For most of us, college is the ultimate age of exploration. It is the time when we get to decide what we want to do with our lives, explore different countries and continents, test our alcohol limits and, of course, explore our sexuality.
We have this time to decide what types of people and endeavors are worth pursuing. Maybe you discover the multiple functions of rope and that handcuffs shouldn’t just be reserved for detaining convicts. Maybe you find out that foot fetishism just isn’t your thing.
Unfortunately, relationships can sometimes get in the way of exploring these possibilities. We can find ourselves feeling isolated and stuck in overbearing relationships with no room to breathe. We want love, sex, romance and independence, but finding this balance can be difficult. Many of us turn to the hookup culture that permeates the college campus, but maybe you want to actually remember the name of that attractive fellow you woke up next to this morning. Sometimes you just want to avoid that hollow feeling you get when you worry that the previous night might have been a drunken mistake.
I propose we open up relationships. We can still pursue love while satisfying our sexual curiosity. We can still have trust with our lovers without tying ourselves down with a relationship.
The answer is polyamory: the practice of loving multiple people at the same time. Now, I know what you are thinking: open relationships don’t work because we are not capable of overcoming the very human emotion of jealousy. I dare to disagree. Sure, jealousy is present in many polyamorous relationships, but it is also present in many monogamous ones.
Senior women and gender studies and English major Ann Price, 22, has been involved in polyamorous relationships. “It was a relationship in which we experienced all the ups and downs that also happen in a monogamous relationship,” she said.
You can avoid any cheating or backstabbing if you are simply honest about your feelings. In fact, you might learn how to communicate with your partner better through polyamory. Many CU students have experienced successful, non-monogamous relationships.
“I don’t agree with an open relationship when you go out, and don’t tell your partner about who you are going to go see,” senior chemical engineering major Greg Russi, 22, said. “If you don’t say those details, you don’t care about those relationships because you don’t know what is happening with the other relationship.”
You need to say outright whether you are feeling jealous or insecure. Otherwise, you will find yourself glaring at your partner when he or she enters the room, and you might find a formerly close relationship destroyed.
Russi’s best advice for people interested in open relationships is to “establish why you want to have an open relationship, and stick by that reason.”
There are many reasons to want to have a polyamorous relationship, whether it is to sexually explore another gender, experience a different type of sex or keep your options open. Whatever the reason, stand by it, and be open about it with your partner.
Love is not a resource that you simply run out of. You do not have to give all of your love to one person, and he or she does not have to give all of his or her love to you.
“The fact that your partner cares about other people doesn’t mean they don’t care about you,” Price said.
You should never feel like somebody’s property. Although you need to show each other how much you love and care about one other, the fact that a person does not give all of his or her love and affection to you does not mean that you are an unworthy person. Individuals have individual needs.
Contact CU Independent Staff Member Caitlyn Zimmer at Caitlyn.firstname.lastname@example.org.