Are you looking for love, or hunting for unicorns?
If you’ve looked at personal ads, online or otherwise, you’ve probably seen ads from couples. Some are clearly swingers just out for a good time. Nothing wrong with that. But many of them are looking for something more. In the poly world, we call them “unicorn hunters.” A “unicorn” is a young, single, non-crazy, sexually adventurous, drug and disease-free bisexual female who wants desperately to live with and love a male/female couple. She should be well educated, gainfully employed yet willing to move all the way across the country for her “dream family”, want to make kids and/or help raise someone else’s, and in a perfect world, has red hair/big breasts/whatever the fantasy ideal of the couple is. In a large number of cases, she should be skinny, or at least “healthy”, and if she could be submissive, that’s a big plus. And of course she must love both members of the primary couple equally, and she will always be secondary.
We call these women “unicorns.” They are about as common and easy to find. Every unicorn-hunting couple has their own vision of the unicorn. Mix and match the laundry list above, and most unicorn hunter personal ads are represented. There are a shockingly large number of couples looking for one. And the vast, overwhelming majority of them will never meet her.
The concept of unicorn hunting runs counter to one of the basic philosophical advantages being polyamorous has over monogamy. When you are poly, every relationship in your life has the capability to be whatever it is going to be. There are no arbitrary limits on how serious a relationship can become, no hard and fast rules on how many you can have, and no need to pull back from a friendship because one or the other wants more. Everything is open to negotiation.
Of course, this is not necessarily completely true. Many poly relationships do in fact have negotiated rules limiting things in various ways. In my own family, we are very cautious whenever one of us shows interest in someone new, or someone from outside our quad shows interest in us. Our home life is pretty good. We’ve spent years learning how to communicate with each other, work out differences and create a happy, stable home. We aren’t going to potentially upset all that effort lightly. And now with a baby in the house, we are even more reluctant to do so. Anyone that fits into the craziness of our lives would have to be a pretty exceptional individual, whether they lived with us or not.
There are other limits in our family, but that’s not the point. Because we are poly, we had to actively work through it. We had to sit down and think about what we wanted our relationship to be, and work through disagreements. There were no societal norms assumed to hold sway.
Unicorn hunters, by codifying exactly what they are looking for in a new partner, are already limiting what the relationships can be. First of all, they are limiting the potential pool of applicants right from the start. Very rarely are unicorn hunters looking for a male, cis or trans. I’ve even seen a few personals disqualifying transwomen. Many unicorn hunters specifically desire certain physical characteristics besides biological gender, such as body type, hair color or age. But that’s just the beginning. What if the new partner loves one partner more than the other? Or doesn’t feel sexual attraction to one? What if she is unwilling to move, or doesn’t want kids? They simply move on and keep looking. Unicorn hunters think they know exactly what they want, and thereby miss out on the full range of possibilities polyamory opens for them.
How is this different from what my family did and does? We discussed things together, and reached decisions together, including other potential and actual partners whenever possible. We have changed and adapted over time. We don’t have a laundry list of “wants” or “needs” in a new partner. We consider all new potential partners with the entire family in mind, emphasizing what they can add to us as a unit as well as individually.
The unicorn hunters have imposed their limits without the input of the potential new partner, and are rarely willing to compromise their “vision” of an ideal poly family. Many of them think that everything will be perfect once they find this one woman, this wondrous creature that will make their lives complete. All too frequently, one half of the unicorn hunting couple pushed them to become poly, and the unicorn they are looking for is really just a new partner for the instigator.
The limits delineated by unicorn hunters virtually doom them to failure. They are welcome to search for their needle in a haystack as long as they like. And I truly hope that every such couple finds the partner they are looking for. I’m all for more love and happiness in the world. But I would urge them, and all people desirous of a poly family, whatever its configuration, to remain open to whatever and whomever they might meet. The likelihood of success increases the more open you are. My own family is a perfect example. The life we live is amazing, but most of us did not see it coming. We are together now only because we were brave enough to let our relationship(s) develop and grow, and did not try to force them into some pre-existing set of arbitrary standards.
Just insecure males who want more female sexual contact without giving their lady any extra male sexual contact. Can’t have your manhood tested by a possibly better person. Such short man syndrome in it, a.k.a. MDE.
20 years ago “unicorn” meant a man whom the majority of women wanted, but so few men were, making said man “mythical”…
How did it become a desperate bisexual woman?!
That is perhaps the reason available women are reluctant and/or completely resistant to these types of relationships — the judgment and derision that it subjects them to. Being labeled “desperate” is neither a flattering thing, nor an accurate thing for unattached women who freely opt to enter into a non-traditional relationship.
