“Understanding Ethical Non-Monogamy: A Brief Guide | The Sun”
WHILE many people decide to enter monogamous relationships, there are also increasing numbers of romantic partners who are opting to do something a little bit different.
One such relationship status is ethical non-monogamy – often shortened to ENM – but what does it mean? And how does it work?
Ethical non-monogamy is when two people are engaging in a type of open relationshipCredit: Getty
Ethical non-monogamy is when a romantic relationship is not exclusive between two people.
Instead, the people in the relationship have decided to engage in romantic and sexual encounters with others – but it’s all about setting and communicating clear boundaries, unlike with cheating.
However, there’s also some light and shade in the definition and many people will choose to practice it slightly differently.
Read on to find out more about ethical non-monogamy and how it differs from other relationship choices like polyamory.
What is ethical non-monogamy?
According to sexologist Yvonne Fulbright, an ethically non-monogamous relationship “involves two people who identify as a couple but who are not committed to a traditional relationship.”
She added that there are often some strict rules in place for the partners. She explained: “They’ve given each other the opportunity to date or have sex with other people independently.
“Often a key component in these relationships working out is that the other relationship is only sexual, not romantic or emotional. There’s no deception about engaging in sex with others.”
Ian Kerner, a licensed marriage and family therapist who contributes to CNN, added to the point the EMN can take many forms – whether that be just one partner, or both in the relationship choosing to sleep with someone else.
But Kerner maintains it’s down to the partners to make and stick to their own rules.
He explained: “I believe the key to successful nonmonogamy is in one word: consensual.”
Kerner, who has published books, including ‘So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex’, continued: “Known as ethical nonmonogamy, this approach is different from monogamous relationships in which partners cheat on each other.”
What is the difference between polyamory and ethical non-monogamy?
Polyamory, according to the dictionary, is defined as “the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships, with the consent of all the people involved.”
This means that one person could be having several relationships with different people at once, but none are more valued than the other.
As prevention.com states: “Polyamory comes from the Greek ‘poly’ meaning many and Latin ‘amor’ meaning love.
They’ve given each other the opportunity to date or have sex with other people independently
“Those who are in a polyamorous relationship have an intimate, romantic, and/or sexual relationship with more than one person.”
While an ethical non-monogamous relationship is the umbrella term in which polyamory falls under, there are also some key differences between the two.
ENM refers to just two people in a committed, but open relationship, who have chosen to branch out in the bedroom or on dates.
Therefore, they are still a couple and their primary romantic focus will be on one another.
What are the core values of ethical non-monogamy?
As with any open relationship, communication is key.
And many experts suggest that ENM only works if everyone involved is clear about their intentions at all times.
Verywellmind.com points out that ENM is not considered cheating “because both you and your partner have agreed in advance that you’ll be practicing non-monogamy.”
Meanwhile, psychotherapist Cheyenne Taylor, LMSW has previously told mbg relationships: “When explaining ethical or consensual non-monogamy to my clients, my go-to is the three C’s – communication, consideration, and of course, consent.
“Ethical non-monogamy is based on the concept of using socially acceptable guidelines and ethically motivated tools to cultivate a relationship built on the foundation of non-monogamy.
“At its core, though, ENM means not cheating or acting without the consent of your partner.”
The experts say that communication is keyCredit: Getty
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