Societal norms have held sway over every aspect of our lives, from the way we forge connections to the thoughts we harbour. In a relationship, if you’re sleeping with other people, that is considered cheating. Communication and trust, other vital parts in a relationship. But what if we mixed these things up, melding them into something entirely new, something that challenges the traditional way we view relationships?
Ethical non-monogamy (ENM), is definitely not to be confused with polyamory or non monogamy. Ethical non-monogamy is all about opening up your relationship or choosing relationship structures where multiple partners are involved, but the key difference is that it’s rooted in consent, transparency, and respect for all parties involved. Grace, 28, says: “It isn’t natural to be monogamous, it never has been. Being monogamous is a conscious choice.” Ethical non-monogamy isn’t about secrets, affairs or behind closed doors hanky panky. It is about conscientiously navigating the complex landscape of multiple relationships, all while ensuring everyone’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
The idea of openly and honestly discussing the possibility of multiple partners, managing emotions like jealousy, and navigating the boundaries that differ from conventional monogamy seems daunting. The thought of ethical non-monogamy seems intimidating and feels like there would be alot of admin work. Joanna, 26, who has been married for three years says: “Ethical non-monogamy is more of a desire, it is not genuine.” “If my husband asked us to be non monogamous, I would get a divorce.” Today, we marry not only to share property but for love and for desire. The hope for married partners is that they share the desire and love until death, although for over half of us, love wilts on the vine before we are anywhere near death or even old age.