non-traditional relationships case studies

Socioeconomic Privilege and Polyamory: What I've Seen in 12 Years

Hi team! I recently got an interview request for a magazine I think you’ll enjoy reading soon. And, as with all interviews I know some of my words will be lost in editing and interpretation so I thought I would share the questions I was sent and my responses here for your review.

As always let me know what you think. Would you have answered the questions differently? What would you add to these responses?


THE QUESTIONS

  • In your experience working with consensually nonmonogamous people, do they tend to be of higher SES (more educated, wealthier, more liberal, probably whiter), or is it a myth that people in these alternatives relationships are all like that?

  • If your clients have been of higher SES, why do you think that is? What's the connection between nonmonogamy and SES?

  • One theory is that higher SES people may have more time/ resources to pursue non-monogamy. Has that been substantiated with any data/ research that you're aware of? How much more time and resources do you need to be non-monogamous versus monogamous?

  • Conversely, why might someone with lower SES be more inclined towards monogamy or traditional relationships?

  • It's also possible that there's a relationship between privilege, power and advocating for your sexual/ relationship needs. Have you found this to be the case? Do people with more privilege feel more comfortable discussing and exploring sexual interests that might fall outside the mainstream? 

  • Why/ why not does the connection between SES and nonmonogamy matter?

MY RESPONSE

In 12 years supporting consensually non-monogamous (CNM) populations I have seen clients spanning the spectrum of income, class, and privilege. I've seen CEOs, politicians, celebrities, judges, lawyers, sex workers, and entrepreneurs making six and seven figure incomes and I've worked with baristas, students, social workers, performers, writers, and many others living on minimum wage and/or government benefits.

It is a total myth that CNM folks are white from a higher SES. I think that myth is informed by the stereotypes we hold about what non-monogamy looks like.  For starters CNM exists in all cultures around the world, but is called different things and plays out in different ways based on cultural norms.

Even in the US, loving relationships and family networks of all kinds exist but our main cultural narrative often ignores the experience of POC as a whole, and of course that extends into our understanding of CNM. 

Folks outside CNM relationship structures also often imagine stereotypical polyamory or open relationships are one big orgy, or happen annually at Burning Man, or look like scenes from Eyes Wide Shut.  While all of those options exist they are far from the norm in CNM and are certainly not the only way folks make consensually non-monogamous relationships work.

All of that said, the ways people enact their non-monogamous arrangements and the supports and spaces they can access vary widely based on SES.  Here are a couple examples:

  • Many of my higher SES clients frequent sex parties and/or clubs that require private membership for entry.  The membership costs $150-$550 per night for a couple for certain events. $550 is monthly rent for some of my clients with less economic access.

  • Other higher SES clients I support frequent international events, spas, cruises, festivals and resorts catering to specific kinds of sex play, kink, and/or swinging.  These events are FAR outside the range of possibility for other clients of mine who cannot take time off work, let alone afford that kind of travel.  

  • Even our local Sex Positive Portland meetup group is difficult to access for clients who are single parents working multiple jobs.  

  • So on the other end of the SES spectrum I have quite a few clients who cohabitate with current and former partners because it's not wise to separate their family's finances or childcare network.  Many of these folks fit into a larger polyamorous web of families supporting one another- some of whom are romantically and/or sexually-linked, and some who are not but are still highly committed to lifelong partnership.

As far as privilege and advocacy, yes there is probably some privilege and entitlement at play with my higher SES clients, however, I often see them far more consumed by fears of being outed as CNM than other clients.  For many, their social, career and political status can be threatened if people in their community discover their relationship status.

I have clients who are on the board of major corporations, who have run for elected office, and who are well-established conservative church leaders who all have healthy CNM relationships but fear their family's well-being would be threatened if they are found out.  

Of course, that fear spans the SES spectrum because nearly all of my clients over the years have spoken out about fears others would find out. And it is more complicated for folks facing multiple layers of oppression. Meaning, if you are already concerned about job security because you are lower SES and POC, being outed as CNM often only adds another layer of worry.  

