Unicorn, Unicorn Hunting and The Unicorn Triad

Unicorn Hunting in the Poly Community

Unicorn HunterWhat is the difference between unicorn triad and a poly-fi triad?

A lot.

Before  we go any further, let’s make sure we’re talking the same “poly language”.  In the polyamory community, a unicorn is considered by many as a negative term. Though it is usually used to describe a woman, the HBB (the hot, bi babe), there are male versions of the unicorn who can face the same challenges.  For the sake of this article, we will focus on the female version of the unicorn.  Such a woman would love both the man and woman in a pre-existing dyad equally and would be sexual with both of them.  She would not want any other partners except them and would be willing to change her life in order to be with them.  It’s understood that if things don’t work out that she will willingly leave with no issues.  There are others points to it, but this covers major aspects.

In the poly community, unicorn hunters are considered to be couples (dyads) that are looking for the HBB.  They tend to be new poly couples (not always but usually).  Such dyads may have specific rules that allow them toend the poly relationship, send the unicorn away, and stay together.

A “unicorn triad” is a triad consisting of a dyad and a third partner (the unicorn).   The unicorn will be the girlfriend to the couple.  The couple is usually considered a primary relationship, while the girlfriend will be a secondary partner to both.  If the girlfriend has any other partners, she would be expected to end those relationships in favor of the unicorn triad. She isn’t allowed to do anything with one member of the triad, always with both.  The dyad, on the other hand, are allowed to date each other without the girlfriend.  If the U-Triad doesn’t work, then the dyad will stay together, and the girlfriend will leave.  Though the dyad may choose to incorporate elements of the girlfriend’s life into the triad, it is not uncommon for the girlfriend to incorporate more of the dyad’s life into her own.  A unicorn triad is considered unequal and unfair to the girlfriend in the poly community and looked upon very negatively. 

A poly-fi triad is a closed triad relationship.  They consider each other equal partners in an egalitariantriad relationship and will not have any other partners but each other.  The partners will all be sexual together, as a group or in any pairing, and no pair has more power or control in the relationship than the other partner.  All are equal.  A poly-fi triad may decide to add other partners later.

Why is unicorn hunting frowned upon in the poly community?  One reason is that some people choose to ignore basic poly etiquette.  Different communities have their own vocabularies that are specific to that community.  Some words have a positive connotation, while others have negative ones.  Unicorn and unicorn hunting are considered negative.  When a couple comes in and starts stating they are unicorn hunting, they are stating (in poly vocabulary), that they want to find a woman that is disposable.  Some people insist that they can redefine the word anyway they want, and it doesn’t have to mean what it does.  While this may be true, until the new “definition” is generally accepted by the poly community, people should not be surprised when they upset people by using the word.  No matter how much you insist it means something else, it takes time and majority acceptance to redefine the word.  Unfortunately, the poly community can be harsh in its correction of such word usage, and this would only cause people to continue to be antagonistic on both sides.

Another reason unicorn hunting is frowned upon is because of the inequality of the relationship created.  A unicorn triad creates a dynamic where a couple can come in with a set of expectations and “couple privilege,” and place the new partner in an unequal relationship.  shares a great article about this topic by Natja (the original is located here).  The girlfriend can be discarded if the dyad decides she’s not “the one”.  The dyad has all the power, and their girlfriend has none.  She is at their mercy.  She has to accept their rules and has no say.

“She knew what she was getting into.”

“She agreed to it.”

“They’re our rules.  If she can’t accept them, she can just leave.”

These statements and other similar ones are all ones we’ve heard unicorn hunters use as excuses for the unequal relationship dynamic.  No matter how you look at it, these statements show an unequal balance of power.  This is a key reason why poly people do not like unicornhunting.

When a woman enters into a pre-existing relationship, she creates a new relationship dynamic.  It is not fair to her or the relationship to be forced into the couples pre-defined relationship mold.  The people involved should sit down and communicate.  This communication is important.  It allows the partners in the new “triad” to start together on equal footing.  It is NOT another chance for the couple to say, “These are our rules and you must accept them.”  Instead, it is where the partners come together and create an equal relationship.  The old dynamic that the dyad or the single woman had cannot continue because the relationship status is no longer a dyad or a single woman.

Some people in the “unicorn hunt” treat the search for a woman like shopping.  They meet an available poly woman and immediately she is the “one.”  They may barely know her.  When it doesn’t work out, they meet another woman, and she is now the “one”.  In some cases, marriage is proposed before they ever meet.  The women are treated as replaceable.  They are not. 

