It wasn’t his idea, but my boyfriend seriously needed more experience with women—dating them, connecting with them, sleeping with them, etc. I figured since I had a bit of experience in the realm of online dating, he should have some too.
He doesn’t have much romantic history. I’m his first serious girlfriend. He’s the best partner I’ve ever had and hopefully my last. This is why I want him to live a full life and have plenty of valuable experiences outside of our relationship. This includes experiences with other women. After all, relationships aren’t about ownership, they’re about helping your partner become the best version of themselves they can be. I didn’t mind opening our relationship up so he could have new experiences, especially considering the circumstances our relationship started in.
I met him while I was using Tinder. About two weeks into my first experience with Tinder, things were going… OK. It was my first time using a dating app and none of my dates were horrifying (thankfully) but none of them were exceptional either. Meanwhile, I met my soon-to-be boyfriend through a mutual friend and we became great friends quickly. This friendship may have involved “benefits,” but I continued going on Tinder dates nonetheless. I even called him up after dates to tell him stories and laugh about awkward encounters. These conversations helped establish the candid trust we share with each other today.
Knowing how to navigate relationships is important—dating helps. Needless to say, we eventually caught feelings. But something about exclusivity in our relationship didn’t sit right with me. We’d fallen in love, but I didn’t want to be his only exposure to the relationship world. He’d been on dates before, sure, but all of these connections fizzled before turning into something more. I didn’t want him to commit to a permanent relationship without having a point of reference for what meaningful connections are supposed to be like. Regardless of how badly a date goes, you tend to learn something from it. I wanted him to keep learning. That’s where Tinder came in.
We established the rules of dating on Tinder. Let me reiterate—letting my boyfriend use Tinder wasn’t an idea he snuck into my head through grand manipulation tactics. He actually didn’t show much interest when I first brought it up; he kind of just shrugged and didn’t understand my reasoning. But he later figured “Why not?” and we hashed out the rules. First off, he had to tell me when he was going on a date and—if I felt like knowing—what happened on the date. Secondly, of course, he’d have to use protection if the date escalated to anything sexual. Lastly, I could ask him not to go on a date for whatever reason.
The Tinder profile he made needed some work. He eventually made what we’ll call a “draft profile”. The bio was decent enough, just needed a bit of tweaking. But the old photos he planned to use had to go. I never thought I’d one day be taking photos of my boyfriend so he could use them for a dating app, but there I was, snapping away. His main photo also features my dog, who’s extremely cute and probably ups his game considerably. The rumors are true: having a dog in your Tinder photos increases the likelihood of people swiping right.
He tells me about his dates. Yes, he’s been on several dates while we’re together. I even swipe for him every once in a while. And yes, we talk about the dates afterward. The conversations remind me of when I talk to my regular friends about their dates: the laughing and the “oooh”-ing and the high-fiving. Whenever I talk to him, I’m talking to my best friend—that extends to these conversations too. I also give him advice, but it seems he knows how to manage by now.
I can’t be jealous when I feel secure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like jealousy is a foreign concept to me. I’ve endured hints of jealousy here and there, but they dissipate after about five minutes because I’m secure in my relationship. I think we have something special that can’t be negated by a few casual encounters—that’s been proven to me again and again. Most importantly, I’m secure in myself. Even if he somehow found somebody he wanted more than me, I know I’d be OK because I don’t put my notions of self-worth in others’ hands.
It confirms the strength of our connection. There’s a pattern to the conversations we have after his dates. His tales always end something like this: “She was cool and all, but I didn’t really get the feeling I have when I’m with you.” This might sound like fluffy BS to some, but I believe it because that’s exactly what I told him at the start of our friendship when I was still going on Tinder dates. Sometimes, seeing other people just makes you realize what you already have is much better.
Healthy communication is required. Being able to talk to each other openly is the only reason this has worked out. Communicating with trust, respect, and compassion is a prerequisite to an open relationship but should be a requirement for every relationship. My boyfriend and I have managed to reach a place where we feel we only want the best for each other—no deceit, no selfishness, no pettiness. That’s why we’re comfortable with our decisions.
Still, he won’t be on Tinder forever. There’s only so much time you can spend on Tinder without burning out and feeling that “dating-app fatigue.” Once we feel it’s been enough—which looks like it might be soon—my boyfriend will delete his account, probably for good. When that time comes, things will resume normally in the traditional sense of how relationships work. For now, he’ll still have plenty of ridiculous dating stories to tell me about on his way home.
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