From multiple dating to polyamorous relationships, the options for a fulfilling "unconventional" relationship are endless.
As the great L.L. Cool J once said, "Conventional methods of makin' love kinda bore me." This also holds true for monogamy. While the compulsion to be sexually exclusive with someone is understandable, having a number of unique loving relationships, sexual and otherwise, can often be more fulfilling than one all-encompassing love. In Helen Croydon's new book Screw The Fairytale: A Modern Guide to Sex and Love she explores the concept of non-monogamy through a variety of different lenses: polamory, open relationships, and hybrid relationships, outlining all of the lovely combinations that one can experience with an open lifestyle.
Relationship formulas can often be predictable: you date for a month or so until the "exclusivity talk" comes up, and then you decide to either pursue a "real" relationships or stop dating. If you're lucky, the two of you can remain friends, but more often than not, you simply stop speaking to each other. This "all or nothing" approach seems like a pretty big waste. If you've enjoyed a person's company enough to date them, why not explore that feeling instead of ending it prematurely because they didn't want to be exclusive with you, or vice versa?
The traditional monogamy model tells us that we are only able to love one person at a time and if we seek something (sex, love, comfort) outside of our relationship there is something horribly wrong with our existing relationship. If the idea of spending the unforeseeable future with one person seems limiting, you are not alone.
As Croydon writes in Metro, "Polyamorous (or ‘poly’) people believe love isn’t a finite resource. You can spread it, lavish it and reproduce it for as many partners who capture your heart." This means that you could have one or more loving partners and still be able to speak with a sexy stranger you met at the bar, or a person who you really connected with in class and see where it leads.
For many married couples hybrid relationships are also an attractive option. "If you can’t get your partner’s enthusiasm for an open relationship, just get their consent. It’s increasingly common for one partner to grant the more sexually charged of the two permission to let off steam, while they stay at home… many are happy for their relationship to remain as good as asexual, instead defining their connection through security and friendship," Croydon writes. For married couples, sex parties are also a fun way to spice things up, as she notes, "Gone are steamy basement clubs – in their place are exquisite private parties with hot waiters in thongs serving canapés and champagne to professionals parading around in Agent Provocateur three-pieces."
The key to navigating non-traditional relationships is being honest with yourself and your partners. Make sure that everyone is comfortable, and on the same page and then just have fun. In that light, it doesn't seem so "unconventional" after all.
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