Love is infinite, You can’t have more or less infinity, and you can’t compare two things to see if they’re “equally infinite.” Infinity just is, and that’s the way I think love is, too. – Fred Rogers

Therapy for Non-Monogamous Relationships


Over the years, I have been seeing increasing numbers of couples and relationships which choose to embrace non-monogamous lifestyle. They accepted unconventional view and expectations of monogamy and sexual fidelity. Many of these relationships struggle to find therapists and support in their lives, as they aspire to make their relationships succeed. While all relationships require work and investment, non-monogamous relationships have unique challenges that may amplify the difficulties.

Many of those who pursue polyamorous relationships find them to be desirable and fulfilling. Yet, when challenges arise and partners cannot solve them alone, a non-monogamous expert therapist or other mental health professionals may often be able to help partners navigate polyamory and other nonmonogamous relationship styles.

Since individuals have different preferences, they also pursue relationships in a variety of ways. Some people find a monogamous relationship style works for them. Others find that monogamy does not work for them and choose to pursue some style of nonmonogamous relationship.

Some pursue an open relationship or choose to share partners out of the desire to experience casual sex/intimacy with multiple partners. Others find they experience love and affection for multiple individuals at the same time. They may feel the need to pursue it.

As infidelity and divorce is growing, a larger number of individuals see that total monogamy for a lifetime is very challenging. This is why today more partners are looking for a more flexible structure and arrangement when it comes to their intimacy and sexuality.

While monogamy is generally still the norm in many cultures, non-monogamy is becoming increasingly recognized as a relationship style. To many, polyamory and other forms of nonmonogamy may be as natural as other people feels about monogamy.

Many of those who pursue consensual non-monogamous relationships find them to be attractive and fulfilling. Yet, when problems arise and the parties involved cannot solve them by themselves, a non-monogamous expert couples therapist may often be able to help partners navigate polyamory and other nonmonogamous relationship styles.

In spiral2grow the therapy for non-monogamous relationship is led by Moshe Ratson (MBA, MS MFT, LMFT), a Licensed Couples and Marriage Therapist (LMFT). Moshe is often contacted by people seeking help in finding therapists who can suspend judgment and work with couples and help them move from where they are to where they want to be. spiral2grow is located in the heart of New York City – close to Grand Central Station (NYC). spiral2grow welcomes individuals and couples of all sexual orientations and gender identities and hope that you will find my knowledge, experience and respect an added benefit to our work together.

Background to Open Relationship

More than ever before, the high infidelity and divorce rates encourage some people to explore the idea of open marriage and polyamory. In addition, as technologies, options and abundances amplify, it enhances the complexities of modern intimate relationships, and pushes some of them to investigate and experiment alternatives to a monogamy and a conventional marriage.

While many people view the notion of an “ideal” romantic relationship as having single partner for life that satisfies all your love and intimate need, there are others who are also interested in expanding their emotional, intimate and sexual experience beyond one partner. Open relationship, polyamory and nonmonogamy are only a few examples for looking beyond the exclusivity of the conventional marriage and intimacy.

Couples who opt for open relationship are mostly challenged by the qualities of stability, security and reassurance of commitment to monogamy, yet they are looking for excitement, novelty, passion, freedom, and thrill. It is and ego-boost and pleasing to know that you are still desired by people who are not your spouse. It is also self-gratifying to have the freedom to act on your desire, and experience variation, especially in the sexual area.

Types of Consensual Non-monogamous Relationships:

Many of those who pursue consensual non-monogamous relationships find them to be attractive and fulfilling. Yet, when problems arise and the parties involved cannot solve them by themselves, a non-monogamous expert couples therapist may often be able to help partners navigate polyamory and other nonmonogamous relationship styles.

Open Relationship

An open relationship is a committed relationship in which one or both partners pursue sexual relationship outside of their partnership. Couples that has the openness and permission to have sex with whomever/whenever the couples define as OK.

