Maybe A Monogamous Relationship Isn’t Right For You. And That's OK.
Okay so what is monogamy anyways? Monogamy is defined as a relationship in which you only have one partner (sexual or romantic or both) at a time. It’s what normally comes to mind when you think of traditional romantic relationships, but it is by no means the only type of relationship out there. Many people are not fulfilled in monogamous relationships, and instead pursue other less conventional relationship styles, like polyamory or throuples. In this day and age, more and more people, especially people in the millennial generation are realizing that the traditional monogamous relationship style is not for them. While non-monogamy used to be rather taboo, it is becoming more and more mainstream and accepted as people are opening up to unconventional relationship styles.
While unconventional relationship styles are becoming less taboo, they are not for everyone. This is not due to a closed-mindedness or a lack of free-spiritedness necessarily: unconventional relationships just aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Just like unconventional relationships aren’t for everyone, monogamous relationships aren’t for everyone either. It’s difficult to know if monogamy isn’t right for you because it tends to be the default, and many people do not have experience with unconventional relationship styles. If you are interested in learning more about non-monogamous relationship styles (because there are many different types), you can turn to the internet and other places to do some research to see if a particular style of non-monogamy is appealing to you. If you feel like monogamy might not be for you, there are a few things you can reflect on to evaluate if you are the non-monogamous type.
The following are just a few signs that monogamy isn’t right for you:
* You are an introvert dating an extrovert
If you are an introverted person dating an extrovert, and you feel like you are fundamentally not on the same page about your social calendar, you may want to consider an unconventional relationship style. It can be exhausting trying to match the energy level of your extroverted partner, especially if you haven’t had enough alone time to recharge your social battery. Even if this person is your soulmate, you might just not have the social bandwidth to meet their needs all the time, which can create stress for you and disappointment for them in the relationship.
If you feel like you can’t keep up with your partner, or just want more time to yourself without falling short in the eyes of your partner, then you should consider a polyamourous relationship in which your partner can pursue other relationships or affairs while you take your much needed time alone. This relationship style can offer you a guilt-free break in which you don’t have to stress about letting your partner down for not meeting their social needs. This will only work for people that are genuinely excited about the idea of spending time alone. And if your partner is open to the idea of seeing other people. If the idea of your partner off with someone else would detract from your alone time, causing you to stress or worry, then this is not the solution for you. The benefit of polyamory is that you don’t have to find all of your needs in one person, or stress them to be something they are not. Instead, you can look to other relationships to fill socia, romantic or sexual needs.
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* You are an extrovert with a big heart
Polyamorous relationship require a lot of communication and energy that is normally associated with extroverts more than introverts. While introverts are able to happily partake in and enjoy unconventional relationship styles (like we talked about above), they may also become more overwhelmed by the amount of time and energy required of multiple relationships. Extroverts on the other hand, are often excited by the idea of pouring their heart and energy into multiple relationships. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all extroverts are interested in non-monogamous relationships. Extroverts can be perfectly happy in monogamous relationships, meeting new people without starting romantic and sexual relationships with them. For polyamourous relationships to work it often takes an extrovert with a big heart, and a lot of enthusiasm for cultivating new relationships. If you are an extrovert that is always interested in meeting new people and perhaps exploring more intimate relationships with new people, then this could be a sign that monogamy is not right for you.
* You can handle challenging emotions
Even if you aren’t a naturally jealous person, non-monogamous relationships tend to inspire some feelings of jealousy and insecurity. Sharing partners with other people will inherently make you examine your relationships more critically, and people often fall into the trap of comparing themselves and their relationships to others, which for the record is never healthy whether it’s a monogamous or non-monogamous relationship.
In addition to these feelings of jealousy and insecurity, non-monogamous relationships can also bring up other complex emotions like confusion and shame. While non-monogamous relationships are becoming more mainstream, we are conditioned from a young age to end up with “our person” or soulmate, to seek out stability and to start a family. Polyamorous relationships often fly in the face of these ideals, and even if it is what you want, it can often take time to unlearn the traditional relationship values that are so engrained in our society.
In addition to personal struggles with polyamory, you also may have to deal with people in your circle not understanding or accepting your non-monogamous relationships. A lack of acceptance by your inner circle can also bring up difficult emotions. While non-monogamy can bring up these complicated feelings, it can also be more fulfilling than traditional relationships if you are able to handle these challenging emotions and come out stronger, more secure and surrounded by more love.
