Let’s think about dating as a stoplight. Some green-light people are great, fabulous individuals who are worthy of your time. People in the yellow-light category might fudge their Tinder profile or show up late for the first date. Others, in the red-light zone, include no-gos like bosses or your bestie’s ex. Even though you have a pretty good idea of who you should and should not date, it’s sometimes still pretty hard to obey the traffic lights. This seems to be especially true in the case of forbidden relationships. Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship coach, has some insight as to why we love these red-light relationships so much.

“Forbidden love is enticing because it can be very exciting,” Bennett shares. “Even a simple date or physical encounter can turn into an adrenaline-fueled adventure due to the hidden nature of the relationship. For people who crave excitement and rebellion, this type of relationship can be thrilling.” This excitement helps explain why people enter into forbidden relationships. If the risk is so high, it means there has to be a reward that inherently outweighs that risk. In some cases, this payoff is the simple satisfaction of spending time with someone you care about — and in others, it can serve an even higher purpose.

A woman leads a man by the hand through a colorful street

“Forbidden relationships provide a greater meaning and purpose to love,” explains Bennett. “Love isn’t just about the two people, but about standing up to others, even entire institutions and systems.” For this reason, Bennett says that forbidden relationships might be worth pursuing despite the risks they pose. However, he implores people involved in red-light relationships to fully understand the risks they’re undertaking in order to be with their partner. Oftentimes, the biggest risk is getting caught — which is a reality many couples eventually face.

“Even though forbidden relationships seem thrilling and offer a sense of purpose, they can also be draining and costly,” Bennett also cautions. “Constantly having to sneak around gets very tiresome, as does the fear of getting caught. Plus, if the couple is caught, it could bring about serious consequences like ostracism from families or a loss of financial resources.” The reality, though, is that love makes you somewhat blind to these risks. If you’re seeing your relationship through this lens, Bennett recommends balancing love with the possible consequences.

Would you risk a “forbidden” relationship? Let us know @BritandCo!

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