I Don’t: Six Kinds Of Relationships To Try Before, Or Instead Of, Marriage

There’s no doubt Marriage equality was an historic victory for equality, and a hard-earned one at that.

But let’s be honest, marriage isn’t for everyone. Sure the tax benefits sound nice, but then there’s that whole “bound for life monogamy” bit that makes many feel like they just plunged into a tub of ice.

Here are six alternatives to monogamy and marriage that we think are every bit as viable as tying the knot:

Casual monogamy

Male couple reclining and laughing on sitting room floor cushions

There’s no escaping the fact that monogamy opens all sorts of doors to safely and comfortably express you deepest sexual fantasies. But that doesn’t mean you need to couple up and spend the rest of your lives arguing over whose turn it is to do the dishes. If the benefits of having one sex partner sound appealing but you aren’t looking to get serious, one option is casual monogamy. It does (like any kind of sexual relationship) rely heavily on trust, so think twice before you ask a fuck buddy to be an exclusive fuck buddy. Keep in mind that if the two of you aren’t romantically inclined, the party isn’t going to last forever. Enjoy each other free of inhibitions while you can, and be honest if anything happens (and something will happen) that would put his sexual health at risk.

Casual non-monogamy

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 12.05.40 PM

A judgy queen would call this person a “slut,” but we’ll opt for “liberated.” Life is short, and if you want to float from one sexual experience to the next, more power to you. There are obvious health risks attached to bedding many partners, so take your safety seriously and do your best not to bend your rules. This can sometimes be tough since you have nobody to report to besides your own conscience. Remember Truvada is an option for extra protection, and if you live in a major city, you can likely get a prescription subsidized by your city health department.

Open relationship

Sorry not sorry to everyone who thinks open relationships are just an excuse not to deal with relationship problems. The fact is, with open communication and open hearts, this scenario can present the best of both worlds. You and your partner still get to do all those cutesy feel-good couple things like cook each other dinner and cuddle the night away, but at the same time the window of sexual discovery with people other than each other hasn’t been painted shut and bolted. Just get ready to deal with jealousy, but if you’re ready for it, you just might unlock a whole new grounded you.

The “know-your-place” throuple


A relationship with two people is already challenging, so don’t think that adding another beating heart into the mix will make things any easier. But hey, things happen. Some couples end up dating someone together, and when a new person enters an established relationship, chances are there is an inequality in the group dynamic. This can work only if everyone is on board, but things get tricky when emotions and attachment come into play. It’s important to keep it casual with the third person so that when the day comes that you end the fling, hearts aren’t broken on either side of the equation.

The egalitarian throuple


This setup is kind of like a unicorn — nobody ever sees one in the wild. But unlike the unicorn, we do know that it can and does exist out there, somewhere. The egalitarian throuple comes to the table as equals, finding harmonious balance by casting jealousy and possessiveness aside and replacing them with community and sharing. And we all know most of us aren’t very good at sharing.

Man’s best friend

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We will be the first to admit that while many of the above scenarios sound exciting and sexy, they also share one major thing in common — they’re a lot of damn work to keep up. And nine times out of ten, someone’s going to find himself crying his eyes out at some point. But you know what’s a lot easier? Having a dog, like Jimmy Clay (above). Dog’s will always love you, never get tired of you, and you’ll never catch them at 2am on Grindr.

You will have to pick up their poop, but there’s always a catch, isn’t there?

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  • Jerie Ragsac

    Go to thailand. You can legally marry yourself into a threesome. One stone, two (er, three) birds. ?

  • Alex Williams

    Everyone should be free to find what works for themselves and relationships.

  • Alik Lynn Lyle

    Check out the last one, Derrick Miller. Haha “Dogfriend.”

  • James Moya

    Queerty stop monogamy bashing. The LGBT community worked hard to get gay marriage and you are acting like it’s a bad thing.

  • onthemark

    @James Moya: Don’t worry, there are always plenty of Queerty commenters who will brag about how much “hard work” monogamy is. We are all impressed, and your medal is in the mail.

  • Domonique Fuller

    Reading this left a bad taste in my mouth :p

  • Seth Ruimveld

    James Moya I do believe the article did go out of its way to insure it was not bashing monogomy, the entire article was about alternatives. Just because some people believe monogamy is the best option doesn’t mean everyone does. Those who don’t shouldn’t be bashed, which I see happening more often than monogamy bashing. This article is literally presenting different relationship types without putting down a single one.