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* You love to share
Sharing is at the core of non-monogamous relationships. If you are not able to share, then you are not going to have an easy time sharing partners. Many people don’t realize their aversion to sharing, or their preference for possession, because it has never been tested at the relationship level before. But even if you haven’t experimented with non-monogamy before, you can still gauge whether you are a jealous person or if you like to share based on your everyday behaviors. Do you like to split a bunch of dishes at a restaurant? Or do you prefer when you have your own plate? Do you mind if friends borrow your clothes? Would you be comfortable sharing your car with a partner? These may seem like trivial examples, but they get to the heart of whether you love to share or are more on the possessive/jealous side of the spectrum.
Successful non-monogamous relationships not only require you to be good at sharing, but they require you to love it. If you don’t love the idea of sharing, or don’t love the benefits that come with sharing (like more connections to different people), then the stress of sharing will outweigh the benefits of the relationship. If your challenges with sharing stem from jealousy or because you don’t have experience sharing partners, then this is something that you can work to overcome, but otherwise polyamory will prove to be difficult.
* You are good at communication
Successful polyamory or non-monogamy requires a LOT of communication. If you are good at communication, and able to communicate difficult feelings, then you might be cut out for an unconventional relationship type. Again, even if you are not good at communication, this is not a total deal breaker, but it will make polyamory a bit more difficult for you.
Relationships with one other person require a lot of communication, so throwing a couple other people in the mix, and making sure that you are getting what you want out of these relationships will require you to articulate your needs to multiple people. In addition to talking about your needs, you will need to sort out logistics and negotiate the terms of your relationships with each of your partners. There really isn’t a playbook for this (remember these relationships are unconventional), and these conversations can prove to be difficult. Meaning that it requires excellent communication to make sure that you and your partners are on the same page about the terms of the relationships so that you are engaging in consensual and fulfilling polyamory.
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* If you are not straight
If you are attracted to multiple different gender identities, it may be difficult to feel completely fulfilled in a conventional monogamous relationship, even if you are very committed to your partner. While some people with bisexual, or pansexual sexual identities may be comfortable settling down with one partner, others may not be, which leaves room for exploring polyamoros relationship with multiple people of different sexual identities. Non-monogamous relationships are also a great way to explore your sexuality, if you don’t have it totally figured out yet. The polyamorous community is often less about labels than people who pursue more traditional relationships, so there is a bit more room to explore your sexuality and sexual identity. Note here that even if you are straight, it is still totally acceptable to be involved in polyamorous relationships. We are just saying that if you are not straight, and you feel the need to have relationships with people of different sexual identities, then this is a sign that monogamy is not right for you, and that you should pursue a polyamourous relationship in some form!
* You are unfulfilled in monogamous relationships
Even if you don’t have experience with non-monogamous relationships, you may know that deep down they are worth exploring because you do not feel fulfilled in the monogamous relationships that you have been a part of. This could be due to your sexual identity as we discussed above, or it can be due to other things. For so long, the status quo has been to find a partner, settle down, get married and start a family. And while there is nothing wrong with that scenario, it is not something that everyone strives for. A lot of people that are in polyamorous relationships are not intereted in “settling down”, or starting a family. Instead they want to explore different types of relationships with different people, and not get tied down to traditional roles or lifestyles. Polyamory offers other possibilities outside from the norm that can be more exciting and romantically and sexually gratifying than the traditional white picket fence dream. This is not to say that all polyamorous people avoid domesticated family life, just that there are other possibilities out there. And if those possibilities appeal to you, then this is a sign that monogamy isn’t right for you.
* You need to feel connected with multiple people
At the end of the day, you can make non-monogamy work regardless of if you are introverted or extroverted, obsessed with sharing or not, good at communication or bad at communication if you have a desire to be involved with multiple people. The road might be more difficult if you do not love to share, or find yourself overwhelmed by lots of social interactions, but it is not impossible, especially if you are drawn to the idea of non-monogamy at its core. There are a lot of different reasons people are drawn to non-monogamous relationships, whether it’s sexual identity or a desire for something more than a traditional relationship can ever offer, but at the core, it’s a desire to connect with multiple people and make up the rules as you go. If you find yourself wanting to be intrigued by the idea of having multiple relationships (in any capacity whether it’s casual sexual partners in addition to your main squeeze, or being a part of a thruple), then this is a sign that monogamy is not for you.
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