectly. It’s going to be a tough search to find them, and you’ll face some rejection. Just keep in mind that if you are presenting yourself and your partner honestly, and in a positive, respectful light, the rejection is most likely to do with the arrangement and not with you.
And if you find yourself facing an unusually high level of rejection, look back on your ad and your presentation of yourself. Have a friend read it over and give you their opinion. Check the simple things, like spelling and grammar. Maybe there is something there that’s raising a red flag, and once it’s fixed you’ll get a more encouraging response.
This should be the mantra for all relationships, but it is especially important when trying to introduce a new person into an already existing relationship. A poor match has the potential of not only splitting the third from the couple, but also splitting the couple apart. The best way to avoid this is to be open and honest from the start, and make sure all boundaries and expectations are clearly defined and understood by all parties.
That means being honest with your third about your relationship, especially if you intend to have them be a more permanent member. Tension between the ‘main couple’ can cause a third to feel like it is because of them, when it might be a completely unrelated fight. How emotionally intimate you decide to be with that third can vary, but even doing something simple like saying ‘we had a fight about money yesterday, so sorry if we’re tense on tonight’s date’ can help alleviate a lot of fears and worries. And even if it is a jealousy issue, if the third knows about it they can approach the situation with more caution and understanding.
If it’s just for one night, clearly defined boundaries can save a scene from being a disaster. Ask the embarrassing questions, like what would happen if a person who was ‘just watching’ wanted to join in? You don’t have to drain all the excitement and spontaneity out of it, but a clear idea of everyone’s comfort levels can help spark ideas, and keep someone from making another feel uncomfortable.
Like I’ve said, it might be tough to find a third partner. However, given how popular it seems to be, it must work for some people. Just remember that you’re trying to stand out from that crowd, and in a way that says “I want to meet this couple!” instead of “these people are creepy”. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll have a much better shot!