Looking to expand your relationship beyond the bounds of monogamy? Great, but there are a lot of factors to consider. Let us help you lay the groundwork for a happy experience.
So you’re thinking of trying nonmonogamy. It might be a first for you, or for your partner, or for the two of you as a couple. Maybe this is a new relationship, or maybe you’re opening up a relationship that has been monogamous for years. You might want to try swinging, or enter into a triad, or just keep it monogam-ish for special occasions. No matter what your venture into nonmonogamy ends up looking like, you’re going to want to be on the same page with your partner, and the best way to support that is to develop relationship agreements.
I like to use the term “agreements” to differentiate them from rules. Rules, like “you can’t do this” or “you have to do that,” can feel like an attempt to control someone else’s behavior. One of the things that draws a lot of folks to nonmonogamy is the sense of freedom that it provides, so fostering that freedom is important. But freedom doesn’t mean free-for-all, and the easiest way to get hurt or unwittingly hurt your partner is through unspoken assumptions and expectations.
How you go about creating relationship agreements depends on how you like to communicate in general. For some couples, casual conversation is sufficient. For relationship nerds, spreadsheets and Google docs might be more your speed. Either way, remember that this isn’t a one-time discussion; as the needs and specifics of your relationship evolve, so might your agreements. If nonmonogamy is brand new to both of you, your early agreements might change drastically once you have some real-world experience.