As the term non-monogamy becomes more mainstream, (with an estimated 20% of the US population having tried some form of non-monogamy according to the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy published in 2016) the question often gets asked, how do you bring up non-monogamy to a partner, especially that first time? Whether you just want to have a discussion and see what your partner thinks of the whole thing, or if the idea of swinging, polyamory, or opening up your relationship has crossed your mind, you are not alone. After nearly a decade of researching, blogging, podcasting, and coaching singles and couples I have definitely learned a few things that have worked more consistently than others, and of course the what not to do’s.
As an aside, if you have already tried having the conversation and feel like you just crashed and burned, don’t worry. That is how my first open relationship started and I am still here learning, growing, and expanding my knowledge. While at times I wanted desperately to pretend I had never heard the term “open relationship” there was no going back for me. Pandora’s box had been opened, and the depth to which I love myself, and those around me would not have been possible without the term being introduced into my life, no matter how it happened. And with my partner we learned to be patient, loving, supportive, and figure out what made us both tick, and you can learn all these things too. I truly believe that there is no one size fits all relationship norm, and thus, I have written this article to be inclusive of any gender or relationship style outside of monogamy. And, if this is your first foray and you have no clue where to even begin, you have definitely come to the right place! So, let’s dive right into having that taboo conversation with a loved one, for the first time.
What Do You Want?
Before you can even entertain the thought of bringing up anything outside of monogamy to your partner, it is important that you first ask yourself what it is that you want. Why are you bringing up this “taboo” subject in the first place? What is your motivation, fantasy, or desired outcome? What do you envision a non-monogamous relationship will look like? Or even, what it could look like?