I wrote a list on Twitter last week stating the 10 reasons I am solo-polyamorous, and I just felt like elaborating a little bit more here for you all. My choice to be solo-polyamorous has sprung up out of years of toxic monogamous relationships, and my inability to keep myself from getting sucked into co-dependency when intertwining to an excessively comfortable level with my partners. It was also brought on by my need to start focusing on myself and my children. As well as the fact that I finally was able to discover (or rediscover) who I truly am, and feel confident enough in myself to not need anybody in the same way I used to. I don’t need anybody. I need myself. I can, and will happily, meet my own needs now. And I am damn happy with the way I feel about myself and about life now. Too good to give this up for anybody.
Analyzing it all I realize that it’s a matter of necessity, somewhat, that I have chosen solo-polyamory. My own form of self-preservation. Also, as I age and become more and more introverted I realize how much I crave alone time and space and independence. I love a select few, but my most important relationship is with myself. And since I have children…I can’t even give second priority to my partners. My children mean more to me than any other person does, and that won’t change, and it shouldn’t have to change, and I refuse to change my situation to suit someone else when what matters most is how my children and I want things to be. As I noted in my Twitter thread – not everyone enjoys the same brand of solo-polyamory as me. Solo-polyamory can be different for everyone. And the reasons that people choose solo-polyamory can be vastly different, as well. I can only speak for myself, but these are the top reasons I have chosen this way of loving and living:
1) Alone Time At Night
Since I work from home and homeschool my children, I basically NEVER get time to myself. I wouldn’t change things for the world as I truly enjoy being a homeschool mom and working somewhat remotely; however, this means my day is filled with work and children. My children are great and I love them! But they drive me bat shit crazy sometimes because they have endless amounts of energy! They are constantly go-go-go! And they want to involve me in EVERYTHING. I barely get a moment to breathe.
They sleep in my bed, too. I’ve got a 2&1/2 year old and a 6 year old and we all co-sleep. My youngest still nurses, and when I’m in bed with her she will nurse basically all night long. Most days and nights I feel super touched out. I don’t want to deal with another human touching my body, unless I explicitly consent to it with a “Yes.” I am very direct about things. When I want to cuddle, I’ll say so. When I want to have sex, I’ll say so. On the off chance I get my daughter to fall asleep before me and am able to lay her down without waking her up, I want some damn time to myself!
Every time I have lived with a partner, as soon as I am able to get my kid(s) down at night they want to cuddle and watch a movie, or have sex, or whatever. But they always want my attention. And by the end of the day I am in no F-ing mood to give anybody attention, especially another adult who I’m not legally obligated to care for. Screw that! Whenever I can find a calm moment to myself at night (for relaxation, finishing up any work, binge watching TV, or just sitting in the dark silence), I am going to take it. Unapologetically!
2) My Money Is My Own
A big problem I have with combining finances is that you then no longer have the ability to make your own financial decisions. Every move you make impacts the person you’ve intertwined yourself with. Joint bank accounts are just bullshit, honestly. Unless you don’t work and your partner is paying for everything for you – which, still, honestly sucks – there is no reason to have a joint bank account. Or joint anything for that matter. If you allow someone to be an authorized user on one of your credit cards, then any purchases they make that they don’t repay right away are on you. And if you’re married and responsible for any debt of your partner… let’s just say any of these scenarios can cause a lot of animosity.
I don’t want to have to check with my partner in order to make sure it’s okay to take money out of my bank account. I don’t want to get upset at someone else using money I had intended to use for something else. I don’t want to feel financially dependent or reliant on another person’s actions. I don’t want my credit score to affect things they want to do, and vice versa. I don’t want my ability to buy plane tickets, or concert tickets, or any other kind of tickets or experiences on the shoulders of my partner. I want my decisions in life to be my own. Especially the financial ones. There is enough to argue about in a partnership, I don’t need to add financial squabbles to the mix. It’s such an unnecessary problem to have to deal with. Plain and simple – I want to be fully responsible for my own financial choices, and financial health.
