Some of these topics were already discussed in previous sections, but I don’t think all the readers read all the sections, so it’s important to answer some common questions here too.
Interaction with my surroundings
Where can I find people to date that will be open to my status?
Usually, poly friendly apps can give you a head start. Most suggested ones are “Ok Cupid” and in some areas “Feeld” (previously known as 3nder – as in an app for threesomes, but it caters many non-heteronormative arrangements). OKC even lets you link your account to your partner. Tinder can also help finding partners, but in many cases, people are more judgmental there – since you can’t filter out non-monogamy, you get the full spectrum of our judgmental society. Other online places can be craigslist, or swinger dating sites for swingers.
In the sexist world of dating, usually finding men to have sex with is easier (BTW building relationships is not as easy). For men and women, meetups, munches, kink classes (like bondage workshops etc), LGBT+ friendly parties or bars can be great places to start with. You can also try to get to know people in your day to day life, but it’s harder properly informing them of your status.
What communities aren’t defaulting to monogamy? Where can I find likeminded friends or even future partners?
I find that other communities that have similar openness about sex and relationship are the LGBTQ+ community (including asexual), kink (BDSM) community (which included hot-wife/hot-husband), childfree people. Any sex-positive community has a great potential to be open to non-monogamy, but you should always remember that even there some, or even most are monogamous.
When should I disclose that I’m not single, but in a non-monogamous setup instead?
As soon as possible. Probably as soon as in your profile (for online interactions), in one of your first conversations (in an expected dating setting like a club), or just as soon as you get to know each other in a non-friendship way. You give the other person the ability to make an informed decision before they fall for you (thus avoiding emotional manipulation), while also protecting yourself from the social stigma of cheating if they’ll find out about your partner before you’ll have the chance to tell them.
Even for ONS? Casual relationships? Vacation sex?
It’s really up to you. Ethical non-monogamy is exactly that – ethical. So you get to make the decision about the ethics of your actions.
Why non-monogamous and other sex-positive communities value communication so much more than the default heteronormative relationship?
Well, the key word here is “default”. Every other type of relationship is by definition not default, which means that you need to have some sort of conversation to get there. Coordinating times, sex acts, feelings and more is exponentially harder when you don’t have a default setting to adhere to.
Interaction with my partner
How do I start the conversation with my partner?
As easy and as hard as it sounds, it’s just a matter of saying what you feel. Don’t push them to agree with you in the first conversation. Instead, let them think about it. In many cases, the first response would be negative, and would spark insecurities common to monogamous relationships – “Don’t you think I’m enough for you?”, “What if you leave me for a better version of me” etc. To have a good understanding of these topics yourself, and to give all the necessary information to your partner, I invite you to read all the information on the other sections and to research even more online.
How can I figure out if this is the right thing for me? For us as a couple?
Non-monogamous relationships are harder than monogamous in some sense, but also easier in other aspects. Only by informing yourself, doing some soul-searching, or/and trying it out would you be able to tell if it’s right for you. Generally speaking, as long as you are part of a well communicating LTR couple, or you are a single person willing to experiment and develop your conversational skills, you are in a great position to try. Otherwise, you still can do it if you want, but it’ll require more time and energy investment, and compromises.
So, how do we actually start? And what are the keys to successful transformation into non-monogamy?
Well, you discuss. A lot. Then if all is well, you find some one interesting and setup a date (some prefer to start with only one partner, to feel the changes independently, and the second partner will wait several weeks or months. Some feel that this can make the waiting partner resent his SO, so it’s really up to you and your personal relationship). And you discuss. And you go on a date. And you discuss. And you discuss some more the next day. If all is well, you have another date. I think you know what comes next.
As long as you keep talking about every little doubt (within reason), and as long as you trust each other enough to expect them to tell you every little (within reason) change of heart regarding you or your metas, you are doing everything you can. The rest is up to your partner, and the “personality” of your relationship (are you both jealous, do you call each other a lot, for each of you – as a person do you like talking a lot etc.)
