Am I too scared to date now that I’ve seen the dark side of non-monogamy?

Liz Sinclair
5 min readDec 13, 2023
Photo by Micah Hallahan on Unsplash

Over the last few months, I have hit pause on dating and connecting with my partners. I’ve been a tad distracted by the state of my non-monogamous marriage, and haven’t felt that it would be fair to bring anyone into the shit-storm with me.

Things are slowly settling down on the home front, and I am starting to think about whether I want to get back on one of the dating apps and start meeting people again.

As I have grappled with this step, I have realized that I am much more scared about non-monogamy than I was before. I’ve seen first-hand what can happen when things go wrong: months of tears, heartache, loss and hurt. It’s been a bit of an awakening to realize the risk is real.

For several years, I’ve read the blogs and responses from the nay-sayers. So many people have accused me and my husband of “playing with fire”. Even my sibling told me that he thought we were being total fools and taking our safe, stable monogamous relationship for granted when we opened up.

This paper summarizes the prejudices about non-monogamy rather succinctly: “Referred to as the consensual non-monogamy burden, CNM [consensual non-monogamy] is presumed to: 1) be primarily motivated by a desire for more sex, and thus must lead to an elevated risk of STIs; 2) be inherently oppressive to women; 3) means practitioners do not love their partners; 4) is a defective behaviour that does not work well in comparison to monogamy; 5) will result in jealousy which will be relationship destroying; and finally 6) is not natural.”

Wow, huh?

And yet, despite so many dire warnings, when we opened up our long-term monogamous relationship I glibly thought my husband and I were different. I felt confident we wouldn’t get burned. We had rules in place and well-established boundaries. These would keep us safe. My husband and I also communicated frequently about how things were going. Our check-ins were often one of us asking, “We good?” and the other replying “Yup, we’re good.” So we were good, you know?

I felt that we could navigate anything together because we were strong, smart and aware of how important our relationship was. Plus we were really good communicators.

--

--

Liz Sinclair

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