At the start of 2020, I had two girlfriends, was flirting with a dozen hot queers at a New Year’s Eve party, and was expecting it to be my sluttiest, most girlfriend-filled year. But then the global pandemic came and my two poly, long-distance relationships got a lot more complicated. March arrived, and suddenly I couldn’t fly to Texas or New Orleans to visit my girlfriends. I couldn’t buy them tickets and fly them to me in Los Angeles. And I definitely couldn’t flirt, let alone hook up with hot locals.
I’ve been dating Hope for over three and a half years and Daisy for almost two, but when the pandemic hit, it felt like I had no idea how to be polyamorous, especially poly in two long-distance relationships. In the previous few years, I got used to flying every month to another state and planning tons of fun activities for me and my partners to do each time they visited me. But now all that was off the table. I had to adjust. I had to get used to going from seeing Hope and Daisy multiple times a month to not seeing them for eight straight months this year.
For me, being poly included not only having two long-term partners but also meeting new queer people in my area. With the pandemic, hookups had to end. Even safe ones don’t feel safe anymore. So I’m taking a break from those out of respect for my two girlfriends and our health. There’s always time to be slutty later.
Thank God for Zoom and FaceTime and sexting. Doing things with your partners face-to-face and with other friends is important, and platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, and Discord make that possible even when seeing each other in person isn’t.
Sexting, especially, has been a real lifesaver this year. When the pandemic started, I didn’t realize just how much a person like me would miss touch and intimacy, but damn, did it hit me hard. I’m lucky that my girlfriends and I already had great sexting relationships. It’s also something most people have access to doing. Did you know sexting is just writing? If you’re not confident about your sexting skills, lockdown is a perfect time to take an online writing class. I’m not joking. Learn a new skill!
Sexting is also a super great way to try out new kinks and scenes with your partners. Not sure if you want to try water sports? Try texting your partner that you’re peeing on them (after discussing it with them). Especially if you have extra free time, why not explore new things in a safe and socially distanced way?
One part of being poly that gets messed up in quarantine is that you can no longer go from partner to partner to get your needs met.
I learned that if you can only see one partner in person, that means you won’t get the things from your other partner that you usually do, but you can’t put those expectations on the partner you do see. Hope and I do things together that Daisy and I don’t do, and vice versa. So when I see Daisy but go months without seeing Hope, I can’t expect to do Hope things with Daisy. That’s not fair, and that’s not sustainable. For me, it’s all about adjusting expectations. This situation is temporary, and the future as a couple (or throuple) is bigger than the present.
Breathing, grounding myself, and communicating my feelings have been some of the most valuable tools in helping me maintain healthy relationships during lockdown. The good thing about having to text my partners is that texting scary feelings is a lot less difficult than saying them out loud.
It’s a stressful time. There are going to be fights, and everyone changes and grows in the days apart. I think we all aged half a decade in the last year. That’s OK. Your partners will still be the same people, or even better versions of themselves. And so will you.