Polyamory? NSA? FWB? Threesomes? Foursomes? Somesomes? Swinging? Orgies? Unicorns? What to do if I want it? What is my partner doesn’t?
If you want it you have to talk to your partner. Explain why you feel the want/need, and show them that it wouldn’t hurt your relationship. Do it in a non-judgmental way, and give them enough time to process. If they are a reader (or video viewer) find resources online to help them understand the subject better. You can talk about the subject the following days, but don’t pressure them into a decision. Ask them if they need more info to decide, and is there something you can do. I find it easier talking about the stuff I need to decide with my (primary) partner, and this is not an exception.
If you have people over for your first threesome or swinging, don’t forget to be respectful. The obvious one is not kicking them out right after sex (unless it’s something you agreed on). The other thing is not getting straight to sex – offer them water or sweets, have a cold, closed bottle (or 2) of water and some sealed snack on your night stand, and make sure they understand that they are free to use it. Show them where is the bathroom, and maybe have a towel and flip-flops ready if they’ll feel like showering before/after all the nasty business.
My partner cheated on me. Should we consider non-monogamy?
Think of it like this. Cheating is not having physical sex with another person. It’s breach of trust. In non-monogamy trust is as important, if not more than in monogamous relationships. So, if you’ve discussed and figured out the reasons if you’ve restored the trust, and if you feel that this is what is needed for both of you, you might try non-monogamy, although it’s not going to be easy. If, however, you are not fully recovered from that event, it best to figure your own shit out before dumping it on more people.
What is NRE and how to handle it?
Ahh NRE – New Relationship Energy. That great feeling you feel when you first start dating, that honeymoon period of constant thinking about them, texting, calling, talking to and about. It’s basically when you can’t turn your brain off being all about that person and it lasts about 3-6 months. And this feels great in monogamous situations. But in non-monogamous situations, you have other partner(s) that you can’t just ignore for half a year. So it is still expected to feel great, and trying to talk about and be with that person more, but you have to make quality time with your other partner(s), not ignoring them, trying to stick to the rules and boundaries you have. If you or your partner(s) feel that you start being inconsiderate towards them, it’s important to talk about is, and see if you can make adjustments. Maybe ask them to help you stick to the rules for example, by reminding you some important ones here and there. But they also need to understand that you feel very good and be open to letting you explore it.
Isn’t non-monogamy against nature?
Actually, most animals in nature are sexually non-monogamous, and many are also socially non-monogamous. Our evolution hints that humans were not always monogamous as well. Our culture dictates monogamy due to different factors like religion, conservativism of male dominance over women and the children these women have for them, land ownership, and more. In our day and age, with women having almost all the rights and the requirements expected from men, there is no reason to keep women in unsatisfying relationships. Generations upon generations grew in a world where monogamy is culturally acceptable, and we still can’t change the tone.
Is it really non-monogamy? Isn’t –gamy suffix refers to marriage?
I do believe that language is a live thing, and we use words that help us transmit our message to other people. We can change it if we feel that the word doesn’t describe the true meaning of its definition. The proper word that describes many non-monogamous arrangements would be “non-monoamory” (maybe not all, since some arrangements don’t include feelings like love with secondaries, but then again they don’t include marrying them either).
The etymology of the word monogamy (and consecutively non-monogamy) has everything to do with marriage. This is partly because the relationship escalator (https://solopoly.net/2012/11/29/riding-the-relationship-escalator-or-not/) – the expectance of the society for a monoamorous couples to marry and form an monogamous relationship.
Should you use “monoamory” instead of “monogamy”? If you want to spark a conversation, you might. In other cases, I believe you should stick to the word that can be understood the same by all parties involved. I myself am I true believer in “[non-]monoamory”, because I think marriage is a dying institution, but in many cases when speaking with others, I much rather get to my point, than being petty about the use of this word.