Dear Poly,

I've been seriously dating my partner Sara for a couple years now and they're currently long distance with their other partner of many years, Danny. I haven't had the chance to meet my metamour in person due to the pandemic, but the time has come! I'm excited to meet Danny, but I'm nervous about the circumstances.

Danny will be spending a week at Sara's home, but Sara and I will just be returning from a trip the day of their arrival. We had planned to all finally meet that day and we would both stay at Sara's place that night. I would drive home the next day. Sara and I are moving in together soon after living in the same city for most of our relationship, but at the moment we live inconveniently far apart. I spoke with Sara and we agreed that it would make the most sense for me to stay in the guest room to let Sara and Danny be intimate upon their reunion, and Sara plans to discuss options with Danny, as well.

I'm concerned that while I am okay with the idea now, I may grow uncomfortable in the moment because it is a first meeting turned sleepover. Despite all the wonderful things I have heard about my metamour, this would still be our first meeting. In fact, it's my first time ever meeting a metamour, so I'm uncertain of my comfort level and have relayed that to my partner. I'm considering just meeting Danny as planned and not staying the night despite the inconvenience. Do you have tips on how we could all happily stay the night under one roof or does that sound like a bad idea altogether?

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Dear Sleepy,

Congratulations on this important metamour-meeting-milestone!

As with any emotionally heightened experience, the easiest time to make a plan is when you aren’t in the thick of it. In therapy lingo, you can think of this strategy as a “Support Plan.” It’s a way of identifying potential needs and doing your best to prepare ahead of time to meet them. It seems like you are on the track to doing just that!

The most challenging part of a support plan is often the vulnerability required of the one in need. Naming our fears and needs can be a challenge all its own, but it sounds like you’ve done a great job of opening those lines of communication. You’ve identified two potential options (to-stay or not-to-stay), but I want to encourage you to look deeper into the gradient between. Are Sara and Danny open to leaving physical intimacy off the table until you are out of shared space? Do you have a friend nearby that would be willing to let you sleep on their couch if you become overwhelmed late at night? Would it feel better for everyone to cultivate a group slumber-party vibe, complete with sleeping bags and blanket forts? Identifying the key fears underneath may guide you to creative solutions that allow for consensual support all around when shared.

It is entirely possible that after a long trip together, you may find yourself looking forward to an empty bed and control of the remote; you may also find yourself panicking at 1 AM, desperate to self-soothe, and lost in anxious thought. Would you be willing to leave and head home if it gets to be too much? What kind of flexibility would feel comfortable for Sara and Danny?

I want to affirm that meeting the metamours can be a stressful experience, but it does have the potential for beauty. You may want to check out our post on Meeting Your Metas, too! While we may want to act in our “best selves,” it is important to remember that you don’t have to do all the hard things at once. You are still a “Good Polyamorist” if you aren’t yet ready to add in a sleepover to a first-time meeting! Small choices lead to sustainable growth in our relationships and for ourselves.

Best of luck!