From Monogamy To Ethical Non-Monogamy



Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is an umbrella term for a relationship where romantic and, or sexual connections are extended past the committed relationship of two people. Regardless of whether both parties participate or not, they both give their consent and fully understand what the relationship entails.

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I believe that the process of unlearning what you have previously learnt about relationships is the first step in going from a previously monogamous relationship to a newly ethically non-monogamous one. And this is no mean feat! If you are interested in having an open relationship or starting swinging, then this is a process that you are likely to embark upon yourself.

I often refer to swinging as a ‘journey’ for the both of you to go on; in this article, you will find all the details of that journey and the stops you will need to make if you want to have a successful, ethically non-monogamous relationship. You will also find a list of questions you need to consider and some basic rules to follow.

The first step towards ethical non-monogamy is unlearning what you have previously learnt about relationships.


As there are many ways to practice Ethical Non-Monogamy, it offers flexibility that many traditional monogamous relationships do not. Some couples are swingers and retain all of the emotional exclusivity they have within their relationship; whilst enjoying sex with others; they may only have sex or swap only when the other person is present. Whereas if you have a polyamorous relationship, you may enjoy both an emotional and a physical connection with other people as well as your partner. And if you are in an open relationship, you might meet men and women separately, without your spouse, but are still emotionally exclusive with them.


It is a strange realisation that many couples have, but by opening up their relationship, they actually become closer.

Having honest conversations will become easier. Showing vulnerable emotion will become second nature. You will learn how to support one another on a deep, personal level as you connect with your partner and understand what is integral to them. By supporting them in this way, you are encouraging them to flourish, and in turn, your relationship becomes so much stronger for it.


Educate Yourselves

The fact that you are reading this article is a really good sign! The more you learn about the lifestyle, the easier you will find it to navigate.

Discover more about Ethical non-monogamy and how to get involved in the swinger lifestyle in my comprehensive guides.

Take Small Steps

There is no rush to discover Ethical non-monogamy, and taking small steps at a pace that suits the least experienced person is so important. Yes, you may feel like you want to visit a swingers club or meet a couple, but in reality, taking things slowly is a much better option.


You will realise that the communication within your relationship increases, and you can share with your partner much more freely. As the basis for a successful ethically non-monogamous relationship is having honesty between both parties, having difficult conversations becomes easier.

Understand That It Is Okay To Be Scared

It’s okay to be scared when you start swinging! It’s okay not to have all the answers and be unsure of how you feel. Being apprehensive, nervous and doubtful are all part of the process. I wasn’t born with all the answers; I had to unlearn and relearn, just like you.

Establish Some Boundaries

Establishing boundaries first makes good sense. What are and aren’t you okay with? What do you want to experience, and what makes you feel uncomfortable. Ethical non-monogamy works when you set boundaries and respect them; whether that’s always both being present in a four-way group chat or only engaging in soft swap swinging, whatever makes you feel comfortable forms your boundaries.

Understand That Everyone Does It Differently

Not everyone is on the same path, and people decide to be Ethically Non-Monogmamous for different reasons. When you meet more people who are also ENM, you will find that they all started for various reasons. Some couples have open relationships, others are polyamorous, and some practice combining the two. There is no ‘set’ way to be as long as you are doing it ethically!

It Is Okay To Slow It Down

If you feel overwhelmed or that people around you are moving too fast, slowing things down is always best. If you visit a club and people ask if you would like to join them, but you are not ready, this is okay; take a step back and do what you feel comfortable with.

Discovering Your Desires Is Part Of The Process

It’s okay to have your desires independent of your partner.

The more you learn about Ethical Non-Monogamy, the more you will discover your own desires and accept that this is okay. If you find out you want to experience something, but it does nothing for your partner, then having an ethically non-monogamous relationship is one way that you can make this a reality. You want to experience what it is like to be a domme, but your husband isn’t in the least bit submissive? Visit a dedicated domme fetish party and enjoy being worshipped and adored!

Meet Other People

There’s no denying that you will discover a vast community of like-minded people when you start your journey. From couples you may meet in clubs, to members of online swinger communities, to people who host their own events. You are most certainly not alone!

