I’m sure most of you have heard the words “hookup culture” thrown around when students talk about dating or the lack thereof on this campus. While there are definitely exceptions, it seems that the norm is to hookup with someone once or twice and then move on, a “no strings attached” kind of situation. Now I’m not here to criticize a system that, let’s be honest, is not likely to change in the near future. Instead, I am here to offer advice to those of you who chose a different approach to dating: the long-distance relationship.
After taking the plunge into the world of long distance relationships, a couple must decide whether they will be exclusive or have an open relationship. I’m not saying one is preferable to the other, but choosing one is absolutely crucial in order to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding. While an exclusive relationship is a much simpler concept to grasp than the ambiguous open relationship, it is certainly not an easier experience. Defining your relationship as exclusive says, “I want to be with you and only you.” Hooking up with other people is strictly against the rules. Seems easy, right? Well, talk to me when you’ve had a little too much to drink, you’re at the Jug, music is blaring and you’re sandwiched between two couples hooking up. No matter how much you love your boyfriend or girlfriend, he or she is 500 miles away, and that cute guy or girl who is clearly checking you out is starting to look like a pretty good option.
Does hooking up with another guy or girl when you are in an exclusive relationship make you a bad person? To me, it just means you are a college student looking to have a good time. Let’s face it, who hasn’t made regrettable decisions in the heat of the moment? Now, I’m not advising those in exclusive relationships to go around hooking up with people who aren’t your boyfriend or girlfriend, because that’s called cheating and will likely lead to fighting and a potential breakup down the road. I am simply highlighting the fact that with the decision to be exclusive comes a certain responsibility, accountability and constant self-awareness that sometimes limits you from letting loose and going as crazy as your single friends.
Want to stay with your girlfriend or boyfriend but be allowed to see where the night takes you? One possible solution is to try the open relationship. But simply deciding to have an open relationship is not enough. Rules must be explicitly and mutually agreed upon between partners. In some open relationships, everything is fair game, while other couples choose to create boundaries such as “no having sex” or “only hooking up is allowed.” While this approach may seem like the best of both worlds, I warn you, possible side effects may include jealousy, rage, hurt and many other unflattering emotions if the boundaries are crossed.
Another factor of the long distance relationships is the age gap. College aged long distances relationships commonly take one of three forms: high school-college, college-college, and college-graduate. As a veteran of the long distance relationship myself, I am speaking from experience when I say the age gap can be lethal to a relationship. Sometimes the difference in social environments, from high school to college to the real world, can create distance between couples as well. So if you are experiencing a lack of communication, fighting or a lack of common experiences, it may be a result of being at two different places in your lives.
Relationships are hard enough to begin with, but when you add a couple hundred miles into the mix things get even more difficult. Now I’m not saying it can’t be done. My optimistic, romantic side says anything is possible if two people are committed and willing to put in the time and effort, but the realist in me says sometimes the distance wins. But hey, if all else fails, Yogate is just a cruiser ride away.