Someone asked me if I had any advice for people who might be just starting out on a path that included multiple adult partners. Who knew? So, I gave it a go.

Treat people as you would want to be treated. Treat them as equals, as people who have lives and loves and passions and hobbies that are just as important to them as yours are to you. If you ask for something (such as them to restrict their sexuality), then ask yourself if you would consider it a reasonable condition to be placed upon you. If you would reject it, then don’t waste time making such a demand.

Know that no matter how many years you’ve put into thinking about how this kind of life might be, you have created nothing but a fantasy world in your head and there may be conflicts with reality. In those circumstances, try to remember that a little grace gets you farther than a lot of pushback. Yes, it’s important to be able to visualize what you want, but remember that a lot of us can visualize winning the Powerball and flying naked through the air on pillars of fire. Statistically speaking, however, we’re all still flat-ass broke, fully dressed, and groundbound.

No matter what you think you’ve achieved, others have been there before. This is not to denigrate your efforts, but to remind you that it is very likely there is an easier way to achieve what you’re struggling to do. No one is superhuman, so if you see someone doing what you want to be doing, it’s not because they are superhuman — it’s because they are doing it differently than you think it should be done. This is normal. It’s not unreasonable to ask “How did you achieve that?” If they can do it, you can do it.

You can always find a reason for not changing. I’ve never known why this is, but maybe brain-wrinkling stings. Hard to say. My point, though, is that if you find yourself arguing for why you can’t change, then it might not kill you to stop, particularly if you’ve asked for help. Sure, sometimes we forget to include all the details, but sometimes we’re just making excuses because taking those extra leaps are scary. You’ve already decided to explore a scary life — don’t wimp out of it mid-step.

The funny thing about Internet threaded conversations is this: it’s very unlikely that anything new will be introduced by the time there are thirty replies. Maybe, but keep it in mind as a guideline. It’s okay to stop following any thread that makes your asshole pucker — even if you started it yourself. No one of any moral substance will bitch about you not responding.

Don’t throw good love after bad. Sure, a lot of us have been trained that when the sex nubbies touch, A Magical Bond Has Been Created. That’s horseshit. Sorry. Respect sex in whatever way works for you, but don’t let it take over what passes for brains in your species.

Remember that there are plenty of fish in the sea. A man posts an ad online looking for people he can kill, cook, and eat — and he gets so many responses he has to sift through candidates. Next to that, a simple search for a decent partner seems pretty damn easy. No matter where you live, there are people like you. Or, if you prefer, people who might be happily complementary. They may not be obvious.

Consider what you think of as acceptable regarding your degree of being out. If you feel safe, great. If you don’t feel safe, then you are responsible for your own safety. Use the tools at your disposal to best protect yourself. Educate yourself and act accordingly. That said, chances are good that no one really cares. Honestly. I mean, sure, we worry about our families or our coworkers and so forth, but the bottom line is that gossip is just tonguewagging and if you’re happy, consider letting the rest of the world attend to its own business. Just be happy. Be happy and be responsible for your happiness.

Speaking of being out, one of the best ways to meet people is to organize events. Think of what kinds of events you would attend, and organize exactly that kind of event. Often. Have a blast! Attract people who are attracted to the same things you’re attracted to.

Speaking of attraction, you might be thinking about “looking for partners.” Consider “looking for friends.” Think of it this way: of all the friends you know, maybe 1/4th of them will be okay with multiple partner relationships. Of those people, maybe 1/4 would be interested in such a relationship with you. Of those folks, maybe about 1/4 would make really great partners. So, if you want to find really great partners, start by making really great friends. A lot of them. I swear it won’t hurt you one bit.

Speaking of partners, here’s something to remember about them: they are your partners. Whenever there’s conflict or disagreement or an issue or static, as partners, it makes the most sense for everyone to try and help find a solution as quickly as possible. With enemies, you argue. With partners, you find solutions.

Value consensus over compromise. Compromise simply levels the perceived wins and losses. Consensus is the way everybody gets what they want.

Don’t fear the word “fuck.” It’s not a terrifying word, nor a violent word, nor a dirty word, nor a word that will creep into your room in the night and shortsheet your bed. It’s just a word. It has no intensifiers. Likewise, don’t be afraid of the word “friends.” Friends are awesome. Being a friend is not a second-prize. Friends are no more “just friends” than fucking is “just fucking.”

You’re stepping out into a new world. That’s good. You have a great deal of freedom to tinker with all your expectations. Do so. Enjoy. Feel. Love. Be careful, though, lest you accidentally bring unwanted baggage across that threshold with you. There are certain times in our lives when we are allowed to completely recreate ourselves into any form we wish. Those times are funerals, weddings, births, or any time we make a huge major life change. Make the best of it. Let the baggage fall by the wayside — no one will miss it except for you and you’ll be too busy with your new life to worry after a while.

If there’s hassle or grief, try to keep those to a minimum. No one of any respectable nature has any interest in prolonging conflict or darkness. Chances are good you have part of the solution.

You’ll get hurt. As with most of life, there’s always that risk. It happens. I’m sorry. Very few people are evil, even those who seem to have hurt you. Fall with grace and move on. Beats carrying them on your shoulders. Learn, sure, but don’t stay in school after you graduate.

The bottom line is joy. Find joy in yourself, find joy in others, and share joy.

That’s off the top of my head, of course.

Your own mileage may vary.

This is normal, too.

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