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Alternative Dating Etiquette
by Terry Brussel-Gibbons

     If you are a couple meeting another couple, dinner at one of your homes is generally best. Again as a couple, inviting single male to your home for a first meeting over dinner, is appropriate. If you are a couple meeting a single lady, the best way we've found to handle it is to court her together. Take her out and treat her nicely--let her know that dating a couple doesn't mean giving up the joys of romantic single dating, but doubles them instead! The husband is taking both of the ladies out--he should pick up the check without a fuss. The single lady can reciprocate later with dinner at her place if things work out. If the single is male and you go out together, he and the husband should split the check--you are both taking her out. None of this on who pays applies to feminist ladies who wouldn't think of allowing a man to buy her dinner--but we've run into amazingly few of those in this movement.

THREE IN THE CAR

     If you all go out together as three, the wife and single lady should alternate sitting in the front seat if your car has bucket seats. In the case of a couple dating a single man, the gentleman whose car is being driven will usually drive with the lady beside him. Three in front is much better if you have a vehicle which can do it.

THREE AT A RESTAURANT

     If you are going to a restaurant, plan things so that round booth seating (preferable) or individual chairs avoid the couple sitting on one side and the single on the other. Whether that single is male or female, avoid anything with a two against one feel to it.

COUPLES TOGETHER AND APART

     Be sure you not only do the obvious of sitting in cars or restaurants with the opposite sex member of the other couple, but spend time with the same sex one, too. This goes for sepparate meetings, too. The gentlemen can go to a computer fair together while the ladies go for a drive or whatever. You are all in a relationship together if this works out.

SEPARATE DATING--COUPLE WITH A SINGLE

     Depending on the couple's comfort level with it, after getting to know them both on two or three joint meetings, you as a single male could offer to take the lady alone out for lunch, dinner or even a play. This works particularly well if her husband gets to go to some meeting or activity he is really interested in but she is not while you entertain her. You,as male member of a couple, can also ask the single lady out, assuming this is ok with your wife--best to have your wife assure her that it is especially if your previous meetings have been as three.

KNOW WHERE YOU STAND

     There are many ins and outs to the etiquette of poly dating. Much of it depends on the agreements a couple has with each other before another person enters the picture. Contrary to popular beliefs, having an open relationship often does not mean "Anything goes." Some couples date only together, while others have a limit of one evening and/or night out a month or a week separately. Some require a week's warning on about a whole night out while others just need a call that same night letting the spouse know they'll be out until morning . Couples, be sure you are clear on such agreements between yourselves and that you make them clear to prospective intimate friends before someone gets hurt feelings through not knowing the rules.

Bio: Terry Brussel-Gibbons is a hypnotherapist, a match maker and a poly counselor. She and her husband Paul have been on panels and given seminars on the Polyamorous lifestyle at conferences and meetings of such groups as Elysium, Loving More, Lifestyles, Family Synergy, and Science Fiction Conventions since 1978. They can be reached at

818-361-6737.

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