Dating :: OKCupid

OKCupid

“I like the format of having to answer questions which they use to come up with a percentage of friend or enemy of sort. I feel that actually this does work. For a couple of years I did not post a photo, but in November “I” came out of the closet and posted a picture. I thought that it was only fair to show the men that YES, I am really tall, and YES, I am not a skinny little woman. Now, I happened to have taken a photo, with NO head shot but in a long black dress. That got me noticed and not in a good way. Anyone that contacts me with vulgarity, I delete. I did sign up for Match.com for three months and am into my second month. I have not found navigating the site as easy as OKC. Years ago I was on Plenty of Fish but got only letches so I left.”

“ONE caution. It seems that there are a number of men on these sites that chat you up and immediately call you beautiful and sweetie. They profess adoration. Then they say they have to go out of the country. Beware…SCAMers.”

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OKCupid
“It’s good to hear that our AP sisters are concerned about discretion, safety, and such. These are important considerations. Remember, what we are offering, a part-time relationship (at best), is not what most people online are searching for, but can be just the right thing for the right person. It’s important to remember that online dating isn’t like ordering a pizza, even though at first it can seem like it will be easy. It’s a time-consuming process, sometimes tedious, but nothing worthwhile is easy, right?

One thing I have learned is to lead with deal breakers–things that will make someone not want ME. This is the opposite of how most single people date, hoping that many people will find them appealing. But I don’t like meeting only to find out that my situation just won’t work for them. Wastes both of our time. If, after knowing those things, they still are interested, great! For example: I am happily married and not looking to get out. I still have (safe) sex with my bi husband. There are men who were initially enthusiastic about me but then got spooked that I was still sexual with my husband because he has sex with men (EGADS!!!) Never mind that the FIRST PARAGRAPH of my profile was: I am a middle-aged woman happily married to a bisexual man. Our relationship is open and honest. He has a boyfriend and is OK with me having one too.

My last paragraph says something like: I would be open to meeting if you are open minded and single, and if not single, that your partner knows you are here.

I do not post any photos on my profile out of concern for privacy. I am not out professionally as in an open relationship and it could present complications. OKCupid nags me about that regularly, but I ignore it. I do say in my profile that if we begin a conversation I am happy to send a picture to a private email address. I have a pleasant head-shot taken after a recent haircut that I use for such purposes. Nothing sexy, just a smiling face. And as soon as I have determined that we don’t know one another in any awkward areas of overlap, I send the picture right out. It seems fair to know that we are real and what we look like.

I go for a coffee meeting very quickly, within a week or two if there is interest. I do this because a long internet conversation can create an artificial feeling of intimacy which can lead to awkwardness in person, particularly if it turns out that we don’t click at a chemistry level (this has happened to me). Real names are exchanged, and often business cards. If the coffee meeting goes well, there may be a quick kiss goodbye. Second date is longer, typically a walk and a talk, or out to lunch or dinner (and definitely a goodnight kiss, or two…a chemistry test!). I let people know up front that I never play on a first date. If you are using swinger sites that is particularly important to specify, since some in swing world are fine with that and may expect some sexual contact if you like one another. I don’t judge, it’s just not for me. Third dates are typically more intimate, some making out in a car like teenagers or whatnot. I should note that I have only made it to a third date with my long-term boyfriends. During one period after a breakup of a relationship, I had 20 coffee dates before I met someone with enough mutual interest for a second date. And all 20 of them were nice guys with high match percentages! You just can’t tell before meeting in person. I wasn’t kidding about this being time consuming!

I use OKCupid because it is free; does a reasonably good job of matching people based on questions answered; and there are a lot of polyamorous people there.  These are people who are not cheating but have some kind of open relationship.  Or they may be OK dating those who do have an open relationship. I have found it interesting to talk to people who have over a 90% match with me.  Two boyfriends that I have dated were both 99% matches with me.”

