Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
freestocks r oV6smBBYk unsplash?width=719&height=464&fit=crop&auto=webp
freestocks r oV6smBBYk unsplash?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp
/ Unsplash
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

On Open Relationships and Being Emotionally Responsible

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

These days the dating pool is vast, varied and a more open scene than in the past. Technology has made it easier to connect with different kinds of people. Dating apps and websites are tools that give you additional ways to reach out and date people. Keeping in touch is easier when you have people available at the tip of our fingers: even across oceans. The downside to this is that you can end up being disconnected from those around us. This can even happen when you’re trying to reach out to people, even with all the social media and instant messaging apps.

When you engage in relationships that are outside of the conventions of monogamy, like polyamory, open relationships or casual relationships, it’s important to have healthy communication. You need to feel like you can voice your discomfort or any other feeling. You need to feel that you’re able to do something like ending the relationship for example (if it comes to that). Speak clearly from the very beginning and don’t throw around words that can confuse the other person (or people) involved with you either physically or emotionally. Don’t just say things like “I think I’ll fall in love with you”, “You’re kind of like my girlfriend/boyfriend/emotional partner” or “You’re almost my girlfriend/boyfriend/emotional partner”. If you’re just joking, give a clear sign that it is or else you might confuse them, and things could end up getting messy and confusing. You can’t expect people to just brush things off, especially you keep repeating these statements.

Confusion and negative environments can manifest even in these types of relationships that are supposed to be carefree and fun. Experiencing some form of emotional distress is a type of relationship like this isn’t fun or healthy for anyone involved. When you want a casual fun arrangement then it shouldn’t be difficult, it shouldn’t weigh on a person. This applies to any relationship. A relationship shouldn’t be another source of stress in our lives or cause any sort of emotional damage.

There are a few examples of harmful and toxic behavior that have become way too popular nowadays. Gaslighting and ghosting are the most prominent in this technological age. Ghosting can seem like an easy way out of a situation that you don’t want to be in anymore. But sometimes it is better for all the people involved to just reject someone flat out. The rejection can hurt them, but it can be as quick as ripping off a band-aid. Ghosting can suck, and it hurts because you can leave the other person wondering what they did wrong or if something is wrong with them.

Gaslighting is another nasty practice and it can be the worst one because this one can border on, or even lead to emotional abuse. It can lead the victim to question their thoughts and actions within or outside of the relationship. It sucks to end things because the other person disappeared or to stay in an environment that is making you sick or affecting your mental health. People have become so disconnected from each other on an emotional level. Let’s consider breaking the cycle and be open. Sometimes it’s better to consider saying something, having a healthy conversation to clear things up, even ending things, than just leaving someone on reading or simply disappearing.

There is nothing wrong with being in an open relationship or just hooking up. Wanting this is completely valid, but you need to keep in mind that when dealing with other human beings, communication is key, even if it’s for sex. Bottom line: it’s good to make things clear from the very beginning and if you aren’t sure then voice it. It’s better to be on the same page. Communication and being emotionally mature enough to not hurt the other person or pressure things can and should be an important part of dating and hooking up in general. If you don’t want to talk with the person then say it’s over. If something is bothering you, then say it. If you just aren’t feeling it or don’t like where things are going, then say it.

Silence can be incredibly toxic, let’s try to not buy into the toxic dating culture that is continually spreading. It’s important to note that, when there is an incredibly toxic environment or a person is being harassed or attacked, then it valid to leave on read, block or report the other person. It all depends on the circumstances, but you do see that people are simply choosing to not deal with things or their own emotions and avoid confrontation, and that is also very toxic and unhealthy behavior.

To sum it up, sometimes you need to think about the way our actions could affect others. Communication is key in any sort of relationship, but if it gets too toxic or you feel abused, you don’t owe anyone anything, but if you’re the person who is mistreating the other emotionally or physically reevaluate the way you’re treating them or just let them go.

A 22-year old writer and Comparative Literature student with a Certification in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Passionate about poetry, storytelling, languages, translation, editing, art, pop culture, cinema, theater, and social justice. Writing has always been her passion and she wants to use her words to effect change, to contribute something meaningful; focusing on topics of social justice such as feminism and activism to shed light on vulnerable commmunities and amplify the voices of those who are often ignored.