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Non-monogamy is the practice of engaging in multiple sexual or romantic relationships simultaneously. Nonmonogamy can be practiced in ways that are generally considered to be ethical or non-ethical by those in non-monogamous communities. Generally speaking, those in ethical non-monogamous relationships strive to focus on open communication, negotiation of rules, and treat each person involved with the same dignity and respect regardless of their role within a non-monogamous couple or group. Ethical non-monogamy can take the form of polyamory, swinging, open marriages, and other similarly structured relationships.
Nonethical non-monogamy is usually thought of as cheating- being deceitful by breaking rules or pushing boundaries set by those in one relationship. Even if the relationship is considered non-monogamous by both parties, it is still possible for one or more partners to cheat. While ongoing debates exist over the importance of rules in an ethical non-monogamous relationship, it is important that each party understands their partner(s)’ expectations, needs, and boundaries. Many consider other behaviors to be non-ethical such as unicorn hunting (a heterosexual couple seeking a bisexual woman to join them for sex or an ongoing closed relationship between the three of them) and hierarchy of partnerships. However these are still being debated by the polyamorous and larger non-monogamous community.