For polyamorous folks, it’s a fairly common occurrence but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating. We all worry about meeting the parents for the first time, but what about meeting your partner’s partner?
A metamour is a your partner’s partner, who you are not emotionally or sexually involved with. Unlike with a triad, where all three are in a relationship, a metamour is your partner’s boyfriend or girlfriend, not yours.
For monoamorous people, meeting a metamour is not something they’ll ever have to worry about, unless someone’s been cheating. But for polyamorous people who practice open relationships, it just a fact of life. It might be intimidating but you should always meet your metamour. Your metamour is an important part of your partner’s life and it’s important to make an effort to understand him or her. It’s healthier for all of you to get how you’re feeling out into the open. But where do you start?
Pick a safe, neutral place to meet.
You, your partner, and your partner’s partner should all be involved in this conversation. Pick a place that’s non-intimidating and one that holds no romantic or emotional connection for any of you. Don’t pick the place that you and your partner had your first date because your metamour might feel uncomfortable or like he or she isn’t welcome in that space. Don’t do it at any of your homes because that can make it feel like one person has all the power in the conversation and the other two are just guests who are there to listen. Pick a relatively quiet place where you know you won’t be interrupted.
Pay attention to body language, ask questions, and ask consent.
You might be very extroverted but your metamour might not be. Try not to overwhelm them with questions, but make an effort to get to know them. And make an effort to let them know you as well. Try to find common ground other than the fact that you are both dating your partner. You don’t have to be your metamour’s best friend, but it does help to try to be friends. Maybe you both have the same taste in movies or books or you both like hiking or going to the beach. This commonality can be great because, while you may not be looking to be romantic with this person, having friend dates down the road can be really fun.
Also, as always, consent matters, even if it’s not sexual. Don’t hug your metamour right away unless you ask if it’s okay to hug.
Let your partner lead the conversation at first.
Let your partner make introductions and be sensitive to the fact that they’ll likely be anxious for this conversation too. There’s no guidebook that tells poly people how to introduce their partners. It’s not something that really gets taught in school. If you see your partner having trouble, ask questions to guide them but don’t overwhelm them either.
Be honest about your expectations and desires.
Remember that this is a conversation between equals. How you feel is equally as important as how they feel. Don’t be afraid to share your emotions and what’s going through your head. If your partner and your metamour have been spending time together and you’ve been feeling a bit neglected, talk about maybe working out a schedule that works for everyone. It’s okay to say if you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable or even a little bit jealous. Even poly people get a little jealous sometimes, especially if they feel like they aren’t getting the same time and care that they used to. It’s okay to say this, but remember to focus on, “I feel…” statements. Be sure to say “I feel a little neglected lately. Can we talk about sharing our time more equally?” Don’t accuse or say, “You’ve been ignoring me lately.” It will result in defensiveness rather than openness.
Let your partner check in with your metamour.
Step away for a moment. Go to the restroom or volunteer to grab more drinks at the bar. Your metamour is likely sharing in some of your anxiety. Let your partner have a moment alone with your metamour so he or she can check in with them. It shows that you respect their relationship and you are showing that they respect and want to include your metamour.
Check in with your metamour yourself.
Make sure you and your metamour exchange contact information. Like I said, you might be going on friend dates down the road and that would be so great! But even if you’re not, make sure you have that number and try to reach out to show that you care about their feelings as well. Send them a text afterwards saying how nice it was to meet them and see where the conversation goes from there. You don’t have to be best friends but you do have to respect and include one another.
Meeting a metamour doesn’t have to be scary. It’s awkward and kind of weird which makes it a bit funny. If you treat everyone at the table with respect and openness, it can even be fun and you might make yourself a new friend.