NYC Psychotherapist Blog

power by WikipediaMindmap

Thursday, September 22, 2022

What is Solo Polyamory?

In recent articles, I've been discussing ethical nonmonogamy, which can also be called consensual nonmonogamy (see my articles: What is an Ethical Nonmonogamous Relationship? and What is a Unicorn in a Nonmonogamous Relationship?).

These relationships are different from monogamous relationships, relationships which are supposed to be monogamous but where there's cheating, as well as other forms of relationships. 

What is Polyamory?
Before defining solo polyamory, let's define polyamory.

What is Polyamory?

Polyamory is a form of ethical nonmonogamy/consensual nonmonogamy.

Breaking down the word polyamory: Poly is from Greek and it means many.  Amory is Latin and it means love.

It's estimated that 4-5% of relationships in the United States are polyamorous relationships.  

This estimate might be low since many people don't reveal they are in a polyamorous relationship because there's often a stigma about being in non-traditional relationships.  So, there might actually be many more people who are polyamorists.  

Polyamorists are a diverse group:  Many polyamorists identify as either bisexual or pansexual (pansexual means there is no limit in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender or gender identity).  However, there are also many heterosexual, gay, lesbiantransexual, nonbinary (nonbinary people don't identify as being a gender that is exclusively male or female) and asexual polyamorists. 

There are also polyamorists who don't believe in any of these labels.

Polyamorists usually have multiple romantic relationships at the same time.  Many people who consider themselves to be "poly," consider it to be their sexual orientation.  

Usually the individuals all know about everyone involved and have given informed consent to be polyamorous where everything is honest and above board.  So, there are usually no casual relationships with individuals who are poly.

The values which are upheld in healthy polyamorous relationships include:
  • love
  • honesty
  • integrity
  • equality
  • communication
  • commitment
Polyamorists usually have rules, including rules about practicing safe sex, time spent together, and so on.

In a healthy polyamorous relationship there is usually ongoing discussions so that everyone involved continues to give informed consent.

There might be jealousy, as there might be in any relationship, so polyamorists try to find a way to work it out through the rules they have established or they might need to renegotiate the rules.  

Many polyamorists say they experience compersion, which is feeling happy that their partners are experiencing pleasure with others.  

What is the Difference Between Polyamory and Swinging?
Individuals who are in polyamorous relationships tend to focus on developing romantic relationships.  Their relationships are usually intentional among all parties involved.

Generally, swingers aren't focused on building romantic relationships.  They don't usually develop emotional or romantic ties with their partners (although there are exceptions--just like anything else).  They often engage in sexual activities at swingers parties, resorts and other events where they swap partners (if they're in a relationship) or they might go as a single person.

To complicate matters a bit: Some polyamorists engage in swingers events and some swingers might also be in polyamorous relationships.  But swinging and polyamory are usually different, as described above.

What is Solo Polyamory?
Solo polyamory is a form of polyamory.

What is Solo Polyamory?

Generally speaking, solo polyamory means:
  • Individuals are in multiple relationships, but they lead a single lifestyle.
  • They may or may not live with one or more of their partners.
  • They may or may not share finances.
  • They may or may not have children together.
What is Solo Polyamory?

  • Solo polyamorists might describe themselves as being "single-ish," but they're not single in the traditional sense of the word because they are in relationships.
  • Individuals might choose to engage in solo polyamory after getting out of a long term serious relationship.
  • They might not follow the traditions that people in monogamous relationships follow, which would include celebrating various milestones, like getting engaged, getting married or celebrating anniversaries.  However, this is an individual choice.

What is Solo Polyamory?

  • Some individuals have non-romantic/non-sexual polyamorous relationships.
  • Some partners might have friendships or relationships with each other.
What is Solo Polyamory?

  • Some individuals engage in solo polyamorous relationships for a period of time, and then they might opt to be in a traditional monogamous relationship or some other form of relationship (it depends on the individual and their circumstances).
Common Misconceptions About Solo Polyamorists:
  • Fear of Commitment: Solo polyamorists (and polyamorists practicing other forms of polyamory) usually aren't fearful of making a commitment.  Although this might be true in some cases, this isn't the main reason for being polyamorists.  Most people in polyamorous relationships believe it's the best relationship choice for them.
  • Cheating: Solo polyamory isn't cheating.  Partners usually know about each other and solo polyamory is a consensual choice between all partners involved.
  • Lack of Emotional Intimacy: Most people who are in solo polyamorous relationships would disagree with this.  Most believe they are capable of having a loving, intimate relationship with more than one person.  Also, since good communication is required to maintain healthy polyamorous relationships, polyamorists believe this honest communication actually adds to the emotional intimacy.
Many people believe polyamory is a sexual orientation, it's who they are and it's what works best for them.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples (see my article: What is Sex Therapy?)

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.