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Non-monogamy (or nonmonogamy) is an umbrella term for every practice or philosophy of intimate relationship that does not strictly hew to the standards of monogamy, particularly that of having only one person with whom to exchange sex, love, and affection. In that sense, “nonmonogamy” may be as accurately applied to infidelity and extramarital sex as to group marriage or polyamory.
More specifically, “nonmonogamy” indicates forms of interpersonal relationship, intentionally undertaken, in which demands for exclusivity (of sexual interaction or emotional connection, for example) are attenuated or eliminated, and individuals may form multiple and simultaneous sexual or romantic bonds. This stands in contrast to monogamy, yet may arise from the same psychology.
- 1 Terminology
- 2 Types
- 3 Gallery
- 4 See also
- 5 References
The concepts of monogamy and marriage have been strongly intertwined for centuries, and in English dictionaries one is often used to define the other, as when “monogamy” is “being married to one person at a time.” A common antonym is polygamy, meaning to have more than one spouse at one time. As a result, monogamy is deeply entrenched within many religions and in social regulations and law, and exceptions are condemned as incursions on both morality and public health.
To some, the term non-monogamy semantically implies that monogamy is the norm, with other forms of relational intimacy being deviant and therefore somehow unhealthy or immoral.
In recent years,[when?] consensual non-monogamy (CNM) or ethical non-monogamy (ENM) have been used to typify relationships (or hope to create relationships) where partners mutually agree to form relationships with others as well. This may encompass swinging, polyamory, and other non-exclusive intimacy, depending upon the degree to which the involved individuals are seeking a sexual encounter or an emotional connection.
- Meet market
- Singles event
Emotions and feelings
- Bride price
- Sexual activity
- Narcissistic parent
- Power and control
Non-monogamy pride flag
Many terms for non-monogamous practices are vague, being based on criteria such as “relationship” or “love” that are themselves questionably defined. There are forms whose practitioners set themselves apart by qualifiers, such as “ethically non-monogamous” which intends a distancing from the deceit or subterfuge they perceive in common cheating and adultery.
As well, usage creates distinctions beyond the definitions of the words. For example, though some relations might literally be both polygamous and polyamorous, polygamy usually signifies a codified form of multiple marriage, based on established religious teachings, while polyamory is based on the preferences of the participants rather than social custom or established precedent. Similarly, swingers may intentionally avoid emotional and social connection to those—other than their primary partner—with whom they have sex, so may or may not be polyamorous.
Forms of non-monogamy are many, a few being:
- casual relationship—a physical and emotional relationship between two unmarried people who may have a sexual relationship
- cuckoldry—a person has sex with another individual without the consent of their partner(s) or purposefully excludes them from sex
- group marriage—several people form a single familial unit, with each considered to be married to one another
- poly families—similar to group marriage, but some members may not consider themselves married to all other members
- group sex and orgies involving more than two participants at the same time
- line families—a form of group marriage intended to outlive its original members by ongoing addition of new spouses
- ménage à trois—a sexual (and sometimes domestic) arrangement involving three people
- open relationship (incl. open marriage)—one or both members of a committed (or married) couple have the express freedom to become sexually active with others
- polyamory—participants have multiple romantic partners
- polyfidelity—participants have multiple partners but restrict sexual activity to within a certain group
- primary/secondary—there is a main romantic relationship with all other relationships being second to it.
- polygamy—one person in a relationship has married multiple partners
- polyandry—a woman has multiple husbands
- polygyny—a man has multiple wives
- plural marriage—a form of polygyny associated with the Latter Day Saint movement in the 19th-century and with present-day splinter groups from that faith, as well as evangelical sects that advocate Christian Plural Marriage
- relationship anarchy—participants are not bound by set rules
- swinging—similar to open relationships, but conducted as an organized social activity, often involving some form of group sex
- triads/quads—three or four participants make up the primary partnership.
- V-Structure—one person is equally involved with two partners.
The Purple Mobius symbol for non-monogamy.
