Not everyone wants to be with one partner forever, even if monogamy has had a long history of being the norm in romantic relationships. As more people begin to challenge old traditions, new forms of relationships are emerging.

At the start of the pandemic, when most of the world longed for connection, Haili Blassingame, the writer of this week’s Modern Love essay, began to feel confined by her relationship and the socially sanctioned norms that governed it. Shortly after ending that five-year relationship, she realized commitment wasn’t her issue. What she wanted was the space to embrace a nontraditional, polyamorous lifestyle, where she would have the freedom to engage in relationships with multiple partners.

When Nessa Egwuatu and Jordan Onuoha met in 2014 as students at Stephen F. Austin State University, they bonded over their shared Nigerian heritage and their faith. After graduation, friendship transitioned into a romantic relationship, with one restriction: The couple would limit their physical interaction to holding hands.

It was a caveat they imposed as a way of “honoring ourselves and God,” Ms. Egwuatu said. On March 6, the couple shared their very first kiss with 350 witnesses at their wedding in Houston (Texas has no restrictions on large gatherings).

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The pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted all facets of our lives, especially our relationships. With many of our closest friends out of reach during quarantine, friendship circles were pared down to a necessary few. With vaccination numbers on the rise, some are hoping to revive the friendships that spent a year on hold. But some aren’t sure they want all those extra people back.

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Also, here’s how to submit a Modern Love essay or how to be featured in an Unhitched column. Don’t feel like writing more than a tweet, an Instagram caption or a Facebook post? Consider submitting to Tiny Love Stories, which are no more than 100 words. Getting married? Here’s how to submit your love story and news of your upcoming marriage.

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