Tag Archives: self care

POLYAMORY CHANGES

It’s been almost two years since I’ve been living a polyamorous love-style, and it has still been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a very long time. When I look back and evaluate what has made living poly so unique, one word comes to mind, change. 

Many things have changed since I’ve begun living poly, and the master change has been my expectations and “rules.” When I was living monogamously, I had expectations that never seemed to be met (at least not by the men that showed interest). There were also many rules I once had that I’ve since dismissed or lessened dramatically since being polyamorous. 

This pandemic threw a flaming monkey wrench into my dating life and plans. I had hoped to build upon the connections I already had. I had hoped to finish my book in the summer and promote it across the country. And lastly, I had hoped to be out of my parent’s home. However, with the city shut down (I live in NYC) and minimal opportunities for inclement weather date-nights, dating expectations became limited and scattered. With cafés, and bookstores closed, my comfort in writing was halted for months. And, since the city shut down, the organizations responsible for construction shut down as well, and my ability to move hit a brick wall. 

All wasn’t lost, though. Sex-positive people never stay without sex for too long, and over the summer, I reconnected with a partner from my past when he asked me to accompany him in a swap. We chatted up and got reacquainted, and he expressed his desire to “get to know me better.” We had planned a date, then the city shut down again (LOL!) Anyway, we’ve been in contact, and he bought my book. When he got to the part where I mentioned my strict “no kids” rule, he was concerned. I had to explain to him, that was a rule I had when I was monogamous. But, now that I’m polyamorous, I’m open to bending it. 

This was my first time really acknowledging that my rules when dating poly had shifted. I am spoiled. I was spoiled then, and I am still spoiled now. I want what I want. When I was dating monogamously, because my partner was the only one, the last-minute adjustments of dating a man with kids were always an issue. Knowing that I had maneuvered my entire day or week to be available for him to cancel or change plans if he had to pick up his kids or whatever, I would get pissed. Monogamy had him as my only target, and all of my expectations rested upon his shoulders, and that wasn’t fair. Being poly and having multiple partners and relationships and my relationship with myself, I never exhaust my options. If a date has to cancel, I may still be a little bit upset, but it’s no longer the house of cards tumbling down it was before. 

Being polyamorous, having multiple partners and relationships (including the one with myself) now allows me to have financially fair relationships as well. Because my primary love languages are gifts and acts of service, I like and want shit! Dates, flowers, candies, trips, and etc. But I’ve always thought of myself as a fair girlfriend. I never wanted or expected so much from a partner that it put a strain on him. Many would say, “it ain’t trickin’ if you got it.” But most of my partners didn’t have it, and I knew it. And since I couldn’t be with someone solely for financial gain, I found myself in many fair or financially imbalanced relationships. 

However, with the above realization, being poly has made space for relationships I may have otherwise turned away. Repeatedly going out at one partner’s expense can be a financial burden. Having multiple partners to date on occasion allows my date bucket to remain full, without the strain. Living poly has also allowed me to re-prioritize and consider myself a fantastic date. 

When I sought monogamous relationships, my alone time was a byproduct of my partner’s cancelation or lack of funds. I was forced to find happiness in being alone. But now, that happiness is genuine and very welcome. Those long hours of being alone allow me time to decompress, zone out, and refocus my energy and goals. I get up, make my way to a restaurant, read a book or listen to a podcast, and go for a nice long walk all by myself. Before poly, what a partner didn’t have would’ve been a huge deal breaker, but in this pool of poly-love, the laser focus is no longer on the perceived negatives. 

The poly changes allow me to see and experience a different kind of love, a love that’s not solely based on what my partner can do for me but how I feel for and with them.

BE SELFISH! SAVE YOURSELF FIRST!

When a plane is going down, it’s more important to put the oxygen mask on yourself first; then onto the person next to you. If I’m spending time trying to get the mask onto you, in addition to losing oxygen, I may lose consciousness and die; then we’re both screwed. As simple as it may seem; a lot of people have a great deal of difficulty applying this very simple logic to their everyday life.  

