Written by: Dr. Rachael Meir, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Alright, folks! Let's talk about something that's been shaking up the relationship scene lately: non-monogamy.
You know, that whole polyamory, open relationship, and swinging thing? It's like a fresh take on love, but it's got its quirks. For this article, we're diving in to uncover the mental rollercoaster it brings–the good, the tough, and everything in between. Are you ready?
The tough stuff: Challenges and risks of non-monogamy
For those of us with an itch for adventure and a knack for thinking outside the relationship box, non-monogamy might likely sound like an enticing deal right off the bat. Yet, just like any other out-of-the-box escapade life throws at us, non-monogamy isn't a one-size-fits-all deal. This is why it's crucial to get a handle on the potential bumps in the road...
Risk #1: Communication complexity
Let's get real. Keeping the communication boat afloat can be a challenge, even in traditional relationships. Now, picture tossing a couple more partners into the mix–talk about a potential recipe for chaos, am I right?
Simply put, taking part in a non-monogamous relationship requires you and your lovers to always be on the same page with each other’s needs and boundaries. Otherwise, misunderstandings may occur, which can likely strain the non-monogamous parade.
Risk #2: Resource allocation
Although love isn’t a zero-sum game when it comes to relationships, time, energy, and emotional investment certainly are. And there’s no denying that in non-monogamous relationships, allocating these critical resources to multiple partners can feel like solving a complex puzzle. From date nights to cuddle sessions, each involved relationship needs its own tender loving care. And if it’s lacking in any of them, then emotional strains are bound to happen.
Risk #3: Health & safety
Ah, the spicy slice of the non-monogamy pie: physical intimacy (wink, wink!).
Sure, the idea of doing the dance-with-no-pants routine with multiple partners might tickle your adventurous side, but hold up–it's not just all fun and games! This is where the spotlight turns to being responsible, especially when it comes to two crucial things: talking openly and practicing safe sex. You see... if you're not on your A-game here, you're potentially opening the door to a party of not-so-welcome guests. We're talking about STIs crashing your shindig, and trust me, they're not the kind of company you want.
Plus, don't forget the emotional and logistical tangles that can sneak in–it's like a tricky obstacle course of its own.
Risk #3: Legal & societal complications
Here’s a reality check: While discussions about non-monogamy have been steadily gaining ground, it's still a stretch from being universally hailed as a mainstream thing. This means that–depending on the hows and wheres of your non-monogamous escapade–you might just find yourself hurdling over a few legal and societal hurdles along the way.
Say you're in a non-monogamous setup, and kids are in the picture. Custody battles might pop up, and–trust me–they're no walk in the park. Then there's the tricky matter of assets. Without clear laws for these kinds of relationships, divvying up belongings can turn into a blurry
And, of course, let’s not forget about the risk of society giving you the side-eye or raised brows, given how monogamy is still the prevailing poster child for “normal” relationships.
The goodies: Benefits and upsides of non-monogamy
As you know, there can be no risk without reward. And when it comes to tricky relationship adventures like non-monogamy, the same case applies. When given the right approach, this multi-partner extravaganza doesn't just become a thrill ride but a mental health boost in disguise as well! How, you ask?
Emotional safety net and fresh perspectives
Being in a thriving, non-monogamous relationship isn't just about having more than one bae–it's also about having a genuine support squad by your side!
Whenever life throws those curveballs, you get to lean on this crew with varied viewpoints to dish out some wisdom and cheer you on in your path. Simply put, it’s like having your own personal council of mentors, armed and ready to help expand your horizons!
Keeping it real
As with all types of relationships, honesty is the headliner when it comes to non-monogamous commitments. And when I say honesty, I don't just mean having casual truth drops here and there. We're talking consistent full-on, clear-the-air, no-secrets-allowed conversations about the wants, needs, and off-limits of everyone involved.
In doing so, a strong foundation of understanding arises, and this ultimately allows everyone to elevate and safeguard their emotional well-being and navigate their non-monogamous endeavors with more clarity and less drama.
Freedom from monogamous norms
The best part about venturing into life's non-traditional escapades? You get to step out of a scripted storyline and craft your own story. And guess what? That's the magic of diving into non-monogamy!
When you dip your toes into various hues of love and intimacy, you're giving yourself the green light to uncover and freely embrace your unique dating quirks and desires.
And let me tell you... That's the secret sauce for whipping up a seriously content, oh-so-happy YOU in your love journey! Your life, your rules.
Say hello to compersion
In the heart of successful and functional non-monogamous relationships lies a pervasive emotion shared by everyone practicing it: "compersion."
Think of it as a happiness ripple effect–a phenomenon that's fueled by one's joy of not only feeling loved in the non-monogamous dance but also knowing that the other people involved are getting their share as well. No drama, no jealousy–it's all about good vibes and high-fives.
Where to go from here...
And that's a wrap, folks! Without a doubt, non-monogamy comes with both sweet perks and tricky challenges, much like a buffet of emotions that keeps you guessing.
You get the freedom for exploration, a more colorful social life, and a wealth of chances to grow personally–but don't be fooled! This path also demands some juggling, taming jealousy, and, most importantly... becoming a communication champ. And so, as you weigh the scales of gain and risk, be sure to always keep your mental well-being in mind. This journey is all about discovering your own treasure, and while it's no cakewalk, it's an adventure where you're in control.
Dr. Rachael Meir, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Rachael Meir is a Stanford-trained psychologist and Contemporary Relationship Clini-Coach® who specializes in ethical/consensual non-monogamy (including swinging, open relationships, polyamory, and other alternative lifestyles) and is sex-positive, LGBTQIA+ affirming, and BDSM/kink aware. As a bisexual woman in a polyamorous triad relationship herself, Dr. Meir is dedicated to helping individuals navigate the challenges of opening their relationships and sustaining multiple sexual and romantic partnerships. With extensive experience working with a wide range of clients, she has a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by those living outside the bounds of heteronormative sexual orientations and monogamous relationship structures. She offers individual and group coaching to help clients learn the necessary skills to create secure and healthy relationships that work best for them.