5 Things We Screwed Up with Our Monogamy Rules

Spoiler: Writing good non monogamy rules is really hard.

Liz Sinclair
7 min readDec 1, 2022


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

In a post from a few months ago [read it here], I told you that writing our non monogamy rules before my husband and I officially opened up our relationship was the most fun, most energizing conversation topic that we’d had in a long time.

We thought we’d nailed our non monogamy rules. We gave ourselves high-fives and figured we were good to go. So off we went onto this wild adventure of opening up. And we had fun. And then….

Guess what?

“It took us about three months to break every single one of our non monogamy rules. They were useless.”

It’s so easy to have rules that aren’t easy to understand, agree to and enforce.

It’s actually quite amazing how quickly things went sideways. Our intentions were good. We really wanted to have good non monogamy rules. We thought we were mature enough, stable enough, intelligent enough, prepared enough, “enough enough” to navigate all the emotions of an open relationship safely. But, clearly, we weren’t.

In a few months we went from being excited and energized to dealing with raging jealousy, unsafe sex, falling head first into new relationship energy, fighting all the time, a whopping credit card bill full of expensive fancy drinks and a complete breakdown on all fronts — mental, physical, emotional, psychological. Wow, eh?

At first we tried to write new, better, improved rules (read them here). But, to our surprise, the new rules didn’t fix much. Our non monogamy rules were still not totally good. Yes, there was some improvement but they were not the magical solution to all of our problems.

With help from a couple’s therapist (it sounds cliché but we ended up on the therapist’s couch) we worked our way through a few realizations about what we did less than perfectly both in our initial and revised rules.

In the hope that it might help other couples, here’s a breakdown of 5 things we screwed up (majorly):

#1. We didn’t understand the critical difference between boundaries and rules. Rules and boundaries are both usually agreed upon to try to protect the…



Liz Sinclair

Ordinary, middle-aged, university educated, working mother of three in a long-term loving marriage. Oh, and also non monogamous.