This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Non-monogamy is something that everyone seems to be talking about these days. For some, it sounds like a dream. For others, it is their worst nightmare. However, if you’re considering any alternative to monogamy, you may want to read this list. There is more than one way to practice non-monogamy if that’s what you’re interested in, and you do not need to feel ashamed.
From online dating options to a more accepting society, the world has never looked so promising for those looking for non-monogamy. Here are five alternatives for you to consider.
Ethical Non-Monogamy (Polyamory)
The most common type of non-monogamy that you might see or hear about is called ethical non-monogamy, which is also known as polyamory. Polyamory is broadly defined as loving more than one person or having a romantic/sexual relationship with more than one person. This type of dynamic can be shown in many different ways, including:
- A triad (an equal relationship between three people)
- A polycule (a group of people that shares some relationships within the group)
- Nesting partners looking for a third (two people who are in a committed relationship but bring in other people temporarily or for casual sex with a “unicorn”)
- A triangle (two people who are dating and one of those people’s partners)
Polyamory can look different in many ways. It isn’t defined to the definitions here. It could look like the following:
- Example One: Two women are dating the same man, but they are not dating each other (a triangle)
- Example Two: Five women are all dating each other
- Example Three: Two men are dating the same woman and each other, and she also has an external partner that they are not dating. The two men also each have a partner that she is not dating.
As you can see, polyamory can get confusing. However, it doesn’t have to look any way other than the way you want it to. The most important part of a polyamorous relationship is that every person in the relationship is a consenting adult.
If you want to learn more about monogamy and how it differs from polyamory, check out BetterHelp’s advice column today: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/monogamy/.
Relationship anarchy stems from polyamory but is slightly different. In this form of non-monogamy, a single person will casually date and have sex with multiple people, never putting more priority on one relationship over another. They will likely reject societal “norms” about dating, such as marriage, commitment, or living with someone.
Relationship anarchy can look like having sex with a different person each night, or it can look like dating several people separately and never moving in with them or taking the relationship to the next level. To do this, all parties must be aware and consent. It’s also important to get tested for STIs and use protection with multiple partners.
Polygamy is often more of a religious type of non-monogamy, commonly seen in members of the FLDS church. However, people outside of religion also partake in it. Polygamy is the plural marriage of one man to multiple women. However, since plural marriage is illegal in the US, many of these couples do not fully marry each other and instead, have commitment ceremonies.
On the other hand, polyandry is the religious or non-religious marriage of one woman to multiple men. Although much rarer than polygamy, it does exist. If you are a woman who dreams of living in a house with three husbands, this might be the type of non-monogamy for you. Again, plural marriage is illegal in the US, so these types of relationships usually stay under the radar.
Finally, another alternative to monogamy is simply staying single. Not everyone wants to get into a relationship, get married, and have kids. That’s okay! If you want to casually date and have flings, that’s okay too. If you want to never date anyone and stay single for life, go for it!
The beauty of dating is that you are in control. Not everyone has the same goals for their lives, and many successful and happy people end up spending their lives alone, not because they are lonely or unlovable, but because they don’t feel that they need to have a relationship.
If you don’t want to be monogamous, you do not have to be. You also don’t have to date at all.