What Is A Unicorn In A Relationship? Meaning, Rules, And How To Be In A “Unicorn Relationship”

Dating experience | | , Copywriter & Sports journalist
unicorn in relationships

A unicorn in a relationship, meaning, a third person joining your existing relationship either sexually or emotionally, can lead to a riveting experience. Once you’ve successfully found yourself in this poly dynamic, you’ll be kicking yourself, wondering why you didn’t do this any sooner. 

However, a unicorn relationship isn’t that easy to find (hence the term “unicorn”). There are a lot of things to be discussed, a few basic guidelines to be established, and unicorns to hunt.

Whether you’re hunting for one or figuring out how to be the perfect unicorn in a relationship, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s answer all your burning questions, so you can find the cumin to your salt and pepper combo. 

Understanding The Unicorn In A Relationship

A “unicorn” in a relationship is a third person who joins an already established relationship either for sexual or emotional reasons or both. The unicorn can expect to be exclusive with the couple they have joined, or they may have the liberty to explore around as they want to.

This person can be looking for a night of adventure, or they may be looking for a long-term commitment with a couple. They may be bisexual, straight, or gay. The point is, they’ve been termed a “unicorn” in a relationship simply because they’re looking to get involved with an already established couple, not because of their sexual orientation or commitment needs. 

The essence of a polyamorous relationship is that the partners involved in the dynamic can also be simultaneously involved with people outside their primary relationship — sexually, emotionally, or both. 

Hence, a unicorn relationship, in essence, becomes a form of a poly relationship. Usually, the “unicorn” in a poly relationship is a bisexual woman who joins a heterosexual couple for sexual intentions, but that’s just what the trend has been. The nuances of such a dynamic depend entirely on what the couple (or the unicorn) establishes and what they’re looking for. 

If you’re wondering why they’re called unicorns, it’s because they’re hard to find. According to estimates, only about 4–5% of people actively practice polyamory in America, hence making it difficult to find this elusive third being whose indulgence becomes a sort of myth in relationships.

Let’s have a quick recap. A unicorn relationship is one where a third person enters an existing couple for sexual reasons, emotional reasons, or both. A “unicorn” is a person who is looking to join a couple. 

Now that you know the answer to what is a unicorn relationship, let’s take a look at how you can find your own mythical fairy-tale creature and how to approach the conversation when you do find one. 

Related Reading: Polyamorous Relationship Story: Conversations With A Polyamorist

How To Approach A Unicorn 

Though the term may make it seem like it’s impossible to come across a third person who wants to join you, are we forgetting about the wonderful powers of the internet? A few swipes are all it takes to find your next date, and the fact that there are all types of dating apps out there means that there are definitely places where you can find your very own flying mythical beast.

With the help of social media communities and dating apps that may cater to bisexual couples, you can improve your odds of being in a unicorn relationship. Once you’ve found someone who makes you both giddy with excitement, it’s important to know how to approach this person, lest you come in too strong and scare them away. Let’s take a look at a few things to keep in mind: 

1. Let go of all expectations 

Before you even approach anyone, make sure you let go of all expectations you may have. A unicorn may not be bisexual, hence, not interested in having sex with one of you (if you’re a heterosexual couple).

A unicorn may not be looking for a long-term commitment. They may not be looking for something sexual, or they may not even know what the unicorn relationship rules are or if there are any.

That’s exactly what Jason and Molina did when they decided to look for a third. Though they set out to look for a bisexual woman for a long-term commitment who’d be okay with the inclusion of a fourth every now and then, they realized that’s not really how it goes. Having a checklist is just preparing for disappointment.

With an open mind, they looked around and finally met Geremy, an affable, bicurious 21-year-old. Once they accepted him as a unicorn in a poly relationship, they realized the ideas they had of such a dynamic were supposed to be guidelines, not rules you must follow. 

2. Be honest

The unicorn relationship rules depend on you, and that’s why it’s important to make sure the third partner knows exactly what you’re looking for. The sooner you let them know that a long-term asexual biromantic unicorn relationship is what you’re looking for, the better it will be for everyone involved. 

However, instead of putting them through a unicorn relationship test, just have a regular conversation with them about what you want and what they’re after. 

A unicorn relationship can be a wonderful experience
A unicorn relationship can be a wonderful experience

3. Be a good person 

What must you make sure of before you approach anyone? Be a decent human being; be respectful, kind, and honest. You’re looking for a third person to be involved in your relationship. You must treat them with the respect they deserve. 