Take Time For Yourselves

Reconnecting and taking time to nurture your relationship is a crucial step to take. Making time for yourselves and enjoying one another’s company away from the world of ethical non-monogamy is all part of the reconnection process.


A topic I am asked about frequently is what are the rules surrounding Ethical Non-monogamy? Here is a roundup of my Top 5 Rules for Going From Monogamy to Ethical Non-Monogamy:Ethical non-monogamy should complement your already existing relationship, not replace it!
Clear conversation between all parties is key! The clue is in the title Ethical. Regardless of whether it is your partner or someone you meet, it would be best if you always had a clear understanding, and there should be no deception.
Safety first! If you plan to be sexually intimate with others, you need to ensure you are practising safe sex.
Reconnecting after playing or having a date is essential. Take the time to check in with one another, and discuss what you did and maybe didn’t enjoy.
Establish your rules and boundaries before you start playing! Know what is and is not okay before you experience anything, and communicate these to all involved.
QUESTIONS TO ASK EACH OTHER WHEN GOING FROM MONOGAMY TO ETHICAL NON-MONOGAMY.Are you looking to play or meet people separately or alone? What do you feel comfortable doing? Some couples only ever play together, whereas some are happy to meet people separately.
Limits and boundaries. What do you feel comfortable participating in? I always recommend that couples who are new to Ethical Non-Monogamy draw up their limits and limitations based on safe sex practices that support their existing relationship.
How are you going to tackle jealousy and insecurity? Jealousy is an entirely natural behaviour and is apparent in all in relationships; accepting that jealousy is a natural emotion is the first step, and not letting it define you is the second.
How are you going to respond to jealousy? Remember, it’s how we respond to jealous situations, not jealousy itself, that causes the upset. By acknowledging it, accepting it and moving forward, we don’t have to let jealousy overwhelm us and our involvement in the lifestyle. Jealous and envious thoughts come from self-comparison and insecurity. There will always be individuals around us who make us feel insecure, but they only have a minimal impact on who you are and the life you lead.
What process are you going to use to reconnect after any ENM session? Reconnecting with your partner forms an essential part of having an Ethical non-monogamous relationship. And regardless of the type of relationship, Polyamorous, open, or swinger, you should always check in with one another and communicate honestly.
What do you think about safe sex? Regardless of whether you are directly involved in any intimacy or not, you need to ensure you discuss safe sex practices with your partner and what steps you will take to ensure that any sex you or they are involved in is safe for both you and anyone you may be intimate with.
Are you okay with people knowing or not? Some couples are, and some couples aren’t. Going from monogamy to Ethical Non-Monogamy can be daunting for many couples. It can be hard for couples to open up to people within their social circle, especially if none of their friends is ethically non-monogamous. One of the best things you can do is join an online community and start attending swinger socials or swinger events in your area.


So, you have read this far, and now you are probably thinking, okay, but how do we start, or how do I talk to my partner about it?

If you are looking to get started in Ethical Non-monogamy and want to discover how to keep your existing relationship intact, but have hundreds of questions and concerns whilst also simultaneously wondering where are all these swingers clubs? Well, here are a few suggestions.

It is a strange realisation that many couples have, but by opening up their relationship, they actually become closer.

You can either; read my guide on how to have a successful, ethically non-monogamous relationship and get the answers to the most frequently asked questions I receive from people new to ENM. To do this, get your hands on a copy of My Complete Guide To Ethical Non-Monogamy.

Or, you can schedule an initial call with me, Rosie Kay, Open Relationship coach and talk to me in person to discuss how I can help you get started.

If you have read this article and are now thinking, ‘I’d love to explore Ethical Non-monogamy, but how can I talk to my partner about it? Don’t worry; I have help for you too. In fact, I am asked this question so frequently that I decided to make a dedicated guide on ‘How Can I Talk To My Wife About Starting Swinging? This guide teaches you everything you need to know on how to have the conversation, and how to overcome the fear of rejection and gives you an insight into what many women are thinking when they hear the words swinging or open relationship. It also advises you on the next steps to take.

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