Going Solo Poly: Exploration of Non-Monogamous Practices

Polyamory, in all its variety, mirrors the diverse ways people love and connect. Solo polyamory meaning, in particular, offers a fresh perspective by combining romantic relationships with a strong sense of independence. In this article, Flure breaks down the solo polyamory definition, addresses common misconceptions, compares it to other types of polyamory, and examines how it manifests in everyday life. Join us as we explore the complex and unique ways of sexuality to understand your true self.

What is solo polyamory?

Solo polyamory is a relationship practice that prioritizes a strong sense of independence while engaging in loving relationships. Unlike traditional relationship setups where partners might live together and deeply intertwine their lives, solo polyamorous people maintain their households and often view themselves as their primary partner (it is also called “self-partnered”). This approach allows them to have meaningful relationships without merging lives or responsibilities with any single partner.

Why do people choose solo polyamory?

People are drawn to solo polyamory for many reasons, each rooted deeply in pursuing personal freedom and autonomy. This relationship style offers the enticing possibility of forging multiple deep and meaningful connections, free from the confines of traditional relationship norms. It particularly resonates with those who cherish their independence, allowing them to chase their ambitions, indulge in hobbies, and grow on their own terms—without negotiating or compromising their desires with a primary partner. Moreover, solo polyamory offers a refreshing escape from the societal pressures and rigid expectations tied to monogamous or hierarchical relationships. For those who venture down this path, it allows crafting a personalized relationship model that aligns perfectly with their individual needs and unique lifestyle, celebrating a liberating blend of connection and personal integrity.

Dispelling solo poly misconceptions

Solo polyamory is often misunderstood, with several myths circulating that can lead to misjudgments and confusion. Let’s clarify these misconceptions:
Commitment issues: A prevalent myth is that those who choose solo polyamory are afraid of commitment. Contrary to this belief, solo poly individuals can form long-lasting relationships. The key difference is their preference for maintaining personal autonomy rather than entwining their lives closely with others. Solo polyamory can be a stage or a long-term practice, meaning there is not a direct link between being a solo poly and the fear of commitment.
Loneliness: Another common misunderstanding is that solo polyamorous people must feel lonely or unfulfilled because they don't have a primary partner. Many find a deep sense of fulfillment and joy in their diverse and dynamic network of relationships, friendships, and lifestyle in general, which allows them the space to pursue personal goals and maintain an independent lifestyle.
Casual relationships only: It's often assumed that solo polyamory involves only casual or non-serious relationships. However, solo polyamorous people frequently engage in committed, loving relationships that are every bit as serious as those in more traditional setups. The distinction lies in how they manage their connections, not the depth of emotion involved.
Selfishness: Some critics label solo poly people as selfish, believing that their focus on independence must come at the expense of caring for others. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Solo polyamory involves a high level of self-awareness and communication, which fosters respect and consideration for all partners’ feelings and needs.
Fear of intimacy: Another erroneous belief is that solo polyamorous individuals avoid deeper intimacy by insisting on their independence. On the contrary, many solo poly people form intensely close and intimate relationships without cohabitation or co-dependency, proving that intimacy does not require sacrificing personal space.
Now, should the critics take a moment to consider these aspects, it becomes clear that solo polyamory is not about avoiding commitment or intimacy but about finding a balance that respects individual desires and collective emotional connections.

Solo polyamory compared to other polyamorous practices

Solo poly vs ethical non-monogamy

Solo polyamory and ethical non-monogamy (ENM) are both practices within the broader spectrum of non-traditional relationship structures. Yet, they cater to different preferences and ideals about personal and romantic connections. Solo polyamory specifically focuses on maintaining multiple romantic relationships while prioritizing their autonomy and independence above all. Solo poly individuals often do not seek to create primary relationships where lives are significantly intertwined, such as cohabitating or sharing finances. Instead, they value their space and freedom, viewing themselves as their primary partner, which distinctly shapes their approach to all relationships.
ENM, on the other hand, is an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of relationship styles, including but not limited to solo polyamory. ENM can involve various forms of polyamory, open relationships, swinging, and more, where participants may or may not prioritize independence as highly as those in solo poly arrangements. In ENM, the common thread is the ethical aspect—open, honest communication and consent among all parties involved, with varying degrees of integration between partners’ lives. ENM doesn’t specifically emphasize personal independence but instead focuses on respecting all relationship dynamics, which might include more interdependent relationships than the typical solo poly approach. This difference highlights the flexibility within ENM to accommodate deeper levels of shared lives and responsibilities, reflecting a broader spectrum of relationship possibilities than solo polyamory typically would.

Solo poly vs relationship anarchy

Solo polyamory and relationship anarchy both celebrate non-traditional approaches to relationships, yet they differ in their foundational philosophies and practices. Relationship anarchy challenges all traditional relationship norms and hierarchies, not just those within romantic contexts. Relationship anarchists make no distinctions between romantic, sexual, and platonic relationships, allowing each bond to form naturally without predefined labels or expectations. While solo polyamory maintains some structure around how relationships are prioritized and managed, relationship anarchy is about letting relationships exist without any hierarchy or set rules, providing a broader rejection of conventional relationship structures.

Solo poly vs self-partnered

When you are self-partnered, you embrace a committed relationship with yourself, focusing primarily on your growth, happiness, and well-being. Being self-partnered means finding fulfillment without the need for romantic relationships, though it doesn't preclude the possibility of forming them in the future. This approach emphasizes self-love and personal development, allowing individuals to thrive independently. While solo polyamory celebrates the balance between multiple connections and independence, self-partnering centers on the profound relationship one has with oneself, prioritizing personal contentment above all else.

Solo poly vs being single

Many people call themselves “single,” although they are actually dating one or more people. It’s not incorrect to use this label, but there are particular distinctions between solo poly and being single or dating. While being single typically implies not being in romantic relationships or perhaps engaging in casual dating without pursuing long-term connections, solo polyamory involves actively maintaining multiple romantic relationships. On the other hand, dating often refers to a phase where people explore potential romantic connections, typically with the idea that this may lead to exclusivity or a more committed, monogamous relationship. Solo polyamory, however, is a specific relationship style where individuals maintain multiple romantic relationships simultaneously without seeking to escalate any one of them to primary status. Unlike casual dating, solo polyamory involves clear, ongoing commitments to each partner, with a strong emphasis on personal independence.

Solo poly dating style

In practice, solo polyamory can take many forms. Here are some ways it might look in real life:
  • Multiple partners: A solo polyamorous person may have several partners, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend, each offering different types of connection and intimacy. These relationships are all consensual and transparent.
  • Maintaining independence: Solo poly individuals prioritize their goals, hobbies, and personal growth. They often live alone and manage their own finances and daily responsibilities.
  • Clear boundaries: To maintain their autonomy, solo polyamorous people set clear boundaries with their partners, ensuring that everyone’s needs and expectations are communicated and respected.
  • Flexible structures: Relationships can vary in their degree of involvement. Some involve frequent contact and deep emotional connection, while others are more casual.
  • Community and support: Solo polyamorous people often find support and community among others in the polyamory and ENM communities, sharing experiences and advice.
Solo polyamory offers a unique approach to love and relationships, celebrating personal autonomy and freedom to have multiple connections. Whether you're curious about this lifestyle or seeking to understand the diverse ways people can love, recognizing the validity and richness of solo polyamorous relationships is essential. This type of polyamory challenges traditional notions of commitment and partnership, showing that independence and deep connection can coexist beautifully.