Well, you’ve either made it through my last posts without being smacked silly or you have been and liked it.  In either case, you’ve made it to a turning point in your new relationship.  If you haven’t already, it’s time for your new love to meet the tribe.

Hubby likes to meet my dates before we go out, because it makes him more comfortable with me being out with a stranger.  We don’t have a vetting process, but I appreciate having a perspective other than my own, and he’s generally a good judge of people.  I trust his opinion, and he’s been correct for the most part.  I like the two to meet before the rest of the family gets involved.  It makes it less overwhelming for my date, and it gives he or she and Hubby a chance to bond a little bit as metamours.

Once we’ve gone on a few dates and feel comfortable as a couple in a controlled environment I like to introduce new partners in a light setting.  I generally prefer to have it be a public outing or occasion where everyone feels on even ground, and something laid back in fun to reduce tension and anxiety.

If everyone gets along it’s great.  If not it doesn’t immediately dissolve the new relationship, but it does limit things a bit.  We push to foster a sense of family and community, and if there’s an impasse it greatly stunts the progression of a new relationship.  Sometimes it’s a matter of mere growing pains, and with time the kinks can be worked out.  At other times it’s an irreconcilable issue.  I’ve never encountered a situation where a partner and Hubby couldn’t stand to be in the same room together, but I have had metamours refuse to ever meet me.  In the end one of the relationships will fail if we cannot either smooth out the problem or live double lives.  I would never consider the latter a viable option.

We are not a family who believe in shielding our children from our lifestyle, therefore where there are kids involved there is a second family outing, one that centers around them.  Thus far I admit this has only concerned small children, but only time will tell how it will work with older children and teenagers.  When people ask how kids can benefit from or this kind of lifestyle I remind them that children are without preconceived notions about what love and family looks like. Children are not as easily confused as we think they should be.  They will accept what we show them as reality, and as long as what we show them is an honest, open, loving family they will be happy, well-loved children.  There is nothing wrong with that.

What advice can I give to you as you introduce a new partner to your family? Be yourself.  Don’t act differently with either your family or your new love.  Don’t feel a need to entertain everyone.  Your family will do just fine on their own.  Let them all get to know each other naturally.  Don’t feel a need to constantly be at your new partner’s side.  Let him represent himself, but do quietly check in once in a while to make sure he’s not too overwhelmed, especially if this is his first poly experience.  Follow up later with everyone, as if your family would hold their tongues anyway.

My advice for family members meeting a new partner?  Again, be yourself.  This is a friendly introduction, not an interrogation.   Remember what it was like to be new and nervous.  Remember all the mistakes you might have made and consider your reaction if the family had been this particular about your first impression.  You’re not losing status, and you don’t need to prove your place or experience.  Just relax and have fun getting to know someone new who has obviously really connected with someone you love.

Lastly, my advice to a new partner?  Can you guess? Be yourself.  These people are a part of this new step in your life and this new love you’ve found.  Embrace them and think of them as valuable resources.  How often do new relationships come with living manuals?  Last but not least, don’t let them intimidate you.  You mean an awful lot to someone.  Find strength and pride in that and let them love you, too.

The last piece of advice I can give is one I’ve given before.  Remember that this relationship is unique, and it will continue to be unique as it becomes a part of the greater family structure.  You must let your new partner’s relationships with the rest of the family form as they will, without interfering or trying to control them.  This new addition will ripple throughout the family and indelibly change its inner workings.  The more you can let that happen organically the better the transition will go and the stronger the new family unit will be.