This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Healthy relationships are crucial for the mental health and well-being of any athlete. The great news is that the dating game has changed drastically in recent years, providing people with far more options than they could have ever dreamed. One of these positive changes is the increased acceptance of ethical non-monogamy. 

You’ve probably encountered non-monogamy in your life and want to learn more about it. Maybe your teammates have an open relationship, or you know someone who always has multiple partners. If you are curious about these lifestyles, you are not alone. Many people have participated in polyamorous relationships, and many more have considered it. If you are considering ethical non-monogamy, then read on for a basic introduction to this lifestyle. 

What Is Ethical Non-Monogamy?

Ethical non-monogamy is a type of dating that involves people having multiple partners at a time. The people involved may commit to one person while dating others, or there may be no hierarchy or formal commitment at all. 

But to be clear, ethical non-monogamy is not the same as cheating. In ethical non-monogamy, everyone involved consents to the relationship dynamics. For example, if a husband and wife decide to have an open relationship, that means both are okay with their spouse dating other partners. Furthermore, the partners understand that these two are married and that they are participating in an open relationship. Everyone knows and agrees to the terms. With cheating, not everyone consents to the change in relationship dynamics, so it is a form of betrayal. 

Common Forms Of Ethical Non-Monogamy

There is no exact formula or structure for non-monogamy. The way these relationships manifest depends on the people involved. However, there are some common forms that you may come across. These include: 

  • Open relationships/marriage: In this situation, two people are in a relationship or marriage together but decide to have other partners as well. Their primary commitment is to one person, but they still date other people. 
  • Triad or throuple: A triad is a relationship that involves three people. They are all partners to each other, romantically and sexually. There are no other partners involved outside the triad. It is a closed relationship, except it involves three people instead of two. 
  • Solo polyamory: This is when a single person decides to have many partners but is not committed to any of them. Everyone knows that the person is dating around and isn’t interested in settling down. They prefer to date whomever they want without being traditionally attached or committed. 

How To Transition Into Ethical Non-Monogamy

Exploring ethical non-monogamy can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking time. However, there may be a transition period as you begin to step into this new dating lifestyle. Below are a few tips to keep in mind as you start your journey to non-monogamy. 

As A Single

If you’re single and considering non-monogamy, you may be able to make the transition much easier than if you were already in a committed relationship. The main priority is to communicate your interests with everyone you date. Everyone needs to accept and consent to you dating multiple people. This is true whether you prefer to just casually date or plan to commit to any of your partners. 

If you plan to get dates primarily through dating apps, you should mention your interest in non-monogamy in your profile. That way, people know right away what you are expecting and can swipe accordingly. However, if meeting people in person, ensure they know your lifestyle before becoming serious, so they can decide if they are okay with it and want to pursue the connection further. 

In A Relationship

If you are already in a relationship, you should take the above advice and have honest discussions with your partner. Don’t pursue other relationships until your partner consents to this. Just because you are eager for an open relationship doesn’t mean that your partner will want this right away. Make sure to discuss the topic thoroughly and express each other’s needs and boundaries within the relationship before proceeding. 

Final Thoughts

Ethical non-monogamy has become more widely accepted than ever before. This is great news for everyone who feels restricted by traditional relationship models. If you have been considering changing to non-monogamy, hopeful this article gave you a good introduction to get you started. If you wish to learn more about ethical non-monogamy, you can find more resources and information here.