My friend called me the other day from college to tell me about a guy she recently became involved with. He took her on a picnic under a beautiful tree on campus and lit candles. He's smart, romantic, he comes from a good family, he's good looking, sweet and caring, and... he has a girlfriend.
At first I was taken back by that "little caveat." My friend then explained that he is in an open relationship with a girl who is miles away,
and now he is pursuing my friend. And she likes him. A lot. My number one concern is that I don't want her to get hurt, and this situation won't exactly help her steer clear of that possibility. However, after talking to other friends away at school, I realize that this phenomenon is not so uncommon.
Open relationships are more prevalent than one might think, and perhaps that is because they have the potential to be useful in many situations. For some, open relationships can serve as a transitional period, just postponing and easing an inevitable break up. For others, they can be a short term option, giving a couple time to explore other people and be sure that this is the relationship they want. And still for others, like for my friend's guy, open relationships are used during a time when a couple is doing long distance, for the duration of college or a job abroad, for example. To be clear, I am not talking about polyamorous love and relationships-- I am talking about relationships that are monogamous, except for the period of time in which they experiment in an open relationship.
The part that I struggle with, however, is the fact that this guy pursuing my friend didn't just get drunk at a college party and hook up her, which, while still might be upsetting to his actual girlfriend, doesn't necessarily jeopardize their relationship. Rather, he met her, had feelings for her, took her out for a nice evening, hooked up with her, and then talked to his girlfriend all night on Skype. Does being in an open relationship give you permission to do that? Something about it just doesn't sit quite right with me. What do you guys think? What should the terms of an open relationship be? Is it okay if you develop feelings for someone else, or should all of the exploring be sexual and not platonic? image source