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Polyamory During a Pandemic

Julia Bonito

Needless to say, we’ve all struggled with our personal and particularly, romantic relationships, during this pandemic. BEither because of lockdowns and COVID restrictions put in placeor simply wanting social distance, it has become very hard for those whothat don’t feel as comfortable communicating online to maintain or form new bonds. But, what happens with romantic relationships that partly depend, for many, on the physical touch? Distance can surely be a huge obstacle for most relationships. Something that was so common before the pandemic like going out on dates, getting to know someone, dating, kissingmaking out or getting intimate with someone, has abruptly been inevitably put on paused.

We talked with a few friends, wanting to find out how non-monogamous or open relationships were coping during the pandemic. To understand these a bit better I asked my friend Charlotte, who was the first person I ever knew who isto not be in a non-monogamous relationship, and this what she said: “The base of these relationships is that we stand in the mutual understanding that one person won’t fill all your needs, either physical or emotional. And that’s okay! It doesn’t make you love your significant other any less to want to kiss or date someone else.”

“It’s key though to keep an open dialogue and be honest about what is going on, though. Otherwise it’s only natural that insecurities will arise.” She pointed out as well. It’s not about dating as many people as you can in the shortest period of time, it’s about enjoying your sexuality with no strings attached in a free way, while still maintaining a mutual understandingtaking care of other people's feelings. Otherwise, too much expectations can lead to feeling hurt and cheated onwe’re going back to the traditional getting cheated on place we’re all familiar with. “Of course I get jealous sometimes too, but I know I can talk about it and get to the actual reason this particular person makes me insecure. It’s usually not their fault at all but the situation bringing up something I was already second-guessing myself about (weight, capabilities, talents, etc)”.

My closest friend had three “rules” for polyamorous dating:This brought up what my closest friend’s only “rules” are when it comes to polyamory dating:

1) no close friends,

2) no musicians

3) not someone who hurts you.

Number one and three are pretty self explanatory, but the second one always made me laugh: It wasn’t something he hated but what he envied!

I also reached out to my friend Ryan, who was in an open relationship for a long time before the pandemic started. “My main relationship didn’t make it through the first lockdown. We stayed together in her place for the first few days but being together got hard. After that we didn’t see much of each other for the next few weeks which eventually led us to break up”. He admitted that they were struggling before, but this time also gave them a lot of room to talk about what was going on and they decided that parting ways was the best thing to do at the time and each got back to their family houses.

Closed businesses and social distancing rules The pandemic and most gathering spaces being closed down made going out very hard but it also resulted inmeant a surge of people turningfor many going back to social media like Instagram and Twitter, as well as creating TikTok videos to pass the time or making content online to replace the lack of socialization. When asked if they thought communicating onlinethe Internet helped them flirt more, answers varied. On the one hand Ryan felt like most of his relationshipsbonds went cold and foundfinding it more difficult to talk to people through text and he couldn’t form new ones while Charlotte on the other hand said the opposite.

“I do think I’m putting myself out there more online now. Social media has helped me talk to more people I wasn’t as close with and sexting has become a very useful alternative for many while we couldn’t go out. What I like about open relationships is that we can enjoy each other’s conversation but it’s not like I’m offended if they talk to someone else or if they see someone else. I’m just happy for the time we spend together and for the time I get to spend with other people as well.”

How about you? What do you think? Were you ever or would be in an open relationship? How have you been coping with your love life and this pandemic?