Polyamory Or Monogamy

Polyamory or Monogamy Which One Is For You?  Polyamory means having simultaneous close emotional and possibly sexual relationships with two or more other individuals with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.  The growing practice of polyamory in the United States indicates a significant shift in the way marriage and intimate relationships have evolved over the past few decades.  For some individuals, monogamy could be a better choice and for others, polyamory may be a better fit.  How do you know which one is best for you? If you’re not sure what would work for you, I highly suggest you find out sooner rather than later, especially before you get involved in a committed relationship as changing your mind from monogamy to nonmonogamy without a discussion with your primary partner can be deemed an infidelity.   The emphasis in relationships is openness, caring, and mutual consent.  Being attracted to what another person might offer needn’t be an irreversible disintegration of the relationship.  Learning how to have a dialogue about possibly opening up your relationship can go far in keeping your relationship truthful, transparent,  and trusting.

As a Marriage Counselor, working with all types of couples, monogamous and nonmonogamous, I come across individuals who are in monogamous relationships where one partner makes a unilateral decision to open up their marriage.  And because that partner didn’t make his/her intentions explicit an infidelity has occurred.  In Affair Recovery, learning how to talk about possibly opening up your marriage is an option that could be considered.  See my blog: https://couplescounselorsandiego.com/relationships/id-like-open-marriage-conversation/

As a Marriage Counselor consensual non-monogamy and the New Monogamy is the preferred term in the academic world and is being talked about in Marital Therapy in my office as well as in other innovative clinicians’ offices throughout the country.  What I mean is, while serial monogamy is popular, lifelong monogamy is obsolete and whether we like it or not, polyamory is catching on.  Author Deborah Anapol gives pertinent information from her book “Love Without Limits.” see blog article https://couplescounselorsandiego.com/relationships/polyamory-monogamy-one/

It’s extremely rare these days to find someone who has had only one sexual partner or “significant other” throughout his or her life.  There are definitely some people who are far better off taking it one person at a time, and then there are those who can have multiple partners sequentially or at the same time.  There are those who practice polyamory with ingenuity and vulnerability and those who justify what they refer to as polyamory but is really self-deception and lack of integrity by indulging in multiple affairs as a means of hedonism.

What’s important is not so much the Glamour of multi-partner relating as it is allowing love to dictate the form rather than attempting to force love into whatever mold the mind has decided is right.  Polyamory is less about how many people you are having sex with or feeling love for than it is about allowing love, not lust, to lead you into whatever form is appropriate.

There are pros and cons to both polyamory and monogamy but the main point is that it is not a question whether it’s possible to have one partner or two or several or none at all but rather a question of whether to allow love to lead and surrender to the direction that love chooses rather than surrendering to cultural conditioning, peer pressure, social censure, or unruly emotions.

When love, not lust, is freed from restrictions dictated by law and society it very often veers from the monogamous standard our culture has sought to enforce.  Understanding and educating yourself about polyamory opens up discussion about the different realms of open relationships and multi-partnering. Some people find the aspect of allowing love to lead unfamiliar and often difficult to comprehend at first. Obtaining the information you need about the subject will help you gain better understanding and perspective that may be helpful to you in making an informed decision about alternatives to monogamy and the nuclear family.  In this day the incidence of polyamory is far higher than anyone suspects as people keep their private lives private.

Whether working with Monogamous Couples or Polyamorists I have no position on whether people, in general, should be monogamous or not.  That fact is that it is very rare to find anyone who has had only one sexual partner for his or her entire life.  Monogamy works for some people and does not for others.  It’s a matter of what works for you and your relationship.  Having a dialogue about what you want in your relationship is a start.  In Couples Counseling,  I help Couples initiate conversation that may seem difficult and make them feel vulnerable, as talking about what you want sexually is unfamiliar and awkward to some.  As a Marriage Counselor, I characterize my position on polyamory as pro-choice rather than antimonogamy and have no position on whether people in general “should” be monogamous or not.  Individuals need to do what is right for them.  There is no judgment or criticism in however you choose to relate in your relationship.

What works for one person may not be the same for all people or even for the same person in different stages of their life.

For more information on polyamory and if it is suited for you and your relationship please give me a call at (858) 735-1139 or email me at Sarah@CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com


How To Have The “I’d Like To Open Up Our Marriage” Conversation?

