Lately, I’ve had many discussions regarding romance, love, commitment, relationships, and marriage. Of course, these things are not all inherently related, but they certainly tend to be.
The topic I’d like to address here is the concept of relationships as a whole. I personally believe that different relationship styles work for different people; there simply is no right or wrong. If two, three, or any number of parties agree to a set of terms, then that is what works. A successful relationship isn’t one that rests upon a certain model. It’s a matter of having coinciding expectations that makes any relationship function.
Now, based on this belief, the problem I see with most relationships nowadays is that people get involved without ever having explicitly communicated their expectations. Whether it’s friends-with-benefits, monogamy, a triad, a completely open relationship, open-with-veto, etc., the individuals involved need to agree to what the expectations actually are.
Most likely, the majority of individuals get involved expecting a monogamous relationship where any sort of sexual or romantic involvement with another party constitutes as “cheating.” Interestingly enough, this seemingly closed and neat relationship is not always declared at any point in time. Take this for example:
-Person A goes on a date with Person B. The date goes well.
-Person B then goes on a date with Person C, but decides that it is not a good prospect.
-Person A is seeing both Person D and E.
-Person A and Person B go on multiple consecutive dates and spend more and more time with one another.
-At some variable in time, Person A and Person B become a “couple,” and at this point, any romantic involvement outside A and B becomes not okay.
Seems simple and good, right?
Well, usually not. First of all, while going on dates and such, the entire process of relationship building is often a guessing game. Unless you explicitly ask the other party how serious the union is, there is ambiguity. Even if you do ask, there is often still uncertainty. There is no way to say for certain when A and B actually became a closed “couple.” In fact, they may have reached this conclusion at different points in time. This also happens to be a greatly simplified example for argument’s sake.
I’ve known plenty of girls that expect that once they are “asked out,” it means they are officially in a monogamous relationship with the guy. Others I know never consider themselves in a relationship, no matter how things between individuals develop. Point is, there are so many possibilities, that I feel it is erroneous to simply take one conventional model and use it as a default assumption.
I find it troublesome when people attempt to assign an objective, all encompassing “best” type of relationship. Monogamy may be an incorrectly assumed default, but I also don’t condemn in. In fact, after having been involved in a variety of relationships, I find that I feel most comfortable with being in a monogamous relationship. But really, with all the different types of people and the different types of love, you can’t expect a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Of course, there are always going to be complications even if all relevant parties attempt to communicate terms. Honestly, this scares me. There will always be circumstances that prevent an agreement. Sometimes, the context is so complicated that it makes it unreasonable to even establish terms, even though you may want to.
I suppose romance is just a fickle thing. So when facing something so fleeting and capricious, it helps to be adaptive.