3) My House, My Rules
Grr, I get SO mad when random people show up at my house and think they can just walk in and make themselves at home. Uhm, no, who the hell are you? Get the fuck out! Whether or not they show up with someone I DO know…that’s even worse, actually. Like, excuse me? You thought it was okay to just bring someone over to my home without asking first? Screw you both! You’ve lost all entering-my-home privileges. I like my space. I also like my things a certain way. I don’t need people coming in, moving my stuff around, being disrespectful, disrupting my space and interrupting my time. If I want you over, I’ll invite you. End of story.
When I live with partners it’s not just the fact that they bring others over, but the fact that I can’t kick them out. It’s irritating enough that they can say, “I live here too, I can bring people over if I want to.” And not feeling like I have much say in the matter. But when I’m angry at my partner, or feeling uncomfortable, or unsafe, or just generally irritated, or whatever…and I can’t just tell them to leave…just no! I need to have complete control over my space. I need to be able to be the one who decides when things are calm and when things are wild, and if I trust someone enough to let them into my home. My house! My rules! If I don’t want you over, then it doesn’t matter what you want because you need to get the fuck out. Bye.
4) Space for an Introvert
I’ve become very introverted over the years and I really, really like my space. I get overwhelmed around people, sometimes. I like to spend time alone. I like knowing no one is around my stuff. I like being able to do things by myself. Space is an amazing and beautiful thing for an introvert. I love being able to wake up in the morning and sit and eat breakfast by myself (or with my kids), or read a book, or spend time with my pets. I also love having my space at night. I don’t need anybody (besides my kids) curled up with me when I sleep. I honestly don’t need my kids with me either, but hey, I love them. I get too hot and sweaty when someone is wrapped around me at night, and I feel horribly trapped. I also hate sweat.
I even prefer binge watching TV shows by myself. Nobody I have to explain things to. No cuddling. No talking. I can immerse myself in the show and just relax (when my kids allow me to, at least). It’s like getting caught up in a really good book. I don’t have to share the experience with anybody for it to be enjoyable. Sometimes sharing moments with other people makes those moments less enjoyable, because you can’t focus on that moment you have to focus on that person. And, believe me, I love moments where I’m focusing on the people I love. I really do. But I don’t want those moments to be all of my moments. Some moments I just want to focus on myself, or something I’m doing. Like when I’m working on an article, or writing in my journal, or taking a nature walk. It gives me more time to delve deep into my own mind and spend some quality time with myself.
5) I’m Not Your Mom and You’re Not Mine
I already have children, I don’t need to be legally responsible for you, too. If there is need for me to have control over what happens to you when you’re seriously injured and in the hospital (or need for you to have control over this for me), there are always ways to go about acquiring this privilege without getting married. Marriage does not need to be an option just for legal matters. There are always other options. Point is, though, that I don’t want to be legally responsible for you and I don’t want you to be legally responsible for me. And I don’t want anybody to be legally involved in my children’s lives unless they have to be, either.
I am capable of making my own choices. You are capable of making your own choices, too, I hope. The only reason I may legally intertwine with someone is if I’m actually going into business with that person. A business partner is a whole other ball game. If we are not business partners, then there is no reason for us to be legally intertwined. Plus, I don’t want to add any unnecessary government involvement into my relationships. My romantic relationships are none of the government’s business. I want to have full say in my romantic life. Sorry, but no legalities for me.
6) No Expectations
I hate how when you live with someone, at least monogamously, they tend to assume you’ll be home if you’re not working. It’s a no-question assumption that you’ll be having dinner together at the end of the day if your work schedules allow for it. Of course you’ll be free to do something with your partner if they get invited somewhere. No one ever asks if you want to go out and do something, they just assume you will. If they go out and do something they think if you care about them you’ll come with them. This is all part of the unhealthy, very toxic monogamous culture, and not all cohabitating relationships are like this.
However, more often than not you begin expecting things from your partner because you live together. The house should be picked up by the time you get home if your partner is home before you. If you’re feeling lonely your partner should drop everything they’re doing and spend time with you to make you feel better. Etc. Sorry, but I’ve got my own life to live. I don’t need someone expecting me to be there for them all the damn time. I don’t want someone assuming I’ll always be at home waiting for them, or that I’m always free to go out with them on a date. If you want to take me on a date, ask me. My autonomy is my own. Don’t make assumptions. No expectations. Communicate with me and see when I’m free. I refuse to do things I have not consented to just because you have dreamed them up in your head.
