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Don’t Try Non-Monogamy If You’re Just Gonna Make All These Mistakes

Non-monogamy has become much more popular in recent years, with people and couples moving away from the narrow monogamous conception of love and sex that has dominated Western culture for so long.

But with the sudden influx of people trying non-monogamy for size, whether they’re engaging in swinging, polyamory, open relationships, relationship anarchy, or just trying something more “monogamous”, there are opportunities for things to go wrong.

For one thing, so many people are new to this field; for two, there aren’t a ton of cultural scripts out there to guide people. In this context, it’s easy to make mistakes that can lead to breakups, regrets, and badly hurt feelings.

RELATED: Are monogamous relationships dying out in favor of a new way to date?

To help you navigate it all without causing unnecessary emotional damage, AskMen spoke to three non-monogamous experts about common mistakes to avoid. Here’s what they had to say:

9 non-monogamy mistakes to watch out for

1. Pressure a monogamous partner to open up

“I get so many emails from people who want to convince their partners to swing or ‘open up’,” says Jess O’Reilly, sexologist and host of the Sex with Dr Jess podcast. “Often, the posts involve detailed criticisms of their partners for being (supposedly) too stuck up, not adventurous enough, or just not aligned with their specific sexual desires. They often present non-monogamy as the ‘solution’ to ” deficits” of their partner.

What to do instead: “Be open about why non-monogamy appeals to you,” O’Reilly says. “Present it as an option rather than pressuring your partner. Be open to their reaction and accept that their first reaction may not be the last; they may need time to process. And if you don’t want to be with your partner because they have too many so-called deficits, consider breaking up or working on the relationship (starting with yourself) rather than exploring non-monogamy.

2. Not knowing what you expect from non-monogamy

“Do you want one lead partner, multiple partners, or no committed partners?” said Mia Leeescort, sex worker and CFO of Little dead magazine. “Are you a jealous person? If so, how do you deal with that jealousy?

What to do instead: Before trying non-monogamy, “talk to your non-monogamous, poly, swinger, and anarchist friends,” suggests Lee. “Read forums where people post honestly about their non-monogamous relationships. Ask questions to the extent that people are willing to share. Get a real picture of what it’s like in these non-traditional relationships. Then decide if you want this lifestyle.

3. Assuming non-monogamy will resolve a monogamous relationship

“So many couples assume that if they make a big change (and going from monogamy to non-monogamy is one of the biggest ones), existing problems in the relationship – from resentment to unsatisfying sex to breakdowns communications – will automatically be resolved,” says O’Reilly. “But that’s just not the case.”

What to do instead: “Work on your relationship whether you’re monogamous or not,” she advises, suggesting that if you’re dealing with relationship resentment, for example, you should “reflect at the source and look for achievable changes you can. do before making demands of your partner.

4. Thinking non-monogamy is about gender

“While sex can be an important part of non-monogamous relationships (just like monogamous relationships), there’s so much more to it,” says Stephen Quaderer, CEO of ThotExperience and creator of On your mind, a sexuality and gender inclusive hookup app for people who love oral pleasure. “Like any relationship dynamic, intimacy, trust, and care are essential in a non-monogamous dynamic.”

What to do instead: “Proactively show your care for each of your partners,” says Quaderer. “Check in with them to see how they are doing, and provide support and care when needed. We are all human, we all have good days and bad days. And one of the beautiful things about polyamory is the mutual enrichment that comes from everyone you connect with. Kiss that! You will definitely be better off!

5. Try to avoid your emotions

“Of course, we would prefer to reduce or avoid distressing emotions, but no amount of communication, reassurance, or connection can completely eradicate feelings,” says O’Reilly.

What to do instead: “Lean into a range of feelings and acknowledge them,” she says. “Give yourself permission to feel without having to explain every experience. You don’t have to apologize for your feelings; you are human. (Of course, if your behavior in response to a feeling is problematic, that’s another story.)”

“If you want to overcome an emotion,” says O’Reilly, you can consider these strategies:

  • Consider how this manifests in your body.
  • Look for ways to soothe the physical sensations/manifestations.
  • Write/reflect on how you feel and why you think you feel this way.
  • Write down / think about how you want to feel. Consider what it would take for you to feel that.
  • Don’t feel like you have to analyze every feeling.

6. Make assumptions about what it will look like

“There’s no set societal norm for these non-traditional relationships,” says Lee. “You don’t have to stick to the style of relationship you’ve seen before. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for a person to be everything to a partner. That’s the main appeal of non-monogamy. .

What to do instead: “Once you meet someone or people who share your relationship preference, ask them how they would like to proceed and, if so, move the relationship forward,” Lee suggests. “There’s no roadmap for us, so you better have good communication to make yours.”

7. Assuming you’re going to get fucked a ton

“So you’ve opened up your relationship,” Lee said. “Congratulations!”

“However, you didn’t suddenly add three zeros to your net worth, grow 12 inches, get a six-pack, and climb Kilimanjaro,” she points out. “There is still a disproportionate supply and demand between men who want sex with multiple partners and women who want casual sex or multiple partners.”

In fact, she notes, “My single straight male friends are having fewer matches on their dating apps after disclosing their non-monogamous relationship preference.”

What to do instead: To be realistic. As Lee points out, monogamy can be more appealing to women, so if you’re straight, be prepared to be ignored a lot in an online dating context, as many of the people you swipe on may be looking for someone. without a partner already.

8. Decline in communication over time

“Some people who discover non-monogamy start out with good intentions and communicate with their partners early in their dynamic, but fail to sustain that conversation,” says Quaderer. “The reality is that non-monogamous dynamics change over time, so it’s critical that you continually check in to make sure your needs and those of your partner are being met.”

What to do instead: “Check with your partners!” Quadrer said. “Establish regular touchpoints to communicate with each of your partners (and to the extent that your non-monogamous dynamic includes connections between your partners, encourage them to do the same). The more you communicate, the better your dynamic will be and you will avoid surprises or accumulated resentments.

9. Not thinking about planning

“One of the main challenges of being polyamorous is managing my time with my husband, time with my girlfriend, and time for work, friends, and hobbies,” Lee explains. “Just because my husband and I aren’t the sexually jealous type doesn’t mean we can have two dinners with our respective partners, or clone ourselves to be on different continents for the NYE kiss.”

What to do instead: “If you don’t use a calendar app, I highly recommend you start,” says Lee.

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