Consensual non-monogamy within a relationship confirmed only positive outcomes on life satisfaction and relationship quality for the first partners in a romantically involved couple—leading researchers to believe it to be wholesome, viable relationship choice.
Not so, according to Joel and her colleagues at York University and the University of Utah.
Consensual nonmonogamy relations and those who practice them are sometimes stigmatized,” Psychology professor Samantha Joel stated. “Monogamous relationships are typically assumed to be of upper quality than non-monogamous ones, even amongst consensually nonmonogamous people.”
For the first-of-its-kind research, the group recruited people serious about consensual nonmonogamy but had not but engaged in it and noticed them over a two-month interval as they opened up their relationships.
Based on the research, those who engaged in consensual nonmonogamy experienced significant increases in sexual satisfaction, significantly if they did so with the specific goal of addressing sexual incompatibilities inside their relationships.
“We discovered no differences in relationship quality or well-being before versus after folks opened up,” stated Joel, who is director of Western’s Relationships Decisions Lab. “There have also been no variations found when we compared individuals who did versus those who didn’t open up their relationship over the course of the research.”
The study, “A Potential Investigation of the Decision to Open Up a Romantic Relationship,” was recently featured in the journal Social Psychological and Behavioral Science.