Monogamy is the norm in most cultures. Yet in the Netherlands there are an estimated 100,000 people who simultaneously maintain multiple consensual non-monogamous love relationships. This is evident from a 2017 report on non-monogamy in the Netherlands and Belgium by ‘Pluk De Liefde‘. But how do you find a suitable partner as a polyamorist – or non-monogamist? Fortunately there are (also) apps for that!
Consent distinguishes polyamory from cheating
There are many different forms and definitions of open relationships, swinging and polyamory. But all these subgroups have in common that they don’t expect physical or emotional exclusivity in a relationship.
To make the distinction with cheating, it is also referred to as ‘ethical non-monogamists’, or ENM.
Dating apps can help you find people who share the same ideas. Some people therefore post comments in their profile such as ‘I am an ethical non-monogamist’. This allows the person in question to explain why he or she is still looking for a partner despite the wedding ring on their finger. However, it is not a guarantee that misunderstandings will occur. As said: monogamy is the norm for most people, and therefore misunderstanding is always lurking. After all, everyone thinks differently about what cheating is.
A well-known app for people looking for a relationship is Tinder. Many found a steady partner, but a frequently heard complaint is that it is only about ‘one thing’: sex. And that may be convenient for non-monogamists. Tinder is a dating app based on “geo-location” – it introduces users from your area (you can select the radius up to 50 miles). If both users like each other, it is a match and they can start a chat. If not, you will not be able to send or receive messages.
Tinder is quite a nice option for ENM, especially because there are so many users and because it is easy to use. On the other hand, that sometimes gives the feeling that you are looking for a needle in a haystack.
Hinge is a dating app founded by Justin McLeod in 2012. Hinge is more focused on long-term relationships. They themselves say that the app is ‘designed to be deleted’. In other words: as soon as you have found a partner, throw the app off your phone again. So it is not surprising that you will not find many ENM people on Hinge. It is not possible to indicate that you want an open relationship or are not looking for exclusivity. On the other hand, your bio is a set of answers to questions. So you can get far with some creativity. Unfortunately, you will mainly find people on Hinge who are mainly looking for monogamous relationships.
Bumbl is considered the best alternative to Tinder. Some even say it’s better than Tinder.
It works much the same, but women have more control, because the woman has to take the first step when there is a match. When there is a match between people of the same sex, both can start a conversation.
Badoo is an international dating platform with apparently more than 300 million users worldwide. It is also very popular in the Netherlands. Users do complain about the superficiality of fellow users. It’s fun flirting with people and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll even score a date.
But because it is not really intended as a dating app, there are also many people who use it as a kind of alternative to Facebook and are therefore only looking for a nice chat.
For non-monogamous people, Feeld are a better alternative. Feeld has even been specially developed for this target group. When it launched in 2014, it was dubbed the Tinder for Threesomes. At the time it was called ‘3nder’ (thrinder). Since Tinder filed a lawsuit, the creators saw no other option than a name change. With Feeld, as the app is now called, the creators of the app have created a place where you can discover your desires and fantasies, alone or as a couple. Feeld is an alternative dating platform for people beyond labels. Feeld facilitates the search for sexual contacts and is open to all genders and sexual identities. You can specify all kinds of options, such as gender identity, interests, needs, whether or not you want to meet couples, or only women, etc. However, Feeld is not very big in the Netherlands.
Another option for non-monogamists is OkCupid. This app survived as they adapted to the needs of their users. In 2014 it widened the options for gender and added non-monogamy options. They use a questionnaire to make it easier to connect people.
Do you have experience with any of these or any other dating app for non-monogamous relationships? Then let us know in the comments below.
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