Have you recently considered that traditional relationship structures don’t seem to be working for you? Maybe you find that you can’t get everything you need from that one person, and now you’re curious about ethical non-monogamy or polyamory. Perhaps you’ve been fantasizing about “crazy” sexual scenes, and you’re curious about exploring BDSM or Kink in the bedroom. Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what your ideal relationship style might actually be?
Despite how it might make you feel, or what you fear others may think, know that it’s completely normal to be curious about alternative relationship styles that don’t seem to fit in with societal norms. The thing to remember is that everyone is different, and the best way to develop happy and healthy relationships is to be honest with yourself and your potential partners about who you are and what you want.
Establishing clear and open lines of communication with a willingness to express your needs, and listen to the needs of your partner is a good place to start. But first, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who you are and what you’re looking for in your relationships. Even those that ultimately stay within traditional hetero / mono – normative relationships could do themselves a favor with intentional discussions at the beginning of getting to know each other. In monogamous LGBT+ or queer relationships, discussions such as “who’s the top and who’s the bottom” and how domestic chores are going to be divided can be important to know. Open relationships throw out the entire playbook and very little can be built upon “common sense expectations”. Intentional relationships are honestly, best practice for everyone.
If I could be perfectly honest on my website and rank well in Google, I would say I work with intentional relationships. An intentional relationship is any relationship where those involved mindfully choose to discuss and create shared visions and compromises for the relationship. Whether is radical monogamy, mutually being solo poly with each other(s) as secondaries, or a seasonal fling, as long as everyone is consenting and communicating openly, it’s valid.
What Goes into a Happy and Healthy Relationship?
What goes into building a happy and healthy relationship is different for every person and every relationship, but the first step comes from knowing what you want. Maybe you’re not ready to dive into kink and BDSM or polyamory and ethical non-monogamy just yet. You don’t have to do anything you’re not fully comfortable with now or ever. Instead, start by getting clear with yourself about how your relational style may differ from cultural norms.
Consider how you feel about things like:
- Sexual interests
- Power dynamics
- Emotional intimacy
- Physical intimacy
- And more
Exploring the various aspects that may be involved in relationship dynamics can help you develop your own personal relational style. Knowing your relational style will help you find a partner or partners that fit your needs so that you can work on building healthy, happy relationships.
Get a Therapist Involved
Sometimes, working through complex styles of relating to others on your own can be difficult. You may place limitations on yourself, doubt your feelings, or try to talk yourself out of feeling a certain way, because it scares you, or you worry about what others will think.
When you find yourself on the road of exploration and self-discovery, and it takes you off the beaten path, working with a trusted therapist can help. A therapist who specializes in alternative relationship styles like ethical non-monogamy, polyamory, kink and BDSM can help you work toward gently beginning to accept yourself. And in case you didn’t know, self-acceptance is key to developing self-love, and self-love is vital to becoming a happier, healthier individual who engages in happy and healthy relationships.
If you’re interested in working with a therapist who has knowledge, experience, and understanding related to alternative relationship styles, give me a call or schedule a free, brief consultation using the form below. I’m a licensed therapist located in Houston and serving all of Texas, and I specialize in working with people who love differently. I would be delighted at the opportunity to help you work toward building healthier and happier relationships as you walk the path of self-discovery and acceptance.