Column: Open vs Closed Relationships


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Matilda Kuenster

Navigating the dating world is substantially different in college than it was when we were in high school. Back in high school dating was simple. When you had a crush on someone you asked them out and if it went well, you guys were then considered a couple. Being exclusive seemed like a given.

Once you enter college though, everything changes. You now have more options and with the introduction of so many dating apps, finding someone to hook up with is now second nature. So in a day and age where being exclusive is almost unheard of and random hookups are the norm and sexuality is ever-changing, how do we figure out what is real and what is fleeting?

Having seen friend after friend get involved with a guy and the communication is not there — one party believes that they are “together” and the other party is adamant that they are just a “thing.” What do these terms even mean nowadays? The world of relationships that we live in could not be more complicated, there are so many different terms for being with another human being.

No matter what type of relationship you find yourself in, communication is the key. Whether you are interested in a committed or open relationship, it is vital that you make sure that your partner is on the exact same page. Being in an open relationship could mean something completely different to your partner than it does to you, and then you’re going to get your feelings hurt because you didn’t want to talk about it. Do yourself a favor, and talk it out.

To ensure that both parties are going to get the most out of the relationship, it is critical to discuss with each other what it would mean to be in an open relationship together. Questions that you and your partner may need to consider when deciding what type of relationship to get involved in may consist of: how will we keep each other safe from STDs, do you see a definitive difference between an emotional and physical relationship, and is anything off limits?