The Pros And Cons Of Nonexclusive Dating

Nonexclusive relationships are becoming the normal thing to do for 20-somethings. Let’s weigh out the pros and cons of having a relationship with no strings attached.



1. You can still date whoever you want and not get in trouble for it.

This is nice, especially if you are just coming out of a relationship that was super possessive (points finger to self). There’s no longer a dragon breathing down my back, watching my every move, just waiting to incinerate me for talking to other men. In a nonexclusive relationship, you always have the excuse of “Well, we are just ‘talking,’ therefore I’m playing the field for awhile.” You can wipe your hands clean of any drama and not expect to be taken to the guillotine the next morning after your date with another person.

2. You don’t have to lie about what you are doing.

This reminds me of Kevin Hart’s standup where he is talking about telling his wife about feeding the pigeons. “Tell the bitch sitting next to you that’s making pigeon noises in the phone, when I see her, I’m gonna beat her ass.” You can go do whatever you want, alone. If I want to go to the supermarket and read every label on every can of soup, I can do it. I don’t have to call my boyfriend to nervously mumble, “Hey honey, it’s going to be a few hours, I’ve got to go to the supermarket and read soup labels.” Yeah, that sounds believable.

3. You can be honest.

Telling the truth is not a crime anymore. It goes hand in hand with the soup labels. I could honestly tell you what I’m doing and you have no reason to freak out. You can’t, because we haven’t crossed the border yet. It wouldn’t be fair if I told you the truth and you got mad at me.

4. You don’t feel like you have the threat of losing something.

Maybe I was just in all the wrong relationships, but I always feel like once I’m in a relationship, loss is enviable. Just think about it. In theory, you are supposed to marry one person and be with that person for THE REST OF YOUR LIVING LIFE. You better make damn sure this is the right person. Dating is essentially figuring out if that person is the one. The rest of the 99% are not it. I repeat, 99% of the people you date will NOT work out. Logic. Being naturally pessimistic isn’t exactly helping in that category, either.

5. It’s more relaxing.

I actually enjoy being alone. I don’t have anyone to answer to, I can do my own thing, and not worry about what someone else is doing. My dad told me one time when I was 15 and had my first boyfriend, “If he’s going to cheat, he’s going to cheat. There’s nothing you can do or say to stop him.” He also told me that, “Sex is like ice cream. If you’ve never had ice cream before, then you don’t know what it tastes like. Once you’ve had ice cream, you’re going to want some more.” Good point, dad. Not saying which, but one of those is true. I can’t convince someone to not cheat on me. That decision is up to that person. Guilt only works for so long and then it wears out. My ideas are essentially the same with nonexclusive relationships. Although there is no formal agreement to be exclusive, how much you like that person decides your actions.


1. Jealousy.

We are only human. It’s going to happen. If we are nonexclusive and either one of us find out that someone else is in the picture, then more than likely some sharp words are going to be said. It might even tip you over the breaking point and make you decide to be exclusive. Don’t want another guy taking your girl on dates, treating her nicely, and offering exclusivity? You better lock that down then, son. If you are cool with it, then you probably don’t like this person too much. From my experience, the threat of someone else coming into the picture is a quick way to decide how much you like this person. Now, if both of you are free-lovers and this is cool, then invite that person into your dating lives and live out in the mountains of Utah in a commune together. The majority of people are unable to handle this. Although, I do know people who feel no type of jealousy towards this type of situation and they have both communicated with each other and been completely honest about their relationship. Most people haven’t done this. I think the key to a nonexclusive relationship is communicating exactly what you want so that the other person doesn’t get offended if they are accepting other offers.

2. Sometimes feeling like you should lie.

If you aren’t communicating, then you don’t know your borders, which may make you feel like you need to lie. Being dishonest about a certain situation means that you aren’t being completely open in your open relationship.

3. You can’t be completely honest.

You fear that if you are open, then you will lose this person. More than likely you know that if you say, “Yeah, I met this really nice guy last night and he wants to take me out,” the response won’t be, “I am so happy for you! You better go off and have a blast!” Granted, you like this person and it is only human nature to be somewhat offended. Drawing lines are hard and deciding what to reveal and what not to reveal is even harder.

4. You still feel the threat of losing something.

And in the end, you still feel like you could lose something. If you are too honest, you lose your relationship. If you are too shady, you lose your relationship. It’s impossible to keep on a straight line of balancing these two.

5. It’s more stressful.

A nonexclusive relationship might be more stressful. You don’t know what is right, you don’t know what is wrong. You just know that you like this person and you don’t want to lose them, but at the same time being in a committed relationship doesn’t seem right either. Life is so complicated sometimes. You pull out your hair, shaking your fists at the gods and beg them to give you all the magic secrets on how to make this shit work without any complications. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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H.L. Miller

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