The one deviation from what I've seen is, I do find that often out members of the LGBTQ community manage this fear with a little more easily as they have already survived one coming out process (and often learned a lot from the experience). 

So, in summary, it is a myth that CNM is a rich white people thing, but (just like nearly everywhere else) more SES privilege affords more access to options and flexibility. I hope that helps!


Madison sex therapy | Gina Senarighi

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She coaches online clients all over the world and leads retreats in the U.S.

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Why We Went Back to Monogamy (Part 3)

[Scroll down if you’ve already read Part 1 and Part 2]

In twelve years supporting open relationships, polyamorous folks, and consensually non-monogamous couples I’ve seen an amazing variety of options play out.

Over and over, I see that folks who stay together are share three common traits:

  1. They are highly invested in staying together, listening to each other, seeing things from the other’s perspective, and slowing things down to a pace that’s liveable for all.

  2. They have a little humility about the mistakes they make and are self-aware enough to hold themselves accountable apologize to impacted lovers and to do better in the future.

  3. They’re willing to adapt their non-monogamy practice to their relationships’ needs over time.

It’s that third option we rarely hear about in polyamorous communities. Many folks think about negotiating non-monogamy as if once you decide to open things up you can never go back. But that all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t create enough room for most couple’s to be creative.

Just because you start a conversation about open relationships doesn’t mean you have to act on it. And just because you tried dating other folks once doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever.

Just like just because you “tried polyamory once and it didn’t work” doesn’t mean it could never work in your life again.

Conceptualizing your agreements are a temporary working document (one you make amendments to over time) helps alleviate a lot of the stress couples face when they talk about opening up.

Today I wanted to add to the case studies I’ve shared before adding a couple stories from couples who decided to go back to monogamy after practicing polyamory and/or an open marriage for a few years.

 

Sandra & Martin*

Married, 17 years, Monogamish 14 years, Lawyer & Real Estate Agent (47 and 42), living with 2 cats in Portland, Oregon (USA), and 3 children from previous marriages (27, 23, and 20 living on their own).

When we completed our work together that second time I was pretty sure I wouldn’t hear from them again. They were, after all, a really loving very connected couple with great communication skills and a strong commitment to their marriage.

So I was surprised when I heard from them four months later. This time, they said, they were looking to take a break from non-monogamy altogether and they wanted my help transitioning to monogamy and repairing the damage they felt it had done to their partnership.

When we met we looked back at the initial intentions they had for opening their marriage (I revisit intentions often in my work with clients- even monogamous ones).

I wanted to make sure they had ways to meet their needs for sexual exploration, sexual diversity, intimate relationships, autonomy and independence, and adventure in a more monogamous framework.

Stopping seeing other people wasn’t going to resolve those needs. And it wasn’t going to necessarily bring them closer. So I wanted to get really clear about why they were ending things with their now more serious relationships with lovers. Here’s what they said:

  • The good wasn’t outweighing the bad.

  • They felt they’d met their needs for exploration.

  • They learned a lot in the process and enough.

  • They felt they’d given it a really solid try with support and solid tools.

  • They’d made some great friends, but not the really strong connections they’d hoped for.

  • Ultimately it was causing more problems than it was serving them.

I wanted to focus our time on the repair they desperately needed. Over the course of their two-year journey both of them had unintentionally caused hurts and broken trust and both of them had said hurtful things in heated conflicts that needed attention.

So we spent our time doing serious repair work. Both of them needed to own and apologize for hurts they’d caused (whether intentionally or unintentionally) and recognize the impact their behaviors had on their spouse.

And even though they weren’t going to see other people, we needed to create clear plans to avoid getting into nasty low-blog arguments if things ever got heated again.

Which we did, and as they reminded me, they hadn’t had high conflicts like that before they started seeing other people. They are both highly skilled communicators and they do navigate challenges really well as a team.

For them an open marriage brought up conflict too tender to manage even with all their skills and efforts.

What they learned

Finally, we focused our last sessions on all the learning that had come from their years of open marriage. Here’s what they said:

  • We loved getting out and meeting more people.

