Dear V: Should we have an open relationship?

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Dear V,

My boyfriend and I have dated for three years. He moved for work last year, so we’re in a long-distance relationship now and it’s tough. We talk on the phone almost every day, but it doesn’t feel the same as cuddling with Netflix or, y’know … intimacy.

I joked about wishing we could teleport and have sex together, which gave my boyfriend an idea: an open relationship. He said we’d still be a couple but could both let off steam with nearby people.

It sounds like a good idea. I’d like to be physical with someone, but I’m scared of it going wrong … what if he falls in love with someone he sleeps with?

Sincerely,

(Mostly) Monogamous Mindy

Dear (Mostly) Monogamous Mindy,

There’s this cute little thing called oxytocin that’s released in your brain during sex. It’s called the “love hormone” and it’s why random one-night stands can accidentally become long-term relationships.

While plenty of people thrive in open relationships, many couples end up broken-hearted or betrayed after welcoming others into the mix.

Depending on how many partners you’ve had and how casually you view sex, this could end up strengthening the bond between you two or fanning the flames of jealousy.

While V’s known to be “out there,” I’m not so radical as to feel open relationships should replace the conventional practice of monogamy – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if you feel more progressive than your peers, go for it.

My advice? Define what “sex” means to you before spreading it like wildfire.

If you and your boyfriend view sex as a casual activity to relieve stress, then by all means, welcome more folks into the herd. But if you believe sex is shared between two people to express love for one another, don’t try to use an open relationship as a Band-Aid for the underlying problem: distance.

It’s hard to go without physical contact for so long. We’re humans and we all crave to be close with someone. But before you become jealous and possessive of each other and interrogate one another on who’s booping who while you’re apart, consider other ways to be close.

We live in a world where technology is at our fingertips. Get seductive on Snapchat, get scantily-clad on Skype, or even go back in time and Tango on the telephone. If that’s not enough, add some luddite flair and bust out handwritten love letters. The goal here is to be intimate despite being miles apart.

If you’re not ready for an open-relationship but you both are lonely, don’t beat a dead horse. Take a break until you two can live closer or try moving on and seeing local people.

Life’s too short to be unhappy and distance can get the best of any duo..

-V

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