8 Relationship Alternatives to Romantic Monogamy

There’s monogamy, the habit of having only one mate in a legal contract such as wedding or marriage until death or divorce do you part. But romantic monogamy is losing ground in America—why, you ask? Simply because it constricts the boundaries of love.

Check out these relationship styles that may help you find what you’ve been looking for.

Monogamish

Is it cheating if you agree on it first? Not in a monogamish relationship, where two people will decide to certain types of sex outside of their marriage after openly communicating to each other about who they are and what they look for in sexual relationships.

For example, a couple may give mutual consent to have sex with someone at least 100 miles away from home. But considering romance or any financial and emotional support for the sexual partner is usually off the table.

Swinging

Somewhat similar to monogamish, a committed couple may consensually agree to having sex with people outside of their relationship, but the term swinging covers a broader spectrum. For example, participating in orgies or picking up strangers at clubs is all good. Swingers tend to refrain from romantic attachments from their outside partners as well.

Friends with benefits

As long as you’ve seen the movie, you’ll get what this is about. In this category, there isn’t a declaration of commitment exclusively, but there’s an ongoing sexual relationship minus the romantic component—so casual hookups where you’re involved sexually, but not romantically.

Polyamory

Poly refers to many, while amor means love. It’s the practice of simultaneously engaging with multiple romantic partners or intimate relationships with all parties’ consent.

This isn’t to be confused with polygamy; the relationship style legally declares more than one spouse; it’s considered polygyny when a man is married to multiple women, while it’s referred to as polyandry when a woman is married to multiple men.

Poly-fidelity

Quad (four in a relationship)

Much like a monogamous relationship, except the number of people is more than two; most often, this is a triad (for three) and quad (for four). There’s a commitment amongst members of a poly-fidelity relation to having a romantic relationship involving sex with each other.

Open relationship

An open relationship means that you’re pursuing sexual connections but not romantic ones outside of your primary partner.

Relationship Anarchy

This relationship declares that it isn’t entirely necessary to prioritize a lover or romantic relationship over friends and family.

Queer platonic, chosen family and co-parenting

Is it compulsory for all intimate relationships to indulge in sex and romance? No. Another valid option to do things that are traditionally associated with romantic partners is to willingly choose to build a life and family with your friends. For example, two best friends or former partners living together may decide to start a family together by raising their child. The key trait that’s notable here is indulging in a level of life entanglement beyond friendship.

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