In some societies, people have always believed that a relationship should either be monogamous or polygamous. However, the world has continued to evolve, and so has the meaning of relationships. Just as other types of relationships, such as "friends with benefits", came up, ENM was also formed. What is an ENM relationship?
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An ENM relationship has become popular today and is being advertised on dating apps. It's perceived to be a complicated form of relationship mostly found in the urban world. What does ENM mean? The abbreviation ENM means ethical non-monogamy.
What is an ENM relationship?
What does ENM stand for? It stands for ethical non-monogamy. It is where the couple can have sexual or romantic engagements with other people. Both partners agree and give consent to one another to be in such arrangements. There are multiple sexual or romantic partners involved in ENM.
Types of ENM relationships
Ethical Non-Monogamy (ENM) is a broad term for various types of engagements. ENM is different from conventional non-monogamy, which is also called cheating or infidelity. Below are the different types of ENM relationships:
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1. Open relationships
The phrase open relationship has gained popularity lately. This is where the parties involved engage in sexual or romantic acts with other people. Both partners approve and agree to it from the beginning. It doesn't have to be sexual; partners are allowed to meet, talk, and flirt with others freely.
They are not limited to gender and involve inviting other people into a couple's private life. However, they have some protection rules to prevent envy. These rules are revised over time to ensure everyone is satisfied.
ENM can also be polygamous. Polygamy is one of the oldest types of marriage in the world, which is acceptable in some religions, such as Islam. It involves a man having multiple wivesaccepted polygamy. This type of union has advantages and disadvantages, and it is safe if all parties agree.
Another form of ENM is polyandry. This is the opposite of polygamy and involves a wife having multiple husbands. There is a mutual agreement between the parties involved.
A polyamorous relationship refers to people who look for more personal, romantic connections with other people. This is accepted in many societies where one person has multiple partners and loves all of them. It involves going on dates with other partners and not just having sexual encounters.
Swinging is one of the earliest known forms of non-monogamy in unmarried couples. It is where a couple agrees to swap partners with another couple for sexual relations.
It sometimes involves having a third sexual partner or multiple partners in a group setting. Swinging mostly happens at clubs, at swinging parties, and among couples' friends.
This is a non-sexual interaction between two people related through a polyamorous union. A polyeffective union could emerge from a polyamorous relationship. People in this kind of relationship consider each other as special people or best friends.
7. Relationship anarchy
This is a non-monogamous engagement where individuals do not define what they are to each other. They don't adhere to societal expectations, and preferences change per the partner's needs. They believe one can be happy without conforming to society's expectations.
This is a term for couples who can be monogamous most of the time but occasionally have intercourse with other people. The sexual encounters are just physical and not emotional. They are usually far between, say, five years. The couples lay down the rules of engagement before embarking on the experience.
Cuckolding is where one partner brings in a third party for sexual relations. The other partner stays and watches their partner in the escapades.
You may have heard about threesomes when people are discussing having romantic adventures. This is where a couple brings in a third person to have intercourse with them. This could be a regular thing, or it could be a one-night stand. Couples must agree on the rules before engaging in a threesome.
11. Casual dating
When people casually date, they have intercourse with different people. This means they are not committed to one person. Everyone knows what’s happening and is okay with it.
Ethical non-monogamy vs open relationship
Is ENM the same as an open relationship? Not exactly. Most people sometimes confuse an ENM with an open relationship. ENM is an umbrella term that encompasses open relationship.
This means that all open relationships count as ENM, but not all ENM relationships are open. Ethical non-monogamy often involves love and emotional intimacy, while an open engagement is purely for sexual satisfaction.
What are the rules of ENM?
ENM arrangements can get very complicated and messy. It is, therefore, important to have rules and standards in place to ensure all parties are on the same page. Here are some of the rules of ENM:
- Make sure you and your partner agree to date other people from the beginning. It would be disastrous if your partner did not agree, which could end things.
- Do regular evaluations with all parties involved and address any issues that arise. One of the issues that could come up is jealousy. Deal with it rationally without pointing fingers.
- Put each other first. It is important to prioritize your partner to ensure you don't drift apart.
- Be open with each other when you engage intimately with other people. You should not hide any sexual or romantic encounters from your partner.
- Have constant communication on the hierarchies among the partners. Everyone must know their position in the arrangement.
- Prioritize everyone's privacy. Not everyone is comfortable letting others know they are in such an arrangement. It is, therefore, important to ensure their privacy is respected.
- Ensure everyone involved is safe. With multiple partners, there is the risk of contracting STIs or even unwanted pregnancies. Ensure everyone is safe by having protection and taking periodic tests.
- Have clear boundaries between the two of you, mostly on what activities are allowed. In other words, know the limits when engaging with other people.
Is ENM different from poly?
Yes, it is. Ethical non-monogamy is a broader term, and polyamory is one of the types of ENM. Polyamory involves having intimacy with different people at the same time.
How do you learn ethical non-monogamy?
You don't have to practice ENM, but you can learn about it. You can learn about it online or through people who practice it.
What makes ENM ethical?
The mutual agreement between the parties involved makes it ethical. There are rules set beforehand, unlike cheating, where there are no rules and no mutual understanding.
Is ethical non-monogamy healthy?
Ethical non-monogamy can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the care and protection the partners involved take.
Why is ethical non-monogamy on the rise?
The reasons why people choose to practise ethical non-monogamy are just personal and varied. Ethical non-monogamy has increased since people want to explore their sexuality. People's desires, fantasies and sexual preferences can be satisfied by engaging in ENM dating.
Many people may not favour ENM, but there is an upcoming trend where many couples are embracing it. ENM has become popular, appearing on dating apps and other online platforms. However, an ENM relationship works well when all partners agree and respect one another's privacy and safety.
Legit.ng published an article about a queerplatonic relationship. Since relationships come in many forms, many people want to learn what queerplatonic means. This is a type of relationship that lies between friendship and romance. In a queerplatonic engagement, you feel super close to someone but are not romantically involved.
Sometimes you may be attracted to someone but not have romantic feelings for them. The feeling can be confusing as you need to define it as romantic or friendship. It is more than friendship but not sexual. A queerplatonic relationship is normal, although it is not popular.