Nov 23, 2020 | Where to Begin

Can Monogamy Turn into an Open Relationship

People want to enter into non-monogamous relationships for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you are looking for more sexual variety? Maybe you are looking for multiple committed relationships? Either way, non-monogamy is compelling for a wide variety of reasons. What is all the better is that now what accompanies these compelling reasons is the fact that the stigma surrounding non-monogamy is lessening. It is much easier now to be open with your desires towards non-monogamy than it was twenty or thirty years ago. 

This lessening of stigma, however, has its furthest reach in public life. Which is to say, more people now know what non-monogamy is; articles are written on it, it shows up in television shows and people generally say when they are asked that they are accepting of it. The problem rests now in interpersonal interactions with monogamously oriented individuals. Most people might say that they are open and accepting of non-monogamy, but, the same people –of whom are in monogamous relationships– become squeamish at the thought of being involved in non-monogamy themselves.

And yet, this squeamishness certainly arises in those who are in monogamous relationships who are interested in non-monogamy. The cultural collective unconscious has seeped into such people to the point where they are expressing self-deception towards their own desires in this respect. They might think that there is something wrong with them for having such desires; they might think that their partner would think less of them for having such desires, or they might even think that their family would disown them for having such desires. The reason for this is because, at some point throughout history, this might have been true –or, even worse things might have been true. The subtle ways in which such reactions to non-monogamy persist result in a similar reaction: namely, to hide one’s own desires. 

This begs the following question: can a monogamous relationship turn into a non-mongamous relationship? The short and simple answer is yes, it can. However, it must be kept in mind that this is not the case with all monogamous relationships. This is because there are some people who are simply so against the idea of non-monogamy that there will be no convincing them otherwise. For those cases, you must either be willing to drop your desire or move on to someone else who is willing to work with your desires. It really is that black and white in a situation where the person cannot be convinced. 

If you want to turn monogamy into non-monogamy, it is going to take a lot of work. It is very possible that, at first, when you bring up the prospect of a non-monogamous relationship to your partner, they might resemble the person who will never be persuaded to enter into a non-monogamous relationship. Don’t get too deterred by this: this reaction is simply due to being conditioned by the norms surrounding monogamy, and by having little to no exposure to the norms of non-monogamy. 

Firstly, you need to express your intentions and assure your partner. You need to let them know that the reason why you are interested in non-monogamy is not that you aren’t attracted or do not love your partner anymore; rather, it is simply because you either have sexual or romantic desires for more than one person. It doesn’t take anything away from what you have with your partner, but instead, fulfills things that can only be fulfilled by adding in more partners. Open and honest communication here is the key to success and non-accusatory language is also the key to success. The last thing you want to do is make your partner feel inadequate, insecure, or angry. 

Part of how you are going to make this go in your favor is by educating your partner on non-monogamy and dispelling them of any stereotypes they might be holding onto about it. Showing them blogs or YouTube videos about it might help. Also, simply telling them that non-monogamy is not an excuse to cheat or blindly hook up with people will definitely help lift some of the implicit stigmas they are holding on to. You need to let them know that non-monogamy entails boundaries, commitments, honesty, communication, and respect for all involved. Part of why so many are against non-monogamy is simply because they do not know anything about it, but instead, believe the rumors and stereotypes. Helping them learn might tip them in your favor for entering into a non-monogamous relationship with them.

Next, you need to straight-up ask your partner, after all of your important open, honest, and transparent conversations, whether or not they are willing to enter into a non-monogamous relationship with you. If you truly have the intention of entering into such a relationship, you need to make that as clear as possible for your partner. If they say yes after all of the educating and persuading, then that is great! You are on your way to fulfilling your desires openly and freely. But, if they do not agree, you will have to make a tough choice: you will either have to put up with not fulfilling your own desires for the sake of your partner’s wishes or, you will have to move on from this partner. We cannot really provide you with an answer to which one is a better choice, because they are both pretty bad. Suffering will occur either way. 

While it is not a guarantee that a monogamous relationship can be turned into a non-monogmous relationship, you can increase your odds of creating this transformation through education and open and honest communication with your partner. As time goes on, however, it is very likely that more and more people will be much more willing to participate in non-monogamous relationships. With education rising and the stigma lifting, fewer people will be afraid and reluctant to either pursue their own desires or, to be curious enough to jump out of their own comfort zone for the sake of their partner’s desires. This is a bright future, and it is very much so one that is worth being patient for. 

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