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Once, a man I’d loved and been dating for a year suddenly broke up with me and cut off all communication, in order to pursue a monogamous relationship. The lack of support I experienced was really difficult. If this had been a traditional relationship, I would have had space to process it fully — and I would have gotten over it a lot faster.

As it was, I couldn’t turn to friends for support after this breakup without getting the inevitable response, “Well, you’ve still got your primary partner, so how is this so bad?” Meanwhile, I couldn’t talk to my primary partner about it without him feeling like he wasn’t good enough.

I felt like someone had died — but since I still had living people around me, I wasn’t allowed to grieve. I felt that the living took my sadness personally. That was really hard. I still have nightmares about it today.

— Sabrina, polyamorous