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Whether you’re starting to get serious in a non-monogamous relationship or you and your partner are considering changing your arrangement to allow for ethical non-monogamy, it can be a challenge. It can be especially tough when you know your partner is with someone else and it’s your first time experiencing that. As usual, communication plays a vital role in a healthy relationship. Open and honest dialogue about feelings and expectations will help you and your partner to strengthen your bonds and enjoy non-monogamy.
Recently, a Reddit user wrote in to r/nonmonogamy, a subreddit all about (you guessed it) non-monogamous arrangements. This person was looking for advice on how to manage their first experience with their partner being with someone else. Here’s what users had to say.
What To Do While Your Partner is Away:
1. DO see friends or make some kind of plan with other people
People with experience in non-monogamy agree, this is a great time to get out and see your friends. If you’re alone and already feeling nerves and anxiety, solitude and free time can make that worse.
I second the idea of staying busy. Also, if you do start having negative thoughts, journal them. Don’t give in to the temptation of texting or calling your partner (outside the bounds of what you may have agreed on). -accio_peni
2. DO communicate about how you’re feeling beforehand
Make sure you let your partner know how you’re feeling before they have their date. If you’re feeling anything negative, try to explore that together in a constructive way. Brushing it under the rug won’t help.
If you’re feeling really jealous have a think about what might be at the root of it so you can talk to you partner. -LaSageFemme
3. DO set expectations
Make sure you have a plan for when you’ll be in communication before and after the experience, so that you aren’t nervously checking your phone every five seconds. Here’s what works for one user:
We don’t live together, and we have a rule that when on a date with someone else, we send one final text before we go on the date, and then no further contact until the next morning. This may seem cruel, but I have found a great deal of anxiety in waiting for a good night text. Because the longer it goes, the more likely I am to feel anxious about what is probably happening. When I know that I’m not going to hear from her, it’s much easier. Lucky for me, the thought of her having sex with someone else is a huge turn on for me. -opaque_elf
4. DO reconnect after the experience
Whether you see one another later that night or the next day, it’s a good idea to set aside some time to talk, ask questions, and cuddle after the experience. Lots of users reported hooking up with their partners afterward.
be ready to communicate with your partner when they get home. You’ll both be feeling a lot of things all at once, and you’ll both need lots of cuddles and reassurance. -accio_peni
What Not To Do
1. DON’T get drunk by yourself
This one should be self-explanatory, but one user confirmed it was a bad choice.
2. DON’T sit at home and pace around
Again: nerves, wandering thoughts, and free time are a bad combination. But you should also pay attention to how you’re feeling. Some anxiety is normal for this situation and it should get better over time. Full on panic may mean you and your partner have more to talk about.