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

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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?