How to Navigate Non-Monogamy in Your  Relationships

By Patrick Banks

Posted 5 months agoDATING

Monogamy may have been popular throughout history. But now, quite a lot of couples are starting to take a different approach to dating and relationships. 

recent study found that one-third of US adults either want or are currently in a non-monogamous relationship—and the number continues to grow. 

Done right, non-monogamy can be an extremely rewarding experience. Without being limited to just one partner, the potential for exponential connection and intimacy exists. 

But navigating the open-natured world of non-monogamy isn’t easy, at least not without experience. It takes a lot of work to manage the sensitive social and emotional dynamics of multiple people at once.

What Exactly Is Non-Monogamy? 

Non-monogamy is an umbrella term for any kind of relationship structure outside of an exclusive two-person dynamic. For instance, one example of non-monogamy would be two people in a relationship who openly share intimate experiences or connections with other people.

The idea behind ethical non-monogamy is that your love and trust are not compromised by the fact that both (or more) parties experience intimacy outside of your primary partner. In fact, some people find it empowering and freeing to explore multiple connections at once. 

However, there are many different ways to express non-monogamy. After all, as the term suggests, it covers anything that monogamy does not

Polyamory, swingingers dating club, casual sex, and virtually every type of open relationship also fall into the category of non-monogamy. And the best part is this: there is no strict template for how to maintain a non-monogamous relationship. 

The only rules are the ones you create for yourselves. That said, creating your own relationship rules can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve never experienced relationships outside of monogamy before. 

If you’re curious about what it might be like to ethically and consensually engage in non-monogamy, here are some tips to help you do it right: 

1. Discuss boundaries extensively 

Without proper boundaries and mutual understanding in place, non-monogamy can become hurtful and confusing. You and whoever you are practising this open-natured approach to relationships need to be on the same page about what’s allowed and what’s not. 

Knowing your own and your partner’s boundaries is essential for any healthy relationship, and non-monogamous ones are no different. In fact, they may even be more necessary. 

Before jumping into a non-monogamous relationship, it’s highly beneficial for everyone involved to do research on the different kinds of non-monogamy out there and determine where their dealbreakers and preferences stand. 

For instance, are you open to being sexually intimate with multiple people or just emotionally intimate? Do you want to stay informed about all your partner’s experiences with other people, or would you prefer a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis? 

Having an honest, straightforward, and empathic conversation with your partner about the precise ground rules is integral to a functional, sustainable non-monogamous relationship. 

2. Communicate continuously

While the initial conversation around ground rules is perhaps the most crucial, that doesn’t mean you can stop communicating about your experiences over time. Keep the conversation ongoing so that you can check in with each other and make sure it is working for both of you. 

Clear lines of communication are the lifeline of a happy relationship, especially with non-monogamy. You need to make sure that both you and your partner are comfortable with the dynamics in play, and if not, be able to address any problems as they arise. 

3. Accept that jealousy is natural 

Jealousy is a very normal human emotion to feel. And when it comes to the person you love sharing intimate connections with other people, it is expected. 

Some people who practice non-monogamy see jealousy as an opportunity to further understand their insecurities and practice the art of letting go of control. A little bit of jealousy is normal to experience and can teach you a lot about yourself and your needs. 

Instead of allowing your jealousy to scare you, consider giving it space to exist and see how it can teach you to love in a more open-minded capacity. 

4. Embrace compersion

Compersion is sympathetic joy. In other words, it’s experiencing happiness when those you love are experiencing happiness. A big part of why so many people choose a non-monogamous lifestyle is because they accept that people often have needs outside of a two-person relationship. These needs are often sexual, and in a traditional hetero pairing, they’re not always fulfillable. Partners who enjoy sex across the gender divide can have all their needs met if they open their relationship to other people, allowing for increased happiness and compersion. 

So, instead of feeling jealousy or anxiety when your partner spends time with other people, try to find joy in the fact that they may be having their needs met in a way that can only exist with someone else. This can either be a scary thought or an incredibly freeing one. 

We live such complicated lives, and everybody has unique, multifaceted needs. It’s a big responsibility for just one person to meet them. But when you open up the relationship to more than one person, those needs can be met in a more sustainable way. 

5. Let honesty, empathy, and respect guide the way

The key to a thriving open relationship is honesty, empathy, and respectful communication. For non-monogamy to really work, a few very important boxes need to be checked:

● There is a mutual understanding of each person’s boundaries

● Those boundaries are continuously respected and communicated

● A genuine desire for your partner’s freedom and happiness is shared 

The great thing about non-monogamy is that it’s not set in stone. You and your partner not only get to choose how you want to express it and what you explore, but you also get to change the rules as you go. You can even return to a monogamous coupling if that’s what feels best. 

Make Your Relationships About You 

Every relationship is unique, and there is no right or wrong way to be in love. Some people thrive in exclusive, committed two-person relationships, and others find their satisfaction in being intimate with multiple people at once. 

Whichever way you choose to express your love in relationships, remember that the label you slap on it isn’t important. How you’re treated and how you treat others is. 

If you’re wanting to explore the world of non-monogamy, remember to be communicative, discuss your boundaries, accept the occasional jealousy flare-up, and lean on each other for support. You’re in this together!

Meta Title: Guide To Non-Monogamous Relationships | Get A Wingman

Meta Description: Non-monogamous relationships are growing in popularity. Find out how you can introduce the idea into your relationship and explore the benefits.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.

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