No matter your relationship style, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for from a partner. This can help you notice where jealousy is coming from and figure out what to do when it comes up—and also help you determine what specific types of connection you authentically want to share with another person.
Otherwise, you can end up assuming you know what someone else really means when they say “monogamy”—an assumption that can lead to some serious relationship disasters. In the book Designer Relationships, Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson suggest that there are four different types of monogamy: sexual, social, structural, and emotional. This comic explores each type of monogamy and the ways each could impact your relationship dynamic, and the potential for one partner to feel insecure or a little jealous.
Polyamory (also called “ethical non-monogamy”) has become a bit of a buzzword, and most people think it’s the opposite of monogamy. But it’s not quite that simple, and there can even be overlap between certain types of monogamy and non-monogamy.
For many, the “ethical” part of the relationship is more important than whether the structure is monogamous or non-monogamous, and it’s possible for any relationship structure to be unethical if someone involved feels trapped by the expectations of their partner.