5 Ways Non-Monogamy Can Strengthen A Relationship, If You're Looking To Explore Something New

Whether you're monogamous, polyamorous, or somewhere in the vast chasm between, there's a niche on the relationship spectrum to suit your needs. Although cutting edge culture assures us that there's no wrong way to have a relationship, one-on-one coupling is still the norm, and exploring non-monogamous relationships can be met with a certain level of stigma (and accusations of being "greedy," "slutty" or a straight up jerk).

Last week, when the "cheating" website Ashley Madison was hacked, users were faced with being outed for having extra-marital interests, which brought on a boatload of schadenfreude as well as the usual thinkpieces dissecting our culture of monogamy and the ways modern marriage has failed to evolve past the 1950's. While cheating and non-monogamy are not one and the same, there would arguably be a decrease in infidelity if people could get down with a more flexible form of relationship.

So if you're satisfied with one partner, that's great, but for the rest of us who can't work within the system, there are ways to engage in consensual non-monogamy that can be awesome for your relationship. Here are five ways that opening up might actually bring you and your partner(s) closer together.

1. It Encourages Communication

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Strong, silent types need not apply to the consensual non-monogamy game. If you and your partner(s) want to remove some of the restrictions in your relationship, you'll need to be totally dialed in to an open dialogue at all times. Secrets and lies are for cheaters, thank you very much.

2. It Forces You To Focus On Your Individual Desires

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It's common knowledge that losing yourself in a conventional relationship doesn't help you or your partner. Regardless of the kind of relationship you're in, self-care is crucial, but non-monogamy really forces you to ask yourself hard questions about what you need to be satisfied, both sexually and emotionally.

3. It Allows You To Bring New Experiences To The Table

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Monogamy doesn't have to mean you do everything with your S.O., but it does restrict the kind of intimate relationships you can have apart from your main squeeze. Opening up your relationship means you can share some of the electric new experiences you're having, which, in an ideal setting, will only inspire more in your relationship(s).

4. It Decreases Sexual Frustration

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Relying on one person for all your sexual needs can be daunting. There are schedules and libidos that have to coincide, and sometimes doing it with the same person for a while can get stale, no matter how much you are madly in love. If your arrangement allows for some outside release, it can really kickstart your sex drive, thanks to a little thing called compersion.

5. It Makes You Appreciate Your Partner For Who They Are

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Comparing your significant other to someone else is supposedly the worst thing you can do, according to experts. However, when your partnership allows you to experience other people in the flesh, it can help you stop fetishizing what you don't have, and start appreciating what you do.

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