T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 33993
posted 06-04-2007 06:04 PM
i've given up hope of my bf staying at community college for a semester and being here with me for part of the year that i need to get out of the way before going back to state college...he just said to me on the phone that it's not worth it to have to stay at home just to make money...even tho he does need to get 25 grand together for god knows what that he owes. i suppose i wouldnt want to stay back either if i was him...so after much debating and discussing, we've decided that since we will be 2 hrs apart at separate schools we want to continue to go out/date exclusively and be together for this summer, and when he goes back to school we'll have an open relationship. he said we would talk about the details later as in what we are and arent allowed to do with people when it's closer to time for him to leave and all. (we've already pretty much agreed no sex tho, and we said we'd be 100% honest with what we do with other ppl) Before this i suggested we just break up because the pain of him leaving and still talking to him like everything is normal when it's not would be too much for me. but he said if we still like each other and want to be together then we shouldn't just go our separate ways just cuz we're apart. and having an open relationship gives us leeway so we won't feel suffocated or restricted cuz we both know we'll be drunk at parties often. and when i come visit him or he comes to visit me it'll be like we're going out. i said what if we meet other people that we want to go out with but he said if he likes me he really doubts he'd be open to dating anyone else at college knowing he still wants to be with me. and he did have a point because all of freshman year we were both single until the last few months when we found each other so not having a significant other that's right there shouldn't be that big of a deal knowing we still have each other. i've never done a LDR with anyone but I'm willing to do it for him because breaking it off completely sounds way too hard and painful for me to do and we still want to be together but we're being forced apart by distance. do you guys think an open relationship is wise? ive heard they dont work out too often but I really can't forsee either of us being like ok screw this i want someone else, esp when he knows I'm coming back junior year, and we're still gonna see each other during this year. I think I'm/we're making the right decision here don't you think???
Member # 3
posted 06-04-2007 06:13 PM
I think that this is something that you're going to know more about in terms of if it is right for you than anyone else can.
Open relationships do tend to require extra doses of communication, and more open communication at that. They also require both partners really, truly, being okay with both partners seeing other people within whatever framework the two original partners have set up, and having a good grasp on reality when it comes to the fact that often people DO develop feelings for other pepople they date, even when in a primary relationship. I can say that choosing to open things up JUST because a breakup would otherwise be too painful isn't usually the best thing ever, and often doesn't tend to be a good foundation for open relationships that work, though. Wanting to see others really is a different thing than just not wanting to be all the way apart, and if you both really don't WANT to see others, there's no reason you can't be monogamous a mere two-hour drive apart very easily. So, are you thinking about this because you both really want to see others or have that be an option, or because you're not willing or able to make a clean break? So, ARE you both up to increased communication (which may include hearing things about other dates that make you feel ooky or insecure), to each of you dating others, to setting up whatever limits and boundaries you need, and DO you have other reasons for opening things up besides simply not wanting to break up? If so, it's entirely possible this could work just fine for you both. If not, I'd suggest thinking more - both of you -- about your motives and what it is you really each want and are up for, and then talking all of this out a bit more. [ 06-04-2007, 06:16 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 33993
posted 06-04-2007 11:29 PM
I'd like for our open relationship to be simply ocassional random hookups with other people only...no sex and no other relationships. but ufortunately you can't prevent those things from happening. well im pretty much sure neither of us will be having sex with anyone else as we both view it as something special, but u cant prevent someone else from waltzing into the other's life without warning and them wanting to be with the other person instead. that's the thing i dont like about it because we'll be apart and those things can happen..Part of the open relationship idea is because I don't want my bf to feel bored and locked down at college..i know that's not how you should feel abt a gf that you really like but i can't help feeling guilty for wanting him to stay faithful to me when he's going to be living it up during the year at parties and all. He's never said thats how he would feel but that's how i view it i guess...I'm so confused about what I want! Part of me just wants to stay together during the year and have somewhat of a LDR, part of me thinks an open relationship might be okay if we're just having random meaningless hookups in the time away from each other, and another part of me thinks that either of those options would still be really painful and I want someone who'll be there for me all the time.
Member # 34193
posted 06-05-2007 08:19 PM
quote: Originally posted by pinkveins: Interesting thoughts. I'd like for our open relationship to be simply ocassional random hookups with other people only...no sex and no other relationships. but ufortunately you can't prevent those things from happening. well im pretty much sure neither of us will be having sex with anyone else as we both view it as something special, but u cant prevent someone else from waltzing into the other's life without warning and them wanting to be with the other person instead. that's the thing i dont like about it because we'll be apart and those things can happen..Part of the open relationship idea is because I don't want my bf to feel bored and locked down at college..i know that's not how you should feel abt a gf that you really like but i can't help feeling guilty for wanting him to stay faithful to me when he's going to be living it up during the year at parties and all. He's never said thats how he would feel but that's how i view it i guess...I'm so confused about what I want! Part of me just wants to stay together during the year and have somewhat of a LDR, part of me thinks an open relationship might be okay if we're just having random meaningless hookups in the time away from each other, and another part of me thinks that either of those options would still be really painful and I want someone who'll be there for me all the time. (Hi. I'm not an employee of Scarleteen. I have been in a number of open relationships over the years, though, and it is from this experience that I offer my words.)
