What Is A Relationship Unicorn?

Some say "three's a crowd," but others think three is a magic number. When it comes to relationships, the history of monogamy tells us that two people are enough to create a happy, equal partnership. But even relationships that last a lifetime can lose a little spark every now and then. If you notice your relationship might be feeling a little less than satisfactory, consider how your relationship dynamic may benefit from adding another special someone.

If you're looking to maintain a happy and healthy relationship, there are plenty of people to avoid. But not all relationship additions lead to toxic results: many couples have considered adding a relationship unicorn to spice up their love life and increase their emotional bond. According to Glamour, the term "'Unicorn' describes a person who joins a couple as their third partner, for sex or even for something more committed." While oftentimes, the dynamic involves a heterosexual couple and a bisexual woman, it isn't always the case: a relationship unicorn can be any gender or sexual orientation as long as all three participants are comfortable and excited.

If your relationship could use a little spice, consider going unicorn hunting

Contrary to what the name suggests, a relationship unicorn isn't as rare as you'd think. According to a recent study published by Frontiers in Psychology, 10.7% of people reported participating in a polyamorous relationship at one point. According to Verywell Mind, adding a third person into your relationship is slightly different than having an open relationship, where you and your partner engage in other sexual experiences without one another. A relationship unicorn is an addition to your current partnership in an attempt to elevate the relationship experience for all three of you.

These days, many couples looking for their relationship unicorn will make a joint profile on a dating app that specifies their desires, allowing people who are interested in dating or physically pursuing the couple to match with them. Whether the couple is looking for someone to join them in the bedroom or another person to bring along on their date nights, adding a relationship unicorn can be an exciting way to participate in romance and commitment.

Per Glamour, writer Britany Robinson dabbled in being a relationship unicorn for couples, but found that it can be "complicated and confusing." The complexities of joining a relationship that has an intimate past can lead to jealousy if proper communication isn't used. The most successful unicorn relationships are those that allow all parties involved to express their needs, desires, and comfort levels.

How to talk with your partner about adding a relationship unicorn

If you think your relationship could use a little unicorn magic, but you aren't sure where to begin, it's best to start with you and your partner. Many couples worry about jealousy or tension that could come with adding someone — avoid these difficult hurdles by setting expectations and boundaries that you are both comfortable with before seeking a third person. Regain warns if trust and honesty are lacking in an existing relationship may not be strong enough to add a third person. If your relationship has a history of cheating or abandonment issues, maybe a relationship unicorn isn't a great idea just yet.

Once you and your partner agree on the terms, be upfront about it when looking for your relationship unicorn. It's important that all parties involved are on the same page about what the third person is adding to the existing relationship, whether it's physical intimacy only or a more emotional connection. Writer Abby Moss reminds couples who are looking for their third to treat all three parties equally — even though you and your partner have history, your unicorn is "more than a sex toy," so make sure your new addition feels safe making their voice heard and setting their own emotional and physical boundaries, per Feeld. Some relationship unicorns are a short-term addition to a couple's relationship, other times, the arrangement leads to a polyamorous relationship known as a "throuple," via Women's Health.