Lifestyle Couple or Swingers

Swingers – Typically defined as a couple in a committed relationship that have sex with others. Generally, both partners in the relationship will swap spouses with another couple and will exercise sex with other committed partners. In general, in this type of relationship the engagement with others is not focused on emotional intimacy.

Polyamorous Relationship

Polyamory is defined as a consent to practice intimacy and romantic love with more than one partner at the same time. While there are variations on this relationship style, generally, polyamorous relationships involve commitment to multiple partners.

Polyfidelity

Polyfidelity is a “group marriage” model, essentially the same as being married-except you’re married to more than one person. Those who are involved live together, share finances, children, family and household responsibilities and are committed and exclusive to each other.

As there is not a distinct line between the various form of non-monogamous relationship, I like to think of it as a continuum.

Challenges of Nonmonogamus Relationships

While there is increase numbers of open relationships and greater acceptance, open relationship largely exists outside social norms. This is why many individuals are private about their relationships. Nonmonogamous relationships may be challenged by the same issues occurring in monogamous relationships and also by unique situations particular to nonmonogamy. Here are some of the challenges:

  • While it is typical that they believe that their relationship is strong enough that it will prevent romantic feelings for others to develop, that is not always the case.
  • Since polyamory exists outside social norms, many individuals are private about their relationships, not wishing to experience judgment and discrimination.
  • Society might have negative stigma surrounding the issue of polyamorous relationships.
  • Non-monogamous relationships may be challenged by the same issues occurring in monogamous relationships yet since more people involved in these dynamics the complexity of the issue might be greater.
  • While jealousy is often inevitable, jealousy at its different forms may often arise as an issue in nonmonogamous relationships. It is important to develop ways to address and work through it in a healthy and open way.
  • Priority and time management issues – With jobs, children, household responsibilities and so on, time is a precious commodity. Time management and quality time spent with each other partners may be limited. As such, scheduling dates and intimacy may be complicated.
  • At times individuals in such relationships found themselves in unfamiliar territory. They encounter challenges that they haven’t prepared for, didn’t expect, and haven’t communicated about.
  • Ultimately, the key to any healthy relationship, particularly open relationship is communication, honesty, transparency and consent. The best way to go about this is to discuss with your partner respectfully and continually maintain trust. In some cases, couples counseling can help committed partners address the challenges they face.

Key Parameters for Successful Non-Monogamy

  • Nonmonogamy should be an informed choice (rather than being forced)
  • It is important to develop safe and secure relationship and environment
  • Self-awareness, and an ability to engage in honest self-examination about one’s needs, feelings and desires
  • Open and honest negotiation and communication about one’s needs and desires, accepting that win-win compromises are the desired outcomes
  • Mutual respect for each other’s needs and desires. This means that sometimes, we choose to “not sweat the little things,” and accept that our partner is another person, who makes their own decisions. Our job is to communicate about what are the most important things for us, so that our partner can consider them.
  • It’s ALWAYS better to know where landmines are, before they blow up in your face.
  • Exercising this life style is based on expansion and maturity rather than insecurity and fear (of losing your partner)
  • It is key to deal with attachment injury/insecure bond in a healthy way
  • Make sure loving experience one another as emotionally accessible and responsive.
  • Rules and boundaries are often essential components of polyamorous relationships. When established for the right reasons—can help define the relationship and make partners feel safer.

Questions When Considering Non-Monogamy

  • What would it be like for you to see or know your partner/spouse have sex with someone else….and see them really enjoying it? How would you feel about it?
  • What meaning would you make from their enjoyment of having sex with others?
  • Create rules and conditions for a successful having open relationship (where, when, with whom, how much/often, privacy and transparency, communication etc.?
  • How to deal with jealousy and fear?
  • Can you count on each other when you need?
  • What are the things that might cause you or your partner pain/hurt?
  • If one partner ask the other to stop seeing the ex-partner to stop seeing them, would you agree?

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Call: 917 - 692 - 3967
Email: info@spiral2grow.com

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Request a FREE Phone
Consultation

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