Home Love & Relationships Transitioning From Monogamy To Non-Monogamy With An Existing Partner

Transitioning From Monogamy To Non-Monogamy With An Existing Partner


Some people determine that monogamy isn’t right for them early in their dating life, while others find non-monogamy later on. Similarly, some people start to identify with polyamory or non-monogamy when they’re single, whereas others make this discovery when they’re in an existing relationship with a partner. If you’re moving from monogamy to nonmonogamy together, there will be a period of transition. So, how do you navigate it?

Monogamy Vs. Non-Monogamy

First, let’s discuss the definition of monogamy and non-monogamy. Monogamy refers to having one partner at a time, where non-monogamy is an umbrella term that encompasses any relationship types that are not considered monogamous, including but not limited to polyamory. Non-monogamy is not the same as cheating. Like in any other relationship, there should be consent and awareness among all parties involved. Non-monogamy and monogamy are both ethical, valid forms of commitment, and one is not better than the other.

Transitioning From Monogamy To Non-Monogamy With A Partner

  • Discuss what you want (and be specific).

There are many different styles of non-monogamy and polyamory. With this in mind, it’s essential to specify the kind of dynamic you’re looking for. Are you looking primarily for sexual connections, or are you looking for emotional involvement? Ideally, are you wanting to date people together and form a triad, a quad, or a kitchen table-style dynamic? Are you going to date people separately? Is one member of the couple going to date or form intimate connections with other people, where the other is going to remain monogamous? Once you know what kind of dynamic you’re interested in, what are your boundaries? These are all important things to talk about. Non-monogamy is known for an emphasis on communication, and you have to be ready to be vulnerable and discuss what you want in-depth so that you and your partner or partners feel secure, heard, and loved.

  • Do your research.

Especially if you, your partner, or both you and your partner are relatively new to the concept of non-monogamy or polyamory, you’ve got to do your research. The best way to do this is to learn from other people within the community who are willing to share their words of wisdom. You might learn through social media accounts centered around polyamory, blogs, videos, books, or people you meet personally. Listen to what people have to say, and if you come across any information that’s meant to inform people who are new to non-monogamous dynamics, take it in. There are a lot of potential misunderstandings and blunders you can avoid if you learn from other people.

  • Meet other non-monogamous people.

Similar to the importance of learning from other people within the community, it can be helpful to make non-monogamous friends. Join a group or meetup, whether that’s online or in person. Since monogamy tends to be seen as the “standard” or “default” relationship style, it may be the case that not everyone around you understands. Meeting other people can be comforting and can provide a sense of community. It can also give you exposure to different non-monogamous partnerships and how they work. Find people who are welcoming and kind to newcomers. They’re out there. Be respectful and humble. Don’t be afraid to take it slow in your relationships and make friends with people first as you learn.

  • Keep an open dialogue.

It’s essential to not just talk about what you want in the beginning but to make sure that you keep an open dialogue moving forward, too. If feelings or concerns that you didn’t think of initially start to arise, you can and should discuss them. When you first bring up non-monogamy, it can be advantageous to have a conversation with your partner about how you want to check in with each other and maintain communication on an ongoing basis. Troubleshoot possible concerns and talk about how to bring up potential concerns with one another. If you need help at any point in time, don’t be afraid to reach out for the support of a therapist. There are therapists who specify on their website or in their biography that they work with polyamorous individuals and couples, so if you’re nervous about bringing it up with a therapist, you might look for one who makes it known that they understand polyamory.

Find A Therapist

Whether you’re facing concerns related to relationships or something else that’s on your mind, a therapist or counselor can help. There are a number of different ways to find a therapist. You can contact your insurance company to see what they cover, utilize an employee assistance program, ask your doctor for a referral, search the web, or sign up for a reputable online therapy platform like BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers both individual and couples counseling, and all of the providers on the platform are licensed. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to have healthy relationships and thrive, so don’t hesitate to take the first step toward finding care today.

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.