April 2, 2013 by aggiesez
If my post yesterday, I’m giving up on solo polyamory, it’s just too hard, left you despairing that I’d fled to the alleged security of mono-land, you should have double-checked the date.
Like the old man said: I’m not dead yet! Nobody gets rid of me that easily.
Plus, seriously: I’ve been having intimate relationships for 30+ years, mono and poly, as a primary partner and otherwise. Through all that experience, I can honestly say I am far, far happier, more stable and more satisfied living the solo poly life than I ever have been before. It truly works for me — even though it’s not always a bed of roses, not every day is a good day, not every relationship works out well, and I do sometimes encounter boneheads who just won’t understand or respect me.
Yeah, nothing is perfect, certainly not in real relationships involving real people. But for me, being solo poly is pretty damn good.
Still, my April Fools Day prank did have a point. There is some really hard stuff about being solo poly. Fortunately, there’s really great stuff too.
That litany of obstacles, insecurities and negative stereotypes I rattled off while reeling in hapless readers was rooted in truth. Some of it was my own truth — I have experienced some of those problems and fears. Some of it I’ve heard from other solo poly people. And some of it I’ve heard from people, poly and not, who persistently misunderstand or discount solo poly people and non-primary partners.
Yes, bad shit can happen to solo poly people because they’re on this path by choice or circumstance. Those experiences and fears breed mental demons that can gnaw at you fiercely. And for some people, the right choice really is to give up on being solo poly. This path is not right for everyone — just like monogamy isn’t right for everyone.
Developing the self-awareness and experience to know what you really need, and can provide, in intimate relationships rarely happens quickly or easily. It takes time, experience, missteps, misfortune, and success. People have to bump up against each other a lot — and not just with the fun naughty bits. If you’re doing it right, this process of discovery and learning is profoundly painful at times. But being willing to work through discomfort and adversity in order to gain skills, understanding, and fulfillment — and to love, honor and nurture others well — is a big part of Being a Grownup 101.
People do get hurt when they put their hearts on the line. Lives get changed, and sometimes derailed, by love and relationships. That’s just life. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t have relationships. But, oh, wait: that hurts too. Fuck.
OK, since escaping pain in relationships isn’t really an option, it’s generally better to choose a path that allows you to honor your true nature, needs, and gifts. Focus on what you and others gain in compensation for the inevitable pain of relationships. And when you find a path that’s right for you, stick with it despite obstacles. Find ways to deal with the awful things that hurt you and others most. Gain resilience and compassion. And never lose sight of the good stuff that makes it worthwhile.
So: What good stuff has being solo poly brought you?
I’d love to hear from more solo poly people (who have open, honest relationships — just not primary-style partners) about what you gain from being solo poly. I’ve already had a lot to say about what I find wonderful about being solo poly (part 1, and part 2).
What’s your take? Please comment below to share your good stuff — how being solo poly has improved your life, your loves, your character, anything at all. Big epiphanies and small details welcome.
Thanks — and sorry if I scared you yesterday! 🙂