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Love in the time of multiples: Cracking modern dating code

Adam Pineda

An anonymous couple who met, and attend classes on Santa Monica College Main Campus, know that they are in a rare exclusive relationship. "We are definitely together and only for each other".

Maddy Weber, Staff Writer

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When it comes to relationships, determining a mutual understanding can be difficult, whether it’s platonic, casual, or romantically exclusive.

Knowing when to appropriately cross the bridge of labeling and having “the talk” doesn’t go over smoothly.

According to SMC student Linnea Svensson, dating today is beyond confusing.

“There are like a million kinds of relationships now compared to back when you were either together or you weren’t,” Svensson said.

She referred to this dynamic as being, “Full of irrational mind-games and unnecessary expectations.”

Svensson believes that real relationships are hard to come by, especially because of all the game playing involved. The power in relationships lies with the person who cares the least.

According to SMC student Kelly Isle, a clear cut understanding of what the relationship is from its genesis is necessary to have.

“Of course it’s important to address a relationship with some kind of label. Otherwise I’ll be over here making a fool out of myself being exclusive and he’ll be out with some other girl every other week,” Isle said.

Isle regards the timing of constituting a label a bit less definitive.

“[Labeling] is different for every relationship,” she said. However, knowing the reality of the relationship you’re in through open lines of communication is important. “So at least you know where you stand,” she said.

SMC student Victor Falk considers labels to be overrated, which he believes, coincides with the nature of modern dating.

In his opinion, “Labels only serve the purpose of letting everyone else know your business when it’s not their business at all.”

Falk feels that frequently dating is fine, so long as you are honest about it with your partners.

Adding to the uncertainty of initiating a relationship, labels also tend to carry more than one meaning.

In Isle’s opinion, dating means exclusivity some people, and then it means casually hanging out from time to time for others.

The stigma attached to labeling often makes for an uncomfortable conversation between two partners because it reveals the reality of the situation. In certain circumstances, this conversation shatters the illusions about how great a relationship had been by deciding what it will be.

But how do you know when it’s appropriate to bring it up and how do you know what to say without saying too much?

“It rarely seems to come naturally,” Falk said. “But it’s better to say something rather than keep quiet, even if it doesn’t go the way you want,” he added.

Svensson relies on good old texting to talk about uncomfortable subjects, admitting that she probably wouldn’t have had the majority of tough conversations she’s had if it required physically talking to their face.

According to Isle, the acceptance of casual dating is more common in today’s hook-up culture.

“That’s how it is now,” she said. Adding that, “It’s much more common for people to be seeing multiple people at once than to be committed to one person.”

Having the talk, determining labels, and all of the above are inevitable at some point or another in whichever category of relationships you find yourself.

When it comes to relationships, there’s no definitive guide book or timeline that lend us a helping hand, but as many have said, you’ll never know unless you try.

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