Relationship Design 1 – Common’ish Styles

Back to topic. The most important thing is to realise there is no such thing as the one right way. So in this video I went ahead and explained some of the more common relationship approaches people take, and I am going to add them here as well for reference. And maybe it helps you to see that there are a ton of possibilities already. And even more, maybe it allows you to consider the fact that your desired relationship is just as possible as anything else.

Unrequited Polyamory: This is when you are secretly “in love with” multiple people but they don’t know or don’t reciprocate these feelings and you are not actually conducting a relationship. That could be people such as coworkers, clients, roommates, people whose sexual orientation doesn’t include your gender, people already in monogamous relationships, people your friends are dating/have dated, that girl you see on the train every morning, exes you’re still not over, people you hooked up with on vacation who live on the other side of the world, and friends you made out with once when you were drunk and agreed it should never happen again, except you secretly hope it will happen again. The difference between unrequited polyamory vs. normal unrequited love is the sincere belief that all twelve of these people could be the love of your life, simultaneously, if they’d just give you a chance.

Casual Monogamy: One of the best parts of being in an ongoing relationship is that you are having lots of fantastic sex with someone who gets to know you. And yes, most of the time casual monogamy is much more about the sex and the fucking and the safety from STIs than it is about emotional connection or support. Maybe you want to say: Hey, lets have fun and do it together for a bit but without commitments. And that’s where casual monogamy could come in.

Serial Monogamy: In this version of a relationship, the commitment and the exclusivity typical of monogamy is maintained. However,  it is usually confined to a limited period. In this increasingly popular romantic pattern, people still believe in some moderate form of ideal love, but give up their basic pretence that it should last forever. The beloved is still regarded to be unique, but in many cases he is not so for the rest of our life. And in a lot of cases this entering and exiting of meaningful and loving relationships is done completely unaware. It just happens. The participants still call themselves monogamous even though they might have had 2 or 3 sexual partners this year.

Cheating: One or both partners break the trust of their partner by breaking the accepted relationship agreement. This could be getting physically or emotionally involved with another person while in a monogamous relationship. This could be not using a condom with another partner when the agreement was made that there will be only 2 fluid bonded people. And the word cheating in itself implies dishonesty, hiding or covering them up. It is when Partner 1 does something that is violation the relationship agreements and the other partner(s) would not be okay with if they had knowledge of said thing.

Platonic Relationships: This is sort of the inverse of casual monogamy. You are clearly in an ongoing, emotional involved relationship with one or more people, and you do stuff like cook, share thoughts and dreams and maybe even raise children together. But there is no physical intimacy.

Polygamy / Polyandry: Polygamy is the practice or custom of having more than one wife at the same time. Polyandry is a form of polygamy in which a woman has more than one husband.

Swingers: Swingers is really an umbrella term and can mean a lot of things. I am referring to what is here called “parejas liberales”. Couples with an open mindset and a curiosity towards sex that maintain an emotionally monogamous relationship but engage in sexual experiences with other people (most often as a couple). This can range from voyeurism / exhibitionism to same room sex to soft swap (touching but no penetration) to full swap.

Open Relationships: The most difficult to define because ‘OPEN’ means just that. Anything is possible, agreements are made and then within these boundaries people are engaging in relationships. This usually includes either sexually open (sex with people outside the relationship) or emotionally open (emotional connection with one or more people outside the relationship). But even certain ways of conducting polyamory are open relationships. Since there is no clear differentiation and a lot of overlap on all sides I leave this at it is.

Polyamory: Conducting multiple, significant, emotionally involved relationships at the same time. Examples of these relationships could be a “V” (on person is having 2 partners), a triad (3 people are involved, each in love with the other 2), a quad (similar to the triangle), networks or constellations.   

I left Monogamy out of that list as most people have a pretty good understanding of the currently most socially accepted (in the western world) relationship model and what you know about it (or think you know) goes beyond what I can express in one paragraph.

I would like to invite you to look once more through these examples of relationship styles that I posted above. All of these are currently conducted somewhere in the world. Can you see your perfect relationship fitting somewhere into one of more of these? Can you imagine that your perfect relationship spans several of these styles? That it combines some? That it leaves others completely untouched? Can you imagine that it is possible to have the relationship you want?

Leave a Comment