Exclusivity in College

Jillian Mckee

College is a time of self exploration and discovery. With that self exploration comes interest in others, leading to romance and relationships. Everyone is at a different place in their life during college and wants something different based on their current mindset, personality and lifestyle. But what does it mean to be “exclusive” with someone?

“Exclusive means making a decision with your partner that you two will not have intimate physical or emotional relations with another person,” said Hannah Fisher, senior in agriculture and society.

Ahmed Gamal Abdalla Zied, sophomore in kinesiology and health, disagreed.

“Being exclusive means being with somebody, but not throwing a label on it,” Zied said.

How do you know when the relationship becomes exclusive?

“I think you go from ‘talking’ to exclusive when you have that official conversation about making it exclusive,” said Dakota Karthan, senior in public relations and marketing. “You can’t assume otherwise. I’ve had enough experiences to learn you can’t assume you’re the only person this person is ‘talking’ to until you make that clear.”

Software engineering junior Blake Mulnix agreed that you can’t make an assumption about what the other person wants.

“I think it’s best to be explicit about going from ‘talking’ to being exclusive,” Mulnix said. “This ensures that both people in the relationship are on the same page. The partners should try to communicate their idea as to what an exclusive relationship is and what they expect from their partner.”

What can you expect from an exclusive relationship?

“I would expect my partner to stay faithful to me, be honest and fix problems that arise rather than give up,” said Brinlee Geyer, sophomore in biology. “I expect you to spend time together often and do things you enjoy to do together. You’re probably going to date this person for a while, so you get comfortable with their friends and family. You make them a priority in your life because you want to. Really it’s all about being together.”

In the age of digital media, Snapchat and other social medias can create a headache for hidden conversations. When asked about Snapchatting previous partners when you’re exclusive with a new partner Fisher said, “It depends. Sometimes exes are still acquaintances after or you really didn’t have an intimate relationship to begin with, but if it was a really intimate or difficult previous relationship I don’t think it’s OK.”

Mulnix had a different perspective. He said it depends on the two people’s intentions.

“These situations become problematic if either party has intentions that aren’t entirely platonic,” Mulnix said. “When it is the ex outside of the relationships whose intentions go beyond friendship, the best course of action is for the partner involved is to stop talking to that ex and preferably communicate the reason that they are ceasing communication.”

What is not expected in an exclusive relationship?

“Any significant other that holds you back from doing things you want to or spending time with people you want to is not OK. Period,” Karthan said. “Being in a relationship is all about being who you are and having someone who likes and respects you without changing you.”

Geyer said it’s all about setting the standards.

“I think it is important to discuss what your boundaries are at the beginning of the relationship so you know where each other stands,” Geyer said. “What would be ‘not OK’ for me is if I felt like I wasn’t respected.”