Sometimes referred to as “consensual non-monogamy,” ethical non-monogamy is an umbrella term for relationship structures and agreements that do not require exclusivity to be healthy. Quite a spectrum of arrangements exists and that’s the beauty of it; you design your relationships in a way that works for you, your partners, and your metamours.
Common forms of non-monogamy include polyamory, swinging, open relationships, and relationship anarchy. Note: Each of these are not inherently ethical just looking at the form or structure of the relationships.
What Ethical Non-monogamy is NOT
With a focus on ethics, boundaries, and acting with integrity and compassion, ethical non-monogamy is definitely not:
- Cheating or an excuse to cheat
- An easy way to get laid
- A simple fix to a damaged relationship
- Freedom from jealousy
- Treating people as shiny-objects to use and discard
Lastly, conscious monogamy may suit you better, and that’s perfectly OK! It’s just really helpful that this be a decision rather than operating on default. It is a choice you get to make!
When to Seek Professional Guidance
First, let me be clear that this is not about pathology. Nor need it be. At our best, psychotherapists – particularly MFTs – are skilled at and tasked with helping people improve and maintain healthy relationships. So, it’s more about what we might call “relationship wellness”. Now, of course, therapists are also trained to treat mental illness and perhaps are better known in this capacity nowadays. But, let me be clear – you do not need to have any diagnosis to benefit from professional therapy.
Ethical non-monogamy is not an easy path for the faint of heart. Apart from normal relationship challenges, we add the external societal pressures towards monogamy, some of which can be downright toxic. As a result, you may find it hard to find acceptance and support from monogamous friends or family. Even non-monogamous friends may not be the most impartial and unbiased, or you might have worries about whether what you share will be kept confidential. That’s where I come in.
I offer a confidential space to explore, process, and resolve the following and more:
- What do I really need and want from my relationships? Can they all be met from one person?
- Determine if non-monogamy is right for you or if you’re better suited to monogamy (which is totally OK!)
- Decide about opening an existing monogamous relationship
- Better understand and act in congruence with your boundaries and ethics
- Come out to your partner and others (and get support while making these disclosures)
- Navigate complicated decisions and dynamics around family life and your non-monogamous relationships/activities
- Strengthen your sense of agency and voice within your relationships (particularly if you identify as a ‘secondary’)
Clearing the Roadblocks
- Let go of beliefs from ‘toxic monogamy’ culture and embrace non-monogamy principles
- Insecurity and fears of “not being good enough”
- Jealousy (aka the “big green monster”) is wreaking havoc on your sanity and your relationships
- Conflict resolution – aka “working shit out like a grown-ass adult”
Recovering from Hurtful Actions
- Healing yourself (and maybe your relationship, if feasible) after infidelity
- Transitioning to non-monogamy after infidelity and affairs
- Discrimination, “bashing” or just getting the cold shoulder in response to your non-monogamy
- Re-build trust after agreement/boundary violations (not complying with safer sex agreements, being outed, etc)
I enjoy diving deep into the uniquely personal issues both past and present that impact your non-monogamous journey. You’ll find no cookie-cutter approaches here. My role is to provide a safe holding space for you to share vulnerability, process decisions, and level up your skills for healthy relationships of all types.
Resilience in the Heart of Non-Monogamy
Emerging from both my professional training as a licensed therapist and my own personal journeys, I’ve learned that what I really help people with is resilience. In the context of supporting non-monogamous individuals and polycules/networks, this resilience does not mean that I help people maintain relationships that aren’t good for them or are unworkable. Instead, I focus on strengthening individual and collective capacity to navigate relationships with a sense of empowerment and resilience to bounce back from disappointment, hardship, and, yes, ending relationships (if necessary) too.
Cultivating that Resilient Spirit
In collaboration with you as the expert in your life, I offer myself as both a confidential sounding board to process big decisions, a resource for tools and strategies, and a coach for healthy communication. Hell, there are probably way more hats that I wear (while still staying in my professional role). But you get the idea.
My own spirit has awakened to see many more possibilities for connection and growth than ever imagined. I wonder what dreams you may have for your relationships… Whether you’re working through difficult points in your relationships or just want to take them to the next level, I encourage you to reach out today.