This is a hard time to be coping in any relationship. Here are few tips for those in non-monogamous relationships while in isolation.
1. Discuss your own and your partners’ needs
Everybody is going to have different needs during this time (like any time). Some partners may want regular check-ins while others feel secure with space. Communicate these needs with your partners.
Remember it’s a two-way street – your partner won’t know what you need if you don’t tell them. Don’t wait to ask if you have a pressing need to check-in or make contact.
2. Use technology to make check-ins easier
One of the platforms I’m using right now is called Marco Polo. It let’s you leave video messages that people can check when they have energy or time. This can also be done using facebook messenger or other platforms.
These types of check-ins can be helpful for the introverts who don’t always have capacity to chat and for the extroverts who might need social contact more regularly.
If you have different schedules or you don’t have the ability to schedule a regular check-in because life is chaos – try to adapt. Find ways that work for you and your different partners.
3. Plan online dates!
Use technology to your advantage. Plan some online dates with your partners. Maybe watch a movie over video chat together. Schedule online sexy times (yes, I am that person who says “sexy times”). Play a board-game using one of the online platforms.
No, it’s not the same as in person. But it’s important that we make efforts to try.
4. If you are living with one partner and not others set boundaries around privacy
Ask your nesting/house/isolation partner for privacy to check-in with other partners. This may require flexibility in some cases – especially if you share a small space. Put on headphones or shut a door. Be respectful of your metas and your partner.
If you share a partner with your isolation mate – remember to check in together and when appropriate also independently.
After you’ve taken time for other partners and check-ins remember to reconnect with your isolation mate, so they do not feel excluded from these private check ins.
5. Grieve with your partners
Grief is going to be hitting you right now. Your partnerships and lives have made huge shifts. It’s okay to be sad and feel angry that things are not normal right now. It’s okay to feel uncertain and scared about the future. If possible, try not to feel this alone.
Share these feelings with your partners. They are probably feeling similarly. You are not alone in these feelings.
6. Take space and take care of yourself
This may not be a time when you have energy to be productive. Communicate this to your partners and let them know you are low on energy and connecting is hard. Let them know it is not because you don’t want to connect but that the current forms of connection are draining for you.
Do self-care. Try and put yourself first. You and your partners need you to come out of this in one piece. Don’t feel pressured to be productive or communicate beyond your capacity. Everyone is different!
7. Learn new things about each other
I’ve read a few posts that this is the time to go back to old style courting – writing each other letters or poems. I know we aren’t all poets and we don’t always enjoy this kind of connection. Having said that we can use this time with different partners to deepen connection and learn new things about each other.
Ask each other a question each day. They can be simple questions – what’s your favorite colour – or more complex questions – how do you feel about the socialist platform of Robert Owen. Take this time to learn new things about your partners – even the ones you have had for a long time.
8. Reach out for help
Many platforms including Serenity Now Wellness where I work are offering pro-bono or sliding scale counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are struggling do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are needing information or referrals to these valuable resources.