Ask what their expectations are, make them feel heard, and make sure they feel respected. The answer to what is a unicorn relationship isn’t a relationship that disregards the third partner, it’s one where everyone gets what they want while respect in your relationship is maintained.

4. Set up the guidelines as soon as possible

The “rules” of a monogamous relationship are set in stone, and everybody knows what infidelity is. But in the case of a unicorn relationship, what’s acceptable and what isn’t completely depends on the people involved. Hence, it’s important to establish the guidelines as soon as you can. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’ve met your unicorn in a relationship and need to establish what flies and what doesn’t:

  • Make sure you establish what everybody wants from the dynamic, and how to go about making sure everyone’s happy
  • Discuss your individual boundaries. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll make sure no one feels violated or used 
  • Open, effective and honest communication is key. If something is bothering you, let your partners know. Make sure to improve communication in your new dynamic 
  • As is the case in any relationship, it’s okay to opt-out of it for whatever reason 
  • Talk about the awkward stuff: Who’s living with who? Is anybody prone to jealousy? Who’s leaving toothbrushes at whose house? 
  • Make sure everyone feels respected, and make sure to put yourselves first

Related Reading: What Does It Mean When Someone Says They Are Looking For ‘Something Casual’?

Are There Rules To Being A Unicorn In A Relationship?

If you’re looking for rules to being a unicorn in a relationship, here they are: make sure you put yourself first. The point is, the rules depend on you, and in no situation should you ever feel disrespected, invalidated, hurt or emotionally abused.

To be a good unicorn in a relationship, it’s important that you state what you’re looking for, and try to figure out if this dynamic will be good for you. Make sure the couple knows about your needs and wants, they know and respect your boundaries, and they are people you can trust. 

When you think about it, it’s all stuff you need to think about before any other relationship, to be honest. “I’ve set up a little unicorn relationship test of my own, that I put the couple through before I join any of them,” Annie tells us. 

“Are they a good couple? Have they discussed things like boundaries, and are both of them on board with a unicorn relationship? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come across women who said they’d be okay with it but hated me the minute we would go out on the first date together as a throuple,” she adds.

Like Annie, you need to make sure you can trust the people you’re going to be with, and that they’re sure that this is what they want. 

Misconceptions About Unicorns 

Since unicorn relationships are so new, and since the unicorn relationship rules aren’t as set in stone as the boundaries of cishet monogamous couples, there are bound to be misconceptions. Let’s tackle a few of them right here: 

1. Misconception: Unicorns are bisexual women 

Nope, they can be literally anyone looking to join a couple. As we mentioned before, the term unicorn is just used to describe someone who is looking to join an already established and healthy relationship.

2. Misconception: Unicorns “supplement” the couple 

As we mentioned before, it’ll be helpful to let go of any expectations you may have of unicorn relationships. You might want a unicorn to not have equal footing like your partner, but the unicorn might demand to be equally respected. Again, the nuances completely rely on the people involved.

Related Reading: The True List Of 19 Things Women Want In A Relationship

3. Misconception: Unicorns are only used for sex 

While it’s true that a lot of unicorns only look for a night of pleasure, that’s not the case for all of them. They may be looking for something long-term, something that lasts a couple of months, something asexual, or even something purely sexual but aromantic.

4. Misconception: Unicorns need to be bisexual 

Nope! A unicorn in a relationship doesn’t “need” to be anything. The fact that they’re a unicorn has nothing to do with their sexual orientation, race, or gender. They may just be looking for something asexual. 

5. Misconception: Unicorns never want exclusivity 

You probably get it by now, don’t you? The unicorn relationship rules completely depend on the people involved. Hence, whether a unicorn is looking for exclusivity or wants to explore options is completely up to them. 

Now that you know all there is to know about unicorn relationships, we hope you’re one step closer to finding what you need to achieve the perfect balance in your relationship. Who knows, you might just be in for the best experience of your life. Happy hunting!


1. Can a unicorn be a male?

Although the term unicorn has long been used to describe a bisexual woman looking to join a couple, a “unicorn” is anyone who is looking to join a couple. So, yes, a unicorn can be a male as well.  

2. How do you know if you’re a unicorn?

If you’re someone who wants to join an already existing couple for sexual or emotional reasons, you can be termed a unicorn. The only way to find out is to introspect on what you actually want. 

3. How do you be a good unicorn in a relationship?

To be a good unicorn, it’s important to establish clear lines of communication with the couple. Make sure this is what you actually want, and make sure the people you’re involved with know what you want and you know what they want. 

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