BFF: “You been ok lately?”
ME: “I think so. I feel really un-grounded lately.”
BFF: “Yeah? Do you know why?”
ME: “I’m not sure. It feels like my usual struggle with what I’m looking for in relationships.”
BFF: “As in how much you want?”
ME: “Every time I think I’m figuring myself out I get confused.”
BFF: “Have you ever thought that maybe that’s an issue? … Don’t think you’ve got yourself figured out, you’re changing and evolving.”
ME: “Oh, I realize that. Completely. I guess I want everything. I miss stable/regular like I had with L. Even if it wasn’t sex.”
BFF: “But that’s a relationship…”
ME: “I know.”
BFF: “You’re not putting yourself out there for a relationship.”
ME: “I know. And I struggle with that. I guess I’m scared of it. I’m not sure. Hence my feelings of confusion.”
BFF: “I mean it’s still pretty soon after your divorce to be seeking a serious relationship right?”
BFF: “But it makes sense you’d miss what you used to have.”
ME: “Serious and stable. Are they the same thing? Do they have to be? You are going to make me have to journal this one.”
For me, and I can only speak for me, trying to talk about dating when peppered with non-monogamy requires a completely different language and one that I don’t have all the vocabulary for, as another close friend pointed out to me.
I do indeed talk about not wanting a serious relationship and maybe I need to define what that means to me. I ran to my copy of More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory. I had run across the term “solo poly” recently and in my initial research thought it resonated with me. Hitting all the “solo poly” references via the index, I think I am on to something.
From the glossary at MoreThanTwo.com:
SOLO POLY: An approach to polyamory that emphasizes agency and does not seek to engage in relationships that are tightly couple-centric. People who identify as solo poly emphasize autonomy, the freedom to choose their own relationships without seeking permission from others, and flexibility in the form their relationships take. Such people generally don’t want or need relationships that look like traditional couples, and may not, for example, seek to live with a partner (or partners) or combine finances with a partner (or partners).
Also from More Than Two (the book): “People who embrace solo poly present to the world as single at first glance. They are off the “relationship escalator”: the assumption that relationships follow a defined course. You meet, fall in love, move in together, share property, have children, grow old together. Solo poly folks may not want to live with any partner, or if they do, they may not choose to share finances or property.”
This speaks to me. I want intimacy. I want familiarity. I’m not even opposed to falling in love. I just want autonomy.
I need to quit using traditional relationship terms. I DO want relationships. I just don’t want traditional relationships. My whole life is relationships. Of course I want relationships. No need to preface them with another label like “serious”, etc. I build relationships. That is what I do.
Edited to add: After finding the graphic below, I feel I am somewhere between solo poly and relationship anarchy. I just love this graphic!