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Nov 30, 2022
Thinking about opening up your relationship? Before you do, I encourage a reflection between you and your current, primary partner as to the intent. Jumping into consensual non-monogamy for the first time can be an exhilarating and joining experience for you both…   If it is done healthily and with preparation.

I can not tell you how many new client have entered into therapy with the catalyst being a poorly constructed opening of the relationship.  To enter into consensual non-monogamy without proper attention to how, why, and in what way can ultimately lead to feelings of betrayal and infidelity.

When we start this journey off with healthy and positive intent, we have such higher probability of success. Reasons
 NOT to enter into an open relationship at this time:
  • I am no longer interested in my partner and am looking for someone else to have sex with.  
  • My partner and I are having serious relationship difficulties and think that bringing in a “spark” will help.
  • I am feeling angry or hurt and want my partner to feel as hurt as I am.

If any of these are present, please seek out a Couple Therapist to help repair the dyadic relationship FIRST. When stable, together you can look through the attached contract questionnaire to get started in enjoying the fruits of consensual non-monogamy.
The fluidity of energy given and energy received between two people is the core foundation of interpersonal fulfillment.
                            - Stephanie P. Bathurst, LCMFT


The importance is in HOW energy within a relationship is given and reciprocated that determines the success of that relationship. Success is not determined by HOW MANY persons are in the romantic system.

Energy comes in a variety of forms (reference Chapman’s theory on 
The 5 Love LanguagesGottman's What Makes Love Last, and Berman's book Quantum Love). The fluidity of energy given and energy received between two+ people is the core foundation of interpersonal fulfillment. This energy exchange IS NOT exclusive to 2-person structures as long as balance in the giving and receiving of energy can be maintained when adding more partners into the mix. 


For those of you who have read my article on Repair from Infidelitythis statement will sound familiar. An infidelity is defined as: 

ANYTHING that drains vital energy from the dyadic relationship. To prevent a consensually non-monogamous relationship structure from being experienced as an infidelity, it requires us to negotiate, consent, as well as be mindful and conscientious of how we allocate our energy to each partner(s). This mindfulness of energy exchange can be solidified in a therapeutic and transparent way through the review of my Open Relationship Contract Questionnaire, breaking down the process into 3 vital components: 

Boundaries, Safety, Communication

All of you Kinksters out there will connect with this last bit. 
Consent, Consent, Consent. There should be no secrecy, no shame, no judgement when entering into a new structure together. 

When we are healthy and stable individuals, we can then create a healthy and stable system. This system should absolutely include exploration and excitement. For some, that goes beyond monogamy. And for them, that is wonderful!

PS. If you want a FREE copy of my Open Relationship Contract Questionnaire, email me directly at [email protected] to sign up for my insights and promos! Or, schedule a session with me and we'll healthily contract your open relationship together!


Licensed ​Marriage and Family Therapist

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