Usually, this standalone seven-word phrase signals the end of the road, whether you’re in a friends-with-benefits type situation or a five-year committed relationship.
“But let’s see where we are in our relationship later.”
Now, the situation has changed. You’ve suddenly been granted freedoms that might have been unacceptable before. Your partner has in effect given you a hall pass that you can use to walk freely through the corridors of the swanky single life.
As defined by the Writers With Benefits, a hall pass means giving your partner permission to date other people without the responsibility of being in a relationship.
The question is: Should you stick that pass in your back pocket and forget about it? Or should you take it and run through the halls as fast as you can before it expires? The Writers With Benefits have it covered, with help from Marriage, Family and Intimate Relations (SOC 114) professors Gailynn White and Sheryl Walz.
MG: I think hall passes are necessary. I mean, come on. Couples don’t like to share the challenges they have had in the relationship. Couples who have been faithful for 50 years shock me, especially in California since the divorce rate is 75 percent. According to a joint study done by MSNBC.com and iVillage Lust, Love & Loyalty, nearly 50 percent of people admit to being unfaithful at some point in their lives. Couples all have different definitions on being faithful; I believe someone is unfaithful when it’s behind the partners back. Having the talk about different alternatives and giving permission may define their partner as being faithful.
DT: I agree that keeping things interesting and new is necessary. But do you really have to go so far as to give somebody free reign to sleep with anybody they want? If you’re in the position where you’re doing that, I think that relationship is in its dying stages anyway.
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But maybe the reason we couldn’t reach an agreement about whether a hall pass would make or break a relationship just comes down to how the WWB are wired.
“Sociologically speaking, men have a harder time dealing with that then women,” White said.
Walz offered a more sociological explanation.
“Men are more bothered by the sexual aspect [of the idea],” Walz said. “If he’s going to stay with one woman, or provide for her, or protect her and her young, she better be his.”
While Walz and White both mentioned that “a hall pass is more likely to end a relationship than continue it,” they did say that it could sometimes liven things up.
“It can make a relationship better if you approach it the right way, but most of the time we approach it from jealousy. That doesn’t work,” White said.
White also added “Both people have to be willing to look at their behavior in the relationship, and openly look at the other person’s feelings and thoughts and say ‘What is working . . . and what can we do to find those things] in each other?”
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WWB: So if you find yourself losing interest in whatever type of sexlationship you may have, taking a break is definitely not the answer. Except sometimes. Hey, if marriage professionals don’t have the solution, how can we?
It depends on how comfortable you are with the person you’re with. Try changing things up instead of going to your standard dinner and a movie or making the weekend 2 a.m. phone call.
If that doesn’t work, maybe it is time for you to take a break from what you’re doing or it wasn’t meant to be. And as Walz and White say, breaking up isn’t the end of the world.
“I don’t think there’s just one person [for anybody],” Walz said. “Breaking up is something that doesn’t happen as often as it should.”
“There’s so much pressure in our society to find ‘The One,’ White said. “And I don’t think there’s ‘The One.’ I think there’s many . . . it’s a matter of finding them.”