Polyamory and CNM
What is Consensual/ Ethical Non-Monogamy
Consensual / Ethical Non-Monogamy (CNM) is any relationship style where all individuals within the relationship actively consent to being in a non-monogamous relationship.
CNM is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of relationship styles like polyamory, swinging, play partnerships, ‘monogamish’ relationships, and many forms of chosen family. Provided that the relationships are approached ethically, they can take on virtually unlimited forms – there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all CNM.
Different relationships will have agreements, boundaries, and guiding structures which are put in place to help individuals feel safe and secure. When agreed upon boundaries are crossed it may be considered a form of cheating as it fractures trust within the relationship.
What is Polyamory
Polyamory is a practice of ethical non-monogamy. It may involve multiple romantic relationships (which may or may not be sexual) built upon deep, intimate emotional connections which are flexible in nature and able to be adapted for different needs and desires. Each polyamorous relationship has the potential to present radically different structures, beliefs, and practices uniquely shaped by the value systems of the participating individuals.
Polyamorous relationships are based on a practice of radically open and honest communication driven by a deep level of self-awareness. Emphasis is placed on egalitarianism, inclusivity, autonomy, and consent. Polyamory challenges individuals to be deeply aware of their desires, needs, wants, and boundaries.
The structural makeup of polyamorous relationships is inherently diverse; any structure that can be consensually negotiated is possible. Some relationships may look like hierarchical structures involving primary, secondary, and tertiary partners, while others are non-hierarchical, including relationship anarchy, solo polyamory, and kitchen table polyamory to name a few.
Folks exploring polyamory or CNM often need support with topics like:
- Radically open and honest communication
- Healthy communication strategies
- Boundary setting
- Emotional Intimacy and expressing emotions
- Coming out
- Opening up
- Creating families
- Raising children
- Sexual exploration
- Relationship recognition and legal concerns
- Uncomfortable feelings such as jealousy, inadequacy, and insecurity.
While this list is not exhaustive it attempts to share common challenges and experiences that are often encountered as folks explore different forms of connection and relationships. In my professional career and personal life I’ve encountered all of these (and more), and as a counselor I strive to always be uniquely equipped to support you on your journey into polyamory/ CNM.
I provide support to:
- The Cluster/ Polycule/Family members (including Chosen Family)
I am able to support partners/family members in group counseling sessions by fostering a safe(r) space to share challenges and concerns to support everyone in feeling seen and heard.