Are you ready to unlock the secrets of relationships? Relationships are no longer limited to just two people. Embrace the idea of polyamory and discover a world where multiple connections are celebrated. While monogamy is still prevalent in the United States, polyamorous relationships are on the rise.
Whether you identify as strictly monogamous or poly-curious, we understand that you have questions. Let’s debunk the negative stigma surrounding multiple commitments and explore how monogamous and polyamorous relationships are more alike than you think. Get ready to dive deep into the truth.
Clarifying Monogamy and Polyamory
In order to understand their similarities, we must first go over their distinct differences in a relationship dynamic.
Monogamy is the practice of having only one sexual or romantic partner. It is the most common type of relationship in the United States. A non-monogamous relationship style, polyamory, is where people mutually agree and consent to having more than one sexual and or romantic relationship.
What gets misconstrued about monogamy and polyamory is that a polyamorous relationship is seen as being unfaithful and cheating as seen through a monogamous lens, where 1 on 1 relationship commitment is broken when one partner secretly sees someone else without the other partner knowing.
This misunderstanding about polyamory leads to negative stigma and discriminatory attitudes around it.
There are some frequently asked questions about polyamorous relationships that many monogamous affiliated people ask. To answer some of these questions we have responses from Stephanie M. Sullivan, MS, LMFT, CCTP-II, a marriage and family therapist who specializes in polyamorous and consensually non-monogamous relationships.
Is polyamory a sexuality? Polyamory is not a sexuality. People of any sexuality, whether heterosexual, bisexual, asexual, or otherwise, can be in polyamorous relationships.
Is being polyamorous legal? It’s not illegal to be in a polyamorous relationship, however, most countries around the world prohibit marrying multiple partners.
Are poly relationships healthy? Polyamorous relationships can be happy, healthy relationships, just like any other monogamous or non-monogamous relationship.
However, because polyamorous relationships involve multiple people, they can sometimes require more honesty, communication, and care.
Can a monogamous person date a poly person? “Someone who is monogamous can date someone who is polyamorous; this is referred to as a mono-poly relationship.”
These relationships are one of the most difficult polyamorous relationship styles to maintain. Although, communication and boundaries are important keys to this relationship’s success.
Is polyamory more ethical than monogamy? There are no studies that prove this. It’s just as possible for cheating or abuse to happen in polyamorous relationships as in a monogamous one.
The Common Denominator of Polyamorous and Monogamous: Effective Communication
The key to effective communication in both polyamorous and monogamous relationships lies in a common denominator. While these types of relationships may seem different at first, with polyamorous relationships involving multiple partners and monogamous relationships being a one-on-one commitment, the importance of trust, loyalty, and open communication remains the same.
Suggested steps to take when trying to communicate effectively.
Listen for understanding: We want to be heard, but before we can fill our space with words, we need to listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Take in how the situation has made them feel and learn to be empathetic. Yes, your feelings are valid but remember that your partner needs to feel heard too.
Take accountability: If someone confronts you with something you have done that may have been hurtful or offensive, you should immediately take ownership of your wrongdoings and offer a sincere apology. Together, you can decide what steps you can take to rebuild any trust that may have been broken. This is also the time to set boundaries so whatever occurs won’t occur again.
Be approachable: Confronting someone with conflict is difficult enough without having to worry about how the other person will respond. To avoid additional conflict, be open to what the other person is saying. While you may feel like you want to run away or not deal with the issue, it’s important to listen to the other person and be understanding so you can establish comfort, trust, and safety.
Keep Checking In: Having daily check-ins to see if anything has changed on either side, new discoveries, affection, romantic and sexual needs, insecurities’ fears, and especially uncomfortable talks are needed and essentials. This will strengthen and form a healthy relationship growth.
By following the above steps, you can foster a healthy and strong foundation for relationship growth.
10 Tips on How to Discuss a Possible Polyamorous Relationship:
- Choose the Right Time and Place: Find a relaxed, interruption-free setting to discuss your desires and needs.
- Express Your Appreciation: Begin by emphasizing your partner’s importance before delving into polyamory. This sets a positive tone for the conversation.
- Ask Exploratory Questions: Before diving into polyamory, inquire if your partner has considered it, gauging their comfort level.
- Communicate Your Feelings: Be clear about your emotions regarding polyamory to avoid misconceptions.
- Reflect on Your Needs: Understand your reasons for considering polyamory and ensure it’s not an attempt to fix relationship issues.
- Maintain Your Main Relationship: Continue nurturing your primary relationship even if you decide to explore polyamory.
- Define Your Goals: Clarify the purpose of your open relationship, whether it’s for new partners, flirtation, or sex, and ensure alignment with your partner.
- Share Educational Resources: Offer books, blogs, or websites to help your partner understand polyamory better.
- Take It Slow: Allow your partner time to process the information and start exploring new relationships together at a comfortable pace.
- Respect Boundaries: Discuss and maintain boundaries with your main partner and new partners, emphasizing honesty, communication, and trust.
Individuals in polyamorous and monogamous relationships are similar in levels of psychological well-being, passionate love, and attachment and give similar judgments about their relationship quality. This includes their commitment, romance, and satisfaction.
Regardless of whether it is two or more people in the equation, being polyamorous and monogamous still requires communication, honesty, loyalty, respect, and consent. If you are interested in polyamory or are in a monogamous relationship and want to learn how to strengthen your relationship, seek couples therapy.