Girl by the Lake

Isn’t this just cheating? Consensual and non-consensual non-monogamy

There is a huge difference between consensual and non-consensual polyamory. Around 50% of the population have engaged in non-consensual non-monogamy at one time or another. We call this cheating. Cheating is absolutely not ethical non-monogamy, and no amount of claiming that you are non-monogamous justifies cheating on your partner. Although some non-monogamous relationships practice the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ model, each person in the relationship must actively consent to this. Non-monogamy only works when everyone involved is consents to the relationship model.

Consensual polyamory could not be more different than cheating. It involves a lot of communication; if you’re thinking of moving to a non-monogamous relationship set up, be ready to talk about everything. All of your insecurities, all of the issues you’ve had in past relationships, the personal issues you experience, even past trauma can be brought up when you’re thinking or talking about non-monogamy. For those who have only had monogamous relationships previously, non-monogamy can feel like jumping off a cliff into the unknown - and your worries and concerns can multiply.

This isn’t because non-monogamy is naturally difficult, but because often you’re moving from something you’ve been learning about since you were a child to something you have far less knowledge and understanding of. The only way to counter this is to talk to your partners honestly about how you are feeling. Honest, genuine and continuous communication is vital for consensual polyamory.

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