Ethical Non-Monogamy

In mixed orientation marriages (MOM) and relationships, couples sometimes explore the possibility of opening the marriage to other partners on one or both sides based on mutual consent and agreements. In many cases, it is the non-straight spouse who initially advocates for this option. However, the gay/bi/lesbian spouse sometimes has difficulty understanding why the straight spouse would want to do the same. After all, that person’s sexual needs are being met at home, aren’t they?  The straight spouse may respond that sexual intimacy with a straight partner is just different than having sex with a non-straight partner. This is a legitimate observation and may or may not be true in any individual relationship. My husband is bi-sexual and I am the straight spouse. I would like to share my feelings about ethical non-monogamy based on my experiences.

In my view, the more important aspect of opening a marriage is not the physical one but rather the experience of being able to understand ethical non-monogamy. In most cases, both partners do not initially have a clear understanding of what this means. Speaking personally, until I opened my side of the marriage I could not understand what ethical non-monogamy would “feel” like both emotionally and psychologically. I had to experience an open marriage before I could truly understand the full implications of what it meant.

I have now realized that I can be totally 100% in love with my husband. I know that I have no intention of ever leaving him for anyone, and I want to spend every bit of the rest of my life with him. But I can still enjoy the company of and be sexually intimate with another person outside my marriage. I can even come to care deeply about that person. Once I knew how it felt from my end, I could feel reassured that this kind of relationship was possible for my bisexual husband as well. I never even knew such a thing could be possible.

By opening my marriage, I was able to experience what it means to share intimacy with more than one person; to share part of my life with someone else without letting go of the other important people in my life; and to allow other people into my life without having to push anyone out. These have been empowering, fulfilling, and meaningful lessons for me to learn.

Why should only one person in a marriage or relationship get to learn these lessons? More importantly, non-straight spouses can potentially feel more comfortable with their partners exploring other relationships when they understand first-hand the feelings, emotions, and complications of non-monogamy. Even if you are just into “no strings attached” (NSA) sex, there is still a lot to learn about how it feels to have that in your life and still love your primary partner. It was not until I experienced it for myself that I felt comfortable knowing that my husband could let someone into his life without replacing me.

Having one’s sexual needs fulfilled is not an “on or off” proposition. As everyone knows, a little spice is great for the sex life. You can create some of that at home but not all of it. New relationship energy (NRE) is exciting and fun. Why should only one partner in the marriage get to experience that? There is really only one way to get the thrill of a first kiss, whether you are straight or not.

A very wise MOM friend of mine has a great metaphor about “spousal sex” versus “new partner sex” being like the comfort food of home cooking  versus going out to eat at an exciting new restaurant. Both are wonderful in their own special way but neither can really replace the other. As my friend says, “you may think that you can make a really great meatloaf or mac-n-cheese.” However if your gay/bi/lesbian partner is getting to order a gourmet meal of “Alaskan salmon with cayenne maple glaze and three cheese polenta”– shouldn’t the straight partner get to try the same meal?

Here is my summary of why straight and non-straight partners should both have the option of opening their sides of the marriage:

  • To understand and experience the emotions of ethical non-monogamy
  • To help both straight and non-straight partners gain first-hand experience in understanding that having new partners on either or both sides does not have to be threatening to the marriage
  • New relationship energy is fun for everyone and can’t really be replicated at home.  Why should only one partner in the relationship get to experience this?
  • General notions of fairness and integrity

Beth, January 2016

Opening Up, Dating and Reconnecting

Within the mixed orientation marriage community, couples have many different marriage arrangements, e.g., monogamy, open on one side, open on both sides, and fluidity over time between open and monogamous. Each couple must find their own best path for a successful MOM. This requires honesty, transparency, constant & ongoing communication, flexibility, understanding, compassion—shall I continue? Initially, it’s just plain hard work. But it can be good work that must begin with a foundation of mutual love and respect for each other. If a couple decides to open their marriage for one or both partners, there can be potential issues surrounding dating and reconnecting. In this two part blog, Alternate Paths members offer suggestions for navigating these potentially touchy and sensitive situations.

