10 unconventional relationship choices that most people frown upon but actually work

Love doesn’t come with a rule book.

Every relationship is different, and what works for one couple might not work for another.

And that’s perfectly fine!

In this article, we’re going to talk about 10 different relationship choices.

These are the kinds that might make some people scratch their heads or even give you a weird look.

But here’s the thing – these choices can actually make a relationship work really well.

So get ready! We’re about to take a deep dive into some of the less traditional ways people do relationships.

You never know, you might find something that sounds just right for you or could be exactly what your relationship needs.

1. Living Apart Together (LAT)

Here’s a relationship choice that might make your grandma raise an eyebrow: living apart together.

Yes, it sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually a thing.

Some couples, even those who are married, choose to live separately.

“Why on earth would they do that?” you might ask. Well, the reasons can be as varied as the couples themselves.

Some people cherish their personal space and independence. Others might have careers that require living in different locations. Or sometimes, it’s just about avoiding the petty arguments that can arise from cohabitating.

The key here is communication and trust.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for some, this unconventional arrangement can actually fortify their relationship. It allows them to maintain their individuality while still being committed to each other.

2. Open Relationships

Now, this one is a total eyebrow-raiser.

Some couples choose to have an open relationship, meaning they allow each other to have other romantic or sexual partners.

Sounds a bit out there? Maybe, but for some people, it works.

The idea is that being with one person doesn’t have to mean giving up the experience of being with others. This kind of arrangement requires a whole lot of trust, honesty, and open communication. It’s not about cheating or betrayal, but about understanding and accepting each other’s needs and desires.

It goes without saying that this choice isn’t for everyone. But for those who choose this path and can navigate it successfully, it can lead to a very fulfilling relationship.

If you’re thinking of entering into an open relationship, I created a video recently sharing some key questions to ask yourself first. Check it out:

3. Long-Distance Relationships

This topic is especially resonant for a friend of mine.

She’s been navigating a long-distance relationship, or as they lovingly dub it, an “LDR,” for over three years and counting.

Plenty of skeptics told them it was doomed to fail. “Out of sight, out of mind,” they cautioned. Yet, here they are, still going strong.

Being in a long-distance relationship hasn’t diminished their emotional connection. In fact, it’s done quite the opposite. It’s taught them to cherish their moments together and made every reunion incredibly special. They’ve mastered the art of communication, learned to express their emotions unambiguously, and built a deep foundation of trust. Thanks to modern technology, they can feel close even when separated by vast distances.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and daisies—yearning for your partner can be painful, and the absence of physical intimacy does present challenges. But those hurdles pale in comparison to the pure joy of loving someone, even when they’re halfway across the globe.

If anyone is questioning whether long-distance relationships can truly work, take it from their experience: they absolutely can. They demand effort, trust, and an abundance of love, but isn’t that the case for any successful relationship?

4. Childfree By Choice

This is a big one. Some couples choose not to have children, and it’s a decision that often raises eyebrows. Society has conditioned us to believe that a “complete” family unit includes children. But guess what? Not everyone sees it that way.

Some couples are perfectly content with their duo and prefer to keep it that way. Their reasons can vary—some enjoy the freedom, others have environmental concerns, and some simply do not have the desire to be parents.

Now for the interesting fact: According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of childless women in the U.S. aged 30-34 has nearly doubled since 1976. That’s quite an increase!

Before you ask a couple when they’re planning to have kids, remember that it’s their choice, and not having children doesn’t make their relationship any less valid or fulfilling. As for my personal choice on this, I shared more in another recent video.

5. Choosing Friendship Over Romance

Sometimes, two people start as a couple, but along the way, they realize they’re better off as friends.

Sounds strange?

Well, it’s not as uncommon as you might think.

Not every romantic relationship is meant to last forever, and that’s okay. What’s important is the connection and bond that two people share. And sometimes, that connection is stronger in a platonic setting.

It takes a lot of courage and maturity to admit when the romantic spark has faded but the friendship flame still burns bright. These couples choose to transition their relationship into a deep, meaningful friendship. They continue to support, care for, and love one another—but in a different way.