The “love outside the box” symbol for polyamory and non-monogamy.
Anarchists-A in a heart is a symbol of relationship anarchy.
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Ghosting is breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate. The term originated in 2011. In that decade, media reported a rise in ghosting, which has been attributed to increasing use of social media and online dating apps.
- 1 Origin of term
- 2 In personal relationships
- 3 In popular culture
- 4 Related terms and behaviors
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Origin of term
The term is attested since at least 2011, in the context of online exchanges, and became popular by 2015 through numerous articles on high-profile celebrity relationship dissolutions, and went on to be widely used. It has been the subject of numerous articles and discussions on dating and relationships in various media. It was included in the Collins English Dictionary in 2015.
Even though popularity of the term grew rapidly around 2011-2014, the first observed use in the correct context is on “Figaro”, track 14 of Madvillainy, the collaborative album between Madlib & MF DOOM.
In personal relationships
Ghosting may be especially hurtful for those on the receiving end, causing feelings of ostracism and rejection. Some mental health professionals consider ghosting to be a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse, a type of silent treatment or stonewalling behaviour, and emotional cruelty.
In his article, “In Defense of Ghosting”, Alexander Abad-Sabos states: “the thing that undermines these diatribes against ghosting is that…[we] know what happened with their ghost. It just didn’t work out and sometimes we just can’t accept it.”  He continues: “[a]t the heart of it, ghosting is as clear as any other form of rejection. The reason we complain about it is because we wanted a different outcome … which is totally understandable.” However, this argument does not account for the inherent ambiguity in ghosting – the person being ghosted does not know whether they’re being rejected, whether the person is just extremely busy, if the person started dating someone else and wanted to cut off communication with other interests, or if the person is waiting to see if something works out with someone else but trying to keep the person as an option if the other person doesn’t work out. Due to the frequency of these actions, it becomes impossible to tell which it is, making it especially frustrating and stressful. 
In her article, “Why Ghosting Is a Form of Self-Protection for Women”, Emily Kellogg’ states that after she tried to break up in person with a man, he kept sending her invites, which she kept declining; eventually she “just didn’t text him back”. She explains: “…it can feel like the safer option for women dealing with men who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer”, who make “…us feel unsafe by crossing our boundaries or refusing to accept our rejection”.  Kellogg advises: “…until women can safely exercise their autonomy and communicate with men without fear of violent retaliation, we’ll have to keep doing whatever we can to keep ourselves and others safe—and yes, sometimes that means ghosting.” 
In popular culture
Ghosting appears to be becoming more common. Various explanations have been suggested, but social media is often blamed, as are dating apps and the relative anonymity and isolation in modern-day dating and hookup culture, which make it easier to behave poorly with few social repercussions. In addition, the more commonplace the behaviour becomes, the more individuals can become desensitised to it. Others have suggested that it is due to the decline of empathy in society, along with the promotion of a more selfish, narcissistic culture.
Ghosting is not limited to only intimate relationship contexts. It can also happen between friends or even family members, and be practiced by employers with prospective candidates.
Related terms and behaviors
While “ghosting” refers to “disappearing from a special someone’s life mysteriously and without explanation”, numerous similar behaviors have been identified, that include various degrees of continued connection with a target. For example, Marleying is “when an ex gets in touch with you at Christmas out of nowhere”; and “Caspering” is a “friendly alternative to ghosting. Instead of ignoring someone, you’re honest about how you feel, and let them down gently before disappearing from their lives.” “Cloaking” is another related behavior that occurs when an online match blocks you on all apps while standing you up for a date. The term was coined by Mashable journalist Rachel Thompson after she was stood up for a date by a Hinge match and blocked on all apps.
One possible response to ghosting is “ghostbusting”: forcing the “ghoster” to reply.
- Cold shoulder
- Coping (psychology) (see maladaptive coping)
- Ghost banning
- Ghosting (employer)
- Silent treatment
- Social rejection
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