If this is what you want, you do NOT want an open relationship. There are several things that everyone really should know about open relationships: 1) Open relationships open up the possibility of sex. This doesn't mean that all open relationships have to be sexual, but going into anything like this without intending to get romantically or sexually entwined is like having sex without a condom -- you have no plans, no protection, and SOMETHING is going to happen that is going to bash those barriers to smithereens. (If you're attracted to someone, sex is going to feel special with that person. Openness allows for exploration of how a person 'feels' to you, beyond the realm of what would normally be considered "out of bounds" for someone who's in a closed and/or monogamous relationship.) 2) An open relationship is a commitment. It is a commitment to yourself and to anyone else you get into a relationship with to be responsible for your own emotional state (and actions/reactions caused by it) -- and to recognize that even if someone tries to help, it's YOUR responsibility to make sure that your own emotional and mental state are healthy. This means that you do not get to demand time/attention/whatever from anyone. An open relationship is also a commitment that you will do your best to help anyone involved in the relationship emotionally and mentally, if they ask for help or if they seriously need it. This does not mean that you have to take the responsibility for fixing the problem -- no matter how much guilt tripping or negativity gets thrown around -- but it does mean that you commit to at least providing the same amount of energy to people in your relationship as you would hope to get out of them. [and no, this does not mean that you have to put the same amount of energy into helping someone else in your relationship as that person has put into helping you. It's not a quid pro quo, it's more of a 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' kind of holistic 'group is better' thing. This also means that you cannot rely on help being there.] 3) You are going to hurt. (Really, this should be part of any statement on any type of relationship, since you're going to hurt in any relationship you're in at least some time -- but this is about open relationships.) You're going to feel, at least once and probably a lot more than once, a deep gnawing emotional pain that it's really difficult to think through, like it feels like you've lost something or are losing something that you don't know how to deal with not having. (This is, by the way, a kind of jealousy. Unlike everything you've ever been told, though, jealousy is NOT a negative thing in and of itself. It tells us -- if we learn how to separate the distress from the situation that is causing the distress -- something that we may not know about ourselves, and what we currently 'need'. It takes several times through the Land of Jealousy, though, to learn that the fear does NOT match reality... and the first couple of times HURT, no matter how much support you have.) 4) Openness means that your partner is going to find someone else to share things with that are special to them. It also means that your partner is going to have someone else who needs time spent with them. This -- by its very nature -- means that you're going to have to deal with some times when he isn't going to be able to be there for/with you. I remember one time when I had two boyfriends, and an ex-lover/still-friend had an immediate need for assistance else he was going to have a huge problem that he wouldn't be able to deal with. I dropped everything and went to help him -- 400 miles away. My boyfriends were angry with me, and for good reason, but I try to help take care of everyone in my tribe. An open relationship isn't something that one can "just" have. It requires a lot of acceptance of painful truths, and it requires being willing and able to deal with the inevitable pain... and it sounds as though you are not prepared for it.
Member # 3
posted 06-05-2007 08:27 PM
Wolfoftheair: holey moley. Well DONE. Thanks for pitching in!
I just wanted to add one other thing I'm hearing here, pinkveins, which is a double standard on your part (because lord knows, with that last post, one hardly needs to add anything else at all!). You are saying YOU don't want to be beholden to your partner now, but that you very much want him to be beholden to you. From this last post and the one before, it also sounds to me like you're operating under the assumption, from his cues, that it is unlikely HE will be randomly hooking up with others but that YOU will, and if you are operating under that assumption, then I'd suggest you get rid of it, pronto. Why? Because it's neither particularly fair (especially to him, but really to you both), nor is it realistic for you. In assessing if this is the right thing for y'all, you need to consider that whatever it is you may be doing, so may he, and that whatever things you expect for him to do for you (or not do) in your relationship model, that he gets to have the same expectations of you. I'd also suggest you be sure and be very honest with yourself and make sure you're not simply trying to have YOUR cake and eat it too -- to be able to explore whatever YOU like, but have Mr. Faithful around in case that doesn't work out, or because you're too scared to step into a life separate from a commitment him, if that's what you're thinking you really want.
Member # 1679
posted 06-05-2007 08:28 PM
wolfoftheair, those are wise words, and very well spoken.
