Riding the ups and downs of non-monogamy’s roller-coaster

Liz Sinclair
5 min readNov 28, 2023
Photo by Matt Bowden on Unsplash

When you’re non-monogamous, it’s hard to get everything right. Despite best intentions, the intricate web of emotions, feelings, lust and desire among multiple people sometimes gets a bit complicated. It sometimes gets very complicated.

Recently, if you ask me, my husband has majorly screwed things up. He’s fallen in love with a new partner and it’s caused havoc in our previously (mostly) stable non-monogamous arrangement. A year ago we were happy’ish. Now, well, like I said, it’s very complicated.

(And I would like to acknowledge that accusing my husband of screwing up, doesn’t mean I have never screwed up, am completely blameless, or totally above reproach. I’ve screwed things up in the past, no denying it.)

I would like to tell you that our previous experience navigating the hard bits of non-monogamy has helped us navigate through these hard times. You’d think that the communication skills we had to learn to help us deal with hard emotions like jealousy and envy would come in handy here. Or that the trust we built in each other would lay a strong foundation for the cracks that have recently become visible in our relationship. Or that the self-work and personal growth in doing the work we had to do as individuals as we faced a myriad of situations in our non-monogamous explorations would come in handy. Unfortunately, not so much. We are once again in completely unchartered waters.

Way way way back I wrote that non-monogamy is like a ride on the wildest roller-coaster, and right now, at this moment, I am facing the most terrifying descent of the ride.

Over the last few months, I have discovered that there is one more thing I/we need to learn to navigate this roller-coaster. I am beginning to realize that one of the essential skills needed in a non-monogamous relationship, or perhaps any relationship, is accountability. The ability to recognize what we’ve done and to take responsibility for the outcome. It’s the skill of accepting that what we do has an impact and taking ownership of the results.

Neither my husband nor I are going to get any gold stars at this point for holding ourselves accountable.

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Liz Sinclair

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