If you have been exploring ethical non-monogamy, you might have heard someone say they are monogamish. What does that even mean? It kind of sounds like something people say when they aren’t sure what they want, doesn’t it?
Monogamish is a term that’s usually used with couples when they follow some of the expectations of monogamy and some of the looser boundaries of non-monogamy. It all depends on the couple involved and the specific situation at any given moment.
If you want to explore what monogamish means, keep reading.
Where Did The Term Monogamish Come From?
Dan Savage is a popular blogger and author and he is credited for coming up with the term monogamish. He has a long-term partner and uses this term to describe their relationship. They are committed to each other but sometimes, they step outside the normal monogamy rules in order to have intimate relationships or encounters with others.
Many couples start off as monogamish when they are just starting to consider various kinds of non-monogamy. They don’t jump into a specific kind of consensual non-monogamy (CNM). Instead, they are mindful of how they open their relationship. They take it slow while they try to figure out what type of ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is best for them.
(Note: CNM and ENM are terms that basically describe the same thing – non-monogamy with the consent of all involved.)
What Does It Mean To Be Monogamish
As with most types of ENM, couples who are monogamish try to find a way of managing their relationship with each other and with other people in a manner that works best for them. In the most general terms though, monogamish means mostly monogamous but with some circumstances and boundaries that are agreed upon by the couple to step outside the lines of monogamy.
For some couples that means that one-night stands or fuck buddies are ok as long as certain rules are followed. Like there may be no kissing allowed or they can’t have intercourse with anyone they are likely to see again. They might allow for emotional relationships but not sexual ones. Each couple decides what they will accept.
Being Monogamish Allows Couples To Meet Unfulfilled Needs
Most people who have ever had a relationship know that one single person cannot fulfill all your needs. This might be relevant to sexual or non-sexual needs.
For example, say a couple has been together for a long time and one of them develops an interest in something kinky. It could be anal sex or some form of BDSM or something else. One of the partners is not interested in it at all and does not want to be involved. The other can’t stop thinking about it.
In this case, the partner who is not interested in the activity might allow their partner to have someone else they can explore that kink with, as long as it doesn’t impact their relationship. If the kinky person wants to explore being submissive, the other partner might allow them to find a Dom/me with the stipulation that there is no penetrative sex involved.
Communication Is Essential
In order to successfully open up your relationship to being monogamish, there has to be good communication. That takes time. You can’t just jump into it!
Both parties need to be willing to open up about how they feel. If one or both partners in a relationship struggle with communicating, they probably aren’t ready to be monogamish yet. They need to be able to talk about their true feelings and be honest with each other.
Some people have a hard enough time being honest with themselves so it’s important to work on that first. Do you even know how you feel about the idea of your partner being intimate with someone else, even if there’s no sex involved? Take time to think about this and then talk to your partner about it.
There Is Risk Involved In Being Monogamish
If you’re not communicating well before jumping into being monogamish, the risks are even greater. Some of the problems you might encounter include jealousy, misunderstandings, and even dishonesty.
Neglecting to communicate with your partner can result in an imbalanced power dynamic between the two of you. If you don’t keep working on it, the romance can fade from your relationship and result in dissatisfaction on the part of one or both partners.