All around the world, children often grow up listening to elaborate and fancy tales of love. When we stumble upon stories and relationships that challenge the status quo, this idyllic image of what love must look like is shaken up. These taboo relationships often venture beyond the normative.
If you fancy tales of forbidden love, just like I do, there’s no way you haven’t read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel, The Scarlet Letter. Recalling the story of Hester Prynne and her socially unacceptable love affair, let’s talk more about the meaning and types of taboo relationships. There have been numerous taboo relationships in the world that have suffered public disapproval.
When two people go against the conventional ideas of love, their taboo relationship becomes the talk of the town. Society, at large, often disapproves of the taboo relationships in the world based on a superficial moral compass. But in most cases, these judgmental opinions tend to disregard the purity of emotions that drive the meaning of those taboo relationships. Join us as we detail some of the most famous taboo relationship examples and know that you’re not alone.
11 Types Of Taboo Relationships You Should Know About
Have you ever found yourself amid a scandalous yet juicy relationship? Do you know someone who is facing the brunt of harsh disapproval for engaging in interracial dating? Do you require just a teeny bit of validation about your most recent romantic sojourns? Maybe your best friend has met someone, and their relationship is all shades of crazy. Let us help you decode such mysterious, taboo relationships and their subsequent moral (read pleasurable) outcomes.
Taboo relationships are the ones that are disapproved of by society or are perceived to be inappropriate. The reasons for this disapproval are either based on evolutionary psychology (e.g. age-gap relationships), societal rules and norms of social hierarchy (e.g. interracial relationships, queer relationships), or an attempt to maintain the balance of power (e.g. teacher-student relationship, boss-secretary relationship).
But our hearts are unbridled wanderers – they do not believe in being caged. If you force yourself to love from a distance, your heart is bound to nudge you further in that very direction. It’s quite common to have a burning desire to unravel some truths on your own. If that’s the one thing you want to learn from all the taboo relationships in the world, then so be it. Even if society tells you otherwise, let your heart be your guide. It might just give you the happiness you deserve. Let’s go rogue and discover these 11 types of taboo relationships you should know about:
1. Classroom love with your professor
We have all had embarrassing crushes on people we shouldn’t have been eyeing in the first place. However, sometimes, people choose to submit to such compelling desires. Obviously, this relationship would only be morally upright when both parties are adults and there is informed consent between them.
Although society derides the idea of even having a tiny crush on your mentors or teachers, it is not a worthwhile barrier to the feeling of love. If you find yourself falling head over heels for your professor, allow us to remind you that you’re hardly the first to tread that path. Numerous times in the past, people rebelled and went on to find their soulmates. Don’t let us or anyone else tell you what to do. You’ve got this.
2. ‘Loving’ second cousins
This one’s a bit tricky, we know. Have you been waiting around for that one person to notice you only to find out that you’re related by blood? Oopsie! Many taboo relationships in the world include instances of people getting involved or falling in love with a cousin. They could also be an embarrassingly young uncle or a distant relative you have only met outside your family. Believe us or not, this is actually one of the most common taboo relationship examples around us.
Although we cannot help you to convince your parents, here’s something that might help: In a lot of cultures, including India, relationships within families aren’t frowned upon. Marriages are often encouraged with second cousins or distant relatives in order to maintain the inviolable nature of the family gene pool. It is considered safer for the girl to marry into a familiar and ultimately familial environment. Do not give up! Maybe there’s still some hope.
3. The addition of a third in the marriage of two
Destiny does not guarantee a simple life for all. Most people find their partners for life in the ones they’ve chosen to marry. Some do not. As unfortunate as that situation is, we must remember that it is better late than never. Cheating in a relationship is not the only way to experience love with someone else. Complete transparency and honesty at the start of something might allow things to go smoother and with fewer broken hearts.
Instead of seeing someone behind your partner’s back, you could involve them in your decision-making process and declare that you wish to go a different way. Taboo relationships are often hard to justify and getting involved with someone outside of your marriage is bound to attract unnecessary sanctimonious attention. This type of taboo relationship requires patience and composure if you and your partner are seeking the validation of friends/family. You can only hope to play your best cards and avoid breaking your partner’s heart.
Related Reading: The 9 Truths About Lifelong Extramarital Affairs
4. The sexy secretary
There is a lot of taboo surrounding people who get involved with their secretaries. The reason for this remains unknown. After all, if you are two consenting available adults, how is it any different than meeting someone in a “conventional” way? Yes, professional codes of conduct do advise people to refrain from falling in love with someone at the workplace.
However, some connections go beyond our control and take a life of their own. Although there is no tangible constraint that society can hold over such a connection, it remains to be one of the best taboo relationship examples. Many people have indulged in such a taboo relationship around the world, and after initial challenges, made it work. Make wise decisions and have a little fun.
5. Your best friend’s ‘annoying’ brother/sister
There are different types of taboo relationships in the world but falling for your bestie’s sibling is the single hardest one to deal with. They’re always there for you whenever you mess up, but how do you tell them that you’re in love with their brother/sister? Who would help you through this drama, if not them?
There are many taboo relationship examples around the world where people have ended up marrying/dating their best friend’s sibling. This usually happens because you see them up close along with – their highs and lows, and you find yourself being irresistibly drawn to them. Do not shy away from your very own Ross-Monica-Chandler situation. Maybe your Monica/Chandler is just waiting for you to declare your love. Stop freaking out – Ross got over it. Didn’t he?
Related Reading: How To Tell If Your Boss Likes You Romantically?
6. When things get steamy with the Boss
Whether you are the boss or you’re attracted to yours, this would be a perfect example of a taboo relationship in our society. Sharing your feelings for your boss would only earn you a couple of nasty stares and discouraging words from the people around you. The taboo that surrounds this idea is that one is trying to ease their way up to the top by seducing their boss.