  • We loved building independent friendships.

  • Having more sex with each other and others people was fun.

  • Building structures to make sure we prioritize our relationship really helps us stay connected. We have to stay committed to them.

  • Learning tools for self-soothing and managing emotional reactivity helped us in many areas of life (not just our marriage).

  • Going through a truly vulnerable experience brought us much closer together.

  • Getting a therapist and a coach onboard for relationship support saved our marriage.

  • Building independent outlets and social circles still brings us lots of joy.

So we worked together to create meaningful ways to bring their other relationships to a close. They wanted to honor the connections they’d made with these really fantastic people and to respect the vulnerability of their other partners in the process.

And (if possible) they wanted to maintain friendships with their lovers veen as they transitioned to monogamy.

They made agreements about how they would come together when new attractions and crushes came their way in the future and what the boundaries of their monogamy would look like moving forward.

And they agreed if they ever wanted to open the door to consensual non-monogamy again (which, they might) they’d get support right from the start well before starting things up with others.

Summary

I offer this case study to normalize the fact that while open relationships are great for many people and can really work well, they are not the best fit for every couple every time. Even folks with strong commitment, love, and communication skills can find it just doesn’t work for them.

Don’t be afraid to take a step back, or to take consensual non-mongamy off the table if you need. It might not be the right fit for you right now.


*Many of the hundreds of clients I work with in my practice share similar stories. I’ve combined the experiences of many of them who’ve shared a journey back to monogamy here to articulate the central themes. I’ve changed identifying details to protect their anonymity while preserving some of their words for emotional accuracy.


Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

Madison Alternative relationships
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online. 

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  


Why We Went Back to Monogamy (Part 2)

[Scroll down if you’ve already read Part 1]

In twelve years supporting open relationships, polyamorous folks, and consensually non-monogamous couples I’ve seen an amazing variety of options play out.

Over and over, I see that folks who stay together are share three common traits:

  1. They are highly invested in staying together, listening to each other, seeing things from the other’s perspective, and slowing things down to a pace that’s liveable for all.

  2. They have a little humility about the mistakes they make and are self-aware enough to hold themselves accountable apologize to impacted lovers and to do better in the future.

  3. They’re willing to adapt their non-monogamy practice to their relationships’ needs over time.

It’s that third option we rarely hear about in polyamorous communities. Many folks think about negotiating non-monogamy as if once you decide to open things up you can never go back. But that all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t create enough room for most couple’s to be creative.

Just because you start a conversation about open relationships doesn’t mean you have to act on it. And just because you tried dating other folks once doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever.

Just like just because you “tried polyamory once and it didn’t work” doesn’t mean it could never work in your life again.

Conceptualizing your agreements are a temporary working document (one you make amendments to over time) helps alleviate a lot of the stress couples face when they talk about opening up.

Today I wanted to add to the case studies I’ve shared before adding a couple stories from couples who decided to go back to monogamy after practicing polyamory and/or an open marriage for a few years.

 

Sandra & Martin*

Married, 17 years, Monogamish 14 years, Lawyer & Real Estate Agent (47 and 42), living with 2 cats in Portland, Oregon (USA), and 3 children from previous marriages (27, 23, and 20 living on their own).

Read about the beginning of our work here.

When they originally started with me they had taken a three week break from seeing other people to reconnect, but Sandra had plans to see other guys again and Martin was still actively connecting with women online.

They knew something had to change to shift them out of these intense negative conflicts they were in. We began by clarifying the agreements they’d set out about communication and personal boundaries with other people. At that time they settled on two foundational agreements:

  1. Only having casual relationships with others. Which for them meant not exploring love and deep emotional intimacy, long-term romantic plans or futures, and not sharing holidays with other partners. They also planned not to have sleepovers, gifts, travel or dates where other partners came to their house.

  2. Limiting contact with other partners to twice weekly, and limiting their communication with other partners to a specific schedule. This also meant saving certain nights of the week “just for them” where they didn’t respond to messages from other lovers.

We focused most of our time together on clarifying agreements, managing conflict with more skill and helping Martin learn tools for self-soothing with intense emotion came up.

