Although the term itself comes off as an oxymoron, a serious “open relationship” is very possible and very real.
Just take it from me. I’ve known it for some time now.
I happen to have met the love of my life when I was 17, and four years later and after many battles fought, I have zero doubts this guy is the person I am ultimately meant to be with.
Lucky for me, he feels the exact same way.
That just wasn't the case a few months ago.
Before officially committing to my long-term open relationship, my boyfriend and I were entwined in a genuinely healthy, loving open relationship.
Some will call it selfish, others will call it cruel, many might think it’s manipulative and most will believe we “don’t really love each other.”
I am here to tell you that you are oh-so wrong.
We did (and still do) the same things "real" couples do.
We go to the movies, get dinner, attend family events and at night, we like to go over to each others’ places and cuddle in bed and watch marathons on Food Network that ultimately lead to great sex.
It's the same kind you have when you’re in a monogamous relationship.
So where does the open part come in you might ask?
It comes from the same place many of our life’s greatest issues emerge from: the battle of time.
I happen to have met my true love the same time I decided that going to school three hours away was the best choice for me.
It was the best choice I could make to grow as an individual.
He is fun, caring and — regardless of what many would think — loyal.
We share our deepest secrets, dreams and love for the life we have together with one another, and we always plan the future with the other in mind.
After years of trying to be together, we found that we both had this fear we had met too early in life.
It caused backlash at times, and we both had the desire to continue to explore the world and date.
It is weird, I guess.
On the outside, it looks like we both want and love each other, but can’t quite choose each other.
The truth is, we chose each other a long time ago.
Our commitment runs so deep that it doesn’t really become phased by the presence of others.
It’s not to say we chose this path easily. It came with trial and error and the undying question of, “Why can’t I let go of you?”
The answer is actually simpler than you’d think.
We’re in our 20s, and life is ever-changing.
But when you have a good thing, you know it.
Being in this open relationship has taught me a lot, especially about myself.
I have learned that love is an idea, not a label.
We can only decide what love is for ourselves.
You cannot allow society to tell you that love comes in one form, and one form only.
If that were the case, then this is really all a bunch of bullsh*t.
Culturally, love is different everywhere.
People are polygamists, people are monogamous and some people are straight-up never looking to get married, but love anyway.
I have learned to be patient.
My graduation from college is soon approaching, and I have no doubt in my mind the finish line will be worth it.
I am independent.
I spend a lot of time on my own for exchange with the little time I get with someone who means it all.
I work, go to school, blog and spend lots of time with other friends.
It feels great to be able to do it all and go back to him when the time works.
I guess you could say I’ve been having my cake and eating it too, but neither of us minds.
I got to live the college life I wanted, and I got to share my special moments with the love of my life.
Ultimately, I’m happy.
I thought no one could really be the exception to the rules, but it turns out, I became it on my own.
People can say whatever they want about open relationships.
At the end of the day, there are two people in love, and time or some other unforeseen circumstance just might not be on their side.
We are not lonely. We are not insecure.
We are not unfaithful. We are not cheaters.
When we have a problem in our relationship, we discuss it.
When one of us cries, so does the other.
When one of us is drunk at 2 am three hours away, we call the other.
When we’ve accomplished something great, we call each other.
You can’t put a label on love.
You can’t put a label on a relationship.
Everyone is different, but there is only one love.
It is the one we create for ourselves.