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It’s challenging to face a change of heart when you have been building for a future that you thought would look differently.

YOU are not polyamorous

May 02, 20245 min read

“Nonresistance, nonjudgment and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.” - Eckhart Tolle

'YOU are not polyamorous'

- An excerpt from my newsletter

I think you’re so great. Let’s just start there. Did you know that I’m always stoked to hear from you? Whenever I get responses back to these emails, I’m just so tickled.

Actually, a message that I received on Instagram today led me to what I wanted to write about in my weekly newsletter. We’re all dealing with very similar things. Remember that. You’re never alone.

To summarize, their message said:

I have identified as polyamorous for years. But in the past two years, I have felt like I just want to be with my one partner. I don’t have the desire to date anyone else. Thinking about dating anyone else gives me anxiety. I feel like this goes against everything I’ve worked for all this time.

I completely understand where this person is coming from.

It’s challenging to face a change of heart when you have been building for a future that you thought would look differently. 

Especially in polyamory.

Many people go through an incredible disruption and repair in their relationship, if they tried to open their relationship when it was monogamous. Or, if you started dating someone, and from the get go, you told them you were polyamorous but had to go over serious hurdles to get on the same page about that, that can be really challenging to then be faced with feelings like they’re describing.

What was all that work even for?

I want to make an important distinction here that will help you all in polyamory and in every area of your life. 

It’s the distinction of non-attachment.

And before I lose you to the “Oh I already know that.” or “What is this zen BS?” Let me explain. We can know a theory, but then not see how it is applied with nuance. 

So the nuance here is non-attachment in identity. 

There are things in our life that we take on as ‘who we are,’ when in fact it is just one way of looking at or describing who we are at this time in our lives.

For example, taking the identity of someone who is polyamorous. You might say things like, “I am polyamorous.” or “I believe xyz because I’m polyamorous.” or “As a polyamorous person, I…”

And in doing so we construct to ourselves and others ‘who we are’ as a polyamorous person. 

This is both true and misleading.

It is true that the way you feel aligns with this term and concept called ‘polyamory.’

However, it is misleading because it’s not YOU. Your true essence. The you that exists beyond words and concepts. 

Polyamory is just a signifier; a term that we made up to communicate how we feel.

When we become attached to the words and labels that we give ourselves, we run into issues such as the person who messaged me earlier. 

“How do I explain to the people in my life, or even myself, that I may not be who I have fought so hard to be?”

So what can we do? How can we be non-attached to the words we use to describe ourselves but yet still communicate to people who we are?

Great question. 

It’s not just practicing non-attachment with the words we’re using. It’s also about non-attachment in general. 

Let’s use a silly example. I just bought a new green hoodie. It’s dope. (true story) I love this green hoodie. It is my favorite hoodie. And now you know something about me. 

However, if we were to chat, say in six months, and I told you that I have a new red hoodie that is my favorite hoodie. You most likely wouldn’t lose trust in who I say I am and how reliable I am at sharing my identity with you. 

And that’s because something like a hoodie, we don’t automatically attach to our identity. And we assume that that is our favorite hoodie right now. Not forever. 

But what if we lived in a society where we were taught that our favorite hoodies and hoodie colors had to be the same for the rest of our lives! 

Sounds silly right?

Then why do we do that with people? Why do we do that with our s3xual identity? Why do we do that with our relationships?

You’re dating this person, you’re queer, and you’re polyamorous and now that’s who you are forever. (!?)

It only sounds less silly because we’ve been taught that that is “true.” But it isn’t.

Who you are right now is who you are right now. Who you were five years ago was different and who you will be five years from now will also be different. 

And that is totally normal. It can be unsettling because humans don’t deal with change very well, but it’s still true. 

You are a shifting and changing being and so is everyone else in our lives. 

So when you share how you feel, perhaps consider that this is how you feel right now, and that’s ok. And just because it’s ‘how you feel right now’ and it might change, STILL MAKES IT VALID. 

And, ya know, maybe it will never change, but the fact remains that if you feel polyamorous for 5 years or for 50 years, it still doesn’t make it who you are at the core essence of your being. It’s still just a way to describe how you feel.

I’m curious, how is this landing for you? What comes up for you in these considerations?

Perhaps write them down or even email your thoughts to me at [email protected]

If you'd like weekly content like this to your email inbox be sure to subscribe to my newsletter with the link below.

Until next time, keep growing, keep going and keep loving.


blog author image

Elizabeth Ann Cunningham

Elizabeth Cunningham identifies as queer and polyamorous and has been working and studying in the field of gender, sexuality and relationships since 2008. She worked with a Domestic Violence Center for three years after graduating from the University of Kansas with degrees in Political Science and Gender & Sexuality. In 2014 she determined that she wanted to help people get into healthy relationships rather than out of unhealthy ones. She began training as a transformational coach and started coaching people in her own practice in 2017 where she has worked with people 1:1 and in her program Love Deeper. You can also find her at the online events she organizes every year, her podcast Queer & Poly with her partner Li, and her IG (@elzcunningham) for Friday Live Love Tips and her YouTube Channel!

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