The dating culture has evolved and changed over the years – with people going from “courting” and “going steady”, to dating “unexclusively” and “hooking up.” Of course this isn’t the case with all relationships, but the fact of the matter is today’s dating culture is rapidly turning into a hook up culture, leaving couples in a “no label” zone.
Commitment seems to have become pretty much a nuisance that is ultimately feared by many of today’s youth, causing the popularity of casual, laid-back dating. It does sound quite simple and appealing, doesn’t it? No strings attached, no added responsibilities, and no over-the-top relationship cheesiness. It’s like getting the perks of a relationship without actually having to be in one. Realistically though, label-less relationships come with a lot more baggage than what is expected.
Here’s what you need to consider before deciding to explore the possibility of entering into an open, label-free relationship:
Can Any Relationship Be Void of Feelings?
Can one jump headfirst into any agreement without any feelings involved? Can we simply turn some kind of switch off in order to stop ourselves from getting attached to a person? A ‘no label’ relationship is simply NOT an actual relationship, so your feelings of love and jealousy need to go out of the window the moment you get into one. Can you seriously handle that?
No Commitment, No Rules
Seeing as how a ‘no label’ relationship entails zero commitment, any of both parties can essentially flirt and hit on whoever they want; there are basically no rules for actions. You have every right not to be monogamous, as do they, and none of you can say anything about it. In other words, if you snap at them because they flirted with someone at last night’s party, your behaviour will seem odd, unjustified and a little too clingy.
Zero Expectations Are the Only Expectations You Can Have
A casual fling is essentially pursued for the fun of it, and not for you to get all sentimental and expect the other person to do the same. You need to have absolutely no expectations. An open relationship won’t get you someone to take you out on the most dazzlingly creative dates, or someone you can text at 4 am when you cannot sleep. You won’t be with someone who will make you soup when you’re sick or call you before your big meeting to wish you good luck.
If you start expecting the other person to do any of the above things, you’ll just be setting yourself up for major disappointment.
What If One Person Gets More Attached?
That is when things get as complicated as can, because with attachment come expectations. One person may just simply start wanting more out of the essentially non-existent relationship. One person may want the other to be faithful and committed, whereas the other will just want to stick to the initial agreement, saying they want to “keep exploring this new territory” and claiming that they cannot be tied down by a relationship. You’ll basically be raining all over their parade of fun, making you look a bit needy and overly-attached.
How Will Other People Define This Open Relationship?
This is when the awkwardness begins. Your friends will ask time and time again ‘so you’re together…?’ and you’ll have to sit there explaining why you’re actually not and attempting to justify your, to them, absurd choice not to be exclusive. Just because you’re both fine with having no labels, doesn’t mean other people are. The again, it is your life and you get to make your own choices, regardless of what people think.
In the end, it is ultimately your choice, and in order to make it, you need to truly know what you want out of a relationship. Now that you know what a ‘no label’ relationship entails, you need to see if it fits with your emotional needs and priorities before you jump into unfamiliar waters.