In non-monogamous relationships, more than two people are involved! That means one or both partners involved have sexual or romantic relationships with other people. Some relationships will involve other people sexually, romantically, or both! A relationship where two people are romantically or sexually involved with only each other and no other partners is sometimes called a monogamous relationship.
Just like in monogamous relationships, people in non-monogamous relationships will tell each other what they are and aren’t okay with. Some couples may just flirt with other people, while others choose to have threesomes! Every relationship looks different. All that matters is that both partners are happy together!
What do non-monogamous relationships look like?
Non-monogamous relationships come in all sorts of types! Below are some example of non-monogamous relationships. These labels help us understand the different types of relationships, but they can look different for every couple.
- Polyamory is when people in a relationship have multiple different romantic connections at once. This may look like three people in a relationship with each other. It could also look like someone dating two people who don’t date each other!
- An open relationship is when two people are in a relationship, but one or both of them has casual sex with other people.
- Monogam-ish relationships are when two partners are mostly monogamous, but might sometimes do non-monogamous things like having a threesome or hooking up with others on vacation.
- Swinging is when a couple has sex with another couple, sometimes at parties or other events organized for this purpose.
- Relationship anarchy is when someone dates multiple different people at the same time without prioritizing one partner over the other.
There are just some of the terms people have come up with for different types of non-monogamy. There are probably lots we don’t have listed here, too!
Why might someone want or not want to be non-monagamous?
There are many reasons why people might prefer being non-monogamous, or why they might prefer being monogamous! It depends on the person and the people they date.
Some people who are non-monogamous find that being involved sexually or romantically with multiple people allows for more emotional and intimate connections! Also, some people may feel like they have more personal freedom in non-monogamous relationships. For many, non-monogamy can provide different ways of thinking about relationships that feel good for them. Or, it might just be something fun that they do from time to time!
While non-monogamy can be a great relationship style for some, others might prefer to be monogamous. That’s okay, too! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be monogamous or non-monogamous.
Some people might prefer to be monogamous because that feels comfortable to them. For some, knowing that they’re exclusive with one partner can feel freeing, too! At the end of the day, everyone has the right to choose a relationship style that works for them and whoever they have relationships with.
So… is non-monogamy right for me?
It’s up to you! Different people have different needs in relationships. When it comes to sex and dating, only you get to decide what you want, need, and expect from the people you date!
If you’re wondering about what kind of relationship style might be right for you, it can help to ask yourself some questions, like:
- What do you want out of a romantic or sexual relationship with someone?
- What do expect from the people you have relationships with?
- What makes you feel safe, secure, and able to express yourself in a relationship?
- How do you handle feelings like love, trust, jealousy, etc?
- What does safer sex look like for you and the kind of relationships you want?
Everyone’s answers to these questions are different, and that’s okay! The important thing is that relationships are healthy for everyone involved — no matter what that looks like.