Please remember, some people spend their whole lives trying to find one person to love.  If you are part of a dyad, you already found that person.  Now, you want to find another person who not only loves you but your partner as well.  In addition, if you are seeking a unicorn triad, you are asking them to give up a lot of personal autonomy and submit to the will and dictates of you.  I wonder why it takes so long to find a woman willing to do that?  People want to be treated as equals.  A unicorn triad is not the way to go.  An egalitarian poly-fi triad is what you should seek.  

There are women who want to be part of a triad.  Don’t antagonize them by treating them as objects.  Triads are normal in polyamory.  Let it happen naturally.  Meet people, make friends.  Fall in love.  Let it happen naturally.  It may take a year.  It may take 5 years.  Rush it, force it, and it may never happen.

A unicorn triad and a poly-fi triad are not the same thing.  If you are new to poly and want a egalitarian poly-fi triad, “seeking a unicorn” is not what you should be doing.  Seeking an equal partner and friend is what you should be doing. 

Solo Polyamorist and Secondary Relationships

Solo Polyamorist

Solo polyamoristWhen people come together under a common cause, there is inevitably going to be division in what they believe.  This can be due to a number of reasons.  Polyamory is no different.  If you visit poly groups online, then you will eventually see that there are differences in opinion and  thoughts about what polyamory is and isn’t, what is right and wrong.  A secondary relationship is one of those things that polyamorist argue about.  Another concept is that of the solo polyamorist.

Some say primaries, secondaries and tertiary should not exist in polyamory.  The belief is that all relationships are equal in time and importance.  No partner or partners should be “valued” above others and all are equal.  Others argue that though you may love all your partners, the relationships may not all be equal for a variety of reasons.

In polyamory, a secondary relationship is one that “is secondary in terms of time and energy in a person’s life in comparison to the primary relationship.  Can include emotional support and sex but may or may not include long term commitments or plans.  Less time and energy is spent on the relationship.”  Secondary is an anthropological term that describes a relationship dynamic in the polyamory community.  It is not a title that is to be used for the individual, just as primary is not to be used as a title for people as well.  It simply explains the type of relationship and amount/type of energy you put into it.

One of the arguments used against secondary relationships is this question: “Why would anyone want to be second in any relationship?”  Tristan Taormino  explores this in “Opening Up“.  As she explores the different types of polyamorist relationships, she discusses the solo polyamorist.  The solo polyamorist is one who IS seeking a secondary relationship.  She states that the solo polyamorist would seek this if:

                “• you like to have sex with different people, but prefer not to have a relationship with anyone

                • you like to date, but can’t see yourself dating one person exclusively

                • you want relationships with multiple people-some of which may be serious or committed-but               don’t want a primary relationship or a primary partner

                • you prefer to date and have sex and relationships with couples, but don’t want to partner with             them

                • having a serious, committed, or primary relationship is not a priority in your life

                • you enjoy freedom, independence, and solitude

                • you aren’t dating anyone currently, but if you were, it would be a polyamorous relationship” (Tristan, Opening Up)

Some people may want this because they have other priorities that they don’t want complicated by a serious relationship.  They may want to date but don’t want to make life commitments or enmesh their life with another’s.  This is different than those who seek a primary relationship in that they may be looking for life partners, sharing homes or finances, having children together and may want to spend their life together.

Is there a downside to solo polyamory?  Yes.  The solo polyamorist may be seen as “disposable” by others.  “They don’t want a long term relationship so they don’t care if I end it,” some people think.  Just because a person doesn’t want a primary relationship doesn’t mean they don’t want ANY relationship.  Solo polyamorist can be viewed very superficially in this regard. but they are anything but superficial.  They are people who want a relationship, just not the same kind.  They deserve every respect and courtesy you would give your other partners.  They may not also get the support from their partners that they may need at time.  During emotional times or illnesses, others may not see that they need their support and the solo polyamorist ends up alone when they need support the most.

Another problem is stigma from others.  Some solo polyamorist (especially men) wholounge-lizard-1 seek a secondary relationship can be viewed as in it “only for the sex”.  A person who would state that they are not looking for serious relationships may be seen as purely in it for the sex.    They are not really represented in poly literature and in many groups, leaving the polyamorist alone in polyamorist circles.  Even society pushes this with everything geared toward long term relationships- music, movies and holidays to name a few.  This can cause issues emotionally for the individual.

They can also be used by other polyamory people to buffer or “fix” their problems.  They are seen as something to use to spice up the marriage or even fix it and not the individual with feelings and needs as well.  It’s important for others to remember that solo polyamorists are people and deserve respect and not to be used as a tool.

Many people have issues with the concept of the secondary relationship and solo polyamorist, but they are real and not to be looked down upon.  The solo polyamorist deserves our respect and support and have a right to choose the relationship dynamic they want and that will make them happy.  If everyone is honest about what they want, they can have a happy relationship.

How Do I Find A Poly Partner?

