These Are The 7 Types of Romantic Relationships Everyone Should Know About

Love isn't one-size-fits-all.

Love isn't one-size-fits-all. It not only means something different to everyone, but it also looks and feels different to everyone. That's why there are so many different types of relationships — so each person can find the best fit for their individual lifestyle, personality, and concept of love. 

Just like you need to date different people to learn what you want in a potential partner, you may want to try out different types of relationships to figure out what you want out of your romantic life.

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Ultimately, you hope to find someone  — or someones — whose preferred relationship type is similar to yours. But first, it helps to know there are all different ways to be in a relationship

These are the seven most common relationship types you'll want to know as you navigate the dating world

1. Monogamous Relationships

Monogamous relationships tend to be the first one people learn about as they are the most traditional, and usually the easiest for children to understand, who often see it exhibited by their parents. Those in monogamous relationships only have one sexual/romantic partner at a time. Most people who enter into "traditional" relationships and marriages do so because they want to be monogamous, though they don't always stay that way. 

2. Polyamorous Relationships

That's why some choose to enter into polyamorous relationships instead. When someone is polyamorous, that means they have more than one romantic relationship at a time. Often, polyamorous couples have a primary partner, a secondary partner, etc. with the understanding that these "rankings" can change as their individual needs do. Others treat every simultaneous relationship they are engaging in as perfectly equal. The key to any successful relationship, but especially polyamorous ones, is honest and effective communication between all parties involved. 

3. Open Relationships

In a way, open relationships are a hybrid of monogamous and polyamorous relationships. While an open relationship allows both partners to share physical intimacy with anyone they want, they reserve their emotional intimacy for each other. So each person can have as many sexual partners as they want, but only one romantic partner. 

4. Long-Distance Relationships

A long-distance relationship is pretty self-explanatory, as they only occur when partners have a long amount of distance separating them. Due to the lack of physical intimacy caused by the couple's physical separation, some choose to open their relationship while they live far apart. While the "long-distance" part of this relationship type is often temporary, some couples choose to live happily ever apart indefinitely. 

5. Casual Sex Relationships

In a casual sex relationship, both partners agree to have sex with each other on a regular basis — and that's it. Those in casual sex relationships can be physically and/or emotionally intimate with others as well, so long as both people are OK with it. Casual sex relationships can also be "exclusive" — meaning neither person sleeps with anyone else — which is similar to monogamous relationships, without the emotional connection. 

6. 'Friends With Benefits' Relationships

A "friends with benefits" relationship is similar to a casual sex relationship, but with one important difference — an established, platonic friendship. Often, "friends with benefits" relationships begins when two friends agree to act on a mutual sexual attraction. Outside of the sexual relationship, the partners behave purely platonically. Usually, a 'friends with benefits' relationship ends when one or both partners start to date someone else.

7. Asexual Relationships

Some people are asexual, meaning they don't experience sexual desire or attraction to others, but they still want to participate in a romantic relationship. While asexual people often choose to date each other to create a purely asexual relationship, this is not always the case. When an asexual person and a sexual person enter into a relationship, it can take a few different forms, according to the Asexuality Visibility & Education Network. The couple can choose to be completely sexless, or the asexual partner can "compromise" by engaging in sex occasionally under certain circumstances, or partners can experiment with "pseudosexual behavior," such as cuddling, to find an arrangement that works for both.  

Cover image via Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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