Non-monogamy: everything you wanted to know about it
Historically, monogamy was not something people practised and looked up to. What is more, anthropologists believe that polygamy has been the norm for a really long time. But how is it viewed today? Are we more open or more afraid of opening up ? In this article, you'll explore what non-monogamy can be, how it varies for different people, and what you can make out of it. So keep reading!
Humans have always focused on keeping their species alive and surviving through times, so even research says that people are not supposed to be monogamous. But this aproach is a cisgender view on relatioships and family which is no longer the case in the modern world where everyone, regardless of gender, should be able to form a communion and a family with whomever they want. Throughout history, people viewed relationships not only in a romantic way (think about "until death do us part") but they also viewed it in a more practical way, from an evolutionary perspective, so that the humans didn't go extinct.
Over time, especially during the 18th and 19th century, romanticism and monogamy became more popular, and people started to have a different perspective on love and relationships, making room for monogamy inside their cultures and traditions -- so much so that it became a norm.
However, there still are a lot of cultures and places where people don’t accept this norm and prefer polygamy instead of monogamy. Today, there is a shift in perspectives, and what was once considered taboo is no longer uncommon, but a lifestyle chosen by many people. In a recent study in the US, more than 80% of respondents said that a couple should be monogamous, but the rest of respondents were open to explore non-monogamy. Most of them identify as part of LGBTQI+ community, and are willing to try or practising already consensual non-monogamy. If you identify as heterosexual, gay, or queer and so on, monogamy and non-monogamy can be valid options, whether you're in a relationshio or not. You can be in a couple -- for example a heterosexual one but still have sex with other people of the same sex as you, if you are in an open relationship, and both you and your partner have defined your boundaries, needs and expectations from eachother.
It might sound easy to achieve but non-monogamy requires a lot of communication, understanding, honesty and for all parties to agree on the needs and reasons they each have. Then, you can explore different types of relationships as long as all partners involved are aware of the situation. Because if it's consensual, then there shouldn't be any deception but rather acknowledging and accepting each other's boundaries. This is one of the key ingredients for a non-monogamous relationship to thrive and be a healthy relationship. So no, cheating is not a form of consensual non-monogamy.
What are the types of non-monogamy - in a consensual way - that anyone can explore? The most common ones are polyamory, trouple, polygyny and open relatioship.
It’s a type of relationship that includes more than 2 people. Usually, people in this type of relationship have other partners too, and all partners consent to this arrangement, but it’s also common to not have other partners. How does it work? Some people find it more satisfying to be in a relationship where one partner or some partners have chemistry and they like other partners for only an emotional connection but without being physical. So it’s not just about sex.
If you agree upon an open relationship, you should clearly define your status and what type of connection you and your partner have. For example, before going open, you need to decide whether you want to explore the sexual side or the emotional side of other relationships, with other people, and let your partner know. If they agree, then you can be in an open relationship. Remember, you are the ones who decide what can be acceptable or not and you need to manage the relationship.
This type of relationship is different from polyamory and it means a man being married to more than one woman. Although this might seem very strange in some parts of the world, it is not uncommon to practise it in some parts of America and other cultures or religions such as Islam.
This is a relationship that involves 3 persons. Depending on the partners’ dynamic and history, it is possible to have one primary partner that is involved with two other people, but those people are not in a relationship. Of course, there are many more triangle or trouple forms of relationships.