My girlfriend and I have been dating for almost ten months and we have an open relationship, but not in the way you might think. When I say "open" I mean our relationship is open to anyone looking for a friend or conversation. A lot of our time is spent with others and a lot of it is spent in public places, and our relationship's sole goal isn't to be with each other every minute of everyday. We extend our love from each other to everyone we encounter.

Before we started dating we shared a lot of mutual friends as well as our own exclusive friends. This causes problems in relationships because often when people start dating those mutual friends often fade away or pick one person to spend most of their time together, and exclusive friends often get left at the way side as the new couple will surely be spending a lot of time together. What ends up happening is that the couple is less fun than they used to be. However, both my girlfriend and I realized that our friends mean to much to us than to not pay attention to them. So after a few ambiguous discussions it seemed we had a mutual understanding that in our new relationship we would focus a lot of our efforts towards our friends and the community we were apart of prior to our relationship.We want to strengthen and be there for our friends just as much as we wanted to do the same for each other.

Too often do we as a society let our relationships dictate our lives and friendships. We let go of so much and others suffer as a result. That isn't the way dating should work. A relationship should extend to others not directly involved.

When my significant other and I are together we can often be spotted with at least one other friend. For many of those friends, they feel they are intruding on our "couple time" when, in fact, we want them to be spending time with us. Just because we are in a relationship does not mean we should be turning others away or be giving off any sort of vibe that might make us hard to be around. Our focus is often not on each other, but more often on the third or fourth parties we are sharing fellowship with.

Of course, we also make time for ourselves. When at school the beginning of each day we are usually alone for a while and every night I walk her back to her room as we take the long way and extended short-cuts talking and enjoying each other's company. We often take date dinners and nights and simply spend them with each other watching movies and playing music together (aside, one of my favorite things to do with my girlfriend is play music with her). Even though we spend a lot of time with our friends we still make sure that each other is at the top of our list.

We also spend a lot of time apart, time which is spent alone with our other friends our with families. A big portion of Summer is spent apart from one another, as well as most of winter break. On top of that, each of us involved in numerous things that require us being apart

Doing this has kept us away from each others throat first off. Additionally we have grown stronger friendships with our other friends as a result. I have that people respect our doing this and respond positively. We don't want anyone feeling that we are unapproachable and we definitely don't want others feeling like they have lost a friend.