So you’re new to the idea of an open relationship. The thing many couples seek when they think about exploring non-monogamy is finding a way to pursue this relationship model that protects their couplehood. “How can we explore while keeping our relationship safe?” The truth is… You can’t. No relationship is safe from conflict, and if that conflict is irreconcilable, all relationships are at risk of ending. Monogamy doesn’t protect your relationship from conflict or termination any more than non-monogamy will, and the sooner you’re able to accept this, the easier time you’ll have moving forward. Just remember that the people you’re having relationships with should WANT to be there, voluntarily and of their own free will.
To many couples exploring non-monogamy, the model that seems the safest early in this journey is the triad. They’re looking for a single bisexual woman that will date both of them at the same time. To newbies, this seems to make sense because they think that dating together will mean everything will be equal. Their thoughts are that everyone will have equal attention from the new woman, everyone will be equally satisfied and having hot sex and no one will feel threatened or have negative feelings, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case when people put this idea into practice. Humans are messy and have lots of emotions, and while experiencing these emotions is normal and healthy, how we express them sometimes isn’t. Relationships where a couple is seeking a third are labeled by the polyamory community at large as “Unicorn Hunting” and unfortunately, unicorn hunters have a well-deserved reputation for being highly likely to be very toxic and full of problems. What seemed like a good idea to these newbies on paper is actually a really bad idea in practice.
As a community, we strongly encourage couples entering the world of non-monogamy to do some research and set a waiting period to read and learn and discuss before you dive into dating. Our best advice to you is to read the links below, check out some of the books available on the subject, and choose to date separately. Even if your hope is to find a person who will eventually feel comfortable dating both of you, dating separately is the best way to ensure that happens naturally and in a healthy way.
If you need in-person guidance for exploring this model, there is a free Houston Polyamory Peer Discussion Group that meets on Mondays at 7:00 pm at The Montrose Center, which also offers LGBTQ and SOGI-affirming individual therapy and couples, triads and any other relationship configuration counseling both with insurance and on a sliding scale.
On top of all that, these mythical women that couples are seeking aren’t called unicorns just because they’re rare… Remember that Unicorns don’t actually exist. Statistically speaking, your odds of finding “the one” woman for both of you are non-existent. Don’t believe me? Here’s more information: Polyamory and Statistics, or “Why Haven’t We Found Our Third Yet?” by emanix
- Looking for a Third: A Discussion About Unicorn Hunting™ – By Angel Kalafatis
- So, somebody called you a Unicorn Hunter?– By David Noble
- The Tropes and Troubles With Unicorn Hunting (video) – By Kale
- Unicorn Hunting 101 – By Andre Laroussini
- More than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux
- The Ethical Slut, Third Edition: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton
- Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino (Author)