In every community, as with every faith and nationality, there are different rules when it comes to relationships. Recently, as geek culture has come forward into the cultural mainstream, a lot of people have wondered how relationships work in things such as the cosplay community.
To say there are no differences would be a lie. However, the most important way in which I see cosplay affect a lot of relationships is the sense of trust held between the two people. Whilst I know full well that trust is vital to all relationships, it’s especially important when your partner could be dressing in a way that you view as provocative, and then posing for photos with a lot of strangers.
When wearing a revealing costume, you unfortunately begin to expect the person talking to your chest or eyeing up your behind, and don’t think for a minute that this is exclusively a female thing; I have seen as many Khal Drogos (Game of Thrones) and Sasukes (Naruto) being inappropriately touched by overexcited fans as I have Mistis (Pokemon) and Supergirls (DC comics). This is not even beginning to address photo-shoots being taken, sometimes with intimate romantic scenes with other cosplayers, for example a Ron and Hermione shoot. It is so vital to establish clear boundaries that you and your partner find comfortable, and, although this may come as a shock, this is done by communicating with your other half. It doesn’t matter if only one of you or both of you are cosplayers, everyone has different levels of boundaries that they are happy with, and it is so important to establish this clearly (it stops a whole lot of paranoia, jealousy and unnecessary stress later on).
The other element of cosplayer relationships that makes them slightly different is that a lot of them tend to be long distance. This isn’t a rule by any means, but often, as conventions attract a large geographical area (even across countries in some cases), if that’s where you fall in love, the relationship will always be long distance. A lot of people don’t actually start relationships in this state, it simply evolves that way owing to things such as university, but for many, this arrangement occurs in reverse. When you know that you will likely be far from your partner even in the honeymoon period, there is a huge difference from the former arrangement in that the distance is not obstacle for you to tackle, but a statement of fact. There is always the hope that one of you will move closer at some point but this can’t be seen as a guarantee. And so again (amazingly enough) we come back to trust and communication, which become even more important when they don’t feel as easy as they do when your partner is in the same city or town.
Overall, a lot of what I’ve said can be said for any relationship, and I think that is a good thing. These near ubiquitous aspects are important to all relationships; it’s often just the situations that they’re applied to that differ in different communities.