Relationship Types: Why One Size Doesn't Fit All

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8 Relationship Types


There are many types of relationships out there, and each means something different to everyone. But that's the beauty of it — it allows each person to find the best fit for their own lifestyle, personality and concept of love, no matter their gender or sexual orientation. But what are the different types of relationships


This article will be the first in a series about relationships. The following are just a few that we'll be exploring. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all in terms of relationship types. And certain aspects of one relationship type can seamlessly overlap with other types of relationships. As long as you're not emotionally or physically hurting yourself or your partner(s), do what works for you and makes you happy. 


Monogamous Relationships

A monogamous relationship involves two people in a committed sexual, emotional and romantic relationship. In simple terms: a monogamous relationship means one exclusive partner at a time. It’s generally considered to be a more ‘traditional’ type of relationship , and because it’s most often exhibited by one's parents, it’s the relationship style many of us learn about first.  


Polyamorous Relationships 

A polyamorous relationship means having more than one romantic and sexual relationship at a time. Typically, there are fluid rankings within the relationship that can change as needed. There is usually a primary partner, a secondary partner, etc. But, it's important to note that in some polyamorous relationships, every partner is equal. 


A polyamorous relationship with a primary partner and subsequent secondary partners usually functions with the primary partner having separate, individual intimate and emotional relationships with each secondary partner. A polyamorous relationship with equal partners most often means that everyone in the relationship has an equal emotional and sexual relationship with every partner. In this type of relationship, most things are done together as one whole unit, including sex. 


Open Relationships

An open relationship is a blend of monogamous and polyamorous relationships. In this type of relationship, both partners are allowed to be physically intimate with anyone they want. But, the emotional and romantic intimacy is reserved for only each other. The key to making an open relationship work is good communication and honesty. It's also incredibly important that both individuals in the core partnership are comfortable with this kind of relationship to avoid feelings of hurt or jealousy.


Long-Distance Relationships

Long-distance relationships occur when two partners live a great distance away from each other. Most often, this type of relationship is temporary, but some couples do choose to live apart and do so happily. Whatever works! Because of the lack of physical intimacy, some people in long-distance relationships also choose to be in open relationships. However, this is something you have to discuss with each other first. Trust us, it's not a great time when one partner thinks they're in a committed relationship and the other is getting it on with strangers every other week. 


Casual Sex

With casual sex, there is no romantic or emotional relationship. The exchange is usually strictly about sex. Both partners agree to have sex with each other on a regular or semi-regular basis. However, there are exceptions, as with any relationship type. Those in casual relationships can be physically or emotionally intimate with others, as long as both people are comfortable with it. 


On the other end of the spectrum, casual relationships can also be exclusive when neither person sleeps with anyone else. Note that this version of casual sex still omits that emotional connection. If you're having casual sex on the regular, just be sure to practice safe sex and get tested for STDs habitually. 


Friends With Benefits

Becoming friends with benefits starts with an established, platonic friendship. Aside from this, the relationship type is quite similar to that of casual sex. This type of relationship begins when two friends mutually agree to have sex based on an underlying sexual attraction on both sides. But outside of the sex, this relationship remains a platonic friendship, devoid of emotion and romance. 


Typically, being friends with benefits ends when one of the partners begins to date someone else. Or, like in the popular rom-com "Friends With Benefits," the friends become more than just friends. We're rootin' for you, buddy!


Asexual Relationships

Asexual means that you don't have a sexual desire or attraction to others, but you still want to be in a romantic and emotional relationship. Asexual relationships can be with two asexual individuals or one asexual person and one sexual person. There is no one right way this type of relationship functions. Asexual relationships can be sexless, pseudosexual (engaging in behaviors such as cuddling) or even sexual at times to satisfy a sexual partner. 


Sub/Dom Relationships

In the simplest of terms, a submissive/dominant (sub/dom) relationship is where one partner takes on the role of the dominant sadist and the other partner is the submissive masochist. Partners can stick to these roles or switch it up now and again. 


BDSM is typically lumped into this relationship type, but in reality, a sub/dom relationship is just one aspect of the wider BDSM category. Some like all things BDSM, whereas others are only into a few parts of BDSM. Typically, a sub/dom relationship is more about power than physical sensation. But, more often than not, this power play is included in the sexual relationship. 


It's important to note that it's fairly common for certain aspects of sub/dom play to come up in other relationship types when in the bedroom. And as always, both partners have to be comfortable and consent to this type of relationship


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