Monogamy vs Fidelity

Monogamy vs Fidelity

woman in black tank dress standing on rock near body of water

In our most intimate romantic relationships, we want to feel special and chosen. We want to be our partner’s most important person.

But what if relationship monogamy is like fucking for virginity?

What if it has the opposite effect of what is intended? 

Words, words, words

Fidelity: faithfulness to a person or belief, demonstrated through support, loyalty, and repeatedly choosing that person. 

Monogamy: the practice or relationship structure of having only one intimate or sexual partner. 

Monogamy is a structural method to make your partner your top priority. It’s black and white: you’re either exclusively bonded or you’re cheating.

So…what’s the alternative?

Consensual or ethical non-monogamy

The rules of monogamy are relatively unambiguous, if frequently broken. In contrast, non-monogamy rules are as unique as the relationship they’re in. There are many forms of CNM/ENM from swinging to sex parties, from cuckolding to the many varieties of polyamory. Put simply, it takes a lot of self-awareness, honesty, and negotiation. 

Non-monogamy also comes with its own problems, unicorn hunting and one-penis-policy, being two common examples. 

Deception and lying are deeply toxic for all romantic relationships, as they both destroy trust. This is why, a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy rarely leads to a thriving relationship. I mean, why would you want to be intimate, emotionally or sexually, with someone you don’t trust any more? With affairs, it’s rarely the absence of monogamy that’s kills the relationship, it’s the lack of honesty and trust.

What to say to your partner

Don’t get me wrong, I know EMN can be really challenging. I know the heartache of someone else satisfying my partner in ways I can’t. Even so, I’d much rather have full disclosure, discomfort and all, than have our bond of trust and fidelity broken. 

Besides, if anyone in a relationship feels the urge to have sex with someone else, whether that’s deemed cheating or not, it’s worth having a conversation about, isn’t it?  

Here are some non-monogamy starter questions for you to ask each other: 

  1. What am I already providing for you that you enjoy and appreciate?
  2. What am I not providing for you that you need or want romantically or sexually?
  3. What do you need me to know that you know is going to hurt me to hear?


These questions are a great way to initiate a more vulnerable and truthful exchange and are best used before changing your current relationship structure.

At the end of the day, isn’t it this intimacy and connection that we’re really craving?

What really matters to you?

A common challenge for monogamous couples is when one wants to open up the relationship and the other doesn’t. It can feel heartbreaking and bring up all sorts of insecurities and anger. Is it the beginning of the end?!

Good news, no it isn’t. Well, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many ways of making this work, in which you all get what you want, even if that seems impossible at the outset.

This is really where a professional third party can help, providing you with a safe space to speak your truth, fears, and needs. Find a Relationship Therapist or Couples Counsellor as soon as you can. I wrote this handy article to help you choose the right person for you.

There are lots of other conversations, like those above, that I can guide you through to find your ideal version of ENM with your unique boundaries. Would you like help to make your relationship dreams come true?