Wooooo, What a week!!!!!!!!! This last one was a doozy!!! Anyone else have a crazy week? If so, please let me know all about it. This week was full of so many amazing emotional highs and some super intense, heartbreaking lows. But you know what, I did it. I made it through another week, and so did you!! So, I am proud of us.
I have had many discussions with friends lately about my hope of working with polyamory clients and what exactly polyamory is, and how to navigate it. As a certified sexologist and someone who has been involved with the kink community at large, I have learned quite a bit about this group and would love to pass on some general knowledge and information to all of you. Perhaps you have no idea what ethically non-monogamous (ENM) relationships are, or perhaps you are judgemental of polyamory and other forms of ENM. If that is the case, I encourage you to go through this information with an open mind and heart, and if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me, and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
#1 What is Ethical Non-Monogamy (ENM)
Ok, number one, I love a good infographic, and this one speaks to me on multiple levels. This does such an amazing job of showing how complex ENM relationships can be and all the different types of relationships. What was really cool about this one, too, is how it evolved and had input from real people in real relationships and expanded with each new addition.
I linked to this article specifically because it read and felt like a good introductory article on what ENM is and the reasoning behind those who choose this as a relational path for themselves. I want to be very clear, as I feel that in our world, people often believe that things have to black and white, right or wrong. ENM relationships are not the best way to do relationships for everyone, but they may be the right choice for some people. Monogamy truly is not for everybody, but it is the most perfect and beautiful fit in the world for some. The keys to relationships, in general, are trust and honesty. If you are authentic with yourself about who you are and your needs within a relationship, and the other person or people in your life are too, then maybe we can begin to accept that there is no one right type of relationship. As long as we are being genuine and building our relationships from the point of care for each person as a human being, we will build beautiful, authentic relationships in whatever format is best for each person.
If you haven't already figured it out, I love a good podcast, I love finding new podcasts, and also I am the resident sexologist of a podcast. I have listened to Polyamory weekly, Love without Boundaries, Life on the Swingset, and Normalizing Non-Monogamy over the years for research, information, and as part of my sexology certification. Podcasts are such an amazing way of humanizing information we take in; it makes it much more personable. I wanted to include this article of 7 different podcasts because this is great material for those new to ENM, those wanting to know more or be an ally, and even those who have maybe been in the lifestyle for years. Give the article a look through, see if the premise of any of the podcasts speaks to you, and maybe give it a listen. If you do, let me know what you thought.
Ok, these are not all of the books listed in this article, but these are my personal favorites when referring clients for books for information and help in opening their relationship(s). Ethical Nonmonogamy can be really hard for those who practice it at times. Figuring out how to maintain healthy boundaries, how to date, how to determine what sort of structure you will maintain within your current relationships, and not to mention the myriad of feelings and jealousy and all sorts of emotions that can come up. Finding good books on the topic to help start conversations and perhaps act as guides on this journey can truly be game-changing.
Do you have a favorite book not listed in the article or listed above? If so, I'd love to hear about it. I'm always looking for new resources.
#4 New Relationship Energy (NRE)
One of the most exciting but hazardous aspects of ENM relationships, especially polyamorous ones, is new relationship energy (NRE). Monogamous people experience NRE the same as polyamorous folks, except that monogamous folks do not have other partners they are contending with when experiencing NRE. Have you ever had a crush or you've recently started talking to someone or dating someone, and in your eyes, they are perfect? You overlook their flaws. They are all you want to talk about. You are smiling every time you think about them. That is NRE. It's an exciting, passionate, romantic, and amazing time in any relationship. However, those who are ENM have the added challenge of maintaining their current relationship(s) and keeping them safe and healthy places while experiencing this NRE, which can be a difficult road to navigate. I thought this article did a really great job with the topic and wanted to be sure to share it with all of you.
#5 Ethical Non-Monogamy and Polyamory in the Media
Ok, ENM relationships are becoming something that is popping up more and more in mainstream media. In the Red Table Talk episode, Willow Smith sits down with her mother and grandmother and explains her Polyamorous lifestyle. This past week, speculation has run wild that Rita Ora, Taika Waititi, and Tessa Thomson are in a three-way relationship or a triad. In one of the Podcasts mentioned above, Polyamory Weekly, they always discuss a recent news piece with polyamorous people or experiences. The fact that they manage to find one pretty much every week means that it is becoming more mainstream. In fact, in the wake of the emotional and relational rampage that Covid-19 and quarantine put so many through, it seems there is a surge of those seeking ENM relationships. While ENM relationships are still far from being publicly accepted or viewed as normal, it is interesting to see that these relationships are being discussed more often and that these discussions can occur in respectable ways.
Have you seen any ENM stories in the media lately? How do you feel about it?
I don't often wrap these up with a lovely little bow, but I wanted to end a bit differently for this one. Our social and cultural inputs heavily influence our views on relationships, marriage, sex, and sexuality. If your natural inclination is to believe that ENM is sinful or immoral, I beg you to look at your reasoning behind that. If perhaps you are someone who is ENM, and you think that all relationships should be that way, perhaps you too need to look at your reasons behind that belief. We all deserve to feel loved and to feel loved in the way that is right for us. Both ENM and monogamy are valid options for having relationships. Be genuine, be honest, and be caring, and the right people and relationships will develop in your life.