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5 Minutes Read

What Is Ethical Non-Monogamy? 

Ethical non-monogamy is an increasingly popular relationship model that allows partners to engage in meaningful relationships with more than one person. This type of relationship can come in various forms and serve many different purposes. In this article, we'll discuss what an ethical non-monogamous relationship looks like, the benefits it provides, and how to make it work for you. By learning more about ethical non-monogamy, you can decide if it's right for you and your partner(s).

What Is Ethical Non-monogamy (ENM)?

Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is a term that refers to any non-monogamous relationship or behavior that is conducted ethically, with the full consent and knowledge of all involved parties. An ethically non-monogamous relationship involves a romantic relationship between two or more individuals who agree to have multiple romantic partners outside of their primary relationship. It involves being honest about your feelings and intentions with everyone involved so that everyone can make informed decisions about the relationship. 

One of the reasons why people choose ENM is that it allows them to have multiple romantic or sexual relationships without having to choose between one partner or another. This offers individuals the opportunity to explore different types of relationships beyond what is available in a monogamous relationship. It also allows for greater freedom and flexibility as each person involved can decide which relationships are most important to them and how much time they dedicate to each one. 

People who choose ethical non-monogamy are free to pursue their own individual goals while still maintaining meaningful romantic or sexual relationships with more than one partner.

What are some types of ENM relationships?

There are many different types of ENM relationships, including:

Open relationships

Open relationships are when two partners are both aware of and accept each other's involvement in sexual or romantic activities outside the relationship. These activities tend to be  more casual in nature.


Swinging refers to couples engaging in sexual activity with other people together or separately; this can include attending parties for like-minded people where sexual activities may take place.


Polyamory is when people have more than one intimate relationship at the same time with the knowledge and consent of all involved parties.

Which rules or boundaries are important in ethical non-monogamy?

Establishing boundaries is key for successful ethical non-monogamy and should be discussed before engaging in any type of relationship. Some common rules or boundaries for ethical non-monogamy include:


Effective communication is key for an ethical monogamous relationship, as it helps create a safe and trusting environment in which both parties can share their thoughts and feelings. It helps ensure that all participants understand each other’s expectations and needs so that everyone is on the same page. 

This can be accomplished through open dialogue, active listening, and the establishment of clear boundaries. Communication should be respectful and non-judgmental to ensure mutual respect among all individuals involved.


It's important for both parties to make sure that everyone involved feels comfortable with the activities and boundaries being discussed. This means asking questions, making sure everyone understands what is being agreed upon, and taking all necessary steps to ensure that everyone involved has given their full and informed consent before engaging in any activity.


Honesty builds respect and understanding between all parties involved. It helps keep expectations realistic and encourages open communication. This can help ensure transparency when making decisions and taking action, which can help build trust among everyone involved. Honesty promotes collaboration and cooperation between the partners, creating a more positive atmosphere for meaningful dialogue and negotiation.


All participants should be given the opportunity to communicate their boundaries and preferences before engaging in any activity, whether it is physical contact or verbal communication. At no point, should any participant feel pressured to engage in activities that do not match their comfort level or desires. 

All participants are encouraged to communicate openly and honestly about what they are comfortable doing and not doing during ENM activities, as well as any other concerns or ideas that may arise during such activities.


Physical safety should be a top priority in any relationship, especially for those who practice ethical non-monogamy. It is important to ensure that all partners are aware of the risks associated with sexual activity, such as potential exposure to sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancies. All partners should be open and honest about their sexual health history and must use the agreed-upon protection when engaging in any sexual activity.

Emotional safety is another important consideration when engaging in ethical non-monogamous relationships. All partners should feel respected and valued in the relationship, regardless of the type of relationship they are in. Each partner should feel free to express their feelings, needs, and boundaries without fear of judgment or criticism from their other partners.

Is ENM right for me?

ENM can be a great way for people to explore different types of relationships without feeling anything negative about their partner or themselves. But it’s not right for everyone. For ENM to work you must be able to have strong communication and trust between partners, as well as to be able to handle any feelings of jealousy that may arise. 

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of being in a non-monogamous relationship, it is best to talk openly and honestly with your partner about your concerns and find out if they are willing to meet your needs. Only you can decide if an ENM relationship is right for you – but if you think it might be something that fits your lifestyle, it might be worth giving it a try.

Monogamy is the “traditional” relationship model, and while it works for some couples, others may find more fulfillment in exploring consensual non-monogamous relationships. If you are considering ethical non-monogamy or if you are struggling with an ethical non-monogamous relationship and need some professional guidance, don't hesitate to reach out. Just click the button below to set up a free initial consultation.

We can provide you with support, guidance, and skills to manage your relationship in a healthier way and can help you develop healthy communication techniques and boundaries that better serve your needs.


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