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Dating Etiquette: First Encounters, Poly
By Terry Brussel-Gibbons

     Today many singles and couple in the poly life style) are meeting by phone before meeting in person. This is true whether you meet through a personal ad or a matchmaker. At least with a matchmaker, you know more about who you are talking to and an experienced person has checked your compatibility. Meeting without any sort of introduction at a dance or convention or with only the scanty info included in a personal ad creates some special challenges.

     Have a prepared list of questions to weave into the conversation which will tell you whether this person is even worth meeting for coffee or leaving the dance with. This requires knowing what you are looking for. Construct a picture of your Life Mate (s) in your mind and write a paragraph or two describing him/her. Now write down a paragraph or two on the characteristics which caused past relationships to crash--soon or eventually. Use these notes for ideas as you now list those attributes you consider essential in a relationship (E), those you'd like to have (L), and those you absolutely don't want (N). E's are 7-10 or multiples of 10 points, L's are 1-7, N's are negative 20-100.

     During that first conversation ask the questions most important to you. Your lead in is to tell the person who is answering your ad that you are getting a lot of calls and don't wish to waste your time or theirs if you aren't right for each other. If you are making the call on their ad, this will require revealing that you are seriously looking for a partner(s) and have called other ads. Be sure to mention before you start the questions that you are willing to answer theirs too if any come to them during the conversation. Be as brief, complete and frank with your answers as you want them to be with theirs. Some people won't be willing to answer any questions until you meet. This shows either little consideration for your time or their own or (if by phone) such concern with appearance that you are probably better off politely dropping it. There are more fish in the sea.

     You'll determine what score is needed for someone before meeting a first time, going out a second time, whether someone you've seen a few times is worth getting serious with, etc. You'll start with something very basic and keep honing it to suit you.

     Note:if you as a single or a couple do pass each other's "test", make a date to actually meet as soon as possible without being pushy if you are doing the asking. For singles, the gent still usually does the asking out, though certainly not always. If the lady was the one with a list of requirements, she will now have to let him know it ok to ask. For couples, the one who has been doing the prepared questioning should do the asking to let the other couple know they passed.

     If you're single and (open) Marriage Minded, I may have your Right One right here in my files--800-LIFE MATE(S). If not, I may still be able to provide some counseling on how to do it yourselves. In any case, Happy Hunting to All!

WHAT EXPERIENCES AND ADVISE CAN YOU SHARE RELATING TO THE POLY LIFESTYLE?
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