9 New Year’s Resolutions for Ethical Non-Monogamy, Sexploration, & Dating in 2023
The holiday season has come and gone and as we enter the third week of January, you might be feeling the January blues. After all, the ‘New Year, New Me’ hype filling our social media feeds can get overwhelming. And what makes this one specific day on the Gregorian Calendar, in the middle of winter, so important that it requires a total life makeover anyway? When you’re practicing ethical non-monogamy, you get pretty used to creating your own set of rules.
Regardless of how on board you might be with the concept of New Year’s resolutions, January invites us to check in with ourselves. So what if the month already started? There’s no need to rush. What are we feeling emotionally, physically, spiritually, even professionally? How do we feel romantically? And how do we want to feel in the future? There’s something hopeful about this process of putting winter’s darkest, frostiest days behind us –– and planting seeds for what’s to come. And since relationships are a huge part of our lives, with the potential to increase or decrease the amount of safety, security, connection, love, and pleasure we experience, we wanted to center them in our intention-setting here at #open. Because, especially when you’re ethically non-monogamous in a mononormative world, relationships are unique opportunities for growth that demand our intentionality.
Here are 9 ideas for intentions specific to sexploration and ethical non-monogamy that you can set –– no matter what time of year):
1) Create more time and space for yourself.
Currently single? Multiple committed partners? Dating? Just having fun? Whatever your current experience is within the multilayered spectrum of non-monogamy, there’s one relationship that you will be in for the rest of your life –– the one you have with yourself! If you haven’t already been giving your relationship with self the romance, time, and care it needs, here’s your invitation to get started. After all, staying connected to your own body is foundational to building healthy relationships with others.
It’s easy to make personal sacrifices here and there in order to feed other relationships. But when it’s a habit, the cumulative impact is often burn out and resentment. Polysaturation is real! So carve out time in your weekly schedule for self-care and solo dates. Create habits that are nourishing and feel exciting in the process of committing to them. Perhaps you can journal, meditate, attend a yoga class, or even throw an impassioned solo dance party to your favorite Taylor Swift track (on repeat). The possibilities are endless. But let 2023 be the year you really start honor your capacity for romancing yourself and others.
2) Work on your sore spots in ethical non-monogamy (and intimacy in general)! #HealingEra
The non-monogamous life definitely ain’t easy.
We don’t have as many healthy, audiovisual representations of intimacy and partnership as monogamous folks –– so we have to be innovators. And in the midst of all that, having multiple partners can create unexpected challenges that we haven’t (yet) developed tools for. It can feel like, just when you’re getting the hang of ENM, an unhealed part of you gets triggered again!
That’s the beauty of non-monogamy and designing our own relationships, though, right? We get more freedom, more authenticity, more choice –– and more people who hold a mirror to our shadows. Intimacy can reveal patterns of self-neglect and self-harm, which can catalyze us to make necessary changes in our lives. And that process can be messy and complicated but in 2023, we’re no longer allowing it to hold us back.
Don’t be ashamed of asking a professional for help, either. Leaning on someone with the clinical expertise to support you is an act of self-love. To get you started, here‘s a list of non-monogamous friendly, registered therapists from the Poly Friendly Professionals Website.
3) Welcome more Play!
One way to show up compassionately in relationships is by welcoming more playfulness into our everyday lives. Stop taking everything so seriously! Run through that pile of leaves, hula hoop to your favorite childhood songs, eat that bowl of ice cream, enlist the entire polycule in a game of hide-and-seek! After all, play doesn’t belong exclusively to children.
Play grants us a low stakes environment where we can be curious, where we can explore, and where we can occupy new roles. Playing games helps us to figure out and embody the most ideal aspects of ourselves –– and to close the gap between who we are and we would want to be.
So here’s to 2023 being a year of letting your hair down, being silly, and crying because you’re laughing so hard. Tag, you’re it!
4) Commit to Clear and Honest Communication
Clear communication that comes from a place of truth is a fundamental part of ethical non-monogamy. Does this mean that it’s always easy? Hell no! It can be the hardest thing to tell or even hear the truth, especially within our intimate relationships. But having safe spaces to practice sharing your personal truth with loved ones is an absolute must. Whether someone has unknowingly over-stepped a boundary, a certain need was unmet, or you feel that it’s time to deescalate a relationship, sharing how you feel allows everyone involved to truly hear you.
