Counseling and Therapy in Philadelphia

Non Monogamy Non-monogamy is an umbrella term for a sexual and/or romantic occurrence or relationship happening during an already existing sexual and/or romantic relationship or a relationship style where one chooses not to be in a monogamous relationship.

Consensual Non-Monogamy (I.e. Polyamory, Open Relationships, Polyfidelity, Swinging, Casual Sex, Threesomes, Polygamy, etc) Many relationship styles provide frameworks for non-monogamy to be consensual. In some circumstances (i.e. casual sex) there is an explicit understanding that the sexual and/or romantic event occurring is not going to end in a monogamous coupling. In others (i.e. polyamory, open relationships, etc) there is an understanding that the non-monogamy will occur in such a way as to value and keep intact a primary partnership(s).

Partnered Non-Monogamy Although what consensual partnered non-monogamy looks like in each relationship may vary, there are several factors which can be kept in mind when consensual non-monogamy is desired:

  • Types of Activity: What kinds of sexual and/or romantic activities (i.e. kissing, intercourse, love, etc) are acceptable outside the partnership.
  • Disclosure about Liaisons: Whether or not partners will discuss outside liaisons that occur, and/or if disclosure should occur before or after the non-monogamous event.
  • Level of Disclosure: If disclosure is okay, how much should be talked about (i.e. simply informing that it happened, or talking in detail about what happened).
  • Location of Liaisons: Where it is acceptable for the non-monogamous event to happen.
  • Post-Liaison Protocol: What partners should do or expect after a non-monogamous event (i.e. shower before coming home, be ready to discuss, etc.)
  • Emotional Managament: What each partner needs to ensure that they continue to feel safe within the relationship. Important Note: Just like in any relationship, people’s needs change over time and these factors should be discussed and re-negotiated as the relationship progresses.

Non-Consensual Non-Monogamy (See ‘Cheating’) When a non-monogamous event occurs without the aforementioned negotiation, both partners have not entered into the arrangement with full knowledge. When someone is misled to believe that they are in a monogamous relationship when they are not, this is considered infidelity or cheating.