About a year ago, my boyfriend at the time and I broke up, ending a pretty serious monogamous relationship. In the year since it happened, I feel like I’ve changed and grown a lot. One of the biggest changes for me was moving to a non-mongamous lifestyle. Non-monogamy has been tremendously fulfilling for me, and in retrospect, I’m very glad I made the switch. Here are three things I learned about myself and how I do polyamory in the past year:
I should only sleep with people I like.
The thing about not really experiencing attraction is that it can be easy to say “hey, why not?” Because we have nothing in common, that’s why not! I don’t tend to enjoy sex with people I’m not that into, so I don’t do that any more. This means that I have fewer partners than I did before, but I have way more fun with the partners I do have. Rejecting monogamy doesn’t mean rejecting selectivity- just because I’m allowed to do something doesn’t mean I have to do it. I’m gonna have way more fun with a fellow kinky nerd who loves high fantasy and musical theatre than I am with some rando I just met with whom I have nothing to talk about.
Time management is crucial.
I do a lot of things: I’m in college, I have a part time job, I run this blog, I’m in a student organization, I have to shower occasionally. I’m also currently dating three people. That’s a lot of commitments to juggle. It can be really tricky for me to make sure that I’m managing my romantic relationships, my platonic relationships, and my self care without letting important things like my education fall by the wayside. For me, what works is making commitments and sticking to them, whether that’s going on dates that I’ve agreed to or honoring the time I’ve set aside for studying. It’s important not to let my academic life steal all my time from my love life, or vice versa.
Romantic time commitments are no morally different from any other time commitment.
One way that I like to frame polyamory is that I respect my partners’ commitments and responsibilities. If they’re working, spending time with their best friend, doing a hobby that they love, repairing their car, whatever it is, I understand that they have a life apart from me. I honor their time doing other things. I don’t think of it as time stolen away from me somehow, because I don’t feel entitled to their entire life. Once I rejected that poisonous lesson propagated by certain schools of thought about monogamy, it was easy for me to incorporate my partners’ partners (my metamours) into that framework. I can also honor my partners’ commitments to their other lovers, and plan around them the way I would plan around their work schedule or their D&D night.
Here’s hoping that the next year brings even more polyamorous happiness and growth for me!