Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory, and Optimistic Open Relationships

Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory, and Optimistic Open Relationships

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Designer Relationships
Patricia Johnson and Mark A. Michaels

Contemporary relationships are in a state of rapid evolution. These changes can and should be empowering. They provide people with the opportunity to develop partnerships based on their own sexualities, understandings, and agreements. This makes it possible to create what Kenneth R. Haslam, MD, founder of the Kinsey Institute’s Polyamory Archive, has called “designer relationships.” You are the designer, along with your partner or partners, and it’s up to you to create a relationship that works and to redesign it when and if appropriate. We invite you to move beyond the binary thinking that deems monogamy and various forms of consensual nonmonogamy to be irreconcilable opposites.

The term designer relationship is inclusive. It may encompass:

• People who bond emotionally but not sexually.
• People who choose to be sexually exclusive.
• People who agree to be non-exclusive.
• Single people who have occasional lovers or friends with benefits.
• Multiple partner configurations where long-term bonds exist among all or some.
• Partnerships in which people are kinky and those that make room for someone to explore kink outside the primary relationship.

The possibilities are limitless, and thinking about a partnership as something people can craft allows for flexibility and change over the span of the relationship and one’s life. Relationships can open and close or have varying degrees and kinds of openness as circumstances demand. In the context of a designer relationship, decisions are made mutually, consciously, and deliberately. Agreements are discussed, arrived at, and honored, and when agreements no longer serve, they can be recrafted. Bestselling authors and nationally known relationship experts Patricia Johnson and Mark A. Michaels are exemplars of this life choice, and have studied polyamory for over twenty years as sexuality scholars. Open relationships are the single biggest trend in this day and age of a 50%+ divorce rate, and this book explains exactly how you and your loved ones can design your own life and love. 208 pages, 2016.