This is an old-fashioned and cynical way of viewing any romantic relationship – one that might be completely genuine. In order to avoid creating an office affair scandal, discuss this relationship and its consequences with your boss and mutually decide on whether you are ready to make it public. Remember, there’s nothing you can’t fight against if you’re truly in love.
7. Chemistry with your psychologist?
Of all the proverbial devil-may-care taboo relationships, this one is truly remarkable. When you meet someone who understands every need or mood of yours, how could you not fall? We all want a partner who gets us. Although this is a classic taboo relationship example, it is quite common a phenomenon in the psychology fraternity.
A sexually as well as emotionally stimulating desire between a therapist and a patient is known as erotic transference. This can be quite damaging, according to textbook psychology, and must be dealt with head-on. If you believe your therapist has been developing an erotic transference toward you or you’re catching feelings for them, get it out in the open.
Related Reading: Dealing With A Crush At Work – How To Handle A Crush On A Coworker
8. Getting closer with an ex-lover’s friend?
Oh, the dilemma! Relax, we aren’t here to judge you. In this small world of big coincidences, you might just wind back into your ex’s close circle. It might become imperative to face them and you’re afraid it would be awkward… Aren’t you? Truth is, getting involved with a family member/ friend of your ex might create some post-breakup drama.
Society does view such relationships as taboo, especially if the relationship was a marriage and if you are a divorced person, and the commentary is – for lack of a better word – prickly. However, why care? If your feelings toward this particular someone are strong and genuine, we hope your love will shield you from all the negativity. The chatter that emerges from such taboo topics in relationships shouldn’t bother you. Keep loving, keep being you!
9. The ‘age gap’ factor
Is your lover much older/ younger than you? Do people often confuse them as your child/parent? We understand the awkwardness of having to explain your relationship everywhere you go. Dating someone who’s not in the same age group as you attracts a million different questions. And they are all unkind ones. It is surely taboo to date someone with a huge age gap but don’t let anyone tell you what to do.
Are you dating a younger man or woman? There might be a generation gap between you but don’t let that stop you from sharing your hearts! There is no age when it comes to love..let it all in. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, George Clooney and Amal Clooney, and Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones are some fine examples of such taboo relationships that have been successful despite the age differences.
But why are age gap relationships taboo? Age-gap aversion in romantic relationships has an evolutionary explanation. Fertility, the drive to have a family, and being alive long enough to raise the child are all reasons why society has evolved in a way that social and cultural cues revolve around having a partner in a similar age bracket. Now that you know why, it may become easy to ignore the snarky remarks.
10. An open/polyamorous relationship
Choices like being polyamorous are easily consigned to the taboo relationship territory because they challenge societal norms that supposedly bring order to our world. An open/polyamorous relationship is met with much criticism. There is an inability to accept that two people could be willing to share their partners with someone else.
While people’s confusion is valid, their judgment is unjustified. I don’t know about you, but I believe people need to be more educated about open relationships and the concept of polyamory. However, others’ lack of awareness and acceptance shouldn’t get in the way of you following your heart. If it is what you and your partner consent to, chase your desires.
Love is like wildfire, and if you can share it with many, why not? Some believe it is a great way to make the relationship more exciting. It keeps your sex life charged up and monotony at bay. If you’ve found a free-spirited soul just like you, hold on to them! Have a little fun while you still can.
Related Reading: 9 Polyamorous Relationship Rules According To An Expert
11. The pride of the rainbow
Whether you’re queer or simply an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, we’re proud of you. Let the world know that you don’t work by their rules. Break the shackles of the ordinary and choose who you love. If they don’t get it, who cares? It’s unfortunate how much unwanted attention a queer couple can attract even in the 21st century. A large cross-section of people still haven’t been able to change their views and do not accept the different types of love.
So, why not leave the world aside, and figure yourself out? Know what you want and go after it. What’s more important is that you know yourself. If you find someone or something that gives you happiness no matter what, why is gender so important? State your preferred pronouns and ditch the drama.
- Taboo relationships are relationships that are disapproved by the society or that the society thinks are inappropriate
- The reasons for this disapproval are either based in evolutionary psychology, societal rules and norms of social hierarchy, or to prevent an imbalance of power
- Adultery, parental incest, sibling incest are usually strictly forbidden
- In some societies the mixing of social groups are also strictly frowned upon, such as interracial, inter-caste, and inter-religion alliance
- Age-gap relationships, teacher-student relationships, employee-boss relationships are other relationships that are bound to receive some judgment from peer groups and society at large considering they involve an imbalance of power
If your relationship was amongst these eleven taboo relationship examples, there is no need to panic. Just because society expects us to live our lives a certain way does not mean that destiny hands us a textbook-ed life. Transgender dating or cisgender relationships, same-race love or mixed-race or interracial dating, love is valid in all its forms. Maybe you fell in love when you were 11, maybe you couldn’t find love even at 50 – who is to say who’s right?
Taboo relationships have been in existence since the time Gods roamed our planet. Aphrodite, the love Goddess herself, struggled with her love interests. If your story seems to be unusual but does not fit in the types of taboo relationships mentioned above, do not fret. When your end goal is love, you will find a way. To walk with everyone or to choose a different path is a choice you must make. Taboo relationships are not going to be accepted overnight. The question is, are you hungry for validation or for love?
Taboo relationships most simply are relationships that are disapproved by society or that society thinks are inappropriate. The reasons for this disapproval could be varied but more often than not there is a resulting moral judgment attached to engaging in such relationships.
Any romantic relationship that is disapproved of by society comes under forbidden love. Think student-teacher relationships, adultery, employee-boss relationships, interracial relationships, inter-caste, inter-religion, and other such relationships.