I lost a love(d) one to mental health some years ago. I’ve written before about learning to carry grief, so I’ll focus on a personal aspect of dating since his passing.
I’ve had to “go on” without a break up, or a single verb tense to talk about the things we share(d) and those we didn’t. One of the “messy” things between us when he was alive, was that he was monogamous, I am not. We respected each other’s preferred relationship structure, and delicately navigated around this.
I’ll always love him; he’s not an “ex”, per se. So how do I date in a way that has me feeling “whole”, that honours my love for him? As my living partner and I discussed what we wanted from our open relationship, and expectations of each other, our conversations made me realise that my polyness has become an unexpected source of comfort. I wouldn’t know how to reconcile my ongoing love for my love(d) one with my love for my partner if I was monogamous*.
Love, today I made the meal we had the first time I cooked for us.
I miss you.
* I’m aware monogamous people in parallel situations manage this reconciliation; I’m not suggesting they’re emotionally cheating or not monogamous. Separate experiences don’t invalidate each other.