In the place I live it is damn difficult to find other poly partners, not even mentioning about the unicorns…
I have successfully hunted a hell of alot of unicorns.. it comes down to where you look and just keeping it to a sexual basis… if you are looking for a unicorn to form a triad then its going to be alot harder thats for sure! My best and most successful hunting occurs in the fetish scene.. as the vast majority of girls in that scene are bisexual.. or at the very least open to playing with other women.. and that whole scene doesnt usually revolve around emotions in regards to sexual activity. Currently I have 4 girls in my… Read more »
Appreciate your honesty, but this sounds like a predatory environment. It is I guess an example of the fact that everyone does poly differently, but for many I think it involves a deeper commitment than this describes. Delving into the fetish world is also a whole other ball of wax many people want no part of…if you’re looking for “non-crazy” as the article describes, you may find yourself in uncomfortable territory dealing with FetLife people. .
I guess I am a unicorn- 19 female, bisexual, thin, pretty, college student, want to be a mommy one day, and sexually submissive. I’ve always been very open sexually and adventurous (but safe) & have been in a few open relationships and one v style poly relationship. Although I am open to anyone from any walk of life, I have my ideals and expectations. I know the couple I’m with passively looked for me for a while, they didn’t have an exact list, but they had an idea of who they wanted to share their life and love with. I… Read more »
We’re unicorn lovers! Just curious if your relationship is still working 3 years later? We live in a small community, and our desires are still taboo, and it’s difficult to find a woman we love, from the small selection of open minded people here. It’s bewildering, because it is just sooooooo much love and pleasure, and it seems like that would be a good thing! Right?!
Oh my I really have to laugh. I almost thought the author of this had me in mind when he wrote this. I am said unicorn. I will be moving in with my new family later this year and they are the ones that told me about unicorns. They seem to find the same things attractive as the author because I am a large breasted redhead who is submissive. I am a Medical Laboratory Technician and am completely clean (drug and disease wise) I am looking to raise and /or birth children and I understand and accept that I am… Read more »
As a hunter….I prefer not to cross lines but feel the need to be informed in the beginning…….everyone must beginning on same knowledge level….everyone must know as boutique everyonew in the relationship therelationship
i have been a unicorn and part of a couple , it was difficult to find what i needed/want from either situation !
I get the feeling your family expects new relationships to be part of the family. It feels like you’ll absorb them into the group, when they only want to flutter around one of your members, and maybe just stay as a friend. As a pansexual, polymourous and flighty person, I get really, really creeped out by ‘family’ groups (no offense?). I’ve met a few people that wanted me to join, and were very offended I didn’t! I’m polyamoury, yes, but I don’t want to live tied down! When I have multiple partners, who I’m stable with, they do know about… Read more »
I don’t think a couple or “family unit” actively looking for someone to date is “creepy” in itself. But as I argue above, far too many are inflexible in what they are looking for, making their chances of actually finding someone less likely, if not impossible. And that’s where the squick factor starts to enter. Yes, our family expects new relationships to be part of the family in some way. They don’t have to live with us, nor do we expect that eventually they will. They don’t have to date all of us to date one of us. We’re all… Read more »
I guess It depends on personal opinion, the creepyness, I mean. Though if you think about it, when the group finds the ‘unicorn’ or a less elusive more down-to-earth member to fulfill their needs, if they end up not fulfilling them, won’t they be rejected? And then the cycle would start again. ”So the new person has to be comfortable communicating with everyone in the family (not right away, of course, but they have to be willing to try) and understanding of our family and its dynamics.” Doesn’t this essentially mean you aren’t comfortable with one of your members having… Read more »
>>”So the new person has to be comfortable communicating with everyone in the family (not right away, of course, but they have to be willing to try) and understanding of our family and its dynamics.” >>Doesn’t this essentially mean you aren’t comfortable with one of your members having an independent relationship outside of the family? No, as I said in the reply to you. Individual members of our family have dated individual people outside of our family on more than one occasion. What we don’t want is for that relationship to exist in a vacuum. Because even if either or… Read more »
Huh, I see. I guess it makes sense for you not to want to fall apart or be awkward. It makes more sense now, thank you.
Did anyone else think this article was going to be about virgins?
Ditto. Poly couples: Welcome to the dating world of single, straight men. The unicorn you’re hunting does not exist. You’ll have to settle or do without.
It would be pretty amazing to be a unicorn though
With that attitude, you will be settling.
Seems like this is not just a problem for poly couples – I’ve met a lot of people who are looking for that unicorn, and never finding her (or him). The problem with unicorn hunting is that no one will ever meet all your criteria, so when you do meet someone who is almost perfect, you still feel disappointed.
I definitely agree. Relationships, poly, mono or what have you, are all pretty similar, with similar problems, issues and rewards.