Let’s put this out there: relationships are often hard work! Even though we all enjoy being whisked away by the excitable bubbling feelings of love, romance still rightfully comes with a side order of commitment, compromise, and patience. Not to be a pessimist, but love’s hardship may well be why more and more of us are putting our foot down and sticking to a self-assured commitment of solo polyamory.
You might have already heard of polyamory before (having more than one intimate partner at one time), but solo polyamory is a different type of relationship practice that’s based more around the importance of the individual self rather than the needs of your partner/s.
So, let’s explore what it really means to practice the self-loving art of solo polyamory and what solo polyamorous relationships might consist of. Remember – it’s always important to learn new things with an open mind!
What’s the definition of solo polyamory?
In a nutshell, solo polyamory can be defined as someone who has intimate relations with multiple people but without any commitment to a full-blown relationship. Solo polyamorous people value their independence and having a ‘single’ lifestyle, but they still enjoy the intimacy of having sexual or romantic partners casusally and nonexclusively.
Solo polyamory is often referred to as ‘solo poly’ for short and also by the slang term of ‘singleish’, termed from the notion that solo polyamorous people mostly practice a single and independent lifestyle. However they still also have partnerships with numerous others – hence they’re not 100% single in the typical sense.
Why do people identify as solo polyamorous?
Those who choose to live a solo polyamorous lifestyle usually do so selfishly with a purpose of putting importance on ‘me, myself, and I’, but that in no way means they are an entirely selfish person. The truth is, there’s many valid reasons why people choose to be solo poly – including the righteous choice of wanting to practice a little more self-love and self-care. After all, we can all do with taking more time to look after ourselves first, rather than pander to the feelings of our partners.
Solo polyamory is not necessarily the chance to stroke our narcissistic egos, think of it more like giving ourselves a well-needed hug. As a result, a lot of solo poly people are recent divorcees or those who have just gotten out of a long term relationship, hence why a solo polyamorous lifestyle is a chance to value independence.
The importance of freedom
Solo polyamory is essentially a very fluid category of lifestyle, which values freedom and autonomy no matter the type of relationships you’re having or how many partners you have. Solo poly people tend to see themselves as free agents in charge of their own future, taking the right paths in life that are singularly good for them only and not them and their partner/s.
Although solo polyamorous people are motivated by a self-governed freedom, that doesn’t mean the relationships they form are entirely selfish and cold-hearted. Solo poly relationships can still be deep-rooted and intimate, but only when the person is honest and responsible and the reality of their soly poly independence is made clear right from the get-go.
Romance is back shelved
A lot of solo polyamorous people state that the biggest motivation for them is the lack of responsibility for others’ emotions, allowing the focus to be shifted towards their own personal happiness. Although caring and passionate bonds with partners can be formed in a solo poly relationship, these bonds come with little demands and expectations, hence why traditional long term-driven romance is usually out of the picture.
Instead of intense romantic love, solo polyamorous relationships are based on low maintenance sexual and emotional intimacy, not loyalty and commitment. Instead of living your life around your partner, a solo poly relationship allows you to put your energy and time into solo matters, whether that be the self, your family, your friends, or your work, etc. As a result, solo poly partners are usually formed as affectionate ‘companions’ rather than romantic ‘lovers’.
Solo Polyamory: The myths debunked!
We tend to think dating norms are constantly changing anyway – check out how we think hook-up culture is leading to a decline in exclusivity. But unfortunately, in the opinionated world we now live in, polyamorous people receive a lot of criticism for their purposeful choice of having more than one unexclusive partner.
Stigmas are still embedded in the generalised view of solo polyamorous people (they might be viewed as overly promiscuous or greedy), but these are misjudgements that misconstrue why a person might aspire to live a life of solo commitment without settling down with ‘the one’.
In reality, each and every one of us is entitled to freely live the autonomous life we choose. So, the following statements are three common stigmas of solo polyamory that I aim to debunk once and for all. I’ll briefly explain why the misconception is wrong and why a solo polyamorous lifestyle can actually be a wise choice nowadays.
Myth: “Solo polyamorous people are just immature”
Society often tells us that ‘marriage and kids’ should be the end goal for us all – going against these plans already set out for us is typically seen as a sign of you prolonging your youth and clinging on to irresponsible freedom like a lost Peter Pan-type.
Well, that’s simply not true. Solo polyamory is actually a sign of having a headstrong and astute outlook on what might be good for your personal goals and what might make you happy. And we all deserve to be happy, right?
Myth: “Solo polyamorous people are simply afraid of commitment”
As I’ve already mentioned, solo polyamorous people have often recently ended a committed relationship and now want to reshift their focus to themselves and themselves only. While others may view this decision as being scared to commit to loyalty once again, actually it might well be a sensible decision that values mental wellbeing and inner strength.
Myth: “Solo polyamorous people are entirely selfish”
Polyamory is often seen as a selfish act of failing to care about others’ feelings, but once again, this is simply not true. As long as solo polyamory relationships are built on trust and honesty, there’s actually a lot of compassion and empathy in owning your emotional status and admitting to your partner/s you currently cannot fully commit to a relationship.
It’s better to be forthright from the get-go rather than fail to be loyal further down the line. Take a read of what we think makes a reciprocal relationship, no matter whether it’s exclusive or not.
Am I solo polyamorous?
With allegiance to yourself, a solo polyamorous lifestyle can be a wonderful way of learning to love yourself in the way we all deserve to. Although it challenges the norms of a mainstream society that usually looks down on polyamory, there’s no denying that solo poly people might well be some of the most successful and happy achievers out there.
If you’ve ever wondered, ‘Am I polyamorous?’, there are ways of knowing whether you’re well suited to the lifestyle. Whatever next step you take in your love life, make it a wise choice for your own personal contentment in life!
Here’s some signs you might suit a solo polyamorous life:
1) You feel suffocated from the overwhelming commitment of a relationship.
2) You’ve realised that you’re most happy when you’re alone and free to do what you want.
3) You know deep down in your heart that it’s time to focus on yourself.
4) You value your own decision-making process and feel unwilling to factor in other people.
5) You feel secure in yourself and know you are a trustworthy and honest person.
6) You know how to communicate well with partners and rarely feel envious.
Lisa is the editor of European Journal, and always makes time for everyone and lightens up lives with her presence.
When she finds time to write she writes about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.