Kissmessitude kind of reminds me of a bad sibling relationship. (Minus the death threats and hate snogging)
Sure, they may kick and scratch and throw insults at one another, but they’ll still defend one another when the problem arises.
They may hate each other, but at the end of things they still care for each other’s welfare.
- communicating - dave makes it clear that feelings jams have become a regular thing he’s experienced doing now, and in fact we see that when something karkat does bothers him he says so outright instead of bottling it up. See: Him asking outright about his crush on john and suggesting they talk that out so that it doesn’t get bottled up and fester.
- mutual respect - just look at the way they defend each other against vriska, dave making sure karkat is ok with her taking the official leader position, karkat telling her off for griefing dave about dirk. the way they make sure the other knows that their feelings about something are valid and worthwhile.
- compromising - the very definition of their relationship exemplifies compromise. dave can’t do quadrants/poly, as shown by his relationship with terezi deteriorating after she started her kissmessitude with gamzee, and meanwhile karkat’s entire not insignificant learned romantic experience is defined by them. karkat agreeing to a more human model of dating and dave agreeing to handle all the various quadranted roles at once, they couldn’t have gotten together at all without some serious compromising. Then you have the little stuff that I KNOW they didn’t just jump right into with both feet like dave agreeing to watch romcoms and karkat agreeing to spending time at the turntables and sharing their interests and time and ahhh.
- healthy space & respecting privacy - note that when karkat flips his lid during the conversation with dave and john on the lily pad, dave ultimately lets him do so, letting him remove himself from the conversation and situation (albeit in dramatic fashion.) it’s canon that dave didn’t tell karkat all the details about bro and karkat didn’t tell dave all the details about his insecurity regarding abraxas and his leadership credentials, and not only is that ok, it’s a sign of mutual respect and attentiveness. they were able to pick up on each other’s deepest insecurities and issues without pushing each other to give up more than they were ready to give.
and don’t forget either that none of this is for show just around each other or even other people, when they are apart we get dave’s “have you seen karkat, is he ok” (pre-retcon, but still) and karkat’s “whoever it is he’s fighting now, I hope he’s ok.” while still taking care of what needs to be done and doing their own thing. they aren’t immobilized without each other in an unhealthy, codependent way, but they are never far from each other’s minds.
ok so trolls have more types of romance than matespritship, so what about aro trolls who can’t feel pale towards anyone and will never desire a moirail, or demiromantic trolls that can only auspictice between two others if they’ve known them for a long time
and where are my ace trolls that still enter happy fulfilling matespritships and kissmessitudes but just never do the whole ‘filling pails’ thing except for necessity in drone season (or not even then)