A taboo relationship can be defined in a different way depending on the context. This is because the line drawn on the ground definition of what is right and wrong is ever-shifting depending on the culture of any group of people. It is interesting to note that some things that were taboo before are not considered taboo presently and likely, some things that are frowned upon now may be permitted in the next generation of people.
What is a taboo relationship?
According to the online Merriam Webster dictionary, a taboo can be defined as a prohibition imposed by social custom or as a protective measure or as something that is not acceptable to say, mention, or does. Therefore a taboo relationship is a union between persons upon which prohibition has been imposed by social custom and is not an acceptable thing to do.
Here are some kinds of relationships still frowned upon in many societies today:
- Relationships in the workplace
- Relationships with a much younger or older person
- A single person dating a married person
- Relationships between family members
- Relationships with a close friends ex
- A relationship with a service provider
- Relationships outside of one’s religion
- Relationships with outlawed persons
- Relationships with non-human objects or beings
Relationships in the workplace
Relationships at the workplace are, in most places, prohibited because they encourage sexual exploitation, favoritism and may also contribute to friction due to jealousy. The most frowned upon relationship at the workplace is the one between the boss and an employee. Such a relationship is likely to go on in secret and those involved must make sure not to be found out lest they lose face. If it is found that, especially in the case of a female, that they got a promotion because they were literally in bed with the boss, such a promotion may be viewed as illegitimate even if the person deserved it.
Relationships with a much younger or older person
This has always been a contentious relationship type. These relationships are odd when the age difference is glaring for example a 50-year-old woman dating an 18-year-old man. These relationships are seen to be driven by financial needs particularly on the side of the younger partner. An older man dating a much younger woman may raise eyebrows but in such a case, many men will consider this a trophy and proof of virility.
A single person dating a married person
Adultery as a whole, especially in societies that regard monogamy as the ideal relationship is a deal-breaker that often leads to divorce. Therefore, for a single person to be going out with a married person is unusual and prohibited because they are seen to be the cause of infidelity. They are viewed as home breakers who don’t respect the institution of marriage. This kind of relationship is often marked by meetings in hotel rooms far from town. If the married party prefers to keep their spouse a secret, they may also tend to have a second phone and have to constantly remove their wedding band.
Relationships between family members
This type of relationship is commonly referred to as incest. Incest can occur between step-siblings, Children and their biological or non-biological parents, and even cousins. This kind of relationship is common where people live in small isolated communities without much interaction with the outside world. It also happens between siblings who are not related by blood and therefore can justify it by lack of such biological ties. Incest has in recent times come strongly under fire due to strong scientific proof that children born of incestuous relationships are likely to suffer a myriad of congenital deformities.
Relationships with a close friend’s ex
This goes against the girl code especially. It is frowned upon to date a person who has just broken your friend’s heart. It is a sign of loyalty and picking sides. It is a sign that one is a good friend. It is also a bad sign when two friends appear to hook up immediately after breaking up with another friend. It is usually likely that the two were seeing each other behind their friends’ back and likely contributed to the break-up. If one goes ahead to date their friend’s ex, this may end the friendship and lead to bitter exchanges and falling out with a larger group of friends to whom this news may reach.
A relationship with a service provider
This is a relationship that can sprout between a client and their doctor, psychologist, lawyer, or even a member of the cleaning staff. This is a prohibited relationship because it breaches some codes of conduct, for example, that between the doctor and the patient where sexual relations may qualify for harassment. A psychologist may also be viewed to have higher mental power than their patient who is depending on them to get better and is viewed to be a breach of trust. Psychologists are therefore advised to caesar seeing them as patients if they wish to further the relationship. Another relationship in this category that is frowned upon is the relationship between students and their teacher or lecturer. No matter the setting, this is seen as more of a fetish kind of relationship that has strings attached. The student may be so enthralled by the teacher’s wisdom and gentleness that they fall in love or the teacher could be using the relationship to get sexual favors in return for huge grades.
Relationships outside of one’s religion
This is especially prohibited in religions where strict adherence is recommended. It also comes down to personal choice. Dating outside the religious belief may be seen as a stain or a distraction. Many religions will encourage that if one should pick a partner that they can walk the same path together. It is also seen to be better for the offspring as they have stronger religious foundations without friction, IT is likely the reason why some religions will allow people to date others outside of the faith but those outsiders are required to convert to the religion. In extreme cases, one who strays far from the religious circle may be kicked out of society and regarded as a deviant.
