SoloPoly, Singleish, Non-Coupled Polyamory

Aaaaand I’m back!

From one set of woods to another, more Wi-Fi enabled set of woods, I am once again active online.

And loving it.

Let’s skip the polite small talk: today I’d like to write about an oft-bemoaned phenomenon as polyamory has risen in popularity visibility, as well as some terms I came across this week that people are using to describe this phenomenon and those sidelined by it.

Couple-Centric, Couple Centric, Couple Centricity

This topic had been broached by bloggers and conversationalists alike before polyamory became more well-known, because many human cultures are couple-centric. Particularly in the western world, we tend to see one of the steps to life fulfillment being that we ultimately find ourselves paired with some amazing person who “feels like our other half.” People who are single tend to be seen as “unfulfilled” or even “immature,” or even perhaps somehow damaged if they haven’t completed this oh-so-important lifetime achievement of finding “The One.”

Polyamory, for the most part, offers an alternative perspective for consideration. Polyamory’s mere existence has opened up a flood of questions about monogamy and our assumptions about human love, romance, jealousy, and whether or not being paired really is a requirement for a fulfilling life. I think polyamory might have even done worlds of good to help people see that not only is it possible that some people can romantically love more than one partner and be happy, but also entertain the idea on the other end of the spectrum: that some people might be able to be happy without a romantic partner in their life.

Sure, it might not sound pleasant (to you) – it may not make a blockbuster movie (or mightn’t it?), but, hey, with asexual and aromantic people out there, it’s a reality. It also means that, gasp!, single people might just be able to live fulfilling lives!

Couple Centricity in Polyamory

Polyamorists, predictably, groan about the difficulty in booking romantic events for three – romantic packages often are designed for couples – though personally, I find that it’s fairly easy to creatively overcome this issue if you just put your mind to it. The problem that tugs at my heartstrings a little more is actually centered around how polyamorists are being represented in the media, again and again, during this sudden rush of public attention. “Polyamory” flashes across the TV screen, and what do we see? A couple, usually a “primary” or married couple, with a third. Despite the literally infinite ways polyamory can manifest, this is, invariably, all the public ever sees.

And, while quads and clans and W’s and pentagrams choose either to complain or to wave it off, there is what I think might be a growing population of polyamorists who want to be acknowledged: “singleish” and “solopoly” people.

I first saw the terms in the comments section of an entry on Jess’ Love is Infinite blog (we have a lot in common). I was directed to solopoly.net and polysingleish.com, and eventually to the Facebook group Singleish and Solo Polyamory.

I had never quite thought of it this way, but it’s true: ever since my break-up in 2010, I have been both polyamorous and single, and it has seemed to confuse people from time to time. I’ve gotten questions like:

“Wait, can you be polyamorous if you’re not currently in a relationship with more than one person?”

“So, you’re a slut?”

“Don’t you think maybe you’re single because you’re polyamorous?”

(Answers, in order of questions: Yes. Yes, but that’s unrelated. And, no, I don’t.)

What am I taking from all this? I’m still figuring it out, but it’s interesting to meet and read things written by people who identify as “solopoly”, some of whom never intend to be a part of a bonded “pair,” some of whom who always intend to live alone, while still having meaningful, possibly even life-long relationships with, perhaps, more than one partner.

I, for one, really enjoyed my time living with someone I was in a relationship with. That’s not something I’m willing to take off the table, which is funny, since I currently make clear that for me, kids are off the table and marriage is something someone would have to make a really strong argument in favor of to sway me.

If the topic piques your curiosity, as it did mine, by all means take a look around. Let me know if you find something interesting – I’m enjoying having something new to research.

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9 Comments

  1. There’s a great group on FetLife, “Living as a Single Secondary”, and don’t let the name fool you, it’s a non-primary poly, or polysingle focus. It’s a fantastic place for research! ~Ginger

    Reply
  2. Shannon, this is a superb post! One of the most well-done, well-rounded descriptions of polyamory…in its ‘other’ forms! I can’t compliment you enough.

    As I read, I couldn’t help but remember a favorite teaching truth: “The purpose of education is to learn how to think, not what to think.” Because Western society has been taught what to think for so many millennia, these subjects are alien, seemingly incomprehensible, and frequently (purposely?) maligned by critics. Hopefully it won’t take another couple of millennia to break-out of this stagnate thinking.

    Thank you for this excellent post Shannon! I will be linking to it, referencing it in the near future. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you, Professor! I always appreciate your kind words. It feels good to be back and to be hearing from you. 🙂

      Reply
      • Thank you! Its been challenging at times these last several weeks, but I’m resilient. 😉

        No way I could fall away or get pulled away from your blog!

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing. My beau and some of my online poly friends are “solo” polyamorists so I can relate. I did an interview with one fellow that you might enjoy. It’s called: Poly Interview: Ethical non-monogamy from a male artist and educator in Chicago if you want to check it out on my blog. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  4. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no backup.

    Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

    Reply
  1. Singlehood | Love Times Infinity

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