In our community and many others, the typical relationship narrative goes like this: You date around a little, eventually finding one true soul mate, the one person you’ll grow old with, maybe raise children with, and the one and only person you’ll have sex with.
But there are a lot of people who don’t subscribe to this narrative. The concept of “the one” can undermine each and every human’s capacity to love many different people in many different ways.
Non-monogamy can make you a much better partner and person. Here’s what I mean…
You’re not as jealous.
When someone hits on your boyfriend or when you see him express interest in someone else, you can feel excitement for all the potential thrill and adventure that relationship could bring. This decrease in jealousy can help you fully enjoy your time with your partner and not question his use of time when you’re not together.
And when you do feel jealous, you handle it better than you used to. No relationship, whether monogamous, polyamorous, or non-monogamous, is totally exempt from jealousy. If you’re someone trying out an open or non-monogamous relationship for the first time, know that it’s totally normal and OK to get a little envious.
Sit down with your partner the moment you start feeling this way and ask some questions: Where is this coming from? Is it a little irrational? How can we work together to fix the problem now and avoid it in the future? By tackling these questions head-on, you avoid the nasty things that sometimes happen when people let jealousy fester.
You see partners as humans, not people you can control.
People in monogamous relationships often say things like “that’s my boy” or “you can’t talk to my man.” This reduces your partner to property, and though many people don’t mind this kind of language, it’s better to see, treat, and speak about your partner as his own person.
You’ll become more loving and open-minded overall.
As a final thought for anyone confused about non-monogamy or considering exploring it with a partner, I want to emphasize it should not just fueled by a desire to have sex with other people; in fact, it is about seeking to better relationships with your primary partner.
Your sex life is way richer because you’re more open-minded.
Many people think non-monogamous people only open up their relationships for sex. While this isn’t always true, the improvement in your sex life can be awesome. You can learned so much more about different ways human bodies feel pleasure, and you can act on fresh ideas in bed.
I can connect with diverse groups of people.
As a queer, non-monogamous people, it’s sometimes hard to stumble upon communities who share all our identities. But when you do, the feeling is magical.
You don’t take my relationship for granted.
In a monogamous relationship, when someone is expected to spend all their romantic and sexual energy on you, things can sometimes get a little stale and monotonous. When you open up your relationships, you treat all the time you spend together like a gift and not necessarily an expectation.
You’re a lot better at talking about your relationships.
From improvement strategies to big next steps (like moving in together or adopting a puppy) to simple check-ins, non-monogamy can make you a better communicator in general. You’ll be able to apply the same open communication principles to serious relationship talks, positive or negative.
You’re not quick to judge others.
It’s no secret that non-monogamy is unconventional and often frowned upon. As someone who takes pleasure in something society deems “unnatural” or “irregular,” you can understand how important it is to approach any other lifestyles with an open and accepting mind (as long as those lifestyles don’t bring harm upon others).
You take better care of your physical and reproductive health.
Having a variety of different partners means taking responsibility to ensure pleasant and safe experiences for everyone. You get tested for STIs more often and also make sure to tackle infections more quickly now that a variety of people may be exposed to them. Taking better care of your reproductive health contributes to better communication, since sharing sexual history with partners can be crucial in many non-monogamous relationships.
Saying “no” without hurting someone’s feelings will be much easier.