I also don’t NOT do newbies.
I was having a conversation with one of my favorite muses, and they said:
I liked TheFerrett’s writing on how he doesn’t do ‘starter poly’
Now I’m not sure which of The Ferrett’s writings they were talking about, but I remember one from WAY BACK in 2011 that I pulled up, “Ferrett’s Hard Limits Of Dating,” that included this:
Honestly, we’ve done the starter polyamory thing, and it doesn’t work for us; people go in with the best intentions, but usually it winds up being a rocky road as we navigate the usual jealousies and fears that go with it, and poorly. At this point in my life, I need a relatively quiet and stable relationship, and the first time at the rodeo ain’t ever gonna be quiet. (https://fetlife.com/users/338073/posts/668060, https://www.theferrett.com/2011/09/20/the-ferretts-hard-limits-of-dating/ )
My friend went on to say:
Go learn and do your own emotional labor before trying to involve me. I don’t have the patience to date you and be your poly sherpa. Pick one! Lol
Which is fair.
After all, for a lot of people it’s not terribly sexy to be a mentor—at least not when it’s done right.
And by “mentoring done right,” I don’t mean “Use more suction down there to make it realllllllly good.” I mean really digging into the mind and behaviors, and doing the hard work.
I do, actually, find that sexy.
But that’s not why I’m writing this today.
First, let me say that whatever your limits are around dating, they are your right. Both my friend and Ferrett have a right to draw a limit at poly newbies, as do the many (MANY) people I see online saying they do the same thing.
And people who draw the line at kink newbies have the same right.
Or people who don’t “do” brats, or won’t date ‘nilla, or draw a limit at smokers, or whatever.
Actually, it’s me. I draw a limit at smokers. My parents both smoked when I was growing up, and the taste and smell in intimate situations makes me literally gag. That’s not sexy, and no, brushing teeth does not make it go away. I can’t get past that in my sexy times.
So, those sorts of limits are good.
I do date newbies, though.
Which actually sounds kinda ominous. Like maybe I hunt down newbies.
I don’t. I tend to avoid them, actually.
But not because they are newbies. That’s not my criteria. In the quote above Ferrett said, “At this point in my life, I need a relatively quiet and stable relationship,” and while I’m not sure that I’d use exactly those words, low-drama is on my list of priorities.
Which, while that may deselect a lot of newbies (most of them, actually), it’s also gonna deselect 95% of pretty much everyone right off the bat, at least to meet my standards of acceptable relationship hysteria.
There’s more, though.
I don’t “do” couples.
I don’t like many people. It’s highly unlikely that I’m going to like both people in a couple enough to want to date and grow those connections at the same time. Because it’s highly unlikely I’m going to like even one, as we go through the process of really getting to know each other.
To add the pressure of dealing with two unknowns at the same time is the stuff of dating nightmares for me, so I will immediately disqualify anyone who approaches me as a couple, and most people who give off “couple vibes,” even when they approach me singly.
Do I make exceptions? No.
Do I find myself with couples in my life who I love and enjoy dating? Yes. Organically, though. A whole ‘nother thing.
And many new-to-poly (or nonmonogamy) people approach as couples, or expect coupledom to be their default.
I do require good communication skills.
And, well, nonmonogamy of any sort requires pretty high levels of communication. As does kink.
I was walking with a dear friend a few days back. We like to walk and talk. He said, “You KNOW from your dating experience whether your partner is going to be actually cool with all that [meaning nonmonogamy]. If she gets upset about you talkin’ to others on social media, you know.”
Yeah. He’s right. About the second part. Getting jealous of people on social media is definitely a red flag.
But you don’t KNOW they are gonna be cool until you know. Because nonmonogamy is not like monogamy. And when done right (for me, anyway), it’s radically different. As I said in our local discord recently:
You’ll find jealousy in the weirdest places (They ate peach cobbler with THEM?!?), communication mishaps with people you NEVER thought you’d fuss with, and FEELZ at inopportune times.
It’s GONNA happen.
How you communicate and work through that will make a huge difference, though.
And again, it’ not just the newbies. MOST people do not have the communication skills to make it through things like that with a minimum of drama.
A lot of carryover into kink and nonomonogamy and poly from monogamy and vanilla relationship styles includes relationship escalator-type behaviors (https://offescalator.com/what-escalator/) and specific types of possession and labelling.
For example, another nonmonogamous person said to me yesterday:
I feel fucking other people is in my right to know camp, when I’m sleeping with someone.
I do not tell people who I’m fucking, even if I’m fucking them, unless I want to. That’s not their RIGHT to know.
I would safely bet that even with the people who usually read my scribblings and who identify as some blend of kinky and poly or nonmono, at least 90% will straight up say that’s not gonna work for them.
They have to know.
Ok. Then you have to know with someone else.
Like I said, nonmonogamy is radically different from monogamy for me. Including who gets a say (or a right to know) over my body and how I use it for fun and pleasure.
And new people are generally going to be MORE monogamy-thinky still, as they start their journey.
Some newbies are already out of the mindset that there is WON TWOO WAY to relationship. After all, the ‘nilla/monogamy stuff hasn’t worked for them, so why keep playing by those rules?
So, I don’t rule out newbies just because they are new.
I’ll take on anyone who gets deep enough and far enough with me to warrant extra time and attention.
I’ll also NOPE the fuck out whenever I want to.
Everyone is on an even playing field: I’m cool with whoever comes at me, until I’m not.
And it has nothing to do with arbitrary labels or standards of newness. Instead it’s all about my personal requirements and boundaries (LOL! You know I had to say that at least once in this writing, right?) for relationships overall.
But there’s a corollary.
I also don’t make exceptions for newbies.
Some people LOVE newbies. They love the energy, the joy, the exploration. They love the guidance. They have more patience for their mistakes and fuck-ups.
Heck, they enjoy the mess.
I don’t “give them more time” because they are new. I don’t offer more/less benefit of the doubt.
Any behavior that I would not accept from anyone, I will not accept from a newbie.
Either a newbie is as open-minded and curious and communicative as I require to engage, or they are not.
Which does, in effect, rule out the vast majority of newbies. And all other people.
What are your thoughts?
Are you willing to date newbies in kink or poly? Do you enjoy being their sherpa while you date, or do they have to do their work outside of your relationship?
Do you actively enjoy relationshipping with newbies, and if so, why?