opening marriage

100 Questions to Ask When Considering Non-Monogamy

nonnmonogamy questions | polyamory questions | open relationship questions | open marriage questions

An intentional discussion is critical if you’re thinking about shifting from a practice of default monogamy to intentional non-monogamy (or even intentional monogamy). 

No matter which route you ultimately choose (and know you can always re-assess and change course later) these questions can help guide a foundational discussion for you and your partner(s). 

Enter your information below and I'll send them to you within 24 hours.  

May they help you get clear and connected together. 

And if you’d like support working on this subject matter please give me a call.  I’ve helped hundreds of incredible couples dive into deep discussions of monogamy, polyamory, open relationships and more- and I would be honored to support you too! 

Enjoy!  - Gina Senarighi, Uncommon Love

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nonmonogamy | polyamory | open relationships

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

Are We Ready to Open Our Relationship?

ready for open relationship

Over the last ten years I've seen hundreds of couples through deciding when and if and how they want to open their relationships.  I do believe almost anyone is capable of managing an open relationship with a little training- if they want it.

But not every relationship is ready to dive in right away.  Lots of folks have co-created dynamics that need to shift to support a consensually non-monogamous relationship.  Plenty of people need to work on changing perspectives and gaining or fortifying skills before an open relationship will suit them well.  

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to self-check your own readiness for an open relationship.

What kind of time, energy, financial, and physical resources am I willing to share?

Love is limitless, but resources (time, money, and physical energy for starters) are not.  For example, I once had a client who ran two successful businesses, started full-time graduate school, was training for a marathon, and was considering starting a relationship with a third partner.

I'm not saying it's impossible to do all those things at once.  But her energy for all those things was going to be compromised.  And in order to practice ethically its important she is up front with her current and potential partners about just how much (or little) she has to give.

Take stock of your resources and your willingness to divide them even further.  

How do my current partner and I handle and resolve conflict?

You will hit bumps in the road if you decide to open your relationship.  It's inevitable.  There's just so little good information and social support in our society for folks building relationships outside cultural norms, and you're up against a heap of bad relationship advice we often take as truth. 

Those bumps don't mean there's anything wrong with your relationship, but if you have little or no solid practice working through things together (without one of you feeling slighted, or someone avoiding the issues) it's going to be difficult to start when emotions are running high and you're trying something so brand new.

I recommend hiring a professional to give your relationship a little tune-up when it comes to conflict so you're better prepared for the bumps you're going to face when you start seeing more people.

How do I currently manage my emotions?  What happens when I experience severe anxiety, fear, jealousy, or insecurity?  

Even the most even-keeled clients have told me starting to practice non-monogamy brings out the most unpredictable and surprising reactions in them.  That's totally okay.

How you handle those emotional reactions however can have huge implications for your well-being and the long-term success of your relationship.  Feeling intense emotions is no excuse for being unkind or disrespectful.  

Take stock of the skills that help you manage intense reactions with care. Review the self-care practices that help you stay balanced (and bolster them to help anchor you).  Again, hire a professional to talk through these if needed, you won't regret using care when starting out.

Where can I find support for a polyamorous lifestyle?

When starting out in non-monogamy lots of folks feel alone because they perceive the monogamous community around them as pretty unsupportive.  It can be really difficult for people to find supportive polyamorous or open community.  

And going it alone with your partner creates a vacuum for the two of you to incubate unhealthy polyamorous dynamics if you've got any brewing.  You need outside voices to support your learning and growth in this process.

Start looking for folks you can talk with well before you start taking action steps toward non-monogamy. You can find communities online via fetlife and facebook or support groups in your community to talk through your questions and concerns among others who get it.

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list.  I'm happy to give you a more tailored list of considerations (specific to your situation) just give me a call.


open relationships online counseling

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

Ask Me Anything: Opening a 15 Year Marriage?

relationship advice | polyamory advice | open relationship help

Ask me anything is a relationship advice column run by Gina Senarighi, a former therapist turned sex educator and sexuality counselor who offers online support for non-traditional couples.  

Submit your Ask Me Anything question right here.  Or Read more Ask Me Anything here.

This Week's Open Marriage Question:

In your professional opinion, is it even fathomable to think a marriage after 15 years could ever be an open one?

First, yes I think it's fathomable and possible to have a healthy open marriage after monogamy.  I help a lot of people do exactly that in my work every single day.