In two months they were feeling much more deeply connected, fighting far less and working through conflicts more quickly. Having regular date nights helped them feel reassured, and working to empathize and take each other’s perspective helped shift from rigidity in conflicts. And, as it turned out, both Martin and Sandra benefitted from self-soothing techniques when they started actively seeing other people again.

So they moved on from our work feeling confident and grounded with a full toolbox.

Starting again

I heard from them again ten months later when they began experiencing another round of intense conflicts and reactivity. This time, for the first time ever, Sandra had brought up the possibility that they should divorce.

This shocked them sober, knowing neither of them really wanted to split up, and believing there had to be another path forward.

Over the months since we’d last met Martin had met two women he was really enjoying connecting with, and while he assured Sandra they in no way replaced her, she felt incredibly insecure. They had switched roles. Now Sandra was losing sleep and deeply worried about the stability of their union.

Sandra didn’t know if they should continue practicing non-monogamy, and Martin was really enjoying connecting with other women. Right around the same time Sandra had two dates ghost her and she was very suddenly dumped by the one guy she really had a good time with.

She was experiencing a dry spell dating and feeling sad about the break up while Martin was finally experiencing a sense of ease and having a lot of fun.

We revisited the self-soothing and jealousy management tools Martin had employed months earlier with Sandra and some of them helped. She also realized some of what was coming up was related to watching her parents experience infidelity and a traumatic divorce. A very young part of her was constantly worried she and Martin could be headed for divorce and seeing him connect with others was really challenging that part inside her.

Meanwhile Martin was having a hard time empathizing with her experience, while he remembered how it felt to be in Sandra’s shoes, a part of him felt sort of justified in his earlier reactivity and he was no longer concerned about their relationship’s stability- that is, until Sandra brought up divorce.

He was shocked and a little blindsided worrying she might leave him very suddenly.

We realized quickly that a lot of what was showing up in this iteration of their work centered on some early life relationship role modeling they’d each had. This personal work is often supported with attachment therapy, and I connected them each with excellent trained attachment therapists to support their individual processes uncovering what they’d learned in their families.

A Note About Therapy

I refer almost everyone I work with to individual therapy at some point. It’s such an important support for working through the deeper issues that come up in almost everyone who tries consensual non-monogamy after a lifetime of monogamous relationships.

Often clients I work with have very few friends or family they can really talk about non-monogamy with (without facing judgment). Having a therapist helps them have a space to get clear on their own and alleviates some of the pressure on their primary partner to be their only source of emotional support.

If you want to find a therapist and you want to focus on consensual non-monogamy, I recommend asking the following screening questions before setting up an appointment:

  • How many consensually non-monogamous, open, or polyamorous relationships have you supported professionally?

  • What professional training or education do you have in the practice of consensual non-monogamy?

  • Do they have any personal lived experience with polyamory or non-monogamy?


Continuing Our Work

As a couple there are a lot of ways folks can work through issues of attachment that come up together (that’s usually where they come up). Learning to better understand the default settings both partners have (based on their early life) and the ways those manifest as adults is a starting spot. This helps couples identify and correct course when these kinds of challenges come up.

Sandra and Martin needed to learn to better balance when one of them needed space in a conflict, and the other wanted closeness. We created safe ways for them to ask for more space and/or connection without rushing to a catastrophic conclusion like “we’re going to get a divorce.”

Sandra also wanted to revisit their agreements. She now agreed with me that they needed a tune up. Her training as a lawyer showed when she detailed very specific agreements with an appendix and addendum.

This specificity was a little overwhelming to Martin, but he agreed they needed more clarity. We worked together to find a compromise that was clear and functional (though much longer than their first set) for both of them.

They had also realized that in the excitement of dating they’d once again de-prioritized spending quality time together. We created some structures to help them keep their connection strong and invest in sharing adventure and spark even while adventuring with other partners.

In a few weeks they were feeling grounded again with better tools and a new set of agreements. They were both dating casually and enjoying connecting with each other and other people.

Again they decided to take a break from our work moving forward with confidence.


