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What We Can Learn from Committed, Healthy Non-Monogamous Relationships

20130328-144721.jpgAsk any woman to describe the three most important things in a relationship, and monogamy will typically round out the list.

Maintaining monogamy with a single partner can be incredibly important, but it can also be tricky. The deck is stacked against those looking to be with one person for the rest of their lives, both from a biological and an evolutionary perspective. Plus, well, there’s the simple fact that so many people fail at it.

If you’re feeling hopeless about your prospects for monogamy, it’s reassuring to remember that there are plenty of people in healthy and happy relationships that aren’t monogamous.

The very concept of polyamory — engaging in open relationships in which a person can be involved with more than one partner — can seem terrifying to the lifelong monogamist (which most of us are). I met my first open couple about a year ago and it made me nervous in the way meeting steampunk enthusiasts made me nervous: I didn’t understand what made them tick.

In the time since, I’ve gotten to know several non-monogamous couples, and they not only seem very happy but also extremely devoted to each other.

That’s not to say I’m giving up monogamy anytime soon. But there are lessons to be learned about long-term fidelity and communication from couples who decide to bring in partners outside the relationship.

Here are takeaways from three polyamorous couples that are valuable for any relationship, open or not.

1. You are allowed to make your own rules for your relationship.

Open couples have a lot of rules.

You need to lay down the law on how far you can take a new relationship, how much you tell your primary partner, whether or not you can you spend nights away from the home, and whether or not having a date with someone else excludes you from doing the laundry.

Poly couples set rules for how many outside sexual partners they can have, whether they can introduce those partners to their children, and even where they can have sex with those partners.

Polyamory comes with a lot of baggage, but then, so does monogamy.

The difference is that monogamous couples don’t think about the fact that they have the power to shape the rules for their relationship.

Read more: Jo Piazza, TheDateReport

What people are saying

2 thoughts on “What We Can Learn from Committed, Healthy Non-Monogamous Relationships

  1. Kari Rakitan says:

    Beautifully said!

  2. Polyamory isn't for everyone, but it is for some. Some people are born polyamorous. We need our rights, too.

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