'Ethical non-monogamy': polyamory is in the mainstream, here's how to do it right 5 months ago

'Ethical non-monogamy': polyamory is in the mainstream, here's how to do it right

Monogamy just isn't for everyone.

Polyamory is mainstream, there's no doubt about it.

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You might have noticed this as you swipe through Tinder or Hinge, or even seen some of your peers begin to explore the lifestyle. The practice of having more than one romantic or sexual partner at a time is becoming more common than ever.

Ethical non-monogamy just means doing so in a way that ensures all people involved have given their full consent. 

But for those who’ve only ever explored monogamy within the dating world, fundamental questions about these types of relationships still remain.  

Like can it really work? Or is it a recipe for chaos?

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We spoke to Annie Lavin, therapist, singles coach and relationship skills educator, about how to navigate them.

When it comes to making this type of relationship work, she says, consent is key.

"As long as all partners have full knowledge and consent, it can work," she says. "Each partner needs to have enough self-awareness to identify their needs and an ability to communicate those. You must also be clear on what will not work for you and establish those boundaries with partners.

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"As long as you continue to cultivate self-awareness, honour your true needs, practice communicating them throughout your relationships - as they can change - and set your boundaries you will be growing the art of loving regardless of whatever style of relationship you adopt."

She tells Her that these types of relationships are certainly becoming popular as society itself becomes more open and accepting.

"We live in a world with more choices than ever before and I think it’s a great thing people are exercising those choices in relationships.

"For some people it will work and others it won't. But you will never know unless you go there. I admire the brave step anyone takes to go outside the accepted 'norms' in relationships."

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The practicalities of a polyamorous life can sometimes be difficult to organise but not impossible. Annie says it's important to remember that the types of issues that arise in monogamous relationships still exist - people get jealous, fights will happen - these things don't disappear.

"There will be splits, painful endings, feelings of abandonment, disappointments, rage etc.

"The aspects of being a human in relationship with other humans doesn’t disappear, it’s just now there are more people to think of."

So now you know what it is, and how to do it and you might think opening up your relationship sounds interesting - but how do you communicate what you want to someone?

"Be honest," Annie says. "Anyone who is being open and honest about what it is they may need from you or the relationship is brave, courageous and has integrity."

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