1. Not being clear about what I’m able to do
The first mistake I ever made, I think, was not being completely up front about what I was able to do within the span of my open relationship. There was lots of interacting with new people and then, in the midst of flirting, oh, I’m in a relationship, but it’s cool. Sometimes oh, let me see if this is okay, I’m not sure. If I wasn’t feeling secure in what I could do or what my own boundaries were, or if I wasn’t able to express them clearly and from the start to someone else, I was doomed to fail. On more than one occasion it lead to people being confused about what was going on, or what would go on, or what could go on. This was certainly a side effect of establishing boundaries that worked and being secure in those boundaries, and it’s a side effect I rarely think of now that things have settled into a more comfortable place.
2. Jumping, when I’d just as well not
Some people would rather have any experience and learn if it is good or bad from there. I’ve always been someone who would rather be completely sure that I want to have an experience before I have it. More than once, though, I’ve jumped into a situation I was iffy about just because I wanted to see what it would be like. Most of the time this involved doing something (playing, dating, etc) a person that I had not felt that initial spark with. My logic was that perhaps I wasn’t being fair enough, I wasn’t giving them enough of a shot. Could I really judge if I was interested by a first date? This led to me, unintentionally, leading people on when I really should have said I wasn’t feeling any connection.
3. Not expressing my lack of interest
That brings me into my third lesson. When you don’t like someone, let them know. There have been a few dates in my past where I’ve been oh, yeah, lets hang out again sometime when really I should have said I’d love to see you again but I didn’t feel any romantic or sexual connection, if you’d be interested in being friends I’d love to hang out again. It can be hard to say these things, especially when you meet under the pretense of a “date.” But it’s fair – and it needs to be said.
4. Not going with the flow more frequently
When exploring the open community specifically you’ll encounter all kinds of people with all kinds of relationships. They have their own rules, boundaries, interests, kinks, fetishes, preferences for date spots or times when they’re available. Sometimes it can be beneficial to just go with the flow at the start and not expect your two separate lives to click together. For instance: If you’re looking for a guy who you can see regularly but he is also in a relationship and can only see you semi-regularly. Is it possible that you can change your own expectations to allow him in your life as a semi-regular friend or partner? Would you be satisfied still? Is that a compromise you want to make?
5. Closing myself off to new and interesting people
Though I do believe it’s important to pick people you’re actually interested in meeting, I have made the mistake of not responding to people who I feel were probably pretty interesting people. There is always the frustration of not wanting to meet someone and give them the wrong impression (that you’re really interested) but also wanting to give them the chance to see if you are interested. I think the solution in that is being open about what you’re expecting or what you’re looking for throughout the entire encounter. From first message, to post-date. You may meet someone super-sexy that you would have said no to otherwise.