  • wagnerwallace

    Why is Queerty so anti-monogamy? Bringing randoms home, popping Truvada, and getting tested for STDs every couple of weeks is not the dream for a lot of us LOL smh

  • John Hankins

    I’ve tried it all. Everybody is different and we have our individual strengths. As for me, I’m at my best with man’s best friend.

  • ted72

    @James Moya: I agree

  • Terry Purdue

    Yeah…no!!! Not for me. I only do twosomes.

  • Hector Morales

    To each their own….. But no.

  • Wahya73

    @James Moya: Relationships vary, get over it.

  • Will Glitzern

    Where’s the sign-up sheet for that club in the picture?

  • Craig Shapiro

    Bravo on the article and hats off to you Seth Ruimveld for a precise clarification. Statistically, based on a Heterosexual model, 50% of marriages fail. There is a percentage that survive on undisclosed compromise, denial, convenience and of course ‘for the children.’ In my 40, i mean 50 years, ok ok, 60 years on the Planet, I’ve been blessed to have shared in both opened and closed relationships. My rule, above all else is honesty. With respect and commitment to honesty, just about anything can be delt with. If we are not here to share in the great gift of love, then what’s the point. Life’s a celebration of love, share the gift of love.

  • Bauhaus

    “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky –

    “I mean if I were to marry, legally or not, it’s just the same, I should present my wife with a lover if she hadn’t found one for herself. ‘My dear,’ I should say, ‘I love you, but even more than that I desire you to respect me.'”

  • EvonCook

    Dear Queerty, Thank you for one of the best articles that you have ever presented us with. It has been and is a long battle to acceptance, acceptance of ourselves primarily, and now tentative acceptance by the dominant culture that rules over us. Honestly, at times, I wonder if there was not some old magic when we were primarily outcasts and had all that secrecy, double entendre, necessary extra sensitivity and the pleasure and secret freedom of our private worlds. I am often sickened by the sometimes pathetically limited and inexperienced new generation coming up being brainwashed and seduced into thinking that they are just like heterosexuals and can, if they try real hard, even be little faux heterosexuals and live approved lives. This is not far from the religionists saying you can save your sinful self by just being celibate -ie not being or acting your real self. I do not deny that there are very real benefits on a day to day basis for the new legal status won after a hard fight, but I certainly never want a husband or a wife! Partners and comrades are more than welcome! First of all, marriage and the rules of monogamy were invented by these horrendous overlords for two, and only two specific reasons: control of property rights and control of paternity rights with the nice caveat of a double standard for the male who might have a harem or mistresses on the side, and certainly is not judged by the same standard. Heterosexuals could’t even figure out why that happened and don’t like to admit it. Simply that the sexualities of males and females are very different. Gradually, some insightful students of sociology realized that if you wanted to really see and understand the difference between men and women just study the outlawed or despised lesbians and gays, couples and relationships where the natural proclivities of each gender could be more freely acted out and clearly seen. Thus, this not only explained the heterosexual double standard but the difference in lesbian and gay communities. And there is a very big difference in our communities. We have important shared interests, but very different instinctual modus operandi, and should never be considered as even near identical. I struggle on a daily basis to keep young gay men aware that they are not little precast or miscast heterosexuals and have the need and right to a wonderful and much more highly evolved sexuality (see bonobo monkeys as the happiest and most peaceful of all primates), instead of letting them be brainwashed into the horrendous and abusively controlled morality and now legal morass of heterosexual relationships and their unnatural demands of monogamy (at least for males). Indeed, one is struggling here against centuries of sugarcoating of marriage requirements by religionists, moralists and romantics that paint it as the sacred ideal, which it most certainly is not. Nearly every parent, film, article, book and ad sells and reinforces heterosexual monogamistic polices, themes and inherent guilt, but I hope gay men, now with their foot legally in the door will actually bring about, however subversively, our natural proclivity in the very long run, our truer and more highly evolved sexuality of greater sharing, openness and enjoyment between individuals instead of falling to the yoke of those who deny and frustrate our generous sexuality with abstinence, monogamy, hate, guilt, disapproval, sex phobia and their myriad marriage constraints. Nothing against finding a life partner or partners here, just not all the baggage, mind control and limitations that heteros want to attach to that. It is the only hope as things now stand, that our natural and beneficial ways, however more challenging and even more difficult in a personally demanding way, will win out and one day enhance, free and enrich the human experience. I have hope for this because is there a force on earth that is stronger than the magnificent phallus, which is actually the most powerful symbol and muscle, and it will prove in the end to be seductive and again further overpowering of the frigid, the fearful, the ignorant, the controlling and the sanctimoniously self righteous. Your article shows the diversity in relationships that is possible among us– not at all the necessarily easier paths because they are so against the stereotypical hetero dominant form, for these greater freedoms, and pleasures demand greater responsibility, communication, openness, honesty, respect and a new kind of real brotherly love, not one primarily based on a written and contract of limitations that are patently unnatural for us. Gays might actually teach the world to make love, not war (a goal marriage-supporting religion has utterly failed at.). Thanks again for your article!

