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5 Tips for a Smooth Transition into Ethical Non-Monogamy

Maybe you see potential benefits of trying non-monogamy as a relationship format in your life. Or maybe you've already started exploring, but realized (very quickly) you were unprepared! (Don't worry - it happens to the best of us. 😅)

Both monogamy and non-monogamy are valid relationship structures. What matters most is that you feel empowered in the structure that you choose to explore. You can think of these different relationship formats as different games with different rules. (If you break the rules it's considered cheating.)

The biggest mistake I see newbies make is bringing monogamous attitudes towards relationships with them into non-monogamy.

Approaching non-monogamy the same way you approached your monogamous relationship is like trying to play basketball with a fishing rod.

You're playing a different game and it's gonna require different tools. Namely, you're gonna need to clarify (and communicate) your needs, expectations, and boundaries. Non-monogamy is a different paradigm for being in relationship with others, which is going to require you to adapt. I know it can feel overwhelming in the beginning, but don't fret - with a new paradigm comes so many juicy possibilities that can add lots of joy into your life!

These 5 categories will help ease some of the overwhelm as you make this paradigm shift. And, of course, I'm always here to provide additional 1:1 support as you navigate the unknowns. You got this! 💜

1. Self Care

  • What are your main needs?

  • the Stability Wheel is a tool that will help you understand your needs

  • Which needs are getting met?

  • What needs are currently not getting met?

  • Are you well resourced? Where could you use reinforcements?

  • Therapist, coach, peer support group, etc.

  • What are your self care practices? What’s missing?

  • If you have a habit of being flakey with plans you’ve made for yourself, what structures can you put in place to help you follow through?

  • Ex: set an alarm to meditate + journal every morning

  • What helps you regulate your nervous system?

  • This is to help you return to homeostasis when you get disregulated AND it also helps people know how to respond when you get triggered

2. Physical/Emotional Capacity

  • How often would you want to see your partner(s)?

  • How much time are you willing to commit to each relationship?

  • What criteria will help you prioritize relationships?

  • How many people do you have capacity to text within a given day?

  • How much time do you have available each week for...

  • Phone calls

  • Voice Messages

  • Video calls

  • In-person Hangouts

3. Emotional Boundaries

  • What is your comfort range seeing your partner being physically affectionate with another person?

  • Who, if anyone, would you feel uncomfortable with your partner dating?

  • Close friends, family, etc.

  • What do you need to feel secure in this relationship?

  • What are your love languages?

  • What do you need to reconnect after being apart?

  • What do you need to feel secure when saying goodbye?

4. Sexual Boundaries

  • STIs

  • How frequently do you need to get tested to feel comfortable?

  • Ex: Every 3-6 months or after introducing a new partner

  • After how many months?

  • After how many new partners?

  • the STI Elevator Speech will help give you language to establish boundaries with new sexual partners.

5. Covid Boundaries

  • What is your comfort level with risk/exposure?

  • Who in your pod - or your pod’s pod - has compromised immunity?

  • Who in your pod - or your pod’s pod - have a direct connection to a high risk worker?

  • (Nurse, health care provider, etc.)

  • When is it ok for you to be unmasked or others in your pod to be unmasked?

  • Indoors, outdoors

  • What activities are out of your comfort zone?

  • Ex: groups of 10+ indoors

  • What are your needs around traveling?

  • Ex: if you want to hang out with a partner who just got back from the airport, what do you need to feel safe?

  • Leave masks on?

  • Wait until covid test comes back negative?

  • Etc?

  • How many people are in your pod?

  • How many people are in your partner’s pod?

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