What Are The Rules To An Open Relationship? [Ask A Dude]
[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to editor [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]
Here’s the deal: I’ve got this guy that I’ve been friends with since Freshman year. We see each other at parties and are kind of always on the outsides of circles that cross paths, you know? Cut to a couple of months ago after this party where we both had a bit too much to drink– we hooked up. And it was AMAZING. Best sex ever. Since then we’ve been spending a lot of time together, but the thing is that neither of us wants a serious thing right now. We’re only 21, you know? We want to keep our options open, but we don’t want to lose what we’ve got either. So I’ve heard about people having “open” relationships, but I don’t hear about a lot of them that ever end up well. So I guess my question is: what are the rules to an open relationship? Are they different for every open relationship? How do you hash those out?
Girl With A Dolphin Tattoo
Dear Girl With A Dolphin Tattoo,
Totally get where you’re coming from, and yes, there are a lot of pitfalls to an open relationship. Some figure they’re doomed to be temporary just based on the nature of them, and I’m not entirely certain those critics are wrong. Of course, I’m not really sure they’re right, either. It all depends, like every relationship, on how you two grow with each other rather than away from each other.
I do think that EVERY relationship is like…well, a snowflake. No two are the same. No two have the exact same dynamics or a pair of partners with the exact same needs. There’s no recipe for a long-lasting relationship, open, poly, closed, monogamous, whatever! There’s only what you two decide is best for you two. This, of course, doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion or two, maybe even a couple of pointers, or some mild suggestions…
First off: How much do you want to know about the other people you’re being…open…with? There are pros for full disclosure and pros against full disclosure. Some think if you’re hiding someone, then it’s serious. Some don’t want to know, because it ignites a jealous streak. Is it a case of TMI or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?
Second issue: Priority status. You’ve got go the extra effort to let each other know that “you are my number 1 guy!” (It’s funnier if you imagine Jack Nicholson saying it while groping at Bob the Goon’s pleather jacket).
You have to be totally upfront and honest with each other about what you want, what you need, and vice versa. You can’t shy away from tough conversations, and you can’t leave questions unanswered. What goes unsaid is probably going to be the toughest challenge, because you know what’s being left unmentioned has a name and a vagina.
Talk it out, be clear about what you both want and don’t want, and then play it by ear. And as your needs change, you need to tell him. As separate as you want things to be at times, you need to make sure the times you are together are the most intimate times.
Opening Up Possibilities,