An indigenous writer from The Philippines. I write about relationships, dating, polyamory, and running.

Recent photo provided by Author

Hi! I’m John Pucay (pronounced Jaan Poo-kuhy).

I’m an indigenous person (Kankanaey-Ibaloi) from the Philippines. And I mostly write about relationships, dating, polyamory, and running. But since PSILY is closing (and 80% of my relationships articles are published there), I may focus more on other topics I’m interested in, like: career, work, and mindfulness. And continue the running and polyamory stuff.

I quit my corporate job in 2019 to pursue writing full-time. I moved back in with my parents in early 2020 to “stabilize” my writing career and finances. Then the pandemic happened. So far:


We work to buy the privileges of youth that we missed, one job at a time

Image by Aamir Mohd Khan from Pixabay

In his song, “Old AF,” Alex Aiono says it’s difficult to feel young when you’re burdened by responsibilities.

“Being young is pretty easy to forget, when you’re 16; paying mom and dad’s rent.”

I remember when I was 9 or 10 years old, a charity volunteer who visited my village was amazed when she learned that I hand-washed my clothes and did the all-around chores at home.

She said I was so grown up and independent. She said she wished her kids could be as responsible as I was. …


Friends, siblings, parents, partners. Relationships aren’t obligations or investments. They’re gifts.

Photo by Odonata Wellnesscenter from Pexels

I have a friend who I’ve been close to since high school. When I broke up with my long-term girlfriend, this friend became the closest person to me. But we don’t speak now.

It’s not like we had a fight or anything. We simply don’t go out anymore.

5 years ago, when I still believed in “fighting” to keep the people I cared about, I would’ve brought pizza and ice cream to her place and badgered her to open up.

But now, there’s a part in me that says, “Hollywood-like gestures might bring the relationship back. …


A long-term couple goes on their last date.

Image by Author

She asked for a last date. I agreed. She had three requests.

“Can we have our last date for an entire day?” She asked.

I said we could. We’ll spend the day together, present in the moment.

“Can we act like we’re still together?” It was her second request. I agreed. I said I’d treat her the way I did back in college. Back when we were in-love beyond humanly possible and we believed we’ll make it through a lifetime, together.

“Thank you.”

“What’s the last request?”

She hesitated. “I’ll tell you during our date.”

It was a quiet July…


There are always risks, monogamous, or not. It’s up to us to take it, and see if we can make it work.

Photo by The HK Photo Company on Unsplash

She sat on the hotel bed where I made out with a different girl just a few hours ago. She was frozen. I tried to hold her and, for the first time, she pushed me away. The feeling that I made a terrible mistake crept on me like water slowly filling a tank.

“I knew this was coming eventually,” she whispered, tears forming on the sides of her eyes. “But I didn’t expect it would be this… real.”

During our earlier dates, I confessed to her that I might be polyamorous; It felt more natural for me to love and…


In a monogamous relationship, it would’ve taken me much longer to recognize these.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I watched Sofia Coppola’s On The Rocks last night. The film is about a wife who suspects her husband is cheating. We see the wife struggling to trust her husband and rejecting her playboy father’s advice, like investigating her husband’s hotel stays and private messages.

It’s a nice movie, but I can’t help see their marriage problems — the central plot of the movie — and think that those won’t even be problems at all had they been non-monogamous.

Even if they’re monogamous, the movie could’ve ended in 15 minutes if the characters knew to be self-aware and communicate openly


Insecurities, egos, and basic needs.

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

My bi-curious partner was swiping through a dating app the other day when she matched with a certain girl. (We’re polyamorous). My partner knew this girl romantically reached out to me in the past. Without thinking, she got my laptop (I lent it to her for work) and opened my Facebook to see whether this girl and I have recently exchanged messages.

My partner has never done that before. She respects privacy and boundaries and I understand it’s one of those “amygdala hijacking” moments. She messaged me immediately to apologize. And we met later to talk about it.

During our…


And other practical habits trail running taught me.

Trail running in the Cordilleras. Photo by Author.

I think living in the present is a habit: We know we should be doing them, yet we rarely seem to do enough. It’s easy to be preoccupied with an email, a plan, or an article idea while doing something also important, like conversing with a friend or enjoying a great movie.

I recently started meditating with the Waking Up app and mindfulness helps me catch myself when I’m living in the future. But running forces me into the present. It drags me back into the now. By running consistently, I practice the habit of being “awake.” How is that?


Because the real world will always try to have a say on you and your choices.

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

When my partner told her recent date she’s poly, the date asked her, “So what am I? Your entertainment?”

Quick backstory: She’s dated this guy a couple of times now. And the talk of her having a current partner (me) never quite came up.

We’re still figuring out how to approach a date with transparency without dominating the conversation about our poly relationships. Polyamory is a relatively new concept to many people in our city and country. And in my experience, the poly topic ends up dominating a conversation when you go on a first date and the first thing…


Here’s how I got my confidence back after consecutive failures.

Photo by Marisa Buhr Mizunaka on Unsplash

I was the Marketing Director of a tech startup and my work wasn’t bringing the money or traction it should. I did everything to improve my results:

I did my best to learn and execute all the best practices. But after months of fruitless efforts, the CEO finally let me go. I didn’t contest it. Even I would’ve resigned out of shame for my results.

I started looking for work. I pitched to clients and employers and got…

John Pucay

Relationships, Culture, Polyamory, and Running. More stories at https://johnpucay.com. Twitter @JPucay or email me at john@johnpucay.com

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