When most people think of polyamory, they envision someone with multiple committed relationships or one primary relationship plus several secondary partners. Others, on the other hand, prefer to have several secondary partners. Some people identify as “solo polyamorous” or “solo polyamory.”
According to psychologist and coach Dr. Liz Powell, who is also a solo poly person, Solo poly people do not usually consider themselves to be part of a couple, triad, or another unit. Even if they have partners, they rarely cohabitate, merge their finances, or marry. Being solo or poly is also distinct from being single.
Solo Polyamory Meaning
Solo polyamory is defined as having multiple intimate relationships with people while maintaining an independent or single lifestyle. They may not want to share finances, live with partners, or reach traditional relationship milestones in which partners’ lives become more intertwined.
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Others, however, practice solo polyamory due to unforeseen circumstances. Polyamorous people who have recently ended a serious relationship may engage in solo polyamory for some time. This means they do not currently have a partner but consider themselves polyamorous.
Other Names or Variations of Solo Polyamory
Solo polyamory is also known as “singles.” Some solo polyamorists are essentially independent, single people with some partnerships. This means they are not single in the traditional sense. As a result, they are single-ish.
Some individuals who engage in solo polyamory may also engage in relationship anarchy or non-hierarchical polyamory. Relationship anarchists do not prioritize their partners. As a result, they do not have primary or secondary partners and may regard their romantic partners on par with their friends. They also develop their own set of rules for each relationship.
What Is the Difference Between Polyamory and Solo Polyamory?
People who practice solo polyamory are not part of a committed partnership or multi-person relationship unit. That is not to say they have no intimate relationships. It simply means they do not live with romantic partners and avoid engagement and marriage.
Solo Polyamory Myths and Misconceptions
People develop their own beliefs, myths, and misconceptions about people who practice solo polyamory, just as they do about any other type of sexual orientation. These are just a few examples.
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Myth: solo polyamorists are simply afraid of commitment.
While some polyamorous people avoid or fear commitment, as do some monogamous (one-partner) people, most people who practice solo polyamory do so because it is the best fit for them. Some polyamorous individuals believe that the lifestyle requires more dedication because it necessitates a great deal of communication, self-reflection, and coordination with multiple partners.
Solo polyamorous individuals value their independence and enjoy spending time alone, but they remain committed to their partners.
Myth: People who practice solo polyamory are not practicing polyamory properly.
Even within the polyamorous community, solo polyamory carries some stigma. Some polyamorous people may argue that solo polyamorous people are not practicing polyamory correctly.
That, however, is not the case. Solo polyamory is a legitimate way of life. Polyamorous and solo polyamorous people can create their relationship agreements. There is no one way to do polyamory or solo polyamory that is correct.
How Solo Polyamory Works in Relationships
People who are solo polyamorous have relationships, but they maintain their independence.
Some solo polyamorists consider themselves their primary partner rather than having a primary partner—one who most closely resembles a traditional monogamous partnership in polyamorous relationships. They may be more concerned with work, hobbies, or personal development than with romantic relationships.
Some solo polyamory practitioners have non-romantic primary relationships. It could be a roommate, a close friend, or a family member. These are platonic (non-sexual) relationships. These solo polyamorists maintain sexual and romantic relationships, but they center their lives on their platonic relationships rather than their romantic partners.
They may not remain solely polyamorous forever and one day chooses to marry or enter a more traditional partnership.
Solo Polyamory vs Relationship Anarchy
If you’re new to non-monogamy, one of the most difficult things to grasp is all the jargon that doesn’t exist in monocentric relationships. When it comes to relationship anarchy vs solo polyamory, you’ll often hear the terms used interchangeably. So, what is the distinction, and is it possible to be both? Here’s my take on these self-sufficient relationship identities.
What exactly is relationship anarchy?
Let us first discuss anarchy. If your only associations with this word are images of Sex Pistols and violent protests, you most likely have negative associations with it. Is it surprising that Mahatma Gandhi and Oscar Wilde were both anarchists? Then I recommend reading up on what anarchism is.
Now let’s talk about relationships. Andie Nordgren, a non-binary Swedish game producer, published a relationship anarchy manifesto in 2006. They applied anarchist principles to relationships, challenging the idea that a romantic partner should always be prioritized above everyone else, a key component of our monocentric culture (a concept known as a couple’s privilege).
The relationship anarchy manifesto is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. It encourages everyone to respect their autonomy as well as the autonomy of others. Not trying to control people we care about or expecting them to compromise their needs to suit ours. To create our own models of commitment rather than relying on the structure that society provides as our only option. I recommend reading it; it’s brief but very inspiring.
So, What’s the Difference?