  • Jimmy Hufferd

    I feel like I need to shower after reading this.

  • Creamsicle

    Casual monogamy sounds like a euphemism for sticking to one bareback buddy. Seems a bit irresponsible to not just state that outright. Everybody should make his own decisions re: sexual activity and safety, but let’s at least talk about it in straightforward terms, please.

  • CivicMinded

    This is people trying to justify not being committed. It’s time to grow up and become an adult. If he doesn’t marry you after 2 or 3 years he won’t ever so it’s time to move on.

    • EvonCook

      @Jimmy Hufferd: That is really pathetic. What do you measure yourself by, the brainwashed hords around you, Mom and Dad’s example, the not-so-stellar heterosexual ideal, or just superstition and bigotry and bias? Maybe you should also go to confession at your local church, mosque or synagogue as such realty and realism might just have tarnished, or contaminated you. Please turn in your gay card and don’t collect when you pass GO. LOL.

  • Devin Spahn

    Articles like this are just fuel to the anti-gay movement. Good work, Queerty. -_-

  • EvonCook

    @CivicMinded: And where do you get your definitions, of “adult”– the bible or some other sterling source? You certainly have swallowed the brainwashing, the world view, the personal limitations, disdain, arrogance and the guilt trip hook, line and sinker. Sorry, I would let you in on a secret, it is actually a lot more grown up and a lot more demanding to not have all those little rules, contracts and monogamy and marriage as a protective, “good housekeeping seal” “state of grace” and to be able to relate and be involved intimately in several lives and loving to many people at the same time. Your prescripts and obvious end goal of the safety and cradle of marriage is just what help keeps people juvenile and protects then from being able to interact with interesting people one may be fortunate enough to encounter and the rest of the world during one’s life. Your stance and your choice would not be so insidious and evil if it was not so arrogant and self satisfied and inconsiderate of other ways of loving and loving. You’ve totally become an assimilationist and jointed the great traditions of heterosexual bigotry and intolerance –probably under the usual claim of “divine” inspiration!!!

  • Glücklich

    “I Dont:…” understand the headline. Is “I don’t” of the same ilk as “Bye Felicia”?

  • McShane

    @Glücklich: Like, the “I do” in wedding vows.

  • Glücklich

    Thanks! Good lord, boy, another avatar photo. How do you put the avatar photo in without having a feltchbook page?

  • McShane

    I’m super fickle, so that old photo was from last month and had to go. ;) Plus I like having my face attached to anything dumb that I might say. So if you see me in real life, you can call me out on my sh!t.

    P.S. I got one of those Mr. S Leather, leather harnesses you linked. We love it.

  • EvonCook

    @James Moya: It may not be a very bad thing, but it certainly is not a very good thing for us as a community.

  • EvonCook

    @Seth Ruimveld: Thanks, Seth for standing in the path of ignorance, intolerance and a new form of bigotry which is now rife join our own community.

  • Glücklich

    So useful. Thank you very much.

    Glad you both are enjoying the seadog. I wore mine to the Up Your Alley opening night party, under something through which it could be seen. Any excuse to sex it up/glam it up and at the same time make it low, base, and dirty.

    OK, nigh-nigh time. Super tired. Probably why I couldn’t figure out the I Don’t…

  • Wil Cohen

    ??bound for life monogamy? Who the hell says that being married means you have to be monogamous? I happen to personally know three married couples that are not monogamous.

  • WilV

    “bound for life monogamy”
    Who the hell says that being married means you have to be monogamous? I happen to personally know three married couples that are not monogamous.

  • Chris

    Or don’t do any one of those six; or try something else. Just do what works for you.

  • darian

    @McShane: I was wondering myself how you did that. Thank you.

  • Alan David Smith

    have you been in a happy relationship for 10, 20, moe years? quit worring about what others say.

  • notevenwrong

    By the way, Queerty, it is “a historic,” not “an historic.” I’d happy help you with editing if you’d pay me for it.

Comments are closed.