Communication, Empathy, and More: Lessons from Non-Monogamy
In modern society there are many ways to be successful in a relationship, including forms of non-monogamy.
You don’t have to follow these lifestyles yourself, but you can learn a lot about what it takes to form healthy relationships from non-monogamous relationships. Read through these key takeaways and ask yourself how you might allow these lessons to impact your own relationships.
Communication is the most important skill in a relationship
Communication is an essential skill in any relationship, romantic or otherwise. However, non-monogamous relationship styles, like polyamory, require crystal clear communication to be successful. When there are multiple partners with different feelings, needs, and desires, it’s very important to be open and honest.
With that in mind, think about how you can be a better communicator in your own relationships.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, this article from GoodTherapy.org explains why we need to become better communicators, including personal reflection questions to help you understand your own communication strengths and weaknesses.
Empathy is another key to a successful relationship
With all of the communicating that has to happen in non-monogamous relationships, it’s not surprising that empathy also plays an important role. The need for empathy can become especially obvious when setting boundaries between primary partners and non-primary partners.
But, people in monogamous relationships can also gain from trying to be actively empathetic with their partners. Everyone has feelings, and you should be aware of how your words and actions affect the feelings of the people in your relationships.
It’s important to understand the root of certain feelings, like jealousy
I particularly like this explanation of how to deal with a feeling like jealousy: “Jealousy is a dish best served deconstructed.”
When someone feels jealous, which is very possible in any relationship, there’s typically a deeper reason for that emotion. It could be due to insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, feelings of loss, or any number of issues. Understanding why that jealousy manifests is important if you want to exist in a healthy relationship.
Here’s another great way of framing it: “In monogamous relationships, you can know that your partner is having an excellent non-sexy time with people or activities you are not involved with without worrying you will become romantically redundant.”
Stop worrying about what other people think
People in openly non-monogamous relationships are used to harsh judgments from society. If you’re in a monogamous relationship you’ve likely felt judged before, too.
From how to date, how to get married, how to raise children, and everything in between, other people will almost always have an opinion about how you should act in your relationships. You shouldn’t let those opinions make you feel wrong or inadequate.
Thankfully, like communication skills, not caring so much about what other people think is a skill you can develop. It will help you both in and out of your relationships, too. Here’s how to overcome that fear.
If you’re looking to strengthen your relationship, our therapists help couples along a broad spectrum of relationship obstacles with proven techniques. Contact us today!