In fourteen years we have talked to a lot of people.  There were all kinds of questions.  Some asked about sex.  Some asked about jealousy.   Others just asked if we were crazy.  But there was one question that we were asked over and over.Find Love

“How do I find a poly partner?”

On the original site forum, people asked this question (or variations of this question) many times.  Even now, we still see this question on our Facebook page and in other groups.  There is one answer we have gravitated toward over and over again.

Meet people. 

Make friends.

Fall in love.

Rinse and repeat.

This is the simplistic answer.  Let’s get into a little more detail. 

Many relationships follow a simple pattern (though the sexes and sexual orientation may vary.)   Boy meets girl.  Boy and girl become friends. Boy likes girl.  He asks girl for a deeper relationship.

She says no.

Boy meets another girl.  Boy and girl become friends. Boy likes girl.  Girl likes boy.  They begin dating.  Girl decides he’s not the one.  Girl dumps boy. 

Boy meets another girl.  Boy and girl become friends. Boy likes girl.  Girl likes boy.  They begin dating.  Things get serious.  They decide to get married.

Are there exceptions to every rule?  Of course.  But the basic concept is fairly simple: people meet, become friends, fall in love.  It’s the same thing in polyamory.  Finding a poly partner follows a similar pattern.  Meet people.  Become friends.  Fall in love.

It’s not easy.  In fact, in can be pretty damn hard.

Let’s make something clear.  I’m not saying that every friend you have or make should be for the sole purpose of finding partners.  On the contrary, the more you can try to force a relationship, the more likely it will fail.  If you view every friendship or chance meeting as another person to “date”, then you are missing the point here.  Poly relationships should happen naturally.  If you make friends and all you have become are friends, then you have positively added to your life another friend.  It doesn’t have to be more than that and you shouldn’t try to force it to be more than that.  Relationships are like clay.  They may all have some basic characteristics, but they shift, change shape from person to person–yet they are still a “clay”, a relationship. The thing is, relationships are molded by the people involved, shifting and changing.  It’s not just one person creating a relationship.  In the poly relationship, there are more people involved, affecting not only the relationship but you.

“So, I’m supposed to meet people?  Where do I meet them?”

That’s a hard one.  Not everyone is poly minded.  The real question is where do you meet poly minded people?  The obvious answer is where poly people come together.  There are many local poly communities.  Find one near you and become involved.  Maybe you can even start one.  Facebook groups like Poly Living can have many people from all over the world.  Check our groups page to find a local or online group that you can become a part of.  Here’s some tips to keep in mind:

Learn about your online group.  A lot of groups are meant to be a place to have fun, make friends and just be yourself.  Many groups don’t like people “trolling” for partners.  If you join a group and start posting dating ads, you may meet some resistance or even be removed.

Local groups can sometimes hold weekly or monthly get together.  Local groups may have similar restrictions.  They may not have an issue with people meeting and dating, but some will have issues if you join a group with the sole purpose of seeking a partner.  Remember, don’t force your relationships.  Make friends.  If those friendships become more, great.  If they don’t, then you have more poly minded friends.

Polyamory conventions are another great place to make friends.  There are many happening throughout the year.  Not only do you get to make friends, but you can also learn from many poly people.

Heart MiceAnother place to meet people is dating sites.  Dating sites have risen in popularity over the years and there have even been studies that show that relationships that started online can be very successful.  There are several poly dating sites.  The plus about dating sites is that everyone involved IS looking for a relationship.  

Multiple Match




Poly Match Maker

No matter what you do, take your time and don’t rush it.  Make friends and don’t force it.  Let your relationships happen naturally.  Some people take years to find one person they click with; don’t expect to find that “other” special person overnight.

The Church. The Triad. And The Happy Ever After

We were pleased to be able to share our story on Multiple Match.  The original article is here.

“Everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them.”

 ~ Author Unknown

Research has shown that about 4% to 5% of the American public practice consensual non-monogamy. That’s about 12-13 million people. That leaves about 300 million people who practice monogamy.

300 million.

We were monogamous. We grew up monogamous. Church was a huge part of our identity, and it pushed monogamy. Every lesson, love song, movie, book and even commercial seemed to be geared toward a monogamous audience. That was us. Monogamy, nothing but monogamy and monogamy forever, amen! Then, things changed.

Jadez and I were married. Through a series of events, we ended up becoming roommates with Stead. It was supposed to be short term. We were all in our twenties, trying to make our mark on the world. Living together offered us all the financial and emotional support we needed to go to college, learn trades and raise our kids. It seemed ideal, and it was.

Remember the church and our identity? Good ol’ southern church. Rumors spread that we were having affairs, orgies, practicing polygamy and even old school concubinage. Concubines? They really had to stretch for that one. Funny thing is, we were just roommates. Yet no matter how much we denied the rumors, people swore it was true.

