Now entering the land of exclusivity

Illustration by Emily Reising Photo credit: Emily Reising

In my opinion, both the best and worst part of hooking up with someone is the point where you both decide to quit the game and claim each other once and for all. Not many couples make it to this point, but the few that do must face the scary questions that come up when a hookup turns serious. After sharing intimate moments with another person, it’s not surprising that someone might want to know where they stand.

One of the most difficult parts about this is knowing when to address the situation, as it can soon start to feel like the elephant in the room. Assuming you’re not totally crazy, you probably have the ability to sense how someone feels about you. I would say the ultimate goal in a relationship is to be with someone who feels the same way you do about your commitment to one another, and it’s nice when you’re able to sense that without words. However, once you’ve picked up on these feelings, it’s important to face them soon after.

Realizing you actually, genuinely, truly like the person you’re hooking up with can bring a mixture of fear, confusion, happiness, anxiety and excitement. When you reach that moment, you also realize that you want that person to be only yours— no one else can enter the scene anymore, right?

Once you start spending a significant amount of time with your “person,” you start to enjoy a certain level of comfort and stability between you. There’s a level of trust that develops in the relationship, which Lena Dunham sums up perfectly in her novel “Not That Kind of Girl”:

“When we embark on intimate relationships, we make a basic human promise to be decent, to hold a flattering mirror up to each other, to be respectful as we explore each other.”

This holds extremely true to the type of relationship and bond that develops between us and another person whom we share intimate experiences with.

With these feelings in mind and heart, it’s hard to hide the fact that you’ve reached the point where exclusivity is now what you want. When a relationship starts out as a fun, unexpected one-night stand turned into a couple of nights in a row turned into spending large amounts of time with each other throughout the day turned into sleepovers every night, then it’s time you admit to yourself that it’s no longer a hookup— you’re in deep. The relationship has steadily progressed into something much more serious than you had anticipated, and you kind of like it.

Deciding to commit yourself to a person doesn’t always have to be the big, serious, scary thing that many college students make it out to be. Being honest with your feelings and telling someone you want them and only them and would like the same in return is always a bold move, but it’s so incredibly worth it when you end up being happy with someone you enjoy and respect.

I urge everyone out there, including myself, to stop being afraid of rejection and commitment and instead embrace the warm, fuzzy feelings you get from that special someone. I urge you to take those feelings and run with them because the end result could be better than you ever imagined. It’s important to explore and learn in relationships, and that’s why deciding to become exclusive with someone should be an exciting step in the hookup process.

Instead of running away from it, let’s instead respect others for being so brave to enter the land of exclusivity and hope that we, ourselves, get to be a part of it someday.

Emma Vidak-Benjamin can be reached at features [email protected] or @gnarlyemma on Twitter.