Five Ethical Non-Monogamy Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask

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Published Date|
June 27, 2023

Five Ethical Non-Monogamy Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask


As we continue to challenge traditional ideas of love, relationships, and marriage, ethical non-monogamy is becoming more and more common.


A 2020 US survey even found that about one-third of adults prefer a relationship that includes some degree of non-monogamy.


Still, ethical non-monogamy can be an intimidating and unfamiliar term – one that you might be worried to ask questions about.


Here at KMA Therapy, we’re relationship experts – and we know that your ideal relationship might look different than the one you always expected to end up in.


For over 14 years, we’ve helped our clients explore and identify their relationship needs, and figure out how to ask for what they want in love.


After reading this article, you’ll have the answers to five common questions about ethically non-monogamous relationships that you’ve always wanted to ask.


1. What is Ethical Non-Monogamy?


Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is a term that means participating in a romantic relationship that is not completely exclusive between two partners.


An important part of ENM relationships is that they are consensual between everyone involved – all parties know that the relationship isn’t monogamous and that their partner is also engaging with other people.


2. Is Ethical Non-Monogamy Cheating?


No, ethical non-monogamy is not the same as cheating.


ENM relationships involve honesty, transparency, and trust – infidelity involves lying to your partner about your activities outside of the relationship.

is ethical non-mongamy cheating?


In an ENM relationship, everyone involved knows what’s going on in the relationship, and consents to it without feeling coerced or pressured.


3. What Does ENM Look Like in a Relationship?


Ethically non-monogamous relationships can take on a variety of different forms, depending on what the people involved in the relationship prefer.


Types of ethically non-monogamous relationships include:


  • Polyamory: engaging in multiple romantic and/or sexual relationships with more than one partner
  • Triads or throuples: committed romantic relationships between three people rather than between two people
  • Open relationships or open marriages: when both partners agree that they can both have sexual relationships with other people
  • Relationship anarchy: the belief that it’s preferable to reject societal expectations of romantic relationships, which can involve participating in multiple romantic or sexual relationships


Ultimately, an ENM relationship can be any dynamic where both partners consent and freely agree to open up the relationship.


4. Do People in ENM Relationships Get Jealous?


Jealousy can happen in any relationship – including an ethically non-monogamous relationship. It’s normal to experience jealousy, and there are strategies you can use to work through it.


You can address jealousy in relationships by:


  • Setting clear boundaries and expectations
  • Practising open and honest communication
  • Creating a safe space to process emotions together


Many people in ENM relationships will also experience compersion: feeling happy when their partner is happy – even if they’re with someone else. This sense of happiness on behalf of your partner can help you move away from feelings of jealousy.


5. Can Ethical Non-Monogamy Work for Everyone?


No, ENM relationships are not suitable for everyone.


Different people have different wants, desires, and needs in relationships – sometimes these needs are met well in an ENM relationship, and other times they aren’t.


Successful ENM relationships require excellent communication, strong boundaries, and deep trust between partners.


Deciding to pursue an ENM relationship can bring new energy, new types of connection, and fun to your existing relationship – but it begins with a serious conversation with your partner.

Next Steps for Setting Up A Successful Relationship


After reading this article, you know what ethical non-monogamy is, how it’s different from cheating, and how to set up a successful ENM relationship.


Here at KMA Therapy, we know it can feel exciting and scary to think about opening up your relationship. Our talented therapists are here to help you every step of the way – and you might be surprised at how helpful a third party can be when creating your ideal relationship.


Book an appointment today to see for yourself, or reach out to our caring team if you have any questions.


If you’re not yet ready to book an appointment, read these resources to learn more:


Author |
Emily Weatherhead
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