by Brian Hodges
Oh monogamy, that tricky fickle thing. We often aspire to it while at the same time realizing the alternatives can be just as appealing. For as much as your heart (and to a lesser extent, your brain) wants to take this romantic whatever-it-is to the next level, there are other, ya know, parts that aren’t ready to remove themselves from the dating pool just yet. Fact is, you’re in college with more potential romantic partners at your immediate disposal than any other time in your life. No wonder exclusivity makes you gunshy! So how do you satisfy the part of you that wants to keep your options open, while at the same time acknowledging the part that feels like it might be ready for something more serious?
The Answer: ONE DAY
Specifically, One Day per week that you and your more-than-just-a-lay designate for each other. For a date, for a night in, for other assorted activities that may or may not include a sleepover. The unspoken sentiment being: “I may not be ready to commit myself 100% to anyone, but for at least one day every week I promise to commit 100 percent of myself to you.”
It ain’t Shakespeare…or Ryan Gosling for that matter. But you’d be surprised how much this under-explored step on the relationship spectrum can alleviate the pressure and resentment that often accompany rushing into something serious. It’s amazing how much more giving you can be when you don’t feel trapped, or how committed you can be when you don’t have to commit to the rest of the week. Rather than seven days of lukewarm obligation, what you end up with are epic nights of focused passion that you can return to—happily and sustainably—every single week. What’s more, it demonstrates that you’re both more realistic about how love and relationships actually work than all those people who model their romantic lives after The Notebook…which gives better odds that
your relationship might actually survive.
Don’t get me wrong, the One Day thing probably isn’t for everyone. There are people out there who can be single or in a relationship but ne’er the space between. But as more and more open-minded couples (and fans of Dan Savage) are beginning to realize, non-monogamy isn’t just for skeezy middle-aged swingers with presidential aspirations. Taking your casual thing to a One Day commitment is about more than keeping your options open though. It says, “I’m busy. You’re busy. But I really like you and think this could be headed somewhere.” Whether or not you make the eventual leap to full-fledged monogamy is up to you. Either way, committing to One Day could be just the step you need to lead this whatever-it-is into a more functional, more fulfilling, and ultimately longer-lasting relationship.
TIPS FOR MAKING IT WORK
Sure, sure, the whole reason behind the One Day thing is that you’re not ready to commit to one person. But if you’re sincere about moving things in that general direction, at least make sure you can commit to the day. Plug it into your calendar and plan around it like you would a job or a class. Emergencies are one thing, but blowing off your steady day for a potential lay just ain’t cool.
When you’re together, be together. Seriously, it’s one stinkin’ night! Make it all about each other. You don’t have be extravagant or even leave the dorm, but at least make sure you don’t spend the entire time texting with people you could see the other six days of the week.
Just because you’ve committed to one day doesn’t mean it has to be the only day. If you find yourself free on a non-scheduled night, fire off a text and see what your “special friend with no official label” is up to. Just promise you won’t get pissy if they already have plans.
Understand that this is, at its core, an open relationship. How much you disclose to each other about your extracurricular activities is up to the two of you. Some quasi-couples go into full detail about every single date and sexual conquest. Others are content with a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Whatever you
agree on, keep the lines of communication open and don’t let phantom jealousy screw up the good thing you’ve got going. Have a Nice Day.