I just started talking to a person that I’m interested in dating. When do I tell them that I’m polyamorous?
Polyamory is often described as a way of being, a “lovestyle,” and an orientation. In that sense, polyamory is as integral to our identity as gender, sexual orientation, and race. So when should you reveal that you are poly? As soon as possible.
Polyamorous people who date online usually state somewhere in their profile that they are polyamorous. It usually helps to weed out people who don’t know how polyamory works or know that they are monogamous.
For those that don’t read profiles, it’s important to tell them by the first date that you are in relationships with other people (or plan to be). Monogamy is the standard in the world, so many potential partners will be unaware that there is another option. Even if they are, it might be a dealbreaker. There is no need to waste emotional energy on someone who doesn’t view polyamory as a viable option. Let them know before the first date, and if not then, tell them during the first date.
Ways to bring up polyamory are to ask what they know about it, and then to describe your dynamics and correct misconceptions. You can throw the book (More Than Two) at them, or you can say simply, “I have romantic and sexual relationships with other people.” At this point, it is the potential partner's decision whether to continue dating you or not.
There are those who, upon hearing this, say they are down with polyamory but are lying. These people are intentionally or unintentionally dishonest because they want a relationship with you and believe they are good enough to become your primary or only partner. Beware of engaging with these people, but don't treat all potential partners with suspicion just because of one bad experience.
Polyamory is about openness and honesty, and by revealing your poly status as soon as possible, you are showing every potential partner that you believe in those values.