The Monogamy Detox
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
R. Buckminster Fuller
There’s a shadow side to Monogamy.
For all its good— sense of security, continuity, deep knowing of your partner— there’s a mythos and fairy tale ideal that society encourages us to follow, one which can leave us feeling broken in our relationships, like a record stuck on repeat. We keep trying the same things over and over, and get the same unfulfilling results.
This fantasy of 'perfect partnership' foisted upon us has deep roots. But how relevant is it today, when we know that partnerships are not necessarily life-long, or exclusive? When we experience cheating, a breakup, or the opening of a relationship, a struggle starts between our hearts and minds. That struggle can result in feelings of shame, an experience of being emotionally frozen. You may feel like you can’t respond to things you know you should. It might interrupt your flow of communication, or keep you from feeling like you can freely express yourself. You might even find that you are unconsciously self-sabotaging yourself.
I call this struggle the “Monogamy Hangover”- and in order to reach our full potential in relationships, we need to detox from the mythology that got us into this hangover in the first place. And the good news is, there's a detox plan you can do!
"I walked away with much more than I had anticipated: I came away with a lot of tools to work with, and also a comfortable understanding of who I am and how I present myself to others. Mel is nothing short of awesome at what she does!"
This course is for you if:
- You have felt burned by the fairytale mythology of ‘one true love’ and ‘soul mates’
- You want to get out of patterns of codependency
- You have recently experienced a breakup, separation, divorce, or the death of a partner
- You have survived an abusive relationship
- You have stayed in a toxic relationship because you didn't think there was another option.
- You are looking for new tools to practice honest non-monogamy from a more compassionate, trauma-sensitive space.
The Monogamy Detox will support you by:
- Introducing you to new models for relating, and tools for communication.
- Teaching you about Trauma-Informed approaches to relationships, with particular focus on open/non-monogamous relationships and Relationship Anarchy.
- Giving you access to direct coaching and feedback specific to your situation.
- Include you in a community of individuals who are also working on their Monogamy Detox.
- Give you first access to exclusive content from Radical Relationships, including monthly group calls on topics related to the Monogamy Detox.
You get to complete the course at your own pace- once you’ve registered, you can return to the course any time and every time it is offered.
How The Program Works
Register once, repeat as and when you need to.
The Monogamy Detox includes:
- Live weekly evening calls for 6 weeks, with video playback available the following day.
- 6 weeks of assignments and reading materials.
- Life time membership in an online community to connect with peers.
- Access to ongoing monthly calls that support you in continuing this work.
Register once, repeat as and when you need to: you get to take this course at the pace that works for you.
What You'll Get from this Course:
- You'll recognise the unhelpful stories (mythology and fantasies) about relationships that are holding you back
- You'll learn how to have independence while being in kind, loving relationships
- You'll discover how to balance deep emotional relationships alongside social and sexual ones
- You'll identify your needs in the four dimensions of intimacy and relationships
- You'll begin to feel whole and healthy as an individual, as well as in your relationships
"I don't even know if I have enough words in my vernacular to express the feelings, thoughts, vibrations after this... I can't thank you enough... I will be processing for some time. A shift has happened!"
Week One: Love Is A Verb
- Examining Patriarchal Monogamy Culture
- Anatomy of the Monogamy Hangover
- The Relationship Escalator and Redefining Relationship Expectations
Week Two: Radical Relating
- Relational Ecology
- Slow Dating
- Layers of Relating
Week Three: Diving Into Desires
- Landscape Patterns
- Spheres of Desire
- Recognising Core Needs & Strategies
Week Four: Courageous Relating
- Conflict Intimacy
- Courageous Conversations
- Communities of Relations
Week Five: Sex, Jealousy, and Honoring The Shadow
- Sexual Scripts
- Jealousy and Shadow Emotions
- Expanding Possibilities in the Erotic and Practical
Week Six: Your Personal Landscape Vision
- Visioning your Relationship Ecology
- Transition and Change
- Navigating Complex Relationships
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have access to the course?
Forever! Once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the course material for as long as you like. You can retake the course with the live calls every time it is offered.
Is this course only for people wanting non-monogamous relationships?
Not at all. I have designed this course to be for everyone, including folks who want Monogamy, just without all the mythology that's often tied to it. However, much of the content I create is geared towards folks who are wanting to explore open and non-monogamous relationships.
I still have a question, how can I contact you?
I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Personal Journey
How Did I Get To Know So Much About This?
I got married when I was 22 because I thought that was what you were supposed to do when you were 22 and in love, and wanting to start a grown-up life.
What I didn’t realise was that I had a pattern for co-dependency that would end up being toxic to our relationship, and I had no idea how to express my needs and desires. Wouldn’t my husband magically know what I needed? Surely if I had to say it outloud that would mean something was wrong between us!