This choice may seem unconventional, but it can lead to a beautiful, lifelong friendship. After all, isn’t it wonderful to have someone in your life who knows you inside out, who has seen you at your best and worst, and still chooses to stick around? It’s a testament to the fact that love comes in many forms—and sometimes, friendship is the most enduring one of all.

6. Having Separate Bank Accounts

Okay, let’s talk money. In many relationships, especially marriages, it’s common to merge finances and have joint bank accounts. But my partner and I decided to take a different route—we kept our bank accounts separate.

Now before you gasp in shock, let me tell you why. We both value our financial independence and wanted to maintain control over our own spending and saving habits. We split the bills equally and contribute jointly for shared expenses, but the rest of our money is ours to manage as we see fit.

It might not be the traditional way of doing things, but for us, it works wonders. It eliminates a lot of potential arguments about money and allows us both to feel secure and autonomous. And isn’t that what a healthy relationship is all about—supporting each other while respecting each other’s individuality?

7. Keeping Secrets

Now, this one might ruffle some feathers. We’re all told that honesty is the backbone of any healthy relationship, and yes, it absolutely is. But let’s be real here, not every single thought needs to be shared with your partner.

Some couples find that keeping a few harmless secrets or thoughts to themselves actually works. I’m not talking about major deceptions or lies. I mean those little things like pretending you love their new haircut (even if you don’t), or not mentioning that innocent crush on a celebrity.

This doesn’t mean you’re being dishonest or deceitful. It’s just about understanding that sometimes, what your partner doesn’t know won’t hurt them. It’s about preserving their feelings or avoiding needless arguments over minor issues.

Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone. Some couples thrive on complete transparency. But for others, a little mystery can keep the spark alive.

8. Polyamory

Here’s another unconventional choice that’s gaining more recognition these days: polyamory. Polyamory is the practice of having intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Now, before you dismiss this as a fringe lifestyle, here’s an interesting fact for you: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, around 4-5% of Americans are in some form of consensually non-monogamous relationship. That’s more than the entire population of New York City!

Polyamorous relationships can be complex and require a lot of honesty, communication, and emotional maturity from all parties involved. It’s not about being greedy or promiscuous; it’s about recognizing one’s capacity to love and be in a relationship with more than one person at a time.

While it may not be mainstream or for everyone, it works for some people. And as long as everyone involved is happy, respectful, and consensual, who are we to judge what makes their hearts happy?

9. Dating Outside Your Age Group

As someone who’s in a relationship with a significant age gap, I can tell you that it’s not always easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Society often tells us that we should stick to our own age group when dating. But love doesn’t always follow such rules.

My partner and I have an age difference of over a decade, and yes, we do get our fair share of odd looks and unsolicited comments.

But guess what?

We’re happy. Our age gap has never been an issue for us. We connect on a level that’s beyond physical age. We share the same values, have common interests, and most importantly, we respect and love each other.

Sure, there are challenges – cultural references might go over each other’s heads sometimes, or life stages might not align perfectly. But every relationship has its own set of challenges, right? What matters is how you navigate them together.

So if you find yourself falling for someone older or younger, don’t let the number of candles on your birthday cakes hold you back. Love is about connection, respect, and understanding—and those things have nothing to do with age.

10. Being the Breadwinner

In conventional relationship dynamics, the expectation often leans toward the man being the primary earner. However, times have changed, and we’re no longer stuck in a 1950s mindset. In my own relationship, I’m the one who contributes the larger income, and my partner is entirely comfortable with that arrangement.

Navigating this unconventional financial landscape wasn’t without its challenges. We grappled with societal norms, personal insecurities, and the looming concern of emasculation. But we came to understand that ultimately, it’s not about who makes more money. What truly matters is our mutual support and teamwork as we strive toward shared objectives.

So if you find yourself in a situation where the woman earns more, or if you’re a man who is at ease with your partner taking on the role of breadwinner, don’t let societal perceptions define your worth or prescribed roles. Celebrate your unique financial dynamics and cultivate a balanced partnership that serves both of you well.


Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Justin Brown

Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.