*Many of the hundreds of clients I work with in my practice share similar stories. I’ve combined the experiences of many of them who’ve shared a journey back to monogamy here to articulate the central themes. I’ve changed identifying details to protect their anonymity while preserving some of their words for emotional accuracy.


Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

Madison Alternative relationships
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online. 

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  


Why We Went Back to Monogamy

In twelve years supporting open relationships, polyamorous folks, and consensually non-monogamous couples I’ve seen an amazing variety of options play out.

Over and over, I see that folks who stay together are share three common traits:

  1. They are highly invested in staying together, listening to each other, seeing things from the other’s perspective, and slowing things down to a pace that’s liveable for all.

  2. They have a little humility about the mistakes they make and are self-aware enough to hold themselves accountable apologize to impacted lovers and to do better in the future.

  3. They’re willing to adapt their non-monogamy practice to their relationship’s needs over time.


It’s that third option we rarely hear about in polyamorous communities. Many folks think about negotiating non-monogamy as if once you decide to open things up you can never go back. But that all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t create enough room for most couple’s to be creative.

Just because you start a conversation about open relationships doesn’t mean you have to act on it. And just because you tried dating other folks once doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever.

Just like just because you “tried polyamory once and it didn’t work” doesn’t mean it could never work in your life again.

Conceptualizing your agreements are a temporary working document (one you make amendments to over time) helps alleviate a lot of the stress couples face when they talk about opening up.

Today I wanted to add to the case studies I’ve shared before adding a couple stories from couples who decided to go back to monogamy after practicing polyamory and/or an open marriage for a few years.


Sandra & Martin*

Married, 17 years, Monogamish 14 years, Lawyer & Real Estate Agent (47 and 42), living with 2 cats in Portland, Oregon (USA), and 3 children from previous marriages (27, 23, and 20 who live on their own).

Sandra and Martin came to my practice after one year of practicing some forms of consensual non-monogamy. They’d been together 15 years and were very much in love but for a few reasons wanted to expand the intimacy in their lives. These included:

  • Wanting more sexual diversity and experience (Martin had only had sex one prior partner)

  • Needing more independence and autonomy in their lives

  • Craving personal growth through relationships with other people

  • Hoping to renew desire between them

  • Wanting more intimate friends and community


Starting to Open Up

They’d been to a few sex clubs in town together and had met a few other couples online for dates. However they ran into a very common issue for couples who try to date together: often they’d find a partner one of them found attractive, but not the other. Or, in many cases, no one they really had chemistry with.

So they began thinking about seeing other people individually. They created online dating profiles and talked about their agreements. Very quickly Sandra started to hear from men through OKCupid, but Martin wasn’t hearing back from anyone.

Side note: in nearly every cisgender heterosexual couples I’ve seen the male partner struggles to find dates far more than the female partner. This often creates pretty intense jealousy for guys- you’re not alone if that’s you.

When They Came to Couples Work

So when they came in, Martin was dealing with all the intense feelings that come with jealousy, insecurity and typically the first year of practicing consensual non-monogamy (for most folks). This meant his stomach was upset, he was having trouble at focusing at work, and he was having really intense feelings of panic and embarrassment.

I should mention here that Martin is a really mild-mannered well-spoken guy. He’s done a lot of personal reflection, has strong communication skills, and is a really nice guy. But for him, like many people, when his reactivity showed up he was struggling to use the skills he used everywhere else in his life.

Meanwhile Sandra was having fun meeting other people but kept trying to comfort Martin- she wasn’t leaving, and there wasn’t anything to fear. She was confused and overwhelmed because truly, as she put it “I could take it or leave it” about polyamory.

So they were caught in a cycle feeling like one moment they were aligned and connected and trying on a new adventure together and another they were arguing with an intensity neither of them had seen in the 15 years prior.

Let me stop there and say these dynamics aren’t unique to these two - far from it. Most couples I work with (even those who have talked for years about opening their relationship) are within the first two to twelve months of actually dating and/or sleeping with other people and they are facing really intense highs and really really low lows.

