“I want to be in a non-monogamous relationship but I don’t want to hurt my partner’s feelings or for them to think that I don’t love them. What should I do?”
If I had a dime for every time I heard this statement… well, you know the saying. Simply put, I get this question a lot in my practice which is very unfortunate because what I hear at the core of this question is “I’m afraid of being seen” or “my partner’s feelings are being prioritized over my own”. And this is sad to me because it doesn’t have to be that way.
I tell you this because it’s important to know that if you’re interested in being in a non-monogamous relationship and have been interested in being in one for some time now, you’re probably not going to do very well in a monogamous relationship. Why? Well, because you’re not living your truth… in fact, you’re downright being deceptive to your partner, as well.
How, you ask? Well, when we only show our partner certain parts of us and knowingly hide other parts of us out of fear or shame, our partner is only able to love the person they think we are. And doesn’t our partner have the right to know who they’re in a relationship with? This all goes back to one of those first questions I hear a lot of “I don’t want to hurt them… what should I do?”
Listen closely, if you don’t want to hurt your partner, you tell them what your desires are! Speak your truth. If they don’t like your truth, they are able to know you for who you fully are and can then make an informed decision about whether or not they want to be with you for who you fully are. Not to mention the fact that you’ll feel liberated and authentically seen for who you really are and will know that maybe that relationship was only meant to last for a season (which is okay, too).
Yes, this hurts and is painful sometimes… yes, it can bring up a lot of feelings of shame and worthiness… yes, it’s necessary… and no, you don’t have to go through this alone. There are lots of great places to find support for talking to your partner about non-monogamy such as local meetups, websites, books (“The Ethical Slut” and “Opening Up” to name a few…) as well as great sex positive therapists, sex therapists and couples therapists out there who want to support you through this process. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you some of my favorite resources.
Sara Paules, LPC
Mindful Soul Center