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Ethical Non-Monogamy (ENM) is increasing in popularity and becoming more accepted in modern society. Before we get to the ENM meaning, let’s look at some important statistics.

A 2019 YouGov survey revealed a shift in attitudes towards non-monogamy. The study found that 7% of UK adults had experienced a consensual non-monogamous relationship. This was more than three times higher than in 2015, where the number was 2%. Even more intriguing, nearly a quarter of UK adults (23%) expressed openness to the idea of non-monogamy.

This trend is not just isolated to the UK. Recent studies from Canada and the United States found that 20% of respondents had been involved in ENM relationships.

Research by Bumble found that 47% of people currently dating in Australia believe ENM relationships are the future.

Our 2023 article, ‘What’s an ENM Relationship?‘, explored ENM Relationships, discussed various relationship types and dispelled myths. In this article, we’ll take a few steps back to explain some key ENM meanings and expand on some differences.

Whether you’re curious about exploring non-traditional relationships or want to broaden your knowledge. This article aims to improve your awareness around the ENM meaning and other non-traditional relationship structures.

ENM Meaning Simplified

Ethical non-monogamy covers different types or relationships involving multiple partners. Regardless of the structure, there is informed consent amongst all involved. All parties are aware of it, and have consented to it.

‘Informed consent’ differentiates enm from infidelity. The emphasis is on open communication, honesty, and mutual agreement among all partners involved.

When discussing ENM Relationships, focus is on the ethical parts. ENM is not about cheating and betrayal but rather about creating honest, consensual agreements allowing for multiple connections.

Monogamy vs Non-Monogamy

Monogamy refers to a relationship structure where two individuals are exclusively committed to each other. They have a primary relationship with a primary partner. Traditional marriages are monogamous.

Non-monogamy is a broader term that includes any relationship structure that isn’t strictly monogamous. This can include both ethical and non-ethical forms of non-monogamy.

When discussing Ethical Non-Monogamous relationships, the focus is on the ethical elements, like consent and transparency.

Polyamory vs Polygamy

Distinguishing between polyamory and polygamy is important as they are often confused

Polyamory is a type of enm relationship. It involves multiple romantic relationships with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved. Polyamory can include various configurations, such as triads, quad relationship, or more complex networks.

Polygamy, on the other hand, refers to a marriage involving multiple spouses. Certain cultures or religions often practice polygamy. Polygamy is illegal in many countries.

Unlike polyamory, polygamy is often structured around one person (typically a man) having multiple wives.

Is Ethical Non-Monogamy and Polyamory the same thing?

No. We have an important distinction.

When discussing the ENM meaning, we’re referring to an umbrella term that covers various relationship dynamics and structures. These relationship structures could include open relationships, polyamorous relationships, casual sex, swinging and relationship anarchy.

Polyamory is a type of ENM Relationship, involving multiple people.

Check out this article to explore the different types of ENM Relationships in more detail.

Now that we’ve covered some key definitions, let’s explore some common questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does ENM mean in dating scenarios?

ENM in dating refers to individuals who are open about their non-monogamous relationship. They are comfortable discussing their relationship style and the amount of people involved. They are typically seeking partners who are comfortable with this arrangement.

Do ENM relationships work?

Like any relationship, ENM relationships can work when all parties communicate openly. Respecting boundaries and maintaining honesty are critical components.

Success depends on factors like emotional maturity, clear expectations, and the ability to manage jealousy. Many people find fulfillment in ENM relationships, while others may struggle with the complexities. What works for one person or couple, might not work for another. Ultimately, the success of an ENM relationship relies on the commitment and effort of those involved.

Can ENM relationships be long-term and committed?

Absolutely. Many people practising ENM maintain long term relationships. Strong communication and trust is essential for the relationships to work. Many people practicing ENM have fostered deeply committed connections with multiple partners, that can last for many years.

These relationships involve shared responsibilities, emotional support, and long-term planning, just like traditional partnerships.

The key difference is that individuals in ENM relationships may have multiple committed relationships simultaneously. This can lead to complex but rewarding relationship dynamics, where partners support each other’s connections. However, maintaining multiple long-term relationships requires excellent communication skills, time management, and emotional intelligence.

How do I know if ENM is right for me?

Exploring ENM requires self-reflection, open communication with potential partners, and a willingness to challenge traditional relationship norms.

Consider your personal values, emotional capacity, and relationship goals. Jealousy is normal and spreads across all relationship types, including ENM. Be aware of any jealous impulses you have and have a plan to m

How do I handle jealousy in an ENM relationship?

Jealousy is a normal human emotion that can occur in any relationship. Work on developing positive feelings towards your partners happiness and use open communication to address and manage jealousy.

Relationship counselling is often a good way to navigate jealousy and other emotional challenges in ENM relationships. Find a therapist who specialises in non-traditional relationships can provide valuable insights and tools for navigating complex emotions.

How do I start exploring ENM?

Begin by educating yourself through podcasts, and online resources. Join local ENM communities or attend workshops to connect with like-minded individuals. If you’re not comfortable discussing this openly just yet, consider talking therapy to help overcome mental barriers.

Start conversations with your current partner(s) about your interests and boundaries. Remember, there’s no rush – take your time to explore and understand what works.

Final Thoughts

Ethical Non-Monogamy offers an alternative approach to relationships. They focus on honesty, consent, and personal freedom. As society continues to evolve, ENM is likely to become an increasingly visible and accepted relationship option.

People build successful relationships through trust, respect, and communication. ENM Relationships are no different.

While it may not be suitable for everyone, those who embrace ENM may find it fulfilling and enriching. A new way to experience love and connection.

If your relationships are impacting your mental health, you could benefit from some professional help. Feel free to contact us for a confidential discussion.