Sep 9th, 2017, 09:07 PM

The Unlabeled Relationship

By Leona Caanen
Image Credit: Pexels/Stokpic
The struggles and the benefits of hookup culture, and how these relationships leave people in uncomfortable situations.

The friends with benefits/hookup culture seems strategic and smart: you have sex without having to be emotionally attached. Ideally, there's no reason to feel emotionally exposed, but when two people are involved with each other even the most casual fling can leave people hurt when the feelings between them change. You might find yourself falling for someone who's not falling for you. There are plenty of complications and difficulties that come with having a friend to casually hook up with that no one actually talks about. The following analysis is based on interviews of AUP students. 

All names of students interviewed were changed to letters to protect their identity. Both male and female students were interviewed for this article.

The main issue with the hookup culture, according to student “A” is the moment when "you start to develop feelings and don't know if the other person is on the same page.” You start to spend a lot of time with your hookup friend outside of the bedroom: you hang out, text, and genuinely like their presence in your life. You're never sure whether the other person is on the same page. If you start to fall for them, there is a 50/50