One of the most significant differences between relationship anarchy and solo polyamory is that relationship anarchy is not polyamory. While it’s often associated with non-monogamy, you can be a relationship anarchist if you only want one romantic/sexual partner. Most interpretations of the RA manifesto include all of your relationships (with family, friends, coworkers, flatmates, and so on), not just romantic ones. So you can have one intimate partner, but they will not always be the person you prioritize. They would be equal to everyone else, and you would not expect them always to prioritize you.
Solo Polyamory Signs
Here are some indicators that you may thrive as solo polyamory.
#1. Relationships make you feel suffocated
We all have limitations regarding how much time and commitment we can give someone. However, if all of your relationships have required you to give too much of yourself, getting married may not be for you. One way I describe my version of solo polyamory is that ‘no one gets to tell me what to do with my body, heart, mind, or time.’
#2. You’re an excellent communicator.
Powell says that this is a requirement for being poly in general, but for a solo poly lifestyle, it’s important to communicate in a certain way. You must make your partners feel as if you are considering what they want while prioritizing what you want.
#3. You can advocate for yourself
When other people expect more from you than you can provide, you will have to disappoint them, and you must accept this.
Good boundaries are essential because many people may unintentionally try to reintegrate solo poly people into more mainstream patterns of relating.
#4. You know precisely what you want
“You must be skilled at advocating for what you want and need because you cannot rely on traditional relationship expectations to meet your needs,” Powell says. “In addition, people who are good at encouraging their partners to do what works best for them tend to do best in solo polyamory.”
#5. You’re happiest when you’re alone.
Many solo polyamory people prefer to spend their time alone and do not want to give up their alone time for anyone else. ” If you value your independence, solo poly could be a good fit for you.
#6. You dislike involving other people in your decisions.
It’s liberating to be able to do exactly what you want, when you want, and make major life decisions without consulting anyone. Being in solo polyamory allows you to make these decisions on your own.
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#7. You’re confident in your relationships
Many relationships with solo polyamorous people do not require a specific amount of time, a ring, or other traditional markers of love to prove their affection. Powell defines solo poly as “a practice that treats relationships as interactions between independent adults.”
Solo Polyamory Tips
Communication is essential in solo polyamory, as it is in all other types of relationships. Discuss boundaries, expectations, and plans with your partner(s). Discuss solo polyamory as well as your dating beliefs and values.
Communication necessitates introspection. Solo polyamory allows you to pursue your dreams without worrying about your partner’s plans. Tune in to what you truly desire, both relationally and personally.
Self-reflection can help you communicate better with your partner(s). Still, it can also help you discover what makes you happy, whether it’s your community, family, travel, work, hobbies, or something else.
It’s fine to identify with solo polyamory and then take a different path. You may or may not be a lifelong solo poly. That does not invalidate your experience or decision at the time.
Finally, very few people comprehend solo polyamory. Well-meaning people may put pressure on you to “settle down.” You may even face prejudice from non-monogamous people.
While this is not acceptable, you should be prepared for confusion and intolerance from others. Connecting with other solo polyamorous people may be beneficial, as they can provide support and advice.
Can you be an Anarchist in a Solo Polyamory Relationship?
Absolutely. While solo polyamory is focused on how you structure your sexual/romantic connections, relationship anarchy encompasses all people in your life. Because both practices are centered on autonomy, they complement each other very well.
So I identify as solo polyamory to emphasize that I am not looking for a primary or nesting partner. In addition, I live my life according to the principles of relationship anarchy. I will sometimes prioritize the needs of my friends, flatmates, or family over those of my romantic partners because all of these people are equally important to me.
Solo polyamory is a type of ethical non-monogamy in which a single lifestyle is pursued rather than pursuing a shared future with a partner or partners. Although many people are unfamiliar with the concept, for those who identify with it, solo polyamory can be liberating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Solo Poly selfish?
According to Vrangalova, stereotypes of solo poly people include them being “selfish, avoidant, or [messed] up in various ways.” Furthermore, solo polyamory is distinguished by a lack of adherence to relationship benchmarks such as marriage and children – which also serve as adulthood benchmarks.
Can a polyamorous person date only one person?
This is the most frequently asked question I get about polyamory. Yes, it is possible, in a nutshell. To make a polyamorous or monogamous relationship work, partners must be confident in themselves and their choices, confident in the relationship, good communicators, and willing to work.
Can a poly relationship be one sided?
Polyamorous relationships occur when one partner in a polyamorous relationship also identifies as monogamous. According to Winston, there is no hard data on how successful this is, but there are some rather robust online communities of happy poly-mono people.
Can a mono poly relationship work?
Mono/poly relationships can be not only successful but also extremely fulfilling. You must decide whether or not this type of relationship is right for you, just as you would with any other type of relationship.