After James Nicholson went through a breakup in October, he realized that he was at a point in his life when he wanted to focus more on himself than on someone else, but without losing the perks of romantic intimacy.
He was juggling work and grief from losing a family member, all while parenting a 14-year-old with his ex-wife. So Mr. Nicholson, a 46-year-old Bronx resident, decided to embark on a journey of solo polyamory. To Mr. Nicholson, that meant dating several people at once with no intention to ride the relationship escalator to the top.
“I’m open to connecting with others, but it may not be just one other person,” he said in a phone interview. “It is really based on how schedules line up.”
It’s hard to miss the growing interest these days in polyamory and ethical non-monogamy, the term du jour for having multiple and consensual romantic relationships. The new year kicked off with a slew of articles on the subject from a number of publications that shed light on the practice and lifestyle.
But among all the throuples, polycules and nesting partners, there exists another category of polyamory that still throws many for a loop: solo polyamory, or having concurrent intimate relationships while maintaining independence. For the solo poly, the end goal is not an exclusive partnership, marriage, shared finances or cohabitation.
The concept becomes a little less confusing when you break the term up. Solo? You’re your No. 1 focus. Poly? You’re interested in seeing several people at once. The specific details will vary from person to person.