When I say I’m single (and polyamorous)

When I say I’m single, I don’t mean I’m not in love, not committed to anyone. I don’t mean I’m waiting for someone to propose or pining for my status to change (though sometimes I am).

When I say I’m single, it feels like I’m erasing so many people who are important to me.

When I say I’m single, I have to explain it in a poly context.

This week I presented to a church group about being polyamorous and kinky. A woman asked me if I ever wanted to be committed to anyone. I’ll be honest that my hackles were raised at this question. I feel very committed to the people in my life and told her so. She asked a follow up question. Would I ever consider committing to them by not dating anyone else? It’s a fair question — there are plenty of people who consider themselves polyamorous who make this type of commitment (poly fidelity).

But I knew why she was asking. She was asking because, as a newlywed, she valued the “until death do us part” kind of commitment and was trying to find some way of respecting my lifestyle by finding her own value within it. Because when we think of commitment in a monogamous model, that’s what we’ve got.

What about committing to doing what’s best for another person? Even if that means breaking up?

What about committing to being the best person you can be, because then you’re coming into a relationship as strong and whole as you can be?

What about committing to flexibility, to loving someone fiercely in the moment, to encouraging each other to grow?

I think part of what she was asking is whether I want to fully share my life with someone. And when I say I’m single, I think I mean there’s not one or more individuals I share most things with. When I say I’m single, to me, personally, it means I haven’t found one or more individuals I want to live with. But maybe someday I’ll start living with partner(s) and still feel single.

Maybe being single means I’ve learned to be the most committed to myself.

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At this moment, I’m not committed to someone in a way that involves major sacrifice, such as moving for another person. And I’m not against that type of commitment. I’m also not against making a “till death do us part” kind of vow. But what I’ve been learning in my singleness is that there are other kinds of commitment that have value and fill my life with meaning.

I’m committed to not settling in order to have someone in my bed every night.

I’m committed to making my partners who live far away feel loved and thought of.

I’m committed to personal growth.

I’m committed to being there for my platonic friends as much as I can.

I’m committed to growing closer to God.

I’m committed to living a life that I don’t regret.

I’m committed to serving my communities: my queer peeps, my Christian peeps, and whoever God brings into my life.

When I say I’m single, I mean I’m taking advantage of living a life of my own choosing.

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