Conscious Monogamy

In the United States, and in most places around the world, monogamy is the default relationship style that people fall into. In romantic comedies, people often have to choose between two people to end up with “The One.”  We are raised with the idea that we have to find “The One,” and if we don’t we will end up alone at the end of our lives. Women will be crazy cat ladies, and men will be forever bachelors, still only eating take out food at age 60. This kind of stereotyping and assumptions often create fear for people, that they will be lonely forever if their relationships end. This can lead to people staying in problematic or unfulfilling relationships for far longer than they should. So what other options do people have? Continue reading “Conscious Monogamy”

Long-Distance Support Networks

Many kinds of people can be a part of your support network. Family, friends, partners, pets, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and clergy can all be part of your personal support system. A mental health clinician or a specific support group can also be a part of your support network. As you go through life, you will often gain new people in your support network, while others will fall away. Having a support system, no matter who it consists of, has been shown to be correlated with higher levels of well-being, and can even reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. Continue reading “Long-Distance Support Networks”

Metamour Relationships: Should You Be Friends with Your Partner’s Partner?

If you are currently in a polyamorous relationship, or are thinking of entering into a polyamorous relationship, it is likely that you will have one or more metamours at some point. Your metamour is someone who is also dating your partner, but with whom you are not also romantically or sexually involved with. For example, if Tanya and Derrick are both dating Sarah, but are not dating each other, Tanya and Derrick are metamours with one another. If Tanya is also dating Liz, and Derrick is married to Stephen, Liz and Stephen are also metamours with Sarah. In this example, Tanya, Derrick, Sarah, Liz, and Stephen all make up one polycule – a system of connected non-monogamous relationships, whether they are all dating or not. Continue reading “Metamour Relationships: Should You Be Friends with Your Partner’s Partner?”

Sexual Orientations: A Helpful Guide

Have you ever thought about who you are attracted to? Have you been confused by your sexual orientation? Are you a mental health clinician who has had clients use new terms for sexual orientation that you have never heard before? Then this article is for you!  Continue reading “Sexual Orientations: A Helpful Guide”

The Fundamentals of Polyamory: Know Yourself

What are your beliefs about love and sex? What do you believe about relationships? How should you be treated by friends, family, and partners? How are your time management skills? What do you desire in an emotionally or physically intimate relationship? What are your relationship fears? What are your feelings about your own self-worth? What are your goals in life, and why are these your goals? Who has encouraged you to have these goals? Where did you learn your values? How do your values align with, or dis-align with, societal expectations and values? Continue reading “The Fundamentals of Polyamory: Know Yourself”

Gender Identity and Expression

If you are a mental health clinician, it is important to be aware of the difference between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. It is also important to be familiar with various gender identities. If a client is struggling with their gender identity/expression, and does not feel comfortable discussing this subject with you, you are doing them a disservice as a clinician. In addition, your client should be able to speak about their own individualized gender experiences, and the therapeutic relationship may be strengthened when they have the ability to teach you about their own identity and gender process. However, you should have at least a basic understanding of gender identity and expression, and your client should not have to completely educate you on gender identity and expression.  Continue reading “Gender Identity and Expression”