February 28, 2022
Breaking Down Non-Traditional Relationships

There is a romanticized idea that there is ‘one person’ out there to fulfill all of our needs for our lifetime. The reality is that different people can fulfill different parts of us, and in creating different types of relationships, we may be able to grow different parts of ourselves. In getting to know ourselves better, we can allow ourselves the freedom to explore…on our own or in partnership.

There is a romanticized idea that there is ‘one person’ out there to fulfill all of our needs for our lifetime. The reality is that different people can fulfill different parts of us, and in creating different types of relationships, we may be able to grow different parts of ourselves. In getting to know ourselves better, we can allow ourselves the freedom to explore…on our own or in partnership.

The key is conversation, the willingness to talk about and negotiate all the areas of your life that are important to you when you are considering engaging or re-engaging with others. We get caught up in romantic relationships that we forget about real life, the day to day operations of living and sharing space with others. There are values and behaviors that need to align for this to work, this can happen in a traditional relationship or in non-traditional relationships. Remember that you can design the life, the love life, that suits you.

So what are other non-traditional relationships that can include loving, living together and sharing a life together?

Platonic life partners. This is a relationship of transparency and agreement. There is love and like, though not necessarily a sexual component. Some have called this "roommates" although that term does not cover all the possibilities! This type of relationship could be long time friends who choose to live together and share decision making, money and future while still allowing each to explore sexual or romantic connections.

Living apart together (LAT). This is a relationship that happens often, such as in military and commuter families. The difference can be in the quality of the relationship. Living apart is only one part of the relationship. The important parts such as talking, making decisions, creating memories, etc. are still done together. This type of relationship often gets clouded in fear. The fear of losing your partner. The fear of rejection from your partner. LAT is about clear expectations.

Open. This is a relationship of literal freedom. It tends to be polyamorous (having different sexual partners) while still preserving the emotional connection and agreements for the primary relationship.

Any of these relationships can be valid and can work. They can be loving and connective. What they all require is clear conversations and agreements so that the boundaries and expectations are expressed and understood by all parties. Clarity can allow for freedom, for exploration. As well as a path to return. These may be difficult conversations to have in our society that emphasizes "one true love" "forever.” Yet these relationships are doable and can be genuine and fulfilling.

Listen to your Self and seek like-minded people. Be willing to talk about this without shame. 


 




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