My polyamorous journey has taken a turn throughout this last year, as I’m sure it has for many of you. Dating during a pandemic is no easy feat. I’ve heard some happy stories about those in group relationships (such as triads, quads, etc.), whom all live together, and they were able to ride out this storm together. It sounds beautiful. For the rest of us, though, who either only live with one partner – or perhaps, like myself, live with no partners at all… the inability to visit with those partners, or physically make new connections, has been a struggle.
This pandemic has sent me down many roads I never thought I’d walk down. I’ve loved and lost in ways I didn’t know were possible. I’ve had moments of clarity within the silence of my small town, during slow days when nothing had to be done. And I’ve also felt stress and pressure and rushes of anxiety as the nice calming feeling gradually turned into a panic. Some days were blissful reminders of the happiness I could find on my own – of the pride I felt as a mother, and the life I’ve always longed to live. Other days were reminders that I was distant from others in a way that would never have made me feel uncomfortable until now. I even had days where I questioned returning back to monogamy, though brief and quickly fleeting. If nothing else, this last year has been quite the roller coaster of emotions, as well as personal growth and understanding.
Online dating is a big one right now. It’s never been my thing, to be honest, but believe me I tried. I just don’t connect with people very well over the internet. Or, if I do, then I get major anxiety about what it’ll be like once we actually meet in person. I’m demisexual, so it’s kind of difficult for me to do the whole online thing. I like to just naturally meet people, and see if there’s a spark. If there is I like to just hangout with them and get to know them. I don’t like just jumping into romantic or sexual relationships. So, I haven’t been having the best time with all of that. Dating apps can be great, though. OKCupid and some of the big brand ones are becoming increasingly non-monogamous friendly, as well as LGBTQIA+ friendly. So that’s a huge plus! They are super easy to use, too. And I’m aware of some more polyamorous-specific apps starting to pop up. I really hope they are working well for others out there, as I know making connections right now can be hard. I wish it worked better for me. Oh well!
Sometimes when you’re left with no one, you realize how isolating your life has become. I’m solo-polyamorous, and I proudly wear this label. I prefer not to live with partners. I like my space and my privacy and my time. I choose my self-care over time with others, and my role as a mother is central to my existence. I like to keep my dating life more on the outskirts of my identity, it is not top priority for me. However, as I already live about 2,300 miles away from my family… and I’m not always the best at opening up to people and making new friends… the fact that I keep my dating life so extremely separate from the rest of my life can seem detrimental during a time when I can’t just go out and spend time around others.
I don’t plan on giving up solo-polyamory, as it has been a huge part in making me feel confident in myself and simply allowing me to be free to just exist. Autonomy is top notch important to me. Still, this year has left me missing times when I could spend days surrounded by family and friends, and I can’t help but wonder if I were the type to be in a group relationship where we all lived in the same big house… would these dull gray days seem more lively? Would they bring me more joy? Would I feel less stressed out about household chores, or childcare, or getting enough adult conversation? Would it make me feel more loved and cared for? Would it be supportive? Or would it be a disaster of overwhelming madness? Who knows… As I said, I really do like my space.
To all of you questioning your life choices, your identities, your core – what can I say to reassure you? It’s okay if you want to change things. It’s okay if you realized that put to the extreme your way of living or loving or existing just isn’t working for you. It’s okay to try something new, or try something you’ve tried before because maybe it’ll work again or maybe it’ll work for the first time. It’s okay to go back to old comforts for the sake of your own sanity right now. And it’s okay if you choose to stick it out and hold true to who you’ve become, even if it’s hard as hell. We are ever changing beings. I, myself, have transformed so many times over the years. Sometimes those transformations involve stepping back, and sometimes they involve stepping forward, or sideways, or up, or down, etc. It’s your life and you get to choose the next move.
It has been hard. For all of us. Each for our own reasons. Missing friends and family and partners, or being stuck with friends or family or partners. People driving you crazy because you can’t seem to find a way to get away enough during all this insanity. People driving you mad with yearning because you can’t go and see them. People not taking this seriously enough, and others taking it too seriously. It’s important to stay safe, but also find time to smile and laugh and enjoy your time on this earth. Each day can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what we make of it. Just try to make something of it. Take that risk and talk to someone new. Stay at home and cuddle up with hot chocolate and a movie. I know there are a lot of people out there struggling financially, as well as emotionally, right now. Just try your best to hang in there. Make your day meaningful in one way or another. We never know when it’ll be our last.