Through time, the ideals and social norms of the world changes and evolves, and so do we as people. As many parts of the world become more accepting of our community, the more freedom queer people have to find their own identity, preferences, understanding, and ways of forming connections with others that don’t particularly fit in traditional norms. This especially applies to the types of relationships we form and the love that we feel or even the ways we understand our feelings towards oneself and others.
Recognising that relationships come in all forms can be useful to help communicate what you want from a healthy relationship, or to help you recognise that unhealthy relationships can also come in different forms. All healthy relationships no matter the type, start from a basis of healthy traits which are trust, feeling secure, consent, communication, and respect.
So let’s look at a few forms of relationships that we may encounter or explore with when navigating the dating scene:
Monogamy is a relationship involving two people, with no other negotiated lovers or partners at the same time both sexually and romantically. The two are exclusive to each other.
Open relationships are generally when two people in a relationship agree to not be entirely monogamous. How open a relationship is can differ significantly across relationships. In some relationships, partners decide to open up for brief periods of time and return to monogamy at a later point meanwhile some choose to stay open for the foreseeable future.
In a healthy open relationship, trust and communication are vital to making sure that both partners (and everyone else involved) are comfortable. No one in the relationship should feel pressured or uncomfortable.
Without clear arrangements, relationships can become unhealthy. Couples should consider speaking about different parts of an open relationship, such as:
- Having sex separately or together
- The level of disclosure both between partners and with those outside of the relationship
- The level of romantic involvement with other people
- Boundaries around types of sex or intimate activities they engage in with others
- Commitment to their sex and romantic lives together
Polyamory is a form of open relationship in which people may have more than one on-going romantic partner. In most cases, a person may have a primary partner, meaning that although they have other partners or dates, their main commitment is to their primary partner. However, this is not always the case – some people have multiple partners of equal status.
This is where you may find relationships that consist of three partners known as a “throuple”, or even four known as a “quad”.
There are people who may experience little to no sexual desire or sexual attraction to others. Some are both asexual and aromantic, meaning they do not have romantic nor sexual feeling towards others. However, many individuals will develop romantic feelings for another without a desire to have sex with them.
Romantic attraction can be for a single or multiple genders. These relationships are founded on romantic, physical, and emotional attraction and companionship as compared to other forms of relationships in which sex and sexual attraction play a more significant role.
Like all relationships, the relationships of people who are asexual come in all forms. Some individuals are partnered with other asexual people, while others may be partnered with a sexual person and may be in an open relationship or have other approaches to maintaining their relationships.
A casual relationship is where the people involved see each other regularly or not-so-regularly, but there are minimal expectations within partners.
These relationships range from being romantic to purely sexual in nature. Like all relationships, it is important to communicate clear expectations early on so people do not get hurt or feel like they’ve been led on.
A dominant-submissive relationship is where one partner is dominant and the other submits to their partner, this does not necessarily have to revolve around kinks and could just be based on relationship dynamics. Both dominant and submissive partners are equal in having their boundaries respected by their partner, regardless of their role.
Trust, communication, boundaries, and consent are of the utmost importance to having a safe and healthy dom/sub relationship.
Now go out there and spread your wings, we hope this guide has helpful in giving you a rough idea on the relationship possibilities there are and how to do so healthily. Of course this list is not conclusive and there's indefinite possibilities for you to live your life, as long as you're happy, take each other into consideration and deal with consent.