Is non monogamy just shopping for a new relationship from the safety of an established one?

Liz Sinclair
4 min readFeb 20
Photo by George Bakos on Unsplash

A recent comment on one of my blogs started with “This is going to sound cruel but….”. After reading my post, the commenter was wondering about my motivation for being non monogamous. They asked if I was actually looking for a new relationship through my non monogamous exploration to get out of my existing marriage. As they put it, was I “trying on” new relationships from the safety of my marriage until I found one that had potential and was worth leaving my problematic marriage for?

The question is not cruel. It’s valid.

Many monogamous couples divorce when one person meets and falls in love with someone else. For many, going from shitty marriage to affair to new relationship is way less scary than from shitty marriage to break-up to being single.

When I expressed a desire to be non monogamous, was I simply following the same pattern as so many adulterers and trying to go from shitty marriage to new relationship without going through the single phase?

My husband and I met when I was 18 years old. I have spent more than half my life with this man. We have built a home, a family and a whole life together. For better or for worse.

A huge part of our marriage has been having kids. Parenting is exhausting. Yes of course it’s wonderful and fulfilling to raise beautiful children, but it’s also a huge job that takes a lot of time and effort away from other things. Like, say, sex.

Over the last 15+ years, our focus shifted dramatically from being a sexual couple to being parents. It was quite simply an all encompassing period in our lives, and our sex life suffered. Our sexual activities became increasingly infrequent, transactional, and routine.

Beyond that, the routine of emptying dishwashers, doing laundry, the work-dinner-sleep-repeat pattern and soccer game Saturdays felt mind-numbing to me.

So yeah, when we decided to open up, I was feeling extremely restless with my life. I was anxious, bored, unsure about a lot of things. I didn’t really enjoy sex anymore. And yes, I wasn’t sure about my marriage.

Liz Sinclair

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