Common Misconceptions about Ethical Non-monogamy
Ethical non-monogamy is a relationship style that has become more widely accepted in recent years. It’s shown up in mainstream entertainment and throughout various media. Most folks have heard of poly or open relationships, and many may personally know someone who is practicing them. Unfortunately, despite the growing popularity and acceptance, there is still a lot of negative and blatantly false information out there. If you’re new to non-monogamy or are considering it, you’re likely to come across some of these ideas. Take a look at some of the more common myths about ethical non-monogamy.
Everyone Has or Is Pursuing More Than One Partner
Ethical non-monogamy typically involves having relationships with more than one person, but this doesn’t have to be the case. You can still identify as polyamorous or non-monogamous if you have just one partner, or even none at all. Many consider poly to be an identity, or an integral part of themselves. This doesn’t change if you’re between partners, currently involved with only one person or taking a break from dating altogether.
Jealousy Is More Intense Than in Monogamous Relationships
People’s first reaction when they find out someone they know is polyamorous is often to say, “Oh, I could never do that. I’d be too jealous.” The assumption is that the feeling of jealousy would be intensified knowing that a partner is intimately involved with someone else. This isn’t always the case. Those in ethically non-monogamous relationships are actually likely to be more prepared to recognize, manage and talk about jealous feelings because they anticipate them. Some folks identify strongly with non-monogamy precisely because they don’t experience much jealousy. Instead, they may feel compersion for their partner. Compersion is a feeling of happiness that comes from seeing the joy of a partner or loved one sharing their time with another.
It’s All About Wanting More Sex
Another misconception some folks have about people who practice ethical non-monogamy is that they’re obsessed with sex. Just because people may have multiple relationships doesn’t necessarily mean they are having lots of sex. In fact, they may not be having sex at all. Polyamorous individuals are just as complex as monogamous ones. Their interests in sex vary. There are those who are asexual and who might not wish to have sexual relationships at all. Others are demisexual, preferring to only engage in sex with partners they share a deep emotional bond with. Highly sexual individuals with varying degrees of interest in sex, from vanilla to kinky, also exist within the world of open relationships. Non-monogamy allows individuals to approach each relationship separately and to negotiate the types of behaviors that may or may not occur.
If My Partner Loves Someone Else, They Will Love Me Less
One of the biggest worries people have when approaching polyamory is that they may discover their partner will grow to love another. This can be especially worrisome for established couples who decide to open their relationship. The truth is that relationships are all different. Each brings its own benefits to your life, and you can expect to forge unique bonds with each partner. That’s truly the beauty of non-monogamy. You’re able to explore various connections and to seek more than one love. As with monogamous relationships, it is possible for partners to outgrow each other or to move on for various reasons. However, fear of this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the potential of meaningful connections to enrich your life.
It Takes Too Much Time
People sometimes wonder how they can possibly find time to have a relationship with more than one person. While time is a limited resource, we often can make time for what matters most to us. Chances are, you find time to spend with friends and family who are meaningful to you. You can take that same approach to arrange your week in a way that allows you to get to know potential new partners. Polyamorous relationships are much like any other kind. Partners discuss and negotiate the amount of time they wish to spend together and work it into the other aspects of their life. Sometimes you may need to make adjustments, and that’s to be expected.
These are just some of the myths about ethical non-monogamy. The dynamics within this relationship approach may differ from the monogamous style that is normalized within our culture. The important thing to remember is that neither structure is better than the other. What matters most is comfort, consent and communication between partners.