“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? How do we undo the patterns of patriarchal approaches to relationships that are so entwined with Monogamy, in order to experience relationships where everyone has equity?
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!
If you’re in a relationship, starting a relationship, or ending a relationship, you owe it to yourself to check this course out. It opened my eyes to the possibilities, and gave me some valuable insights into my own relationships — to other people, to the planet, and to myself. I’ll be dipping into this material for as long as I’m around.
I would recommend this course to anyone, not just polyamorous-minded people. It teaches so much basic relationship knowledge, basic needs/desire awareness, and overall better understanding of human interaction.
— Anon, Course Student
This course is for you if:
- You are looking for new tools to practice honest non-monogamy from a more compassionate, trauma-sensitive space.
- You feel that your upbringing in patriarchal monogamy is holding you back from having the kind of liberating relationships your heart desires.
- 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 want to find your own unique path in consensual non-monogamy.
- You resonate with the works of Brene Brown, Betty Martin, Dr Kim Tallbear, Dr Meg-John Barker, Gabor Mate, and Peter Levine.
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
The Course Will Begin Again April 2024
Please see under “Frequently Asked Questions” for more information about cost and payment plan options.
Mel Cassidy’s Monogamy Detox is the relationship school I didn’t even know I needed so badly.
— Jen, Course Student
ASL Interpretation for calls may be available upon request. Please email me if you require ASL interpretation so that I can make necessary arrangements. All zoom calls and videos include closed captions.
The Monogamy Detox supports you by:
- Introducing you to new models for relating and tools for communication.
- Supporting you to create your own unique liberating framework for relationships.
- 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.
- Including you in a community of individuals who are also working on their Monogamy Detox.
- Giving you first access to exclusive content from Radical Relationships.
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.
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
This course is NOT for you if:
- You are uncomfortable doing self reflection.
- You are currently experiencing a relationship crisis and have no other means of emotional support (eg therapist, family, friendship network).
- You are trying to force yourself to be non-monogamous for the sake of a partner.
- You follow the works of Joe Rogan, Aubrey Marcus, Teal Swan, Kelly Brogan, or Jordan Peterson.
- You aren’t ready to examine the ways you experience power and privilege due to your gender, orientation, or relationship status.
“I first took the class in spring 2020. The experience was like a seed planted in the garden that sprouted and continues to sink deeper roots and grow taller, reaching for the sun and remaining an important part of my relationship garden”
— Paul, Course Student
How The Program Works
Register once, repeat as and when you need to.
The Monogamy Detox includes:
- Complimentary 30 minute welcome session one-on-one with Mel.
- Live weekly calls for 6 weeks, including breakout discussions, and the opportunity to practice what you’re learning with other students, with video playback available the following day.
- 6 weeks of assignments and audio/video/reading materials.
- Life-time course materials access.
- Membership in the online Radical Relating community, where you can connect with peers around the world.
- Access to ongoing community events that support you in continuing the work.
- A life-time 15% discount on personal coaching with Mel.
Register once, repeat as and when you need to: you get to take this course at the pace that works for you.
“This course will open your mind and your heart, no matter your relationship orientation. Can’t recommend it enough!”
— Anon, Course Student
What You’ll Get from this Course:
- You’ll recognise the unhelpful stories about relationships that have been holding you back.
- You’ll identify your needs in the four dimensions of intimacy and relationships.
- 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 define a clear and authentic vision for your entire relationship ecology.
- You’ll be empowered to cultivate community where you can show up as your whole, authentic self.
This course has been life-changing for me. The self-worth and confidence I have gained throughout the six-week course is evident to those around me. I am so happy to know that I will be able to access the tools in the future as I continue my self-discovery and whatever challenges that may bring. This course has helped me to increasingly value myself.
— Carrie S, Course Student
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
- Understanding Relational Ecology
- Somatics and the Importance of Embodied and Trauma-Informed Practices
- Layers of Relating
Week Three: Diving Into Desires
- Landscape Patterns
- The Relationship Sandbox
- Recognising Our Core Needs & Strategies
Week Four: Courageous Relating
- Conflict Intimacy : The Journey of Relational Agreements
- Courageous Conversations
- Cultivating 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: Grow What Is Possible
- Visioning your Relationship Ecology
- Transition and Change
- Navigating Complex Dynamics
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
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is this course, and can I pay on a payment plan?
The course is priced at $345USD (approx $470CDN). I recognise that for some who want to access this work, that cost will feel out of reach, and so I offer a low income option of $270 USD and a student/hardship rate of $190USD.
This is part of my commitment to keep this work accessible to those who need it. Those who can afford to pay full price help to offset my costs and make it possible for me to offer these other pricing tiers.
