Question: Can being monogamish help you be monogamous?


I got a great question about being monogamish and whether or not being monogamish can help a monogamous relationship survive and thrive.

Monogamish is a relatively new word that means a relationship is sorta-monogamous. You might explore with your partner a little more than a couple who is entirely monogamous by having things like threesomes, bi-sexual experience, or approved one nighters. Monogamish relationships don’t really fall into open relationship territory nor do they really qualify as swinging. They are less likely to be polyamorous. Monogamish relationships are becoming more and more popular (or at least included in dialogue more frequently) as couples begin to explore threesomes and other “sexually liberating” experiences within the contexts of their relationships. This could be in part due to the social acceptance of polyamory, bisexuality, and the critical analysis of monogamy.

Many writers I read question whether or not this type of exploration can be beneficial to long-term monogamous relationships. Some think that getting out the desire to have new experiences can help prevent infidelity. Justification being that they can have those experiences and do not need to cheat to experience them.

I would tend to agree with that, and think that exploration within a safe and trusting context can be useful for couples that wish to maintain a generally monogamous relationship. In preventing infidelity in particular it would depend on whether or not the couple was interested in exploring new things in addition to their relationship or exploring only new things.

Are you looking to be monogamish because you’re done with your relationship and you’re looking for a way to move on, or are you looking to be monogamish because you want to strengthen your current relationship and have new experiences?

I think that having the opportunity to explore can be helpful to individuals who have certain needs that can’t be met within the context of their relationship. Men and women who are bisexual, for instance, can have the chance to be physically intimate with someone of the same or opposite sex. If a particular kink is not met within the relationship, it can be met outside the relationship. (Some enjoy hiring dominatrixes, for instance.)

As I end most discussions of “relationship styles” I think we wind up at the same conclusion. What works for some people won’t work for everyone. What works for some relationships wouldn’t work for other relationships. Monogamish relationships (and other variations of ethical non-monogamy) could help strengthen a monogamous relationship. It could also show the involved parties that the relationship has already come to an end.

I would encourage couples who have been together for a long time who have pondered about monogamish relationships or ethical non-monogamy to start conversations about what their relationship would look like if they did that. Were there any experiences they were curious about having? What would a monogamish relationship look like? Is this something they’re interested in trying at some point or does it come of little interest to them? As the subject itself is one of current hot-topic-discussion, it could be provoking enough just to share a few words about it, and see where that takes you.

What do you think? Can monogamish relationships help couples who have the goal of remaining monogamous? Does that even make sense? Can you say you’re monogamous if you’re “monogamish”? Would you explore one-time experiences with your partner?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. LaNeshe ( says:

    Never heard of Monogamish!


    1. ST says:

      Another word coined by Dan Savage.


  2. briana says:

    We don’t use the word monogamish to describe our relationship, but the way you describe it is, at least currently and theoretically, how we operate. We gave swinging and polyamory a good go, and while there are novels I could write about those experiences and all their ups and downs, in the end, it was too complicated and messy for our long-term marriage with kids and two careers. Who has time for additional romantic partners and working out the messy snags that come out of the woodwork when newly opening up and all the late nights (we have to arrange child care or wait til the kids go to bed to have sex!) and endless communication before and after everyone’s gone home? It was more work than fun and because of that, we gave our open relationship a year being closed.
    We are recently re-exploring what being open means for us. We are cautious and careful not to fall into the NRE pitfalls we fell into before.

    For myself, my husband represents stability. I love him and the ways he grounds me. He provides for me financially, emotionally, logistically, socially. I need that. I tend to be a wild, creative, imaginative bird who can hardly stay grounded. My husband is that for me.

    However, I also desire someone to join me in that flighty, heady, impassioned, magical space up in the clouds. I desire someone swirling and passionate and creative and mystical that I inspire and inspires me spiritually and creatively. This kind of person will never be my rock. I could never marry someone and rely on someone like this. My relationships with people who fulfill this part of my are turbulent and wild eyed and beautiful but never stable and never last long.

    I want both. I need stability and I want passion.


    1. ST says:

      I enjoy how you describe different people being able to fulfill different desires outside of an already happy and healthy relationship. Too often people expect one person to be both deep and light, fast and slow, spontaneous and predictable. It’s a bit of a conundrum.


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