Psychology Today’s website offers lots of good reading. I’ve posted some of Susan Heitler’s blog here before.
Recently, a friend introduced me to another blogger, Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. Her blog Living Single discusses “the truth about singles in our society.” Recently, she’s offered several short pieces on consensual non-monogamous relationships.
Are Monogamous Relationships Really Better? Science scrutinizes monogamy
Here’s a background point that caught my eye in this post:
- “…levels of jealousy were actually lower for those in CNM relationships than in a monogamous sample.”
- About CNM relationships: “jealousy is more manageable in these relationships than in monogamous relationships and is experienced less noxiously.””
As David Schnarch discusses in “Passionate Marriage,” another important aspect in any relationship is self-validation. When partners can validate themselves in the context of a relationship, not depending on their partner for meaning and purpose, there is more healthy inter-dependence and less co-dependence. In non-dyadic partnerships (more than two people), this self-validation seems even more pressing a milestone to achieve to ensure that the image and experience of one\’s partner sharing experiences with a third is not insulting and assaultive to the self. With established self-validation, the other\’s experience outside the dyad is complementary rather than invasive, especially when the couple can discuss it openly within their agreed upon comfort zone of revealing details. The extra-dyadic experiences can be integrated positively as ways in which partners explore themselves, foster themselves, and come back to the primary partner stronger and more fulfilled.
To be clear, this kind of process requires a very strong primary partnership, built on trust, clear expectations and open communication. Much of my work has focused on helping couples develop that relational maturity and even navigate how and when an extra-dyadic relationship may be healthy and appropriate for them. Clearly, this process is unique for each partnership.