Non-monogamy, also known as consensual non-monogamy or ethical non-monogamy, refers to relationships that involve more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of all involved. It is a broad term that encompasses various relationship structures, including polyamory, open relationships, and swinging.
While non-monogamy has been practised for centuries, it has only recently started to become more visible and accepted in mainstream society. In fact, a study conducted by the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that approximately 4-5% of Americans engage in consensual non-monogamy, with more people expressing interest in exploring non-monogamy as an alternative to traditional monogamy.
So, what does it take to navigate non-monogamy successfully? Here are some key considerations:
- Communication is key.
Non-monogamy requires a high level of communication and transparency between all parties involved. This includes openly discussing boundaries, expectations, and any concerns that may arise. It is important to regularly check in with your partners and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
- Respect is crucial.
Non-monogamy can be challenging, as it involves managing multiple relationships and potentially complex emotional dynamics. It is essential to show respect and care for all of your partners, and to be mindful of their needs and feelings. This includes respecting their boundaries and being honest with them about your own feelings and intentions.
- Establish clear boundaries and agreements.
Boundaries and agreements can help ensure that everyone feels comfortable and secure in the relationship. These can include rules around safe sex, communication with other partners, and time spent with other people. It is important to establish these boundaries and agreements early on, and to revisit and adjust them as needed.
- Practice safe sex.
Non-monogamy can increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as it involves having sexual contact with multiple partners. It is important to practice safe sex, such as using condoms, dental dams, and other barriers, to reduce the risk of STIs. It is also a good idea to get tested regularly and to communicate with your partners about STI status.
- Don’t be afraid to seek support.
Navigating non-monogamy can be complex and emotionally challenging. It is important to have a supportive network of friends, family, and professionals who can provide emotional and practical support. This can include therapy, support groups, or other resources that can help you navigate the unique challenges of non-monogamy.
In conclusion, non-monogamy can be a fulfilling and enriching relationship structure for those who are interested in exploring it. It is important to approach non-monogamy with openness, honesty, and respect, and to establish clear boundaries and agreements to ensure the well-being of all parties involved. With effective communication, a supportive network, and a commitment to safe sex, non-monogamy can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Now that you have a basis of steering non-monogomy, here’s a list of 50 one may navigate it (and see if it’s right for you)
- Communicate openly and honestly with all partners about your feelings and boundaries.
- Set clear boundaries and expectations with all partners.
- Establish a system for checking in with partners and addressing any issues that may arise.
- Practice safe sex and discuss STI testing with all partners.
- Be respectful of each partner’s individual needs and boundaries.
- Be willing to compromise and make adjustments as necessary.
- Be open to trying new things and experimenting with different forms of non-monogamy.
- Take time for self-reflection and self-care.
- Be honest with yourself about your motivations for pursuing non-monogamy.
- Educate yourself about different forms of non-monogamy and the potential risks and benefits.
- Prioritise communication and consent in all interactions with partners.
- Establish clear guidelines for how and when to introduce new partners to existing partners.
- Be prepared for the possibility of jealousy and work on managing it in a healthy way.
- Be willing to walk away from a relationship if it is not meeting your needs.
- Seek out support and resources, such as therapy or support groups, if needed.
- Be open to different relationship styles and don’t assume that one form of non-monogamy is the right fit for everyone.
- Be mindful of power imbalances and actively work to address them.
- Be prepared for the social stigma that may come with non-monogamy and be ready to advocate for yourself and your choices.
- Be flexible and willing to adapt your approach as your needs and circumstances change.
- Be open to learning and growing from your experiences.
- Be kind to yourself and remember that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Understand and respect the different types of non-monogamy, such as polyamory, open relationships, and swinging.
- Have open and honest conversations about the nature of your relationships and what each person is comfortable with.
- Be mindful of the impact of your choices on those around you, including family, friends, and children.
- Respect your partners’ autonomy and give them the space to make their own choices.
- Be aware of the legal and social implications of non-monogamy and make informed decisions.
- Be open to feedback and willing to make changes if necessary.
- Be mindful of the different dynamics that can arise in non-monogamous relationships, such as primary/secondary relationships.
- Be willing to navigate and navigate the potential challenges that may arise in non-monogamous relationships, such as jealousy or insecurity.
- Be aware of the potential emotional and psychological impact of non-monogamy on yourself and your partners.
- Be prepared to navigate the complex emotions that can arise in non-monogamous relationships.
- Be willing to work through any issues that may arise in a non-monogamous relationship, such as trust or communication issues.
- Be open to different forms of intimacy, such as emotional or Platonic.
- Be aware of the potential impact of non-monogamy on your overall well-being and take steps to maintain balance.
- Be willing to explore different forms of non-monogamy, such as group relationships or solo polyamory.
- Be open to different forms of communication, such as open letters or relationship agreements.
- Be prepared for the possibility of discrimination and be ready to advocate for yourself and your relationships.
- Understand that non-monogamy is a journey and be open to learning and growing along the way.
- Be willing to take responsibility for your actions and their impact on others.
- Be open to the idea that non-monogamy may not be the right fit for everyone and respect their decision.
- Be willing to explore different forms of commitment, such as non-hierarchical relationships.
- Be open to different forms of love, such as compersion or metamour.
- Be open to the idea that non-monogamy can take many different forms and be flexible in your approach.
- Be willing to navigate the challenges that come with non-monogamy, such as navigating different schedules or maintaining privacy.
- Be open to different forms of support, such as counselling or mentorship from experienced non-monogamous individuals.
- Be willing to invest time and energy into building and maintaining non-monogamous relationships.
- Be open to different forms of expression, such as BDSM or kink.
- Be willing to try new things and be open to new experiences.
- Be willing to take a step back and reassess your approach to non-monogamy if it’s not working for you.
- Understand that non-monogamy can be a lifelong journey of self-discovery and growth.
- Ryan, C., & Jethá, C. (2010). Sex at dawn: The prehistoric origins of modern sexuality. HarperCollins.
- Conley, T. D., Moors, A. C., Matsick, J. L., Ziegler, A., & Valentine, B. (2013). The fewer the merrier? Assessing stigma surrounding non-traditional romantic relationships. Analyses of Social Issues and