Millennials and Poly Dating Sites

Apr 14 | By Chris

From craft coffee to artisanal sandwiches to monthly therapy, millennials are no strangers to self-care. But how is this self-aware generation faring in the dating world? Unfortunately, they fall victim to modern challenges too often--particularly ghosting, the hook-up culture, and saturated apps. So where do millennials stand on poly dating sites and poly life? Unsurprisingly, they’re more receptive to non-monogamous relationships, polyamory, and open relationships.


What poly dating sites do millennials use?

Even with the advent of social media, apps, and dating sites, it can be difficult to find the right poly match precisely because of these platforms. Millennials use Sister Wives, #open, and other mainstream sites or smartphone apps. However, very popular platforms tend to attract a more questionable crowd that often gives poly dating sites (and poly relationships overall) a bad rep. These sites comprise match.com and Tinder (just two out of many non-poly-friendly sites) where you’re likely to encounter feigned interest and people thirsty for a hook-up in the name of sexual exploration. 


To be fair, some poly individuals have probably found worthwhile relationships on these sites, but we don’t have the data for conclusive statements. Nevertheless, this means polyamory visibility and access to good poly dating sites are on the rise. According to a study by OkCupid (Tinder’s older sibling) in 2016, 42% of its users expressed that they would be interested in entering a relationship with someone already in a polyamorous arrangement. Though a little outdated by our standards, this figure is a noteworthy discovery.


Are millennials more likely to be in poly relationships than Baby boomers?

Research by the Institute for Family Studies suggests that Baby boomers are more approving of monogamous relationships as the status quo compared to younger generations (Hawkins & Smith, 2019). In the same vein, the Silent Generation (their parents), are less likely to have been in a consensual non-monogamous relationship or be interested in entering one. By contrast, millennials are more interested in consensual non-monogamy and are far more likely to have tried it in the past.


It’s safe to assume that millennials are then more likely to be in a poly relationship compared to their predecessors. Although some of our elders are credited with bringing poly love to the forefront via polycules in the 1960s and 1970s coupled with the invention of birth control methods, it seems that an even larger number still value the normal family unit of a straight, monogamous relationship epitomized by children.


Some argue that this warmer reception by millennials and higher poly instances in their group are due to the changes in marital expectations and timing. This claim might have some substance to it. After all, millennials are eschewing tradition by focusing more on careers, choosing marriage less and less, and straying from the nuclear family model. Furthermore, when millennials do get married, they tend to get married at a later age. 


This longer period between single life and married life (or a marriage equivalent) is where many say millennials get to explore and try new things, including consensual non-monogamy, but the study we provided above found that even with these factors in mind, millennials are still more likely to be in a poly relationship or at least consider it. We may never know exactly why this is so, but it’s still a compelling correlation we’ll keep an eye on throughout the years.


How is poly dating in millennials being undermined?

Besides limited representation in media and pop culture, poly dating is also vastly misunderstood in psychological circles. In fact, according to the study Polyamorous Millennials in Therapy: Interpreting Experiences to Inform Care by Rebecca Calhoun-Shepard, many psychologists aren’t trained to counsel or help treat poly millennials regarding self-identity issues, dating challenges, and other personal struggles. Therapists commonly play down poly clients’ issues and try to help clients solve their life’s dilemmas through a monogamous lens, thereby wasting time, money, and effort, while making the client feel shameful, helpless, and rightfully misunderstood (Calhoun-Shepard, 2019).


Of course, these unique obstacles don’t just stem from intentionally insensitive therapists, but also from a lack of research about poly clients in a psychological context. In Calhoun-Shepard’s breakthrough study, therapists describe their experience evolving from an uninformed provider to an empathetic one as a type of awakening, aptly nicknamed “getting it.” Instead of treating clients with a preconceived notion of poly relationships, they worked hard to reframe their way of thinking to best serve their patients.


This approach of being an educated ally is something we can scale up with a larger audience. Instead of relying on monogamous codes of conduct, we should open up the table to include alternative lifestyles, especially in professional settings. Sadly, people who do not understand or disagree with poly lifestyles might reflexively feel like they’re sacrificing their pride or values when they decide to change their views about poly dating.


What’s the future of poly dating sites and millennials?

Baby Boomers and Silent Generation constituents are quick to criticize millennial habits, but the truth is, millennials care, and they care deeply. Sure, they might splurge on a fancy sandwich with avocado, free range chicken, and fair trade vegetables, but this just means they recognize the costs of sustainable production and are willing to support it with their dollar. Yes, millennials are quick to cancel a celebrity or influencer, but this means they don’t stand for hate, bigotry, or other forms of animosity. 


And yes, millennials are more likely to use dating sites to meet potential partners, but at the same time, they’re also more accepting of different lifestyles in general. Whether millennial interest in poly dating is rising because they feel that poly life is a natural course of action after hundreds of years of traditional partnerships or if it’s because they’re more likely to seek meaningful connections, one thing is for sure: poly dating sites will continue to be a prominent feature in the dating realm.









Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers Inc: Sisterwives.com



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