Ethical Non Monogamy: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

In May of 2020 my partner and I made the huge decision to open our relationship and try ethical non monogamy. There’s been some hiccups and a lot of conversations but I’d like to give you a small peek into what it’s like.

If you want to hear my partner and I speak on the topic, listen to our special podcast episode here

The idea of ethical non monogamy isn’t something that just came out of the blue. Pre-covid I traveled for my work. Usually for about six weeks in the Fall and 3 weeks or so in the Spring. I’m pretty sure I was the one to bring it up first, but I remember offering my partner a hall pass for the times I was away. He laughed it off at first and didn’t take me seriously at all. Finally in around the spring of 2019, he kind of took me up on the offer.

Now, because I think it’s important to be truthful with my readers, I’m going to put it all out there for you. He ended up meeting a woman during a hall pass weekend. He didn’t sleep with her but thought she was pretty cool and wanted to be friends. And of course I said ok. He seemed excited to talk to her. She got him playing his guitar again and even writing music. He called her his muse. And boy, did that hurt. I had been trying for so long to get him back into his music and along comes some pretty girl that writes poetry and BAM, he’s back at it. But he was happy and according to him, she respected our relationship and only wanted to be friends.

One day we end up going to a beach that she would frequently go to, as she was a nanny and would bring the children there. He had even invited her there without telling me and boy, was I revving up for a not so good time. He was even upset at my reaction at first. Luckily, she didn’t come and he realized how unfair that would have been to the both of us. It seemed we were both fine with coexisting but never meeting.

Over the weeks, she tried to demand more and more of his time. They went on a small hiking trip and I was nervous the entire time. She was messaging him a lot and wanting to see him more. But I said nothing. And this is why I love my partner. He knew that I could see how she was increasingly trying to push him. He told her that I was his priority, not her. Eventually she starting asking him about more hall pass weekends. I’m assuming they sexted and she wanted more. If I granted one hall pass weekend, why couldn’t I do it again? It was at that point he shut it all down. Ended the friendship.

Now, I’m so happy that at that point we were not participating in ethical non monogamy. We weren’t ready at all. But we definitely both grew from the experience.

Just a few short months after that, my partner started taking medication for his fibromyalgia. That medication is actually an anti-depressant. And if you’re unfamiliar, anti-depressants can affect your sex drive. I’m on them too, but that’s a blog post for another day.

His sex drive dramatically dropped. He stopped initiating sex and would brush me off if I tried to. Of course I couldn’t help but think it was me. We would have sex but I could feel he was just not into it. I would try to get out of my own head and enjoy it because I knew he was doing it for me, but sometimes that wouldn’t work.

We had to have some real conversations on what he was thinking and how he was feeling. And part of him felt liberated. He wasn’t thinking about sex all the time. He didn’t feel controlled by his dick or have this constant urge to jack off. It didn’t mean he found me less attractive, or wanted to fuck someone else. He just didn’t want to fuck anyone.

But where does that leave me? I have a, um, high sex drive. Sex once every three weeks isn’t quite satisfying. But what were our choices? And then Covid hit and lockdowns began. You can’t ignore the fact that you’re not fucking when you’re around someone 24/7.

Eventually he mentioned that I should get some side dick. Get on Tinder and find someone to fuck. And at first I didn’t believe him. This wasn’t him. He would never. But he would say it in such a cavalier, matter-of-fact manner that was definitely a different tone than the past.

Around March or April of 2020 while browsing the web, I came across an article that spoke about a dating app called #Open, for people in poly, open and ethical non monogamy relationships. At that time, neither one of us had ever heard of ethical non monogamy. But as I looked into it, something about the term just clicked. I never liked the term “open relationship”. Something about it made it just sound like it was an open free-for-all (although I know better now).

I read ethical non monogamy as people in a relationship who weren’t looking for the emotional aspect of a relationship with someone else and were merely looking for the physical. Hey! That was me!

I showed my partner the article and we discussed the things I had read. I told him, I think I wanted to try and get on Tinder and he encouraged me to do so.

So what happened when I actually matched with someone and we started talking? Well, I guess you’ll have to wait until the next post…

1 Comment

  1. ENM: Taking the First Step - March 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    […] If you’re curious about how my partner and I opened up our relationship and decided to become ENM, you can catch up on the story here. […]


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