Often they say they’ve never felt so much intensity, and most of them say the emotions and conflicts are really overwhelming. Even if they’ve know their whole lives that “monogamy isn’t realistic.”

Even highly skilled communicators who really love and respect each other often seriously struggle. Practicing consensual non-monogamy for the first time is usually full of surprising plot twists, unexpected new self-awareness, BIG TIME emotionality, and curious reactivity.

If you’re in the middle of that- you’re not alone.



*Many of the hundreds of clients I work with in my practice share similar stories. I’ve combined the experiences of many of them who’ve shared a journey back to monogamy here to articulate the central themes. I’ve changed identifying details to protect their anonymity while preserving some of their words for emotional accuracy.


Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

Madison Alternative relationships
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online. 

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  


Polyamory Success Stories: Beth & John's Example

open relationship examples | case studies in open relationships | successful open relationship

Name: Beth (32) & John (35)

OCCUPATION: Author & Financial Consultant

HOMETOWN: New York City

MET:  while volunteering with the Peace Corps. 

TOGETHER: 7 years married, polyamorous since the beginning

FORMAL COMMITMENTS (Spiritual, Financial, or Legal):  legally married, finances shared, one kid (Emma, 3), two cats (Prince and Ivan)

 

WHY DID BETH & JOHN WANT COACHING?

IN THEIR WORDS:

Beth: “We’ve seen couples therapists and never lasted more than a session or two. They all seem to think polyamory is the cause of all our issues.  All we need it a little communication skills training here or there.”

John: “Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye and we get stuck in old patterns.  We say a marriage therapist but she just wanted us to stop seeing other people and barely talked about the things we brought up. We wanted something change-focused that wouldn’t shame our lifestyle.”

 

MY JOURNEY COACHING BETH & JOHN

Beth and John are a great example of healthy polyamory so I knew I wanted to include them in these case studies right away.  I picked them for a case study for these specific reasons:

  • I work with lots of clients brand-new to non-monogamy who want to hear examples of couples who make it work.

  • It is not uncommon at all for healthy poly folks to experience unintentional shame from the helping professionals they try to hire.

  • Even healthy couples need a communication tune-up every once in a while.

Read more about Beth & John's story (and those of three other successful open relationships) here.

 


nonmonogamy examples | healthy nonmonogamy examples | healthy polyamory examples

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect

  • change communication & codependent patterns

  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

Healthy Open Relationship Examples: Jennifer & Brian's Case Study

open relationship examples | case studies in open relationships | successful open relationship

Name: Jennifer (38) & Brian (37)

OCCUPATION: Grant Writer & Marketing Executive

HOMETOWN: Portland, Oregon, USA

MET:  at a friend’s dinner party 

TOGETHER: 12 years together, 8 years married and monogamous

FORMAL COMMITMENTS (Spiritual, Financial, or Legal): legally married, most finances shared, two kids (Tyler 10 and Rowan, 6), one dog (Coco)

 

WHY DID JENNIFER & BRIAN WANT COACHING?

IN THEIR WORDS:

Jennifer: “I’ve come to some realizations that make a lot of sense, but they put other things in question.  I’ve always had a really strong connection with other women, but just didn’t really take bisexuality seriously until I met someone this year. I don’t think it’s a big surprise to anyone.  And I know I still love Brian and want to be with him, but I feel like this is a part of me I never got to figure out.  So we found Gina because we’re hoping polyamory or an open relationship might be a way for me to be with women without ending our marriage.”

Brian:  “I love her and I want her happy.  I’m just not sure how to make space for her to do what she needs to do and still feel like things are fair between us. I don’t want to feel like I just get left at home with the kids while she’s out meeting people.  But in all honesty, I’m not that interested in dating anyone else either.”

Jennifer: "We're both most worried about what this could do to our kids, or their friends at school if anyone finds out. I mean, it's a pretty liberal school as far as gay people go, but this is something else."

Brian: "That is the biggest concern for sure. They're pretty young now, but soon they'll be asking questions.  I don't know what we'd tell them or the other parents at soccer for example."