A good intention to set here is to more routinely schedule check-ins with those close to you, or to share more openly and vulnerably in general. Even if you feel like you don’t generally have much to share, regularly showing up to scheduled check-ins establishes a safe container for hard things to be communicated. And when others share their truth with you in that space, you can practice how to truly listen –– as in, without immediately creating a narrative in your head that you wish to respond with.
Listen for the sake of listening, not responding. It’s a practice, but worth welcoming in 2023.
5) Learn About Your Attachment Style
Attachment styles, conceptualized by psychiatrist John Bowlby, is a term used to refer to the proximity-seeking behavior patterns we display in relationships. Now, some people think there’s a lot to learn from attachment theory and some don’t. But either way, it’s important to be aware of how we show up relationally and how we maintain (or avoid) connection.
Knowing your own attachment style can help in understanding and setting expectations. It’s a great starting point for you to become familiar with what makes you feel safe and secure. And being able to communicate those needs can also support you in feeling secure in relationships. This is where creating more time and space to be with yourself, and to understand your changing wants and desires, comes in.
Check out the #openEd episode where we talk to psychotherapist, certified clinical trauma professional, and author Jessica Fern about how to create secure attachments in a non-monogamist context or read the transcript here. And maybe a 2023 gift to yourself can be her book Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy. Heck, why not buy one for everyone in the polycule!?
6) Be More Curious Than You Were Last Year
2023 is the year to be curious and to step outside your comfort zone! Choosing to change things up is brave, especially when we feel safe but stagnant. Staying open to your wants, needs, desires and boundaries changing from moment to moment, and from relationship to relationship, is a reminder of the dynamic nature of our own humanity.
Being curious and asking about our partners’ needs, boundaries, and desires can help us remain connected to each other and keep those relationships alive. Curiosity is the perfect antidote for staleness. So will 2023 finally be the year you discover your partner wants to try rope play? We’re curious to find out! 😉
7) Actually Go for The Things You Want
Have you been dreaming of asking that cutie who frequents your favorite coffee shop out but haven’t quite plucked up the courage? Whilst some of us are thriving in our slut era, for others, being the star of that earth-shattering orgy might still feel far away (where are my fellow demisexuals at!?)
Whatever your deepest desires and fantasies are, perhaps this year, you explore them a bit more and take steps to making them a reality. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that life is short and the time to pursue the life we dream about is now.
Pleasure is your birthright. Nourishing relationships are your birthright. Love is infinite and it’s your birthright as well! Whatever you’ve been wanting, if it’s on the path of more pleasure and self expression (and doesn’t cause harm), we say go for it.
8) Endeavour to be Authentic
Am I the only one who can sometimes feel pressured to show up in a certain way in polyam/non-monogamous spaces?
Usually the pressure stems from no one other than myself, but I still feel it! As social creatures, us humans are designed with an innate desire to feel like we belong. Living in a heteronormative and mononormative world, many in the LGBTQIA+ & non monogamous communities have experienced a profound sense of exclusion and lack of belonging for a lot of their lives. However, staying true to ourselves, our morals and beliefs can help us find others with whom we may share a consensus reality.
The more authentic we are in our relationships, the more likely we are to be surrounded by people who really love us for who we are. Perhaps 2023 will see you welcoming a bit more authenticity and feeling safe and courageous enough to drop certain masks and armor you have had to wear to merely survive in our world.
9) Download #open – an app for individual people and couples to make connections!
If you are wanting to connect with more like-minded non-monogamists, the #open community just might be for you! You can use hashtags to share your interests, kinks, and exactly what you are looking for. The #open app is a place where you can form genuine connections and feel supported in living your non-normative life. Inclusivity is at the heart of the space we are creating, where people of all gender identities and orientations, from all walks of life, in any sort of relationship are welcome. So download the app for free and get creative with hashtagging your wildest dreams. You can even share some of your new year’s resolutions for ethically non-monogamous dating in 2023 and see what others have come up with.
Whilst this list is shared with good intentions to inspire healthy connections and improve overall well being, if all this New Year’s Resolutions noise is too much for you, we understand. Our only hope is that our fellow non-monogamists, kinksters, and relationship disrupters are in spaces where expansion, celebration, and love are possible.
We wish all of our community members a peaceful & pleasurable 2023. Whether this list brought up some feels of resonance for you or not, we would love to hear some of your intentions for ethically non-monogamous dating in 2023.