What Is Solo Polyamory And Is It For You?

In case you haven't noticed, we live in a culture that is near-obsessed with people being in relationships. Through literature, art, movies, and the media at large, we've been programmed to put a hefty amount of emphasis on finding "the one" and falling in love. But the thing is: relationships are hard. Like, really difficult, and they require a lot of work, especially if you're in love because you're willing to fight for what you have. You're willing to make necessary changes to keep the relationship going and going strong (via Elite Daily).

"Romantic relationships can be difficult to maintain because they possess more intimacy than any other relationship," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "The amount of closeness — emotional, physical, spiritual, and even mental — that is in a relationship is overwhelming to handle at times... Knowing when to take breaks and how to hold onto your own sense of self gets complicated."

Granted, anyone who has a successful relationship will tell you that the work is worth it — and it is! — but what if you could have it all? What if you could be who you want to be but still have meaningful, deep connections, and even romantic relationships with others? That's where solo polyamory comes in.

What is solo polyamory?

From the onset, solo polyamory might sound like being single and hooking up with whomever you choose, but it's more than that. Solo polyamory, per WebMD, is about putting yourself first, perhaps even regarding yourself as your primary partner, and nixing all the things that come with conventional relationships. Instead, with the focus on you, you're able to engage in intimate connections with people — and not necessarily in the hopes of finding "the one."

"We have these normalized benchmarks or signs that a relationship is serious," Rachel Krantz, the author of "Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy – A Polyamory Memoir," tells the BBC. "Solo polyamorous people tend to avoid intertwining their life in that way with someone else." It's a type of relationship style they choose in which the desire to commit to someone else, settle down, and fall into heteronormative conventions is non-existent. Solo polyamorists don't want to "live together with a partner, get married, have kids, join finances, or form a relationship where there's a lot of dependence and interdependence," sex and relationship scientist Zhana Vrangalova tells Men's Health

But that doesn't mean relationships are completely off the table. When a solo polyamorist meets someone with whom they have an intimate connection, they can enjoy it without looking toward the possibility of a future together. Unlike their single counterparts, they've jumped off the relationship escalator — the "social script" of how one should do relationships (via Off The Relationship Escalator). It's a philosophy of how one wants to live their life and navigate relationships on their own terms.

How to know if solo polyamory is for you

First, ask yourself if you're ready to be your own primary partner, not in a way that some people marry themselves — which is sologamy, per Insider — but in a way that your needs and desires are front and foremost. "If you really prioritize alone time, if you don't see yourself merging finances or moving in with a partner, and if you're not interested in the institution of marriage, then maybe solo polyamory will be a good relational framework," Gabrielle Alexa Noel, the director of marketing and lead portal developer at #open, tells Cosmopolitan. "Even if you are open to those things but want the freedom to configure your relationships in ways that don't assume they will happen, solo polyamory could be for you."

What it ultimately comes down to is finding out who and what you want out of this life, what you prioritize, and how you want to spend your time. While our culture may dictate that monogamous relationships are the way to go, more and more people are opting out of monogamy and setting their sights on other avenues (via The Times). There's no one way to date, one way to love, one way to relationship, or one way to be in this life; there's a whole spectrum out there.

If solo polyamory sounds like a fit for you, then give it a try. If it doesn't feel right, then try something else. For far too long we've been caged by society's idea of what a relationship should be. It's time we open the cage door and explore all the other things we can be.