when i was younger, i used to be terrified that when i’d start dating a guy, i wouldn’t be able to talk to him about my attraction to other people because that was just how people in relationship acted. i wanted, though, to share my attraction to other people with him and have a relationship dependent upon trust in which we were both confident enough and harbored enough trust for each other so that this sharing could be possible and would be welcome.
flash forward to the present, i have been with my boyfriend for three years now, a long time for a senior 22-year old in college. he and i have, yes, had our ups and down, our challenges and times when i really thought it was all over. but i have, when it all comes down to it, never in my life ever had more fun with anyone else… except maybe my best friend who i’ve known since i was eight years old. he and i are quite literally best friends and have a relationship full of love, trust, laughter, sarcasm, flirting, teasing, exploration, growth, and, most importantly, fun. our relationship, since its commencement, has morphed and expanded and allowed for space for other people and their roles within our separate, independent lives, but also our relationship together.
which brings me to the meat of my post. i cannot say that i have ever in my life felt feelings for only one person exclusively. in my eyes, it’s essential within a committed, long-term relationship to leave room for other people. not that this will work for everyone, i believe and strongly feel that there are different places for different people within a relationship. this isn’t to say that a relationship should include multiple people within its commitment. but this is to say that liking other people, having crushes, flirting, maybe spending time with or even having some level of sexual relations with other people or another person could be a healthy addition to a committed, loving, long-term relationship. in my experience, it has brought me closer to my significant other and enhanced our relationship greatly.
i watched this ted talk today about being attracted to other people outside of a monogamous or committed relationship, how we can get things from other people that our partners cannot give us: newness, excitement, adrenaline rush, the whole lot. we can be entirely in love with one individual while day dreaming about another, about having sex or making out with another person and then returning to thinking about our committed lover. this is only natural, and this is what i invite into a relationship, what i embrace. for me, allowing this kind of exploration to enter into a committed relationship, especially at my age, allows me to be with the one i love in a healthy, trusted relationship while also being able to explore people who i’m extremely attracted to everyday and who i’d like very much to sleep with or even just kiss. i can’t help having that desire, though i can manage my behavior that is the outcome of those feelings. i should never have to repress or keep secret these feelings in a relationship, as it’s a part of who i am, of what i need as a human being. i cannot and would not expect that of anyone else either.
being attracted to other people, though our society tells us it’s not acceptable while in a relationship, is entirely natural and expected. i would encourage people to build trust and love within a relationship and then open the relationship to possibilities of sexual interactions with other people outside of the relationship or even with another person and your significant other. why the hell not? we only live once, right!