When One-Size-Fits-All Relationships Just Won’t Fit

I help people who are in—or who are interested in—consensually non-monogamous relationships create and maintain the kinds of connections with others that bring joy, growth, belonging, and stability to their lives and the lives of people around them.

The starting point for my work is simple: I believe that when individuals are empowered to make intentional, purposeful choices about relationships—choices that reflect their own values, needs, and desires, rather than someone else’s idea of what relationships should look like—everyone stands to benefit. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to some of our closest, most intimate, most significant relationships, many people are discouraged from asking even the most basic questions about what they actually want from those relationships. We’re presented with a relatively narrow perspective on what loving, stable, meaningful relationships can or should look like. And when people who try to follow that one-size-fits-all model for relationships find that it doesn’t actually fit for them, they’re encouraged to believe that the reason the model doesn’t fit is that there’s something wrong with themselves or their partner—some sort of personal, moral, or psychological failing—rather than something being wrong with the fact that they’ve only been allowed to try that one model.

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There are a lot of differences between the clients I work with, but one of the unifying themes is that my clients tend to be conscientious, thoughtful, loving, and committed—and their relationships are almost always better for it. However, many of my clients have reached a point where they feel stuck as they try to figure out how to create or maintain satisfying intimate relationships. That stuck point often sounds something like “I can’t ______ because that’s not what conscientious/thoughtful/loving/committed partners do/ask for/think.”   

When my clients start working with me, I often find that I don’t have to spend a lot of time helping them figure out what they want from their relationships. They already have an intuitive sense about what they want. Sometimes I help them articulate and put words to that intuition, but it’s rare that I encounter someone who has no ideas about what would actually make their life or relationships more satisfying. More often, the work I do with them in therapy is helping them sort out what feels like a mismatch between what they want on the one hand and their values or their sense of who they are as a partner on the other hand. Or how they bring more of what they want into an existing relationship without destroying the thing which brings them tremendous joy and satisfaction. Or how to navigate the challenges inherent in trying to open an existing relationship if when there’s a mismatch between what each partner wants, or there are breakdowns in understanding or communication. Sometimes just having the space to think about their relationships differently and say their thoughts out loud allows my clients to take a fresh perspective on their relationships—which on its own can lead to greater satisfaction and contentment in that relationship. Other times, the work they do in therapy can provide them with the clarity, confidence, and skills required to take the next steps toward having the kinds of relationships that reflect and fulfill their values, needs, and desires. 

If you’d like to be more intentional about your most important relationships, I want to help. Reach out to get started today.