Download their full case study to learn where Jennifer & Brian's non-monogamy path took them.


nonmonogamy examples | healthy nonmonogamy examples | healthy polyamory examples

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect

  • change communication & codependent patterns

  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

Open Relationship Success Stories: Amy & Mark's Case Study

open relationship examples | case studies in open relationships | successful open relationship

Name: Amy (41) & Mark (42)

OCCUPATION: Full-Time Parent & Contractor

HOMETOWN: Chicago, Illinois, USA

MET:  in high school geometry class

TOGETHER: 22 years together, 20 years married and monogamous

FORMAL COMMITMENTS (Spiritual, Financial, or Legal): 

legally married, all finances shared, three kids (Chris 18, Allyson 14, Mercer 12), two dogs (Filbert & Dallas)

WHY DID AMY & MARK WANT COACHING?

IN THEIR WORDS:

Amy: “We love each other and our life. I’m really proud of what we’ve built together and things between us are really good.  We’re great communicators and we are both really good parents.  But we’ve been together our whole lives and…”

Mark: “… there’s not the same kind of spark anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, when we have sex it’s great.  I think we both are really into it.  But we’ve only really been with each other all these years and...”

Amy: “…I think we both want to know more about what else is out there.  We never had the wild twenties phase everyone else had sleeping around.  I think we both might have good things to learn if we did a little exploring.”

Mark: “Plus I think it could sort of re-inspire us together.  Like if we do some “exploring” on our own we can bring that back to our time together for more adventurous stuff together.”

Amy: ”We’ve seen lots of friends over the years who were in our position start cheating.  That’s not something we’ve ever had to deal with- but I don’t want to see us end up there.”

Mark: “I also think that because I’ve only ever really been with Amy I’m not as confident as I could be trying new things.  I’m the guy you know.  I want to be a super confident lover. I think having other experiences could make me feel stronger.”

Download their story and read three other examples of healthy non-monogamy right here.


nonmonogamy examples | healthy nonmonogamy examples | healthy polyamory examples

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect

  • change communication & codependent patterns

  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

Success Stories in Open Relationships: Cheyenne & Clay's Case Study

open relationship examples | case studies in open relationships | successful open relationship

Name: Cheyenne (26) & Clay (28)

OCCUPATION: Blogger & Personal Trainer

HOME TOWN: Living together in Eugene, Oregon, USA

MET:  At a March Fourth party in Portland, OR

TOGETHER: 2.5 years “Monogamish”

FORMAL COMMITMENTS (Spiritual, Financial, or Legal):  Shared bank accounts and pets (kittens: Tamarind and Musky) 

WHY DID CHEYENNE & CLAY WANT COACHING?

IN THEIR WORDS:

Cheyenne:  “I’ve always known monogamy is unrealistic.  The idea of just being with one person for the rest of my life seems… well, I haven’t seen it work for many people.  But I have never met anyone I wanted to be with a long time who I could really work on things like this with.  I want to figure out how to have an open relationship the right way.”

Clay: “I’m totally down with the idea of an open relationship, but once we start trying to talk through the day-to-day parts we get lost in logistics.  I’m all about figuring this out but we’re a little stuck.”

Cheyenne: “We’ve tried a few things with other people together, and more recently we each met other people at Beloved.  Now we don’t know what to do.  The first people we sort of one-time things, these new people are more like real relationships.”

Clay: “We’ve both been having trouble with these really intense emotions that come over us.  Like one day I’m fine –like really really fine with everything- and then all of a sudden I’m not and it gets pretty bad.” 

Cheyenne: “We’ve always been really good communicators.  I’ve never had a relationship so strong.  It’s like I didn’t know it could be this good.  But since Beloved there’s been a lot of tension and misunderstanding.”

Clay: “We know we want to stay together but I don’t know how we’re going to move forward.”

Download their full case study to learn more about how I worked with Cheyenne and Clay, and where their non-monogamy path took them.


nonmonogamy examples | healthy nonmonogamy examples | healthy polyamory examples

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect

  • change communication & codependent patterns

  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.