The other night I went to a party and ran into a friend, a coworker, an acquaintance I used to know and still work with occasionally.
We did that thing where you walk into the party, lock eyes and immediately know that you’re gonna make out at some point. That heat is just there. So we hung out, we talked alone and in groups. We had cocktails. We did all the old-acquaintance-at-a-party things and then we left the party to get drinks somewhere else with another friend.
Add some wine, subtle touches and a mutual friend whispering in my ear about how good he looks in tight pants and after a fantastically romcom moment we were making out on the side of the street. A good kisser, very good. On the whole a fun night, completely harmless, I wouldn’t mind if he calls but I won’t die if he doesn’t. (And they say hookup culture is ruining our society!)
Then I got on the long train ride home and didn’t feel quite guilty, more confused. What did the Yankee and I agree to back when we were talking about open relationships? The conversation was long and good but what had we decided? Will he be upset?
So tonight I was over at the Yankees and I did what I do best when I have to admit something. I blurted. I paused the movie and said “I made out with my friend last night. And it made me realize that I don’t know what our boundaries are.”
He said “That’s because we don’t have boundaries. Heh. Listen, I want you to do whatever makes you happy and if that includes other casual stuff then I don’t need to know about all of it unless its a really good story or something you want me to know. Just let me know if anything turns serious. Okay?”
I nodded and we resumed the movie. And I’ve never liked him more.
Having the freedom to choose makes me want to show how much I care. Makes me like him more. Even if that includes other people. Fancy that.
I have a friend who told her boyfriend that she likes to kiss people at parties sometimes and that if he’s not down with that then he should get out now because she’s not planning on changing.
I’ve never understood her more.
To me, the thing we describe as cheating is lack of respect for boundaries that have been discussed and agreed on, or disregard for a partner’s needs that have been perceived or expressed. I had to learn (by hurting people and getting hurt) that communicating about feelings and setting boundaries for a relationship is important, and that boundaries may change over the course of a relationship.