To pay on a payment plan please use the code TWOPARTPLANMD, and I will invoice you for the second payment two weeks into the course calls.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are experiencing financial constraints and wish to work out a 3-part payment plan.
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.
WHEN ARE THE WEEKLY CALLS, and what will they include?
The calls will be 75-90 mins long, and on Sunday Mornings*, Pacific Time. We’ll meet using the video conferencing program Zoom, and you’ll have a chance to participate in breakout discussions, as well as practice some of the exercises and assignments for the week, as well as address specific questions that might be coming up for you.
Every week the calls are recorded and posted to the coursework page, so if you can’t make the live calls, you can watch or listen to the recordings.
* In April/May calls are on Sunday mornings Pacific Time; in Oct/Nov 2024 this may change.
How much time do I have to put aside for the coursework?
The coursework will go live each week on Wednesday mornings (pacific time), so you have plenty of time to review the materials before our group calls. You can access the course materials online, and download the audio component to listen to at your own convenience.
I’m completely new to non-monogamy, is this a course for me?
This course is not a 101 on Non-Monogamy, however many folks who are newer to Non-Monogamy have found it has helped empower them with better tools and resources as they navigate their way in open relationships.
Many students also come to this course with several years of experience in Non-Monogamy, and find that they too learn and gain new perspectives and resources that support their relationships.
If you’re looking for a beginner Non Monogamy course please take a look at my Honest Non Monogamy Essentials Course!
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.
Is there a discount if I take this course with my partner?
Because this course offers ‘life-time’ membership— and there is no guarantee to the longevity of a relationship— each individual must register for the course separately. If you are experiencing financial constraints, please contact me and let me know a little about your situation. I am always happy to extend individual discounts to those in need.
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 email@example.com.
I desperately knew in my bones there was another script out there for me but when I struggled to find a healthy version of one, I haphazardly began writing it myself. And now?! To come into an entire community of people actively peeling back the veil to reveal their own trauma and vulnerability?? I am over the moon and feel so enthusiastic all the time. It’s the first time in the last several years where I have had such sustained joy and direction.
— Anon Course Student
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.
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!
For all of us, not only Indigenous people, monogamous ideals and standards are encouraged and rewarded by social structures…Despite my personal and intellectual commitment to nonmonogamy, I understand that monogamous conditioning and indoctrination may always be with me. I often return to Mel Cassidy’s notion of a “monogamy hangover” in order to process how compulsory monogamy conditions my thoughts and habits.
— Dr Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta
About the course creator
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 has been a ZEGG Forum facilitator. They are a student of somatics and pursue studies focused on trauma-informed approaches to the mind-body relationship, and currently pursuing their certification as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. 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 well 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 grateful and humbled to live, love, study and share, as a visitor on the beautiful and sacred Unceded territory of the K’òmoks First Nation, which are traditional territories of the K’omoks, Pentlach, Homalco, Wei Wei Kai, Wei Wei Kum, and Tla’amin peoples — people who have been in relationship with this land and these waters for 10,000 years.
Follow Mel on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter @radicalrelating
Mel has been FEATURED IN
I felt completely isolated and confused when it came to relationships when I first found Mel for coaching. After only one session, I knew she was a relationship mentor I could trust and wanted to learn more from, so I enrolled in the Monogamy Detox.
I was hesitant at first —I didn’t specifically identify as poly, but this class is NOT just for polyamorous people. Honestly, I think everyone that has ever been in a relationship would benefit from this class! It’s not a guide on how to be polyamorous, it’s a guide on how to be a better partner and happier in your relationships, regardless of your dating dynamics. The main focus is about how trauma affects how we relate/attach to people, and how to better know what we want, by sifting away the cultural brainwashing of what relationships are “supposed” to look like. Then teaching how to identify our real desires, weaknesses, and true self. I feel like a relationship superhero now and I’ve made so many meaningful friendships through the class. There is no question, this class was a valuable life changer, for me.
— Anon, Course Student
I entered this course feeling insecure, unsure, and lost when it came to identifying what I need and want, not to mention feeling very isolated and alone in those desires. I left with a rich community of likeminded friends, a strong awareness of what I want out of my relationships, and so much more confidence in the entire topic and relationships in general. I cant thank Mel enough!!
— 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
You have created something truly magnificent here. I was impressed not just with the coursework, but by your ability to integrate intersectional awareness for marginalized groups. It was fantastic to see the diversity of the group that you attracted, which speaks to the work that you are doing to do so. It felt like a profoundly safe space and I enjoyed myself immensely.
— Anon Course Student