Relationships with outlawed persons
Relationships with known criminals are unsettling in most social groups. Dating a convicted person is seen as the craving for trouble as these people are labeled as dangerous and irredeemable. In that sense, these bad boys will use their allure to attract girls who want to spice things up. However, such a couple is likely to raise eyebrows and turn heads. This kind of relationship is prohibited as it may open one up to various forms of abuse including but not limited to financial abuse, sexual abuse, and physical abuse. These outlawed persons are considered unsafe and do not deserve love and care.
Relationships with non-human objects or beings
These comprise relationships with animals which is commonly termed as bestiality. It is not unheard of for a person to get so attached to their dog that they marry it and consider it a spouse in the equivalent of a human-to-human relationship. In many places, this may be seen as an abuse of the animal’s right and such a pet owner may lose the right to own the animal and may be charged with cruelty. It is also possible for someone to declare their undying love self or the reflection that they see in the mirror. This is considered to be an advanced level of narcissism and such a person likely regards himself so much more than others that they do not get along well in society. In such a case, psychological support is ought to correct the behavior. It is also frowned upon for one to fall in love with something such as material wealth as this is not seen as normal.
Question 1: Is homosexuality still considered taboo?
Homosexuality has changed over the last couple of centuries. In history, many write scriptures have detailed the homosexual relations of people who had to hide their sexuality. In many places, homosexuality was a crime punishable by law. Due to the evolution of human rights and the recognition of personal freedoms, homosexuality has long since been demystified and is more widely accepted as a way of life. In many places, homosexual persons are allowed to congregate, identify as homosexual and even get a legal marriage certificate.
Such married couples are even allowed to adopt and raise children. It has even become something of sight after trait with the rise of equal opportunity employment. A company may hire a qualified peon who also identifies as gay or lesbian. However, it is still difficult for parents to deal with their children who come out as such as some people still use this as a tool for discrimination. More and more celebrities have come out to support the gay community, therefore, validating it. Homosexual relationships are slowly but surely coming out of the dark and dingy closets.
Question 2: Act of rebellion or true love?
The prohibited nature of the taboo relationships gives such relationships a certain thrill that lacks in normal relationships. It is not uncommon for a teenage girl to run off with an older man just to seem more grown-up than her friends or to get back at a controlling parent. A married person may seek out a lover to prove to their partner that someone else finds them valuan[le and they are not to be taken for granted.
However, a married person may genuinely be in an unhappy situation at home and find true and lasting love in the hands of another. It is also possible for a student to settle down in a stable healthy relationship with the teacher’s assistant from their first class in college and their hearts just found each other in an unlikely place. It can also just be love between a giving partner and an outlawed person. His loving partner may see through the bad boy’s hard exterior and recognize the vulnerable and gentle nature that just needs patience and love. A loving partner may also decide to love this person enough to change them. In this case, it is not simply an act of rebellion.
Question 3: Does one’s upbringing predispose them to engage in taboo relationships?
Words like the mother wound, father wound, or daddy issues have been cited as reasons why one may fall into a relationship considered taboo. In the case where a person in their younger years did not experience loving attention and protection from a male parent or guardian, they may seek the loving arms of an older male partner. In this case, the older male partner is in the relationship as a replacement for the missing father figure. The same is the same for a child raised without the nurturing care of a mother or a female guardian. In adulthood, the person may seek out the warmth that they lacked and craved as children.
It is also possible that if a child observed their parent be unfaithful to their partner that they may go in the same way they have been taught. Likely this person will date only married people and never settle down for fear of their partner walking out on theme and cheating too. There is also a likelihood that if one grows to be taught that engaging with your second or third cousins is okay then they will have no problem doing that. While in that setting it may be accepted, anyone on the outside may judge the relationship as out of the norm. It is also possible that a child raised in a household with alcoholism and exposure to violence will grow up to seek out the outlaws as they match up to the kind of expressions of love that they are used to and find healthy drama-free relationships uncomfortable and unnatural.