words by Miss Cory B (She/Her/They/Them)
Non-monogamy is getting a lot of attention nowadays. Chances are you’ve either seen some mention of open relationships in the media or you might even know someone in one. But what makes the foundation for a healthy open relationship?
If you’re going to test out non-monogamy, the most important skill to master is communication. Communicating is not the same thing as conversing. Communication involves sharing your feelings, your fears, and your desires with your partner as they come up. We often don’t communicate these basic things to our partners because we’re afraid that they’ll be met with criticism or judgment. However, lack of communication breeds resentment in the long run.
The other half of communication is listening without judgment and responding—not reacting. Sometimes we need time and/or space to reach an informed conclusion, so good practitioners of non-monogamy sit with their feelings before responding and allow their partners to do the same.
Commitment to Self Growth
In a relationship between two people, there are actually three relationships at play: Person A’s relationship with themself, Person B’s relationship with themself, and Person A and Person B’s relationship with each other.
All three of those relationships must be nurtured in order to have a successful relationship. This is especially true with non-monogamy. When you are able to find happiness within yourself, it’s easier to feel more secure when your partner may be spending time with someone else.
When you are able to find happiness within yourself, it’s easier to feel more secure when your partner may be spending time with someone else.
Going to therapy, reading self-help books, journaling, culturing your hobbies, and spending time with supportive friends are just some of the ways we can commit to self growth in an open relationship.
This last one is just something that takes time to build. Having faith in your partner to be honest with you and trusting that they have good intentions makes being in an open relationship much easier.
It can be quite exhausting if you’re constantly on edge worrying if your partner is where they say they are or abiding by your mutually agreed upon boundaries. Trust is built through effort and consistency which is best displayed through actions. Following through on promises, showing empathy for your partner’s emotions, and healthily prioritizing your partner’s happiness are all ways to build trust in a relationship.