But my experience has shown there's a bit of work to do before opening up after so many years of monogamy.  Usually, one partner feels some surprise when it's brought up.  Often they thought they'd be monogamous their whole life and even talking about nonmonogamy feels like a huge foundational shift.  

So before we can get to practicing nonmonogamy we've got to work on even talking about opening your marriage without real emotional reactivity (jealousy, insecurity, shock, or anger) on one side and growing tension (resentment, frustration, and impatience) on the other.  

I've seen many couples choose to open their marriage and some who do not.  Either way, navigating this initial conversation often leads to greater connection and understanding.  

Instead of getting caught up in thinking through details of polyamory I invite you and your partner to use this as an opportunity to reconnect.  See if there's a way this can bring you closer together.  Many times the conversation has led away from practical non-monogamy and instead toward the need to create a new vision for your next chapter together.  

If your partner tells you they want an open marriage after many years of monogamy it can feel like you're no longer on the same page.  Starting from some shared visioning can help ease the pressure to nail down details of polyamory and instead will help you two get back on the same page.

Think about it this way, if you founded a business with someone fifteen years ago you would likely bring in an advisor or coach, maybe an accountant or bookkeeper, and likely a lawyer to create contracts and agreements you can uphold in your business partnerships.  Then (in a healthy business) you might meet with them and your partner annually to revisit your strategic plan, create new goals, and renegotiate your contracts with one another.  

Your business would grow and change a lot in fifteen years.  You would revisit your mission and vision for the work you do together on a somewhat regular basis- no big deal, just good business.

Lots of healthy businesses thrive this way- but we rarely apply this kind of intentionality in our personal relationships.  If you're like most relationships you may have assumed some baseline you set fifteen years ago would hold you together for life- without ever discussing it.  

But the truth is, neither of you is the same people you were fifteen years ago.  I'm asking you to consider this an opportunity to reinvest in your marriage and get closer to your wife by reestablishing your relationship vision and goals together (aside from the non-monogamy discussion).  

Get on the same page again, and then talk more about opening up.  Maybe it fits in your vision, and maybe it doesn't.  But most couples I see being up open marriages after many years need a little foundational repair before we can start a healthy conversation about openness.  

I hope that helps.  If you want to talk more please set up a free consultation, I'm happy to help.  


relationship advice \ open relationship advice column | polyamory advice

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

  • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
  • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependent patterns
  • open your relationship or practice polyamory with care
  • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnect
  • break unhealthy communication patterns in your relationship

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

Two Kinds of Jealousy

Kinds of Jealousy | uncommon Love Open Marriage Counseling in Portland

The most common question I get (as a therapist who works with open relationships and non-monogamous marriages) is how I help people work through jealousy.  

Although jealousy takes many forms in these diverse relationships, there are two sources driving most of our conversations on the topic.

Most of the time, jealousy is based in fear.  It is an incredibly common emotion, and is important to acknowledge as a natural and healthy occurrence- when handled with integrity. However, when jealousy gets out of hand, it can be incredibly destructive to the foundation of any marriage or partnership.

All too often jealousy results in worried and distrustful behaviors (like snooping, spying, and interrogating).  It seems to impact relationships regardless of demographic- everyone experiences some bitter envy from time to time.

The first kind of jealousy worth noting is reactive.  

Reactive jealousy happens when you are experiencing an actual threat to your relationship.

Reactive jealousy is painful, but due to its specific focus, it can appear easier to problem solve (by addressing the threat openly, and lovingly).

On the other hand, suspicious jealousy can be very difficult to resolve.  Suspicious jealousy is not based in fact or evidence, no commitments have been broken and the relationship isn't at risk.  

Instead of being driven by a real threat, suspicious jealousy originates in one partner's insecurities.

Insecurity can come from any number of life experiences or current situations in a partner's life and in the course of a relationship it is only natural either partner will feel some insecurity rise from time to time.  Regardless of its cause, insecurity, it is important the couple work together to prevent damage that can be caused by this kind of jealousy.

Here are a couple simple but effective strategies you can work on when the green-eyed monster attacks your relationship.  

If you want help moving past jealousy in your relationship call me for a free consultation to see fi I can assist you.

 

poly counselor | polyamory couples counseling | open relationship threapist

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).