Preparing for Dates and Time Away

When couples mutually decide to open their marriages on one or both sides, they must discover what is useful and doable for them. This is a unique process that requires trial and error and may potentially change and evolve over time. The only way to experiment effectively with open marriage is to engage in honest, robust, non-judgmental, and non-defensive communication. Here are a few helpful suggestions:

  • Spend time together talking and preparing for upcoming dates. The partner at home may need some structure to feel safe, reassured, and emotionally secure. Schedule regular planning meetings to discuss your agreements about dating—time, frequency, activities, location, week days vs. weekends, overnights, reconnecting, etc.
  • Discuss potential emotional triggers connected to dating activities. For example, is there a restaurant that has special meaning for you as a couple? Would the spouse at home feel upset or resentful if the date occurred at this restaurant? It is helpful to consider these kinds of issues.
  • For the partner at home, talk about your plans for keeping busy during your partner’s dates or time away. Do not necessarily stay home to fold laundry, clean closets, mow the grass, or pay bills. This could lead to feelings of resentment that your partner is out having fun and you are home being “productive” or doing mundane tasks.
  • If possible, make plans for getting out of the house and doing something while your spouse is on a date. If you have younger children at home, consider getting a sitter.
  • Plan an activity that you enjoy doing without your partner whether you are home or out and about.   Catch up on episodes of your favorite television series. Spend time with friends, head to the gym, take a walk or bike ride, go shopping, or schedule a massage—any activity that will give you enjoyment.
  • You might consider heading out to your activity before your partner leaves for his/her date. You will then not be home to experience the pre-date excitement, primping, and preparation.
  • One spouse leaves a handwritten “love note” for his wife to find after he leaves.
  • For over nights or weekends away, staying in touch with the spouse at home can be important. Leave a phone message or send a text upon arriving at your destination for the weekend.
  • Call your spouse at some point to check in and chat about neutral topics. Text or email a good morning and good night.
  • Call or text again when heading home from your time away.

Reconnecting after dates

Reconnection rituals can be very helpful for couples especially in the beginning stages of opening the marriage or relationship. These rituals offer a predictable routine that occurs each time a spouse or partner returns home after being with someone else. Couples are encouraged to develop their own reconnection rituals that are meaningful to them. Here are some suggestions from experienced MOM couples:

  • When the date is over, you may ask your spouse to call or send you a text that he/she will be home soon. One husband sends his wife a text that he is on his way home and that he loves her.  The wife responds by texting back that she loves him too.
  • Another spouse often brings a small thank you gift or flowers for his wife after time away.
  • You might ask your partner to take a shower upon returning home. One spouse describes being sensitive to scents and wants her husband to smell like their own soap.
  • For many couples touching is important in reconnecting.  As soon as you can find private time, sit together physically touching, holding hands, or touching with feet or legs. One spouse found that physical touch helped her feel grounded and connected, and kept her anxiety levels tolerable.
  • Talk about it.   Talk some more.  And then talk again.  Be open and honest.
  • You might ask questions about your partner’s date in small increments depending on your level of comfort.  You will know when you need to stop. Sometimes you may need to know many details about your partner’s date and sometimes very little.  Reserve the right to ask for more details at a later time if you need to do so.  For example, one spouse would say things like, “tonight I feel like knowing if you just had drinks or if it was it more.  Don’t tell me what the ‘more’ was until I ask.”  It takes time and practice to learn when to stop asking.
  • You may need to know and feel reassured that safer sex is being addressed. This is an important, ongoing discussion.
  • Humor can be very helpful.  One spouse says that she will often ask a question and then whatever the answer is, she will say, “but I am better at that, right??”  Of course she expects that her husband will always agree!
  • Share any feelings you and your partner are having, including any struggles. Validate one another’s experiences if you can. Talk about what went well, and what you might want to do differently next time.
  • Some couples find comfort in exchanging verbal affirmations with each other. One couple uses the same exact words each time they reconnect. The husband says, “Thank you for opening your heart for me to do this.” The wife replies, “I love you and I want you to be happy and whole.”
  • The “two minute hug” is another wonderful way to reconnect. Stand up and hold each other for a minimum of two minutes. Simply breathe together and allow your bodies to relax into each other.
  • Plan an activity that you can do together. One couple plays a game of pool. You could go for a walk or take a shower with each other. One spouse prepares a nice meal to share with her husband when he returns from a weekend away.