A few weeks ago, I wrote about a friend whose relationship was derailed by presumptions and some overreacting. He was seeing a nice girl for a few months, and she tried to change her Facebook relationship status to "in a relationship" with him, without ever having spoken to him about becoming exclusive. My buddy lost his mind and broke up with her over it, and the two haven't spoken since. I asked you, the reader, for your thoughts on the matter, and I got a few great responses. One response in particular stood out to me, and I wanted to share it this week.
Kevin in Dallas wins the award for "Person Whose Life I Want the Most." He and his girlfriend have come to an understanding that would thrill most guys.
Dear Y Me?: In answer to your question regarding the "conversation" about exclusivity during the dating process: After seeing each other for almost a year, my girlfriend, Jeni, and I have finally become comfortable with calling one another "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." This is only after some very candid conversations about what we want our relationship to be. We decided the best relationship to have would be for us to be able to keep seeing and having sex with other people. In fact, it's one of the main reasons we've lasted almost a year and have become comfortable with the "couple" terminology. So what makes us "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" if we're still seeing other people? We save the intimate, mushy stuff and the "L" word for each other. Everything else with anyone else is just for fun. As a result, we have succeeded in bypassing all of the sophomoric guessing games that people play with each other regarding monogamy. We've both come to the conclusion that monogamy isn't really possible, and when you let the idea of it go, you pretty much release any potential for hours and hours of drama, speculation and misery. After all, what fun is it, being in a relationship, if you can't have sex with other people every now and then? That's not a relationship. It's a prison sentence.
Kevin Christensen, Dallas
Dear Kevin: I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that your relationship is not common. I've often fantasized about a relationship where I can see other people and my girlfriend cannot. (I'm selfish like that.) I'm way too jealous and fragile to think about my girlfriend being with someone else. I applaud you and Jeni on your decision, and hope you're both sincere in sticking to it. It sounds like you two are very pragmatic, and that's a rare quality when it comes to matters of the heart (and privates).
I do disagree with your assertion that having sex with only one person is a prison sentence -- it's just more difficult. I'm sure you were just speaking specifically about your situation, but generally I think a lot of people can be happy just having one partner. It's when those two stop having sex that the relationship crumbles. Having been in a few long-term monogamous relationships (though never married), I can attest that keeping your sheets sticky takes more and more effort as the relationship falls into a routine. Of course, being able to have sex with other people might have saved those relationships from becoming so routine.
Don't get me wrong, I would kill to have a girl like Jeni, who is cool with seeing other people. But I think most women want the storybook relationship, or the kind their parents suffered through.
You're living the dream, Kevin.
Signed, Y Me?