Guest blog: Non-monogamy during Coronavirus

Image by the fantastic Stuart F Taylor

Lockdown fucking sucks for so many people, and I recognise my own luck in being able to weather the pandemic trapped in a house with someone I love, despite their occasional adventures in finding new ways to drive me up the wall. But how do you deal with non-monogamy and Coronavirus? Lockdown living that actively pushes you into monogamy? Today’s guest blogger is Molly Quell, and she’s here to tell you about her experience as a non-monogamous person during Coronavirus.

Non-monogamy during Coronavirus

After spending four plus months in enforced monogamy, I started to wonder why I was even in a non-monogamous relationship. While things are starting to open back up in the world, my relationship is still pretty much locked down.

I live in the Netherlands, where the lockdown hasn’t been as strict as it has been in other places. We didn’t need permission slips to leave the house, it was merely strongly advised to stay home. Nonetheless, my boyfriend and I are rule abiding folks so, other than grocery runs and dog walks, we stayed in.

Dating, it turns out, does not count as an essential activity.

I expected this to be a disaster for my relationship. Forced monogamy, sharing an office, spending all of our time together? This was not what either of us signed up for.

We were in our 30s when we got together. We’d both been in non-monogamous relationships before. We own a house together, co-parent a dog together and are, by most metrics, very boring adults. Other than the non-monogamy of course.

But, I typically travel abroad 2-3 times a month for work. He has his own demanding job. We exercise separately (he goes climbing, I go to yoga), we have our own friend groups and, until March 2020, had to proactively schedule date nights or we’d go weeks without spending quality time together.

At the outset of the lockdown, neither of us was dating anyone else seriously, so we were at least not dealing with any separation sadness, but it really meant we just had each other.

More than three months later, it’s been…lovely?

Rather than what I expected – constant, chafing irritation and suffocation – we’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that we still love one another, genuinely enjoy being around each other this much and aren’t bothered by the limitation of monogamy.

Now it’s only been four months, not the eternity it’s felt like for a lot of people less lucky than we are. (No homeschooling while working going on this in this household.) But, could we do it for another four months? Four years? Eternity?

I’m hopeful the world will get corona under control and we’re not forced to find out. But, when there’s a vaccine, that doesn’t mean we have to go back to how everything was before. Working from home a few days a week is here to stay for sure. Maybe monogamy should too?

I’ve written before about how, from the outside, people presume the non-monogamous life is orgy-filled when in fact it is often much more mundane. There are even downsides. Scheduling a date with your partner is more difficult when there are other partners. Worrying about writing essays like this. Dating apps. If I wasn’t missing it, why put myself through more bad first dates?

Can you grow out of non-monogamy? Had I finally found The One? Was I, as I approached my 36th birthday, just too old?

“I suspect,” my boyfriend said, “You have been distracted by the whole global pandemic thing.” There was that. And just as things seemed to be receding, my home country of the United States decided to have a reckoning with racial injustice. My eye has only been wandering towards Twitter and I’ve only wanted to step out to… actually step out for some fresh air.

I might not be into any extra-relationship action right now but the notion of lifelong monogamy still remains unappealing. For one, my boyfriend hates horror movies and the sequel to Candyman is coming out soon.

The lockdown experience has led me to feel more confident in my relationship. We’ve learned how to exist in each other’s space better. We’ve learned how to be more patient with one another. We’ve bought noise canceling headphones.

So while the Dutch government has given its blessing for citizens to get a sex buddy, I haven’t gotten that far. Forget STIs, now even kissing is dangerous and I just don’t want to make a global pandemic worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.