I’ve been non-monogamous since I was 16. Sure, I’d tried monogamy with boyfriends, but I almost always caused them terrible pain. In fact, for a long time, I told partners that they shouldn’t date me because I would end up hurting them. I usually wasn’t wrong. If someone who dated me is reading this now, I want you to know that I’m terribly sorry for any hurt I caused you as I was trying to find myself. My 26th birthday was in July, which means I’ve been non-monogamous for a decade. That’s freaking intense.
That being said, a decade of non-monogamy has taught me some very important lessons. I could talk all day about the big lessons that everyone learns, but I would like to focus on some of the more personal ones. It’s gonna get really personal in here. For the purposes of these posts, I will switch between Poly, Polyamor(y/ous), and Non-Mon(ogamy). Don’t worry, I’ll include this note in all the posts.
Regardless of how long you’ve been Poly, you’re probably going to fuck something up. We always do. Humanity is prone to error. Hell, even now I do things that are awful, I do things to hurt people. People look up to me as a person to learn poly from, but most times, I’m trying to navigate things as much as you are. Basically, we are always learning, always growing, and I’m no exception. So, here we go.
The first thing I learned in a decade of being poly is how to be alone.
I know, I know, you’re probably sitting there saying “what the hell? There are tons of people in my life, I’m never alone”. To be fair, there’s a chance that you’re right. Unfortunately, that is an assumption I made. I made the assumption that I would never have to be alone, because I had so many people to give me time and attention. So, the first time I got left alone, I was miserable. I remember the first time it happened to me. I was curled up in bed, feeling sorry for myself, and in desperate need of physical and emotional attention. Really, all I wanted was someone to curl up with while we watched cartoons.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
Hubs was on a date with my metamour, and I didn’t really have the heart to ask for time from her. Bobby was on a date with my other metamour, and Alex, who I was going to have a Skype date with, was trying to make some real life friends in Savannah. I was super lonely, I was super frustrated, and the entire evening left me in tears. It took me days before I realized why I was so upset.
I had assumed that I would always be able to spend time with someone.
I realized that I was making an assumption I really shouldn’t have. I think in relationships, whether they’re polyamorous or monogamous relationships, we forget how often we rely on each other. We forget that our partners aren’t always available for us 24/7. We forget that most of us need some time to ourselves. We take advantage of that and become reliant on another person to maintain us or help us rather than learning how to help ourselves. I had always been pretty self-reliant as a person growing up, but for years when I had so many people caring for me because I was always sick, I had grown accustomed to having someone that I could be with whenever I needed it.
This was a skill I had to re-learn, and a skill I still work at. In the same way that I think it’s important that everyone learns to cook at least one dish really well (for instance, Cap makes a really tasty quesadilla, but
I’m not sure if he can cook anything else… EDIT: He has informed me that he cannot, in fact, cook anything else), I think it is also important that you can self-soothe.
One of the scariest parts of polyamory for me is the concept of choice in relationships. I choose, every single day, to be in my partners lives. I make a conscious choice that I want them, love them, need them. I realize that they do the same for me. It is important for me to realize that at any given moment, things could (and have) changed. I appreciate them in the moment because those moments might not be there forever. Unfortunately, the fear that they could leave at any point, that they don’t need to choose me is crippling.
So I learn to be alone.
I learn to be alone because if ever they all mutiny and decide that I’m no longer worth it, or decide that they no longer want me to be in their lives, or be partnered with me, I’ll be okay. Because I’m okay being lonely, instead of depending on my partners for anything I need, I ask them if they can help with the knowledge that I may very well need to do it myself.
I’ve learned to be alone while I have partners, because then I never need to be afraid of what happens if I do not. In turn, I’ve learned to appreciate them more while they’re in my lives. Do I still get lonely? Yes. But I’ve learned how to manage that loneliness so it isn’t crippling, and it doesn’t hurt.
And that, lovelies, is the kindest gift I can give myself.
For Part 2 Click here.
Until Next Time!
-The Frisky Fairy