How To Have The “I’d Like To Open Up Our Marriage” Conversation?  Have you been married for a couple of decades or been in a long-term relationship and your love life has flatlined?  You’ve heard of people “swinging” or even, worse, having affairs, to spice up their sex life.  Rather than cheat, having a conversation about possibly having an open marriage could be an alternative.  Typically one person in the relationship wants to open the door to outside connections and the other hasn’t ever even considered the possibility and is totally shocked by the idea.  A lot of people don’t even think about monogamy until they make a connection with someone and don’t necessarily want to give up their primary relationship (husband/wife) or get a divorce and split up the children and any other resources the couple has acquired.

As a Marriage Counselor who understands and works with non-traditional relationships, I help people who are experiencing a dry spell in their sexual connection who come in wanting to know how to reconnect or enhance what they once knew was an intense bond. They are conflicted as their relationship was established under conventional and need help with other ways of relating that require care, thought, practice and work.

Without threatening your primary relationship by acting out your fantasies with others through affairs with people you find interesting or sexually attractive, having the conversation with your partner is much more appropriate.  Betrayal and deceit are much more difficult to recover from than merely having a discussion about what it would look like to open up your marriage.  The mere fact that you are having a dialogue about the subject makes you both more vulnerable.  This risk-taking interaction can bring about an intimacy which creates a positive change in the way you interact emotionally and sexually. Feelings of closeness and preferring to be with your significant other can surprise you as a result of the conversation.  When you are free to “be” in a relationship rather than “obligated to,” or “have to” due to a sense of “duty,” the choice enables you to want to be with the individual who is ok with your choice.

Open Up Our Marriage

Case in point, As a Marriage Counselor, I work with non-traditional relationships that include LGBTQ and Polyamory relationships.  In my work helping this population, I have come to appreciate the many different ways in which people can develop caring and loving relationships.  In that I believe not one person can satisfy all our needs, perhaps it is necessary to open up our realm of how we get other needs met in good and thoughtful ways with other people while exercising ethical non-monogamy while in our primary relationships.  As those who believe and want to be in Monogamous relationships, I am reaching out to those who want something more than what has been handed down to us about Monogamy by its definition.

I don’t believe people are wired to be monogamous.  Monogamy is a choice that I respect. As with all choices, I respect and want to assist those who are looking for something as an alternative. If you believe in consensual nonmonogamy and a non-traditional relationship is what you are looking to develop, please contact me at (858) 735-1139.  I can help guide you to make thoughtful and informed decisions about how you want to live your life.



Is Non-Monogamy Infidelity?

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.







Is Polyamory For You?

Polyamory Personality Traits

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Polyamory isn’t for everyone.  Most people never stop to ask themselves whether their personal characteristics make them better suited for monogamy or polyamory or for each at different stages of their life.  These days many young people have much more awareness than previous generations that they do have a conscious choice whether or not to practice monogamy.  Polyamory is not solely about having multiple partners as it is a fluid process of checking in with oneself to see what actually feels appropriate with each person in any given situation.  We tend to be influenced by the conditioning received in the families we grow up in or the current social norms.

While heterosexual monogamous marriage is still the ideal in much of the world, subcultures where polyamory, homosexuality or bisexuality are the norm are becoming more visible and gaining respectability.  More people are deciding to remain single or to live together without getting married.  This is especially true if they choose to not have children.  So is polyamory for you? Personality traits for polyamory lifestyles can be complex and demanding.  It requires a high level of self-awareness and interpersonal skills than with monogamy which according to “Deborah Anapol” include:

1.   A talent for intimate relating

2.   High self esteem

3.   Ability to multi-task

4.   A love for intensity

5.   Appreciation for diversity

6.   Communication skills

7.   An independent streak

8.   Team spirit

9.   Commitment to growth

10.  Sex positive

11.  Flexible, creative, and spontaneous

12.  High intelligence

13.  Accountability

14.  Eliminate power struggles


Polyamory means having simultaneous close emotional, and possibly sexual relationships with two or more other individuals with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.  The growing practice of polyamory in the United States indicates a significant shift in the way marriage and intimate relationships have evolved over the past few decades.  Couples Couseling can be a venue in which to discuss whether polyamory is something you want to incorporate into your lifestyle.  If you are interested in more information about polyamory and if it may be a lovestyle choice for you, please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or email me at Sarah@CoupleCounselorSanDiego.com