The one mistake monogamous couples make when considering polyamory, according to a sex researcher

Getty ImagesPeople need to be secure in their existing relationship before opening their marriage.
  • People in monogamous relationships often view polyamory as a quick fix for cheating or other problems in their monogamous partnerships, when the exact opposite is true.
  • “Having an open marriage, polyamory, or swinging really should be coming from a sense of deep security and stability like, ‘I feel good with my partner. I can do this,’ not necessarily from a fragile state,” Moors told Insider.
  • Polyamorous relationships aren’t all the same and the way one couple chooses to do polyamory may be vastly different than the next, so it’s important to discuss all aspects of the potential arrangement before jumping into it.
  • People in open relationships also need to regularly check in on each other to see if the arrangement they discussed still works.
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Polyamorous relationships, or when people have more than one emotional or romantic partner, are still quite taboo. For that reason, people in monogamous relationships may have misconceptions about what it takes to starts and maintain a healthy open relationship.

According to Amy Moors, a relationship researcher and psychology professor at Chapman University in California, people in monogamous relationships often view polyamory as a quick fix for cheating or other problems in their monogamous partnerships, when the exact opposite is true.

“Having an open marriage, polyamory, or swinging really should be coming from a sense of deep security and stability like, ‘I feel good with my partner. I can do this,’ not necessarily from a fragile state,” Moors told Insider.

Polyamory shouldn’t be a Band-Aid for a failing monogamous relationship

Sometimes people in monogamous relationships consider polyamory after one partner had an affair. But Moors said opening a marriage should be an intentional and thought-out decision, not a spur-of-the-moment one.

Polyamorous relationships aren’t all the same, and the way one couple chooses to do polyamory may be vastly different than the next, so it’s important to discuss all aspects of the potential arrangement before jumping into it.

According to Moors, monogamous couples interested in polyamory need to discuss things like the roles additional partners will play. Are you looking for a second emotional partner, or do you want something sexual? Are you allowed to stay over at your second partner’s house, or is that off-limits? How much time should you be spending with your second partner?

Discussing these difficult questions will ensure you and your partner are on the same page and can keep your existing relationship healthy while exploring new kinds of intimacy with other partners.

Moors also said partners should regularly check in on each other and how they’re feeling in the open relationship, since their answers to these questions may change over time (we aren’t robots, after all).

“It’s not as simple as, ‘This is what we are,'” Moors said.

As a result, the open-relationship arrangement may have to get tweaked to meet both partners’ needs. If one partner starts to feel jealous, for example, the other partner doesn’t get to say, ‘Well, we’re in an open relationship, so too bad.'”

Rather, it’s the two partners’ responsibilities to understand where that jealousy stems from and how to affirm each other so they can feel secure in the relationship they share.

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