You can’t give water from an empty cup, but so many people continue to try. Unlike the cup that is obviously empty, there is no visual correlation for your spirit, state of mind, or heart. A broken heart can be fixed; but once a heart it drained, it dries up and can no longer function.  

When we are young, we’re told to be nice and share our toys with the other kids; because, sharing is caring. We’re subjected to forced playdates, the buddy system, and group projects. It’s no wonder why so many people are, not only, co-dependent, but so many of us are givers. We were bred to be this way, and at some point, it has to stop. 

SAVE YOURSELF FIRST! 

I used to be the person that loved to please, support, and be there for others. Unfortunately, many times, it left me emotionally broken and struggling to find my own happiness. In past relationships, I dismissed all my wants and needs to make myself what my partner wanted; totally becoming a person that I no longer recognized. If a friend had a bad day, I would take on their feelings as my own and that energy would eventually weigh me down.  

After I broke up with my ex; after my 100th cry, my 50th cancelled date, and my 20th weekend alone; I had finally had enough. It was then that I told myself; “I refuse to be unhappy and have herpes”. The fact of the matter was, since I couldn’t get rid of herpes, I made the choice to get rid of the guy. 

I began applying that theme to factors beyond my relationship. I applied it to work; if I didn’t like my job, I did what was needed to get a new one. I applied it to my friends and acquaintances; I became more mindful of the energy I allowed to be around me, and I stopped letting negative people affect me. Lastly, I applied it to my family. Naturally, I couldn’t get rid of my family; and trying to change them would be more work than it was worth. I did, however, adjust my reactions to what they did. I realized that I had much more control over my own emotions (in response to their actions) than their initial actions that would cause said emotion. 

It became important to me to do some heavy self-reflecting and healing; and during my journey I found my peace. 

People often say I have great energy, along with confidence, and spirit. Whether it’s a friend’s friend I met at a bar, a media personality, or a friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years; they all say the same thing. When they ask me how I manage, I make it very clear. 

I put myself first; above all else.  

Yes! It sounds selfish as hell, but it’s the remedy that I live by. A few years ago, I read (audio book) The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck; it was what I needed to hear to put my way of doing things into perspective. The book wasn’t really about, not giving a fuck; it was more about only addressing the things you have the ability to change and acknowledging that the grass may not be greener on the other side.  

Comparing where I was in life and/or in my relationship to those of my friends, often left me feeling lonely and depressed. But when they would complain to me about their partner or spouse; I was ecstatic to know I was much happier in my reality that I thought they were in the fantasy of their lives that I created in my mind.  

When I re-evaluated the men that I sought; for a very long time, I realized that I was a magnet for those that needed support. I, unknowingly, operated as a human crutch for many years. I loved being that ride or die, support her man woman. I often turned the other cheek, and I always thought optimistically of my partners. Supporting people and lifting them up to where they wanted and/or needed to be; was what I was good at. However, when I looked back, I realize that; while I did so much for others, I did nothing for myself. And time and time again, I had to start over.  

It took a while for me to learn my lesson; because each time Soul-Sucker came around, they were a little different. The first time- they had long hair, the next time- it was short, the next time- they wore glasses, another time- they showed up with a limp. Their appearance kept changing, but their behaviors and actions would always, eventually, reveal their true identity. 

With dating polyamorously, I had to be extra careful of whom was in my space; but, above all else I had to be sure to maintain my autonomy.  

I make time for my partners (primary and secondary), family, and friends; but the most important time is that I have with myself. For the record- I LOVE MYSELF! And I love being by myself. Time by myself is used to evaluate my position, mission, and goals. Sometimes I work out, watch tv, or listen to music. I may decide to go for a walk alone or try out a new restaurant, or go see a movie; all by myself. I love my alone time; because it allows me the ability to take a necessary inventory of my feelings and check in to make sure all elements that make me who I am are in alignment. I may go hours without looking at my phone or I may look but decide to not respond, because it’s my alone time.  

We’ve been conditioned to seek the constant comfort of others, but we came into this world alone (most of us anyway) and we’re going to die alone. We all have to find happiness in being alone and being selfish, with ourselves, is the first step.