Get married. Find a companion. That is your mission. But what if that level of commitment is intimidating? The fear to commit on such an intense level is understandable, which is why many people find themselves in non-exclusive relationships.
“Generally, an open relationship is when the parties involved have two or more romantic or sexual relationships occurring at the same time either as a short-term relationship, such as dating, or a long-term relationship, such as marriage,” according to Wikipedia.
Clearly, as a predominately Mormon campus, members frown upon sexual intimacy before marriage, but this does not mean you cannot have multiple romantic relationships with one of them being more serious than the rest.
It sounds repulsive, right? However, let’s be honest; most people have been caught up in this situation. So, is it OK to have this kind of relationship or not?
Lauren Wright, a sophomore studying health psychology, said the pros to being in an non-exclusive relationship are that you have the chance to get a taste of different varieties and a sense of freedom.
Wright said that while there are some benefits to being more serious with one individual, they come at the price of jealousy and trust complications.
“You need to be OK with each other dating others if you are going to take that step,” Wright said.
Scott Gardner, a faculty member, said he encourages dating various people because you get to know who you really like, but he suggests not doing that when “committed” with someone else.
“There may be a type of person we have initially ruled out, but after going on some dates with them, we realize we really like that kind of a person,” Gardner said.
Wright said it is cut-and-dry; you are either in a relationship or not.
“I think it’s OK to date around,” Wright said. “I don’t think you should be in a relationship but openly dating others.”
Victor Rodriguez, a senior studying biology, said the purpose of a relationship is to prepare for marriage.
“An open relationship doesn’t show that commitment level or willingness to endure with the other person through a marriage,” Rodriguez said.
Sherrie Crawford, a junior studying social work, said people nowadays are scared of commitment.
“I wish, instead, we could embrace ‘casual dating,’ actually going on dates with a variety of people without feeling that we have to be exclusive right away,” Gardner said.” It is so much healthier to date a variety of people first and then get exclusive with one after that.”
Gardner said his wife enjoyed the dating life, but it took a few tries before she found him.
“I like to say, ‘She had to date the rest to know that I’m the best,’” Gardner said.
Crawford said she understands the fear of commitment, but you have to move on.
“Even if you have been hurt in the past, trust,” Crawford said.
Steady dating means that you are connected to someone exclusively on an emotional and physical level which you otherwise would not be with anyone else, according to an article titled “Unsteady Dating,” found on LDS.org.
“With casual dating, there is no exclusivity,” according to the article. “The two people aren’t ‘a couple’ or ‘an item,’ and they don’t refer to each other as a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend.’ They don’t pair off. People who are casually dating are simply friends.”
Gardner said he suggests going back to the basics. He said to think about what you want for the future.
“If we go back to the idea of practicing for the future, what are you practicing if you are ‘committed’ to one person, but not really,” Gardner said. “I’m still going to date around, but I’m ‘committed’ to you. That’s not a pattern we want to perpetuate long-term.”