“So, What Are We?” – All About Relationship Labels

You’ve been hanging out, making inside jokes, hooking up, and overall having a great time. But eventually, there comes a time when one of you has to ask the often-dreaded question when you have discussed you might not be boyfriend/girlfriend: “So what are we?”

It might be as simple as wanting to remain friends and nothing more. Or, you might both be falling for each other, making a monogamous relationship seem perfectly reasonable. But when the answer isn’t as clear-cut, you might be left searching for the correct label. One of these relationship types could be the answer.

Friends With Benefits

If you want to stay “just friends” but also engage in sexual contact, friends with benefits might be the right label. This relationship exists when two people agree to “hook up” for the pleasure of it without the aspect of romance or commitment. These arrangements can spiral out of control if one partner develops feelings, so discuss the relationship and its parameters regularly.

Ethically Non-Monogamous (Open) Relationships

You’ve probably heard of an open relationship, where partners are in a committed relationship yet “allowed” to pursue other people outside of it sexually. If you are both okay with the arrangement and set up proper boundaries, an open relationship can allow you to enjoy each other while fulfilling other needs elsewhere. In an open relationship, partners should check in periodically to ensure the other is still on board; failure to communicate when seeing other people can lead to hurt feelings.

Polyamorous Relationships

Like open relationships, polyamorous relationships also involve more than just two people. The most significant difference is that in open relationships, any relationships outside the primary one tends to be casual. In polyamorous situations, one or more partners may also have significant others with whom they are regularly intimate or romantic.

Asexual Relationships

Asexual relationships exist between partners who are emotionally or romantically connected and committed but do not or rarely engage in sexual contact. This can be a no-contact relationship or a relationship with certain sexual limitations and is often driven by one or both partners being asexual.

Platonic Relationships

If you love being friends and hanging out but don’t want commitment or sexual benefits, you might define your relationship as platonic. These types of relationships exist between people who are very close and emotionally intimate with each other but do not interact sexually. The word platonic is most commonly applied to describe two people who spend a lot of time together, and outsiders may think they are dating due to their connection, but in reality, they are not romantically involved.

 

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