“Prove it,” we said.
“We saw you and Stead shopping together.” Uh…we needed food?
“The three of you went out to eat together.” I don’t know…we were hungry, and we are friends?
My personal favorite: ”The Spirit of the Lord told me.”

Oh, well…if God told you…wait…God told you? How do you argue that one?

Long and short, in order to make us repent of our sins, we became pariahs, outcast from all the churches in our denomination in our area until we could confess and seek forgiveness. If you didn’t grow up in the church, the effect on us may be hard to understand. Every friend, family member or person we even knew by association was through the church, so they placed us in extreme isolation.
I was sub-contracted for a major petrochemical company at the time. My department head? A deacon in my church. My co-workers in my department? All members of the same church. I was reviewed a week prior and had a glowing report. The next week, I was informed my contract would not be renewed by the company. My replacement? The nephew of another deacon in the same church.Every single one turned their backs on us. Family members wouldn’t talk to us except to curse us…yes, curse us. Friends wouldn’t return our calls and stopped coming to visit. We found out later that the church had put out an edict saying that anyone associating with us would be equally punished by the church. They informed every church within the local association or our sin. We were outcast. It even affected employment.

A funny thing happened though. We knew we had done nothing wrong, and we were not going to be bullied into acting like we did. Their actions caused us to depend on each other more which drew us closer together. We know now we were becoming an intentional family. Then, the unthinkable happened. We fell in love.


We struggled with it, denied it and fought it, but we eventually gave in. After a long talk, we decided to be together as life partners. As for the church…they already thought we were doing it and punished us for it, so what did it matter? The only form of consensual non-monogamy we really knew about was polygamy, so that was what we identified with. Understand, we didn’t choose this because of God or we were ordained to be poly. As far as we were concerned because of the church’s reactions, God was against it. We chose this because we fell in love.

Fourteen years ago, there weren’t a lot of websites that talked about consensual adult polygamy, and those that did, didn’t have a lot of information. We would visit online groups to find out more, but ended up sharing our experiences, our success and failures instead. It was trial and error for us. There were so many things we learned. Some we embraced and others not so much. Thus, we grew and started PolyLiving.net

We stayed active in the online polygamy community and tried to do our part. It was scary and exhilarating. The first time we were asked to do a interview for television, we were terrified. We agreed but with stipulations: it had to be in another city, our names couldn’t be used, use silhouettes and if they had to do a body shots of us, it had to be from behind or our faces blurred. We were even asked to do a couple of television shows. Those we declined. We were worried because old family members and ex’s were trying to cause us problems with our professional lives and with our children. We prevailed…barely.

As time went on and we learned more about ourselves, we realized that we were open to more. We had seen this word around the internet… Polyamory.

There are no scripts or models for open relationships, so people in them must invent their partnerships by living them.

 ’Opening Up‘, Tristan Taormino

That is us, inventing our partnership by living it. I remember in the beginning we’d met a family that had been together for 12 years. We thought that they must know so much about poly. Now, 14 years later, we’re that family, and I realize–we’re just getting started.

Polyamory Song – Family

I heard this song years ago and found it again recently.  I thought it would be great to share.  You can hear it HERE.  The lyrics are below and can be found on his SITE.  Support the artist!


Mama’s got a girlfriend, mom loves the ladies
Mama’s really happy when you’re looking at her these days
Papa’s got a boyfriend, yeah, Dad is a man’s man
Everybody’s family, loving everybody he can
Oh the old world is turning around like a top
and there’s nothing you and I should even try to do to stop it
It takes a lot of courage to stand up and get what you need
And lots of us are happy in a different kind of family

Hot time in the old town, the homestead is hopping
Veggies on the grill and there is music in the garden
All the outs are in free, the babies are sleeping
Time enough for love when everybody puts a hand in

Oh the old world is turning around like a top
And there’ s nothing you or I should even try to do to stop it
Ozzy & Harriet are spinning around in their graves
But who needs television these days, anyway?

Love defines it’s boundaries
Limitless shapes, countless forms
I have vowed that when it comes to me I’ll take it
Every manifestation, I’m gonna celebrate it

Papa’s got a boyfriend, the boyfriend loves mom, too
Everywhere they turn they’ve got a heart that they can cling to
Mama’s got a girlfriend, and guess who loves dad’s beau
Try to paint a picture, you can do it with your eyes closed

Oh the old world is turning around like a top
And there’ s nothing you or I should even try to do to stop it
There aren’t any limits when you follow the line that love leads
And lots of us are happy in a different kind of family

In a world that seems to be increasing in conformity
It’s harder and harder to be who you want to be
It takes a lot of courage to stand up and get what you need
Ah, lots of us are happy in a different kind of family

© 1995 Christopher Bingham