6 New Relationship Types for People Who Are Disappointed in the Traditional Marriage
In the dynamic modern world, there are more and more discussions about the fact that the traditional type of marriage is becoming less and less relevant. But it still seems that family — the most stable and patriarchal of traditions hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. However, the 21st century is forging its own path: today, the ordinary nuclear family is not the only possible type of relationship.
Bright Side tries to research the latest trends in order to stay up to date. We decided to find out how the traditional family might change in the upcoming years and what new types of couplings may take the place of the traditional marriage.
1. Guest marriage
Guest marriage is becoming more and more popular. It means that 2 people don’t live together and they don’t have the same everyday routine, they just meet each other regularly either at each other’s homes or somewhere else. Sometimes people choose this form of marriage due to the influence of outside circumstances, and often because of work, like when one of the spouses is offered a job in a different country and the other one is really successful at their job in their hometown. However, this may also be a conscious choice. For example, partners can agree to see each other only on weekends or several times a week and on other days, they are alone, so they can avoid arguing over small things when they’re in a bad mood or are having some other problems. Besides, in these marriages, people have far more personal space and freedom.
But it is important to understand that a guest marriage doesn’t mean that people see other people. No, they are just as loyal to each other, it is just that they don’t see each other every day.
Of course, it is hard to actually decide to live like this because we are still under the pressure of the traditional image about how things “should be.” However, psychologists say that this form of marriage is especially great for older couples whose children have already grown up and moved out. Often, through the years, spouses have a lot of built-up irritation and tiredness, and their marriage is on the verge of a fallout. In order to avoid this, it is perfectly fine to try and move into different places and try guest marriage.
Celebrities often choose this type of marriage. One of the brightest couples in Hollywood — actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton also prefer to not see each other every day. In the beginning, the lived in different countries and then they became neighbors. Yes, in the end, they did break up, but they lived in a guest marriage for 13 years and they had a son and a daughter.
One of the forms of guest marriage is when partners live together, but at a certain point, they just move out for a certain period of time. The reasons can vary: from tiredness to work necessity.
2. Free, open marriage
The partners in open relationships are independent and they say to each other, “Yes, I feel good with you now, but if I can feel good with someone else, why not?”
These relationships can be open and closed. In the closed form, spouses consider cheating normal, but they still try to make sure that their partner doesn’t know about the other person. In the open marriage, the couple agrees in advance that each partner can have other partners. This form supposes that the partners are completely open: they can talk about their romances because they agreed to never lie to each other or share each other’s emotions. However, we should mention this: it is very rare that these relationships last very long.
For example, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin tried living in an open marriage that lasted for 10 years and even after they broke up, they remained good friends.
Of course, open marriages are not the right choice for jealous people or those who have a more traditional mindset. This form of marriage is a better choice for those who love to experiment or those who started this relationship not because of love, but because of some other interests: money or status. Also, in open marriages, there is a danger that only one of the spouses is enjoying it and the other one just accepts the terms in order to save the relationship.
3. Family, limited in time
This is a relatively new form of coupling when a marriage is only meant to last for a certain period of time, for example, 5 years. After this period, the relationship is considered to be automatically stopped and the partners have to consider all the ups and downs and make a decision: they either break up, they get married for some more time, or they get married forever.
This is a good choice because the modern world is changing very fast. People can change, their values can change, and their future plans can change. Yes, you wanted to live your entire life with this person — with the version of this person that you met. But what if they’ve changed and you don’t consider them attractive anymore? Maybe, you’ve realized that you have different views of the future or different goals. For example, one of you wants to become a parent and the other one doesn’t.
4. Dynamic family or a union based on equal rights
The classic family where a man is the breadwinner and a woman is a housewife is becoming a thing of the past. This form has been replaced with a relationship where the roles of both partners are pretty much the same.
These types of marriages mean that both spouses are grown-ups and self-sufficient people that started a marriage looking for harmony, happiness, and a chance to develop together. So, there is nothing surprising about the fact that gender differences inside these families are no longer visible and that these relationships are based on teamwork. If both spouses are building their careers and earning pretty much the same money, it is only fair to separate the duties around the house. Besides, as women today are sometimes able to earn more than men, it is often the case where the father takes maternity leave and raises the children. Of course, this tendency is not very popular in lesser developed countries.
These marriages are also called dynamic. In the center of this family construction, there is always the individuality of each partner. Nothing limits you except your own choices. You are the one designing a comfortable lifestyle for yourself: you can take some rules from the traditional family and some older norms can be tossed aside or transformed.
5. Virtual reality relationships
This may sound a bit weird, but this relationship format may become a real trend. Modern technology allows us to build and support long-distance relationships. This is something like a guest marriage but without the real-life encounters, when all the communication happens in the virtual world. More than that, with the development of artificial intelligence, it has become possible to have a virtual girlfriend that acts like a real person.
It’s fair to say that the 21st century is kind of ambiguous: one the one hand, we have a lack of communication and we miss relationships — and on the other, we have higher levels of anxiety when we actually start a relationship. Maybe, we are just scared of fully trusting a different person and losing our freedom and independence. So, a virtual relationship can help if you want to have someone close, but you are not ready to give them all of the free time you have. You can choose how often you meet and how often you talk.
The obvious downsides of such relationships are the inability to feel the other person and the lack of physical contact. But modern young people generally care less about sex and they start having sex later and less often than millennials.
By the way, the fact that we now spend far too much time on social media and in virtual reality, has led to the appearance of many new terms.
For example, today, micro-cheating is very popular: it’s when you like the photos of ex-partners or when you have long, secret texts with people you know and your colleagues. Also, there is a thing called orbiting — it’s when one person has someone else on their orbit: they watch their stories, they write comments, but they never send personal texts and never actually talk to them in real life. Finally, the 21st century brought us a new special type of relationship, called situationship. This means that you are not an actual couple, you are friends but both of you realize that you are having something a bit more than friendship.
Singles are the people who consciously chose to be alone. Today, people have families not because it is considered to be normal or because it is economically beneficial, but because they want to. And some people may find it more comfortable to live alone without any relationship or children. In the past, people couldn’t do that because it was economically impossible, and today, statistics show that the number of bachelors is increasing in many countries.
The advantage of not having a family is your ability to focus on other important things: science, art, traveling. This is probably why many creative people prefer not to be married: Jared Leto, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, and many other celebrities have never been married. Also, singles have more room for freedom. And it doesn’t mean that they can’t have short romantic relationships.
Social scientist, Eric Klinenberg, wrote a book where he explained the choice of singles. He did hundreds of interviews with people who chose to live alone and found proof that they had better psychological health compared to people who live in marriage.
An unusual form of living single is sologamy which is being married to yourself. This is a bit narcissistic, but the trend is becoming more and more popular, especially among women. The media have covered a wedding like this of Laura Mesi, a fitness coach from Italy, and also a British women Sophie Tanner, and Grace Gelder.
The main idea of sologamy is that you give yourself a ritual promise of accepting, loving, and taking care of yourself. The people who choose this, have ceremonies and invite guests, just as if it was a totally regular wedding but without a partner.
Do you see a necessity in these new forms of marriage or do you think that nothing can replace the traditional family?