Is Non-Monogamy Infidelity? Infidelity is the action of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner. When spouses find out about their partner’s infidelity they say it’s the worst feeling they’ve had to endure. When the infidelity is disclosed; meaning the person confesses, the feeling is devastating and surreal. When the infidelity is discovered the feeling is much more intense as anger and rage are coupled with all the other range of emotions that you can imagine come with that discovery. The aftermath of an affair is said by some to be the emotional equivalent of being hit by a truck.
To understand the intense reactions to people’s feelings it’s helpful to understand the true nature of infidelity. The actual pain caused by infidelity is not the actual sexual act, instead, it’s the pain caused by the lying, manipulation, and secretive behavior that stems from the psychological distancing and loss of trust from the relationship.
So then what is Non-Monogamy? Simply put, non-monogamy is anything other than monogamy which is the exclusive sexual and usually marital relationship between two people at a single point of time. There are a variety of types of non-monogamy but are usually divided into Polygamy (multiple married partners), Polyamory (multiple romantic and/or sexual partners not married), Open Marriage/Relationship (agree on extramarital sexual relationships), Threesome (three people, combination varies), Swinging (partner swapping), and Hook Ups (a fling, one night stand, casual relationship).
So, is non-monogamy infidelity? As a Marriage Counselor, working with couples in the above-mentioned relationship-styles, I say, it is not accurate to say that non-monogamy is infidelity as long as there is an agreement between both partners within the primary relationship specifying the way in which they want their relationship to work. Answer being “no.” As a Couples Counselor, specializing in Affair Recovery, I work with couples who want to start a dialogue about what it would be like to open up their marriage. In affair recovery and relationships where the sex has “flatlined” it could be possible for the couple to remain together where both can find fulfillment by way of some agreement that works for both husband and wife. It is important not to suffer from a failure to meet the external and societal expectations for what our relationships should look like. Many people face feelings of jealousy or insecurity regardless of what relationship style they choose. I favor a more hopeful outlook with open, honest communication, and mindfulness, to develop a relationship of one’s own design—monogamous or not—can provide more satisfaction than a prescriptive one.
For more information on possibly opening up your marriage and how to develop polyamorous relationships please contact me at (858) 735-1139.