I'd like to add something as well, pinkveins. It really sounds to me like a large chunk of the problem that you're having with school has been related to problems managing relationships. So, to be frank, if what you really want is to get your school work back on track, it's probably best for everyone involved if your boyfriend is not in the same place that you are right now. You need the space to focus on getting your stuff straightened out, and it really doesn't sound like you're mentally and emotionally in a place to do that with him around. On that same track, as wolfoftheair mentioned, there is a LOT going on when you choose to be in an open relationship. There can be a lot to worry about, especially if you are new to that sort of relationship. So I'm not sure that, again if you really want to get yourself back on track, that an open relationship is really a sound idea. Have the two of you discussed other options?
Member # 33993
posted 06-06-2007 04:48 PM
wow thanks for all these suggestions guys..
wolfoftheair it sounds like you have a lot of experience with open relationships, but the thing is, my bf and i don't want to go out with other people, we just want to be allowed to hook up with other people (no sex) when the opportunity arises because we will be so far away, and have both of us be okay with that. i think that's alot different from dating other people at the same time that we have a relationship with each other. but that said, im just scared that even though we say from the beginning that we don't want to date other people and just have random hookups if and when the opportunity presents itself, there's still a chance that either of us can meet someone along the way even if we're NOT really looking to get into a relationship with someone else. because things just happen like that. esp when you're far from your significant other. i suppose we should trust each other to make a solid commitment that we won't start dating other people but it's life..things happen that you can't control. this i am worried about. and Heather, you are partly right...the fact that ive been hurt a lot in the past and i dont trust people (boys) easily makes me think this way/have that mentality. I guess it's a defense mechanism. ugh i dont know what to do...it seems like any choice we make will sound good at the time then turn into something awful! i am just so scared of getting hurt cuz i know from experience that there's just so many people/distractions/other **** at college that it could be a relationship ruiner with someone who's back at home. or maybe this is just my insecurities talking.... p.s. kittengoddess you are correct that school should be more important but i want this relationship to work somehow
Member # 27531
posted 06-06-2007 10:59 PM
Hey pink, "hooking up", even sans sex, is still a kind of intimacy, and will likely (granted... not always) yield some feelings between those people, and feelings will often lead to relationships (either platonic or intimate). Giving the OK for you or your partner to have intimate relationships with others is inviting the possibility of secondary relationships (even though they might not be committed ones). Heck, even just a kiss shared between two people can complicate feelings!
Also, just so you know, you don't HAVE to rule out a monogamous, committed relationship. They do happen to work long distance, but both partners have to truly OWN that decision.
Member # 3
posted 06-07-2007 01:02 AM
I just keep hearing you voicing oxymorons here.
In other words, you seem to be saying you want to be able to date other people...but not date other people. And if that's not what you're saying, but are rather saying that you think you can control or predict developing feelings for others in some way? Then that's simply not realistic, and that's something you can figure out is unrealistic likely just by thinking back to when you started dating your current partner. Feelings are unpredictable. We can control how we act on them, to be sure, but we can't control having them, and they tend to develop quite out of our control. So, as I said, as wolfoftheair said -- well, as everyone has said -- if you or your partner don't want or aren't okay with ANY possibility of further relationships with others developing, then the only sound thing to do is to keep your relationship monogamous, full-stop. So, seems to me that ultimately, from all you've said, you and your boyfriend just need to decide whether you want to remain together while you're at different schools or not. And that choice should be based on whether you want to stay together -- because you enjoy each other and want to be in a romantic relationship -- not based on fears of either not getting every single other thing you may want or on fear of getting hurt.
Member # 27531
posted 06-07-2007 02:41 PM
quote: if you or your partner don't want or aren't okay with ANY possibility of further relationships with others developing, then the only sound thing to do is to keep your relationship monogamous, full-stop. That's exactly what I was trying to say, thanks Heather, mistress of concise writing.
Member # 33665
posted 06-07-2007 03:05 PM
I just wanted to say that monogamous long distance relationships can work. It takes a little more effort and trust, but it can work. You just have to make the most of it when you do finally see each other. Also, with only 2 hours distance, you can really find some ways to see each other. You said your boyfriend doesn't have a car, but he could still catch rides with friends that are heading home for the weekend if they live in the same town. Also, you could go up to visit him on a bus if you still don't have a car, or get a ride with a friend. Both of you can still go out to parties and hang out with friends and have fun, you just can't kiss/flirt/have sex with other people. If you are worried about not setting boundaries when you meet new people, you can do what I do and casually mention your boyfriend/girlfriend in the conversation.
Person: Did you see such-and-such movie? Me: Yeah, my boyfriend/girlfriend and I saw it together. He/she really liked it.
Member # 33993
posted 06-09-2007 12:55 AM
thanks for all the opinions/advice guys. im still so confused but thanks for giving me different perspectives on the situation and trying to help. now that i'm armed with some more info hopefully i can make the right decision. thx i really appreciate it!