These stories I told myself held us both back, and for many years I felt like I was flying on autopilot.
After two miscarriages, a botched attempt at an open marriage, and an affair, we realised neither of us were happy existing in a relationship that didn’t meet either our needs. Instead of fighting to exist in a state of compromise (you know how that feels, right?), we amicably went our separate ways.
Excitedly, I jumped right into a non-monogamous life, aspiring to be polyamorous (a form of honest non-monogamy that happens with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved). Early on in my dating experiences, I met someone who I felt was my soul-mate. The connection was intense, and we both felt like we’d known eachother for lifetimes! But, we had totally different lifestyles. Complete opposites. I was vegetarian, he only ate meat; I liked to go to bed early, he stayed up late; he lived in the city, I loved being in the country. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last long, inspite of the great sexual chemistry (don’t you just hate it when that happens?).
Nursing a broken heart, I found myself feeling lost and uncertain about how to engage in relationships for a while.
I came to realise that what was holding me back was also holding a lot of other folks back too. It was the mythology I’d been fed since childhood— not just the ‘one day my Prince will come’ stories— but all the expectations and stories about what a partner would do for me, and how a successful relationship was defined by social norms. I started to examine my own experiences and how often I’d put aside my own needs and desires while trying to become who I imagined my partner wanted or needed me to be. I began to see that the people I was dating were doing the same with me too!
While I was studying counselling for intimacy and relationships, I noticed that there was plenty of information about codependent dynamics, but very little had been written about why those dynamics were there in the first place. The traditional models of monogamy seemed tailored to lead to codependency, and few alternatives were given.
I began to find this addressed in the writings of relationship anarchists, and in the work of First Nations scholar, Dr Kim TallBear. Through my experiences with groups exploring New Culture paradigms, I was introduced to the ideas of Dominance Culture and expanded my understanding of the psychology of the social scripts around gender, community, and relationships.
In my coaching practice, I found that almost all my clients were working with some form of 'Monogamy Hangover', a murky cloud hanging above them, filled with unspoken and unconscious expectations, which was holding them back from happy and fulfilled relationships. For the past few years I've been refining the tools I use with clients to detox from the Monogamy Hangover, and this course is the result of that work!
I was struck straight off by Mel. She is able to withhold judgement and apply the goals and values of the client, rather than their own. She draws from a diverse set of tools, and selects those appropriate to the issues at hand. She is empathetic, while still providing clarity. I've been doing this work for 20 years, and rarely have i come across someone so adept. I would work with her again in a heartbeat.— Akien MacIain, Relationship Coach
About Mel Cassidy
Mel Cassidy is a relationship coach and sex-positive nerd who guides social misfits and cultural rebels to experiences of joyful, embodied, authentic open relationships.
A life-long student of the mind-body connection, Mel has studied with teachers and mentors of a multitude of disciplines. Mel is certified in Counselling for Intimacy and Relationships, Holistic Peer Counselling, and is a ZEGG Forum facilitator. They are a student of the Institute for the Study of Somatic Sexology and the Ritual as Justice School, and pursue studies focused on trauma-informed approaches to the mind-body relationship. Mel is the co-founder of the Vancouver based Consent Crew, and creator of The Monogamy Detox online course. Also a visual artist, movement teacher, and a facilitator and producer of ecstatic dance events, they are dedicated to creating trauma-sensitive spaces where all beings can flourish.
With over two decades of experience teaching and facilitating in groups small and large, Mel has a reputation for innovation, novelty, and both thinking and living outside the box.
Mel is queer, and lives, loves, and dances on the traditional and unceded territories of the K'ómoks Nation in British Columbia, Canada.
Follow Mel on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter @radicalrelating
Your work has reminded me that perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with me at all. I am amazed at the deep levels of shame we carry as human beings because we don’t fit into the construct that is given to us as a model for our life. It feels exciting because I can now explore what I want for my life rather than be gifted something that just doesn’t feel right for me.
— Craig, Course Student
I am very thankful for the ability to apply what I have learned from participating in your program. Not to say that I wasn't hit with a variety of emotions. Absolutely I was . Navigating through them and understanding that they are part of the hangover helped me to move to a great place of genuine joy...
— Anon, Course Student
For a long time I was stuck in a contradiction: believing in the free expression of love ... while at the same time lacking an explicit and thoughtful critique of toxic monogamy culture that undermines those very values.
Mel’s Monogamy Detox helped clarify the goals and values that guide my relationships, so I can live a more authentic life.
— Kamran Afary, PhD RDT
This course is a wonderful affirmation of who I am, and that my thoughts about relationships are not as "out there" as I thought. It was wonderful to feel the support of everyone being on their own journey, and at the same time encouraging each other!
— Anon, Course Student