Negotiated non-monogamy is fast becoming the preferred relationship choice for more and more people, with increased honesty, more freedom and enhanced sexual satisfaction being cited as reasons. While many of us might balk at the thought of non-monogamy, those in polyamorous relationships claim that these kinds of relationships not only change the way they relate but contribute to heightened self-development and self-awareness.

Polyamory, a consensually non-monogamous relationship style, is gaining popularity with many people opting for this rather than monogamy. Though traditionalists still frown upon relationships that deviate from the norm, it appears that those who practice polyamory possess relational skill sets that could teach those of us in monogamous relationships a thing or two.

Those who practice polyamory communicate more than the average monogamous couple. Being in relationships where there are so many variables requires that those engaged are talking about it all the time. Included in this are relationship agreements where all parties involved in the relationship must understand the boundaries or lack thereof within the relationship. Negotiating a relationship contract is not easy and requires deep levels of communication along with lots of self-awareness. Understanding what each individual needs within the relationship and expressing this in a way that is understood can be tricky, so vigorous communication occurs around the agreements. Along with this, people get to know their partner better and get to understand both themselves and the others more deeply.

Obviously you can never actually know if anyone is being completely honest, however it seems those within polyamorous relationships believe that they offer increased honesty. Not only are partners able to be honest about the feelings of attraction that they may have for another, but in order to negotiate around external relationships there needs to be an exceptional amount of honesty regarding thoughts and feelings. If one partner isn’t honest about what they are experiencing, this may cause feelings of resentment or anger, and those in non-monogamous relationships understand this inherently. Part and parcel of polyamory is the commitment and ability to both talk about feelings and listen to and receive that communication in a way that allows for greater understanding. As long as there are limitations within regular kinds of relationships around attractions or uncomfortable feelings, then it might be difficult to understand how such openness within relationships might increase intimacy.

These days most people expect to have all their needs fulfilled within their primary and only romantic relationship. They expect their partner to be their best friend, confidante, lover and teammate. This idealistic perception of relationships sounds great in theory, but in reality it is impossible to be all of these things to one person. Those who practice polyamory have a realistic grip on this and expect less from their primary partner. With the understanding that one partner cannot meet all of their needs, polyamorists seek support externally when they understand that their primary partner cannot meet all of their needs.

While having a consensually negotiated non-monogamous relationship might not appeal to everyone, those who have them claim that they would think twice before returning to a more traditional relationship style. Perhaps even those in consensually monogamous relationships could learn how to create a more open, honest and fulfilling relationship from polyamory. After all, who wouldn’t want a relationship where honesty, communication, and independence can be experienced on a more regular basis?