Nonmonogamous relationships are on the rise.
More and more people today are trying various forms of alternative relationships, like swinging, polyamory, open relationships, monogamish, solo poly, hot monogamy, and relationship anarchy, to name a few.
In a 2022 YouGov poll of a representative sample of 1,100 U.S. residents we commissioned in partnership with Ashley Madison, a quarter of Americans said their ideal relationship type was some form of nonmonogamy (partnered or unpartnered).
Yes, 25% of Americans would like to be nonmonogamous.
But it’s not easy to make non-traditional partnerships work.
Many people spend years repressing their nonmonogamous desires, only to have them manifest – consciously or unconsciously – in various unhealthy patterns and destructive coping mechanisms: infidelity, excessive porn use, gaming, shopping, substance abuse, eating disorders, emotional detachment from their partner or family, depression, anxiety, or a deep sense of existential emptiness.
And those who try acting on their desires will likely not immediately thrive in their explorations into nonmonogamy. All too often, they will end up hurting themselves and their loved ones in the process, sometimes beyond repair.
Things like insecure attachment patterns, poor boundary setting, ineffective communication, unhealthy conflict resolution, lack of emotional regulation skills, or limited empathy and perspective-taking cause problems in all relationships. But they wreak absolute havoc in nonmonogamous ones.
The lack of information, role models, social support, and practical skills for navigating alternative relationship modalities stack the deck heavily against anyone who tries to break out of the tiny societal box of acceptability.
It’s no wonder so many are faltering and in need of professional help.
How knowledgeable are you on this subject?
As a therapist, how familiar are you with nonmonogamy as an orientation and a lifestyle in all its confusing complexity? And how equipped are you to handle clients who are curious about or already exploring various forms of nonmonogamy and other alternative sexual and relational lifestyles, like various forms of kink, nonheterosexuality, or gender variance?
If you’re like most mental health therapists, counselors, and coaches today, the answer is not very well.
Master’s and doctoral programs in social work, marriage and family therapy, and counseling or clinical psychology rarely, if ever, include any information on nonmonogamous and many other non-traditional sexualities and relationship types. And none teach practitioners how to help clients develop the skills they need to navigate these alternative and often higher-risk lifestyles.
This knowledge gap is not your fault.
Unless you share some of these interests yourself, or you’ve made a concerted effort to edify yourself on alternative sexual and relational lifestyles outside of your official education, chances are you know very little about the unique struggles and solutions relevant to nonmonogamous individuals, couples, and larger relational units (throuples, quads, and larger polycules), or other folks with nontraditional lifestyles.
And we’re all products of our environments, so if you grew up the way most of us did, chances are you also carry a lot of internalized stigma and prejudice against these alternative ways to live and love.
Don’t let the flaws of our educational system or the limitations of your upbringing stop you from being the best therapist you can be for as many people as possible. Learn how to care for your more adventurous clients properly.
Elevate your practice.
Luckily, you don’t have to go at it alone or try to create a special curriculum for yourself.
I’ve studied and consulted on nontraditional relationship lifestyles for 15 years and have been practicing them for 30 years. Let me shed some light on your blind spots.
My therapist-focused consulting is designed to fill in any gaps in your knowledge of nontraditional sexual and relational desires and lifestyles and help you design a true win-win solution for your clients’ love lives.
The best way to leverage my knowledge and experience of alternative relationship lifestyles to help you better care for your nonmonogamous clients is to sign up for the Therapists’ Special.
This package includes:
- Two 60-minute sessions (or four 30-minute sessions)
- Access to and personalized guidance through the Open Smarter course
- Unlimited email support