What happens when find yourself in a long term relationship where your partner discloses that you aren’t the sexual “apple of their eye” or ends up cheating, but tells you that it happened because they really aren’t monogamous? Surprise…non-monogamy! This is a hard question to ponder after the fact, while trying to understand what happened in your relationship that led to the late-term disclosure or affair. Sometimes, it’s difficult to even believe this could be true, as it can sound like an excuse the first time you hear it.
As we have come to understand monogamy and non-monogamy further, we are realizing that many individuals struggle to identify, share, and accept their true sexual identities. Unfortunately, this lack of early disclosure often results in negative relationship consequences. Usually, partners, husbands, wives…etc., struggle to inform their spouse(s) early in the relationship of their sexual preferences (if not typical or commonly accepted socially) out of fear. They worry they will lose an otherwise successful and inspiring romantic relationship or best friendship. They worry about being shamed, or will experience guilt over not being “normal.”
It can be difficult to believe that your partner(s) lied over the course of the relationship or cheated out of “necessity,” or because it is just who they are (to be authentic, feel alive, or be true to themselves). However, in cases where one partner cheats because they aren’t monogamous, but are attempting to maintain a monogamous relationship, it can seem like there is no hope for the relationship…or like you’ve been smacked in the face twice (see: double whammy). Regardless, these situations are often lined with hope and tremendous opportunities to develop better, clearer, and more honest communication in the relationship. If the adultery or lack of preference disclosure can be reconciled, there are many positive directions we can work toward to better each member of the relationship’s lives. Your relationship does not have to end if you are partnered with someone who is non-monogamous or vice versa. There are many ways to reconcile this difference and create a very authentic, genuine relationship moving forward, filled with trust, honesty, compassion, admiration, and love.