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I don’t think there will ever be a day where I’m not questioning the day I’ll lose my partners. As someone who grew up in a toxic household, I’m wary of heartbreak. Polyamory might make things easy, you’d think, but nope. Somehow, the pain seems to be amplified even more in the presence of other loving relationships. Confused? Let me explain.

My last big breakup was with a partner I had been dating for a year. We understood each other’s kinks, we were healing each other’s trauma wounds, and they were present for me on the days when I couldn’t even show up for myself, and how. And I loved them just as fiercely, in equal measure. We communicated well, they never crossed my boundaries with my other partners, and it was a healthy, loving relationship. We had our fair share of fights too, of course. There were accusations of infidelity, of not caring enough – the usual drama. But we took relationship counselling, and worked on each other, to be our best selves.

And then it happened. We feel out of love. Well, they fell out of love with me. It was a very slow drifting apart, and seeing them move away from me emotionally brought my world crashing down and reopened all my childhood wounds. Was I not enough? Was I too much?

In sharp contrast lay my relationships with my other partners. The moment this breakup happened, I questioned my dynamics with them as well. I had never grown more self-conscious. Would I make them fall out of love with me too? Was it fair to be dating them when I was so clearly insecure and overwhelmed? Was I even worthy of them?

The self-consciousness took hold of me, even during sex. For someone who enjoys having sex as much as I do, i went through a state of low libido for months, which in turn, made me feel even worse. I thought  I was denying my partners even more things that they deserved. they were now seeing the most insecure, ashamed, heartbroken version of me. This wasn’t what they had signed up for, would they fall out of love with me too?

I grieved. I grieved the loss of love, the scary future, the what-ifs. And because polyamory requires such a high level of communication, my partners very kindly supported me through it. We talked, for hours and hours, as they reassured me and helped me take stock of what had happened. They tried to empathize with me as much as their boundaries allowed, made me feel cherished, they made me feel worthy. They also firmly, but gently reminded me that I had much work to do in terms of healing my childhood trauma. I began undertaking healing therapy, implementing sexological bodywork, deep breathing and other affirming, grounding healing practices. I started dating again, with their support.

Relationships are relationships, and whether monogamous or monogamous, everyone has the potential to experience difficulties, conflicts, joys, and pains.

I experience polyamory the same way I experience my sexuality. This is how my brain works. As much as I am queer/bi, I am also polyamorous. I can and want to love more than one person romantically and/or sexually at the same time.And after experiencing the way love can stay on, despite leaving in the form of a person. I’m grateful for the experience and the growth it afforded me. I am grateful for the way my view of the world was changed, I am grateful for the person I continue to evolve into.

Polyamory isn’t easy to navigate in a breakup. Unlike monogamy, where you mourn the loss of a person alone, here, my partners were affected by my breakup. And that can be tricky to navigate. But you can navigate the most troubled waters with enough empathy, compassion and love for each other. In so many ways, polyamory for me, has been a promise between my partners & I, to help each other through the toughest parts of life, and enjoy each moment. Where would I be without the loves of my life? I am so glad I get to be their support system when they experience something intense. And I am glad to be held by them too. 

Writer Gayathri RN

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