How To Get Into Ethical Non Monogamy
When it comes to relationships, most of us create long lists about the kind of people we’d like to be with. We all want to do life with a kind, generous, intelligent, funny, or adventurous people. However, rarely do we ever stop to give serious thought to how we want to enjoy these relationships or the boundaries we’re willing to expand for our love life.
We aspire to the traditional sense of relationships because that’s what mum and dad are or what we see in the movies. Generally, monogamy is what we know and understand to be ‘normal’ or ‘right.’ So, where does that leave those of us that are curious or feel confused? If you’ve been thinking about getting into ethical non-monogamy, we’ve got a few pointers to guide you along the journey. But first…
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What is Ethical Non Monogamy?
Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is an umbrella term for various relationship structures. It involves consensually and intentionally engaging in romantic and/or sexual relationships with more than one person at a time. Note that the keyword here is consent. Everyone involved in this kind of relationship knows and consents to the relationship’s dynamic.
Open relationships, swinging, and polyamory are a few types of ethically non-monogamous relationships. Since there’s a mutual agreement and decision by all involved to get into an ethical, non-monogamy relationship, it cannot be classified as cheating. If you’re seeing other people behind your partner’s back and without their consent, that’s cheating. Even so, with the agreements and boundaries involved in ethical non-monogamy relationships, if one doesn’t stay within such limits and agreements, that can be classified as cheating.
Non-monogamous folks recognize that during a lifetime, you can and will be attracted to other people even if you are in a beautiful, fulfilling relationship; they make room in their relationship for these attractions rather than allow them to cause anxiety, jealousy, and unreasonable expectations. (Taormino)
Who Can Practice Ethical Non Monogamy?
Ethical non-monogamy is for anyone as long as they consent to it. It is vital to understand that everyone and all relationships in ethical non-monogamy are different. This means there’s no single way for people to love, look, have sex, or act.
Those who get into it can be:
- A married couple looking to spice up their sex life or change their dynamic
- Someone in romantic relationships with multiple people yet in no sexual relationship
- Someone in a romantic relationship with one or two people and a sexual relationship with multiple
- Someone who only wants vanilla sex
- Someone who wants kinky sex
- People of various orientations
- Anyone essentially
Getting Into Ethical Non Monogamy
Here’s some of what you will need to know about getting into ethical non-monogamy… Keep in mind your unique journey will be created by your own experiences wants and desires. Be open to them, listen to your intuition and look to others for advice that fits where you want to take this journey. At the end of the day what is best for you… is best for you! And that is all that matters.
Figure out if the ENM Relationship path is for you
Most people don’t know that ethical non-monogamy relies a lot on your emotional capacity. For instance, if you can only have limited emotional attachment to very few people in your life, you might want to reconsider. ENM comes with additional relationships and connections, some of which may require an emotional contribution. Your emotional capacity shouldn’t be confused with love.
It’s essential to evaluate where you are in life and whether your emotional capacity can allow you to have multiple sexual and/or romantic attachments. It’s also crucial to consider your physical health and your mental health. Remember that you will have to make time and space for dating, having sex, building new relationships, and meeting new people. Most people who identify as ethically non-monogamous don’t view it as a lifestyle. Instead, it’s an innate trait that makes up who they are.
Entering an ENM Relationship with a partner
If you’ve always been in a monogamous relationship and have a partner, you should only proceed with caution as you transition. Some important points to consider include:
- Whether the desire to be ethically non-monogamous is one-sided or both of you are interested in it. If it’s one-sided, try to approach the topic gently and with awareness of possible reactions from your partner.
- Consent is one of the most critical aspects of ENM. Does your partner feel like you’re pushing them to do something they don’t want? Will everyone’s needs be met? Can you negotiate to meet in the middle where one of you feels shortchanged?
- Communication is critical. Right after consent. Opening up about your desires can be a liberating and vulnerable experience that can bring you closer to your partner. Make room for a space where there’s no judgment, and everyone feels heard and included. You and your partner need to learn how to improve your communication skills so that all info is dispensed clearly. Bring your active listening skills to the game!
- Open relationships are not a way to soften a blow, avoid breaking up or even transition out of a committed situation. Pretending to be happy with a situation while suffering inside doesn’t work for anyone and doing something with other people before discussing it is a betrayal of your partner’s trust. As you might have heard more than several times throughout your dating life, trust and communication are imperative to any relationship, whether they are monogamous or not. Opening up a relationship requires significant trust and radically honest communication. (Andre N. Casas)
Connecting with the Ethical Non Monogamy community
The truth is that while more people are getting curious about ENM, such relationships still aren’t the norm. As a result, it would be best to seek out ENM communities that can share their experiences and information. Before you get knee-deep into ENM, it’s essential to consider the shame that might crop up from a society that conditions us to think that monogamy is the only authentic way for relationships to occur. Engaging with like-minded individuals will help normalize ENM and validate your experience or expectation.
Many ENM communities organize informative sessions, meet up for discussion groups, or casual events to flirt and get to know each other. You can participate in such experiences to practice how to communicate in and about ENM. Such events also present an opportunity to learn more about ENM. For instance, if you’re interested in polyamory and have children, you can get pointers on how to go about it while navigating your family dynamic.
Do your ENM Relationship research
You must do your homework. Try to gather as much information as you can about ENM to have a clear idea of what you’re getting into. Also, dive deep and do the inner work on yourself. If you have a partner, they also have to do it with you, in parallel but in their way and for their own reasons. It can be helpful to find a therapist, a coach, or a mentor. No matter how well-adjusted you feel, creating a new relationship structure from what you’re already used to can be overwhelming, destabilizing, and confusing without help.
Getting into ethical non-monogamy will require serious planning, research, and soul-seeking on your part. You’re on the road to breaking down and rebuilding a new relationship structure, so it will take lots of work, time, commitment, openness, and communication. However, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re on the way to discovering a new part of yourself you could only fantasize about! Want to learn more – be sure to read other articles on this site or if you are ready to explore an ENM Relationship download our app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store