Nowadays it’s not uncommon for people to try out different types of relationships and styles of dating. While the gold standard for relationship success has been serial monogamy, more and more couples are choosing to explore non-monogamous, or open, relationships. If you’re curious about exploring polyamory, you should first determine if a consensual non-monogamous relationship is right for you.
Understand who you are
Before exploring a non-monogamous relationship, you should understand who you are. What are your values? Boundaries? Needs? Priorities? Take some time to reflect on these questions. Embarking on a non-monogamous relationship requires a lot of honesty, and it can be challenging to be honest about who you are and what you want if you don’t know these things about yourself.
Talk about consent
Consent is a huge buzz word in sex-positive and non-monogamous communities. This boils down to making sure everyone who is involved in the relationship understands that it is non-monogamous and consents to that. You should never have to talk anyone into polyamory — it should be a firm choice that people are able to make on their own without being convinced one way or the other.
A lot of people who are drawn to non-monogamous relationships are excited about being able to enjoy guilt-free sexual variety. But, it is less common for people to honestly consider how they’ll feel when those partners have other partners. Expect to grapple with jealousy on occasion.
Before considering a non-monogamous relationship, consider how jealousy affects you in general, and how often you get jealous. If you struggle with jealousy a lot, then a non-monogamous relationship may not be right for you.
If you find yourself jealous in a non-monogamous relationship, don’t be afraid to explore where those feelings are coming from. Instead of demanding your partner to change, face your feelings and take personal responsibility for them. That means also being able to negotiate what you want in a relationship.
Design your ideal relationship
There are tons of different ways to structure relationships. Instead of blindly accepting conventional relationship rules, consider the full range of relationship options.
When designing your ideal non-monogamous relationship, you should choose partners with compatible orientations. Some people seek out non-monogamous relationships for sexual variety while others desire emotional intimacy. That’s why you should talk about boundaries and motivations with prospective partners, so everyone is on the same page.
You should also be flexible — this means not approaching a non-monogamous relationship with specific expectations of how things should be. Doing so will only lead to disappointment and conflict.
All you need is love
The bottom line is non-monogamous relationships aren’t for everyone. That’s why it’s essential you explore your values, core beliefs, and motives before trying one out. Remember that relationships change over time, and each partner’s needs may change as well. Communication is critical when it comes to ensuring both partners are happy and feeling satisfied in the relationship.