7) My Kids’ Autonomy Matters
It isn’t just me that has a say, my kids do too. They have a say in who is in their lives. They have a say in who is in their space – especially their home. They get to decide who they make connections with. I’m not going to force them to cohabitate with somebody. I’m not going to push a relationship with another person on them. My partners don’t automatically gain a parental role in my kids’ lives. They don’t need more parents, and they can choose for themselves whether they like you or not and what level of involvement they want to have with you.
It isn’t about you. It isn’t even about you and me. Their lives matter, too. I’m not down with all that childism bullshit. I’m not forcing them into anything. My connections don’t have to mean anything to them, just as I don’t have to be super close with their best friends. They have their own lives they are living, and they get to make their own choices. Perhaps not all choices. I refuse to let my daughter do things that will inflict pain on her brother. I refuse to let my son eat nothing but sugar and spend 24/7 watching YouTube videos. But they DO get to decide what relationships they form. And regardless of how other families function…my home, is their home. And they have a say, same as me, in what happens in that home.
8) My Commitment Isn’t Determined By Convenience
When I commit to my partners now I feel like it means a lot more than it used to when I would live with my partners. I show up because I want to, not because I just happen to be there in the same house as them. It’s easier for my partners to see the consistency in my ability to be reliable and compassionate because my time with them is 100% present, not just random moments where we’re near each other but staring at our phones or the TV.
It used to be that I’d get bored of seeing someone so much because I wanted them out of my space after a while. You get comfortable with someone and you may do nice things for them but it’s sort of more out of routine than care. I like having to make an actual effort to love my partners, it keeps me in check and it means more to them. When I’m there for a partner, it’s because I have made a conscious choice to be there. Not simply because it was convenient because I was there already.
Allowing myself to have time and space gives more meaning to the time I spend with my partners. I’m not overwhelmed by their presence, and I’m not in need of self-care constantly. When I commit to someone, I physically and psychologically make a commitment to them – in whatever way that means for the type of relationship we share. So that when I say I love you, or I want you to be in my life…it actually means something.
9) Independence just feels GOOD!
I like my independence. I love my autonomy. I don’t want to be tethered to another human being. I don’t need to feel obligated to stay with someone because we share a living space or a bank account or a marriage or a child. I don’t want to feel like I have to depend on someone else for my livelihood. I don’t want to feel like I owe anybody else anything. I don’t want my partnerships to be based on dependency, or co-dependency. I don’t want to need my partners, I want to want them. And I want them to want me in return, not need me.
I’m doing what is best for me. I’m doing what is best for my children. I enjoy being open to possibilities. I want to be able to make my own decisions about things and live my life freely. I don’t want to feel like my choices are determined in any part by someone else. I wouldn’t give up my independence for the world. Being a loving partner is not dependent on someone’s ability to mesh into someone else, it’s their ability to care enough about their partner to make sure they’re taking good enough care of themself. Self-care should always come first, and for me my independence helps me keep self-care at the top of my list without feeling bad about it.
10) Cleaning Up After My Own Messes
This has been the biggest and hardest lesson for me, but also the most rewarding. It’s my responsibility to make sure things in my life run smoothly. Not having another person in my life to shift the blame off on has helped keep me accountable. I know that if I have a mess in my life – in any form – I have to be the one to clean it up, or fix it. There’s a kind of power in this knowledge. I have the ability to make or break my situation, my life, my moments.
The power for positive change is in my hands; whether that is by taking a leap forward in my career, committing to making healthy choices, or continuously keeping my own dishes clean. No unnecessary squabbles about dirty dishes. No arguments over where furniture is placed in the house. No telling someone it’s their turn to take out the trash. It’s all on me. My home. My life. My mess. My problems. My responsibility. No reason to argue with my partners about any of it, because it’s all on me. It is psychologically comforting to know that I have total control over my life (while being aware that I also have loving people in my life who would help me if I really needed it).
These are things that work for me. They are things that make me happy. But everyone is different, and if different things work for you – that’s great! Go with your gut! Things may change over time. People are constantly changing and growing, and I am no exception. Things are different for me now than they used to be. I want different things now than I used to. And that’s okay! You can always change your mind, or your life, or your situation, or your relationship, or anything if things are no longer working for you. It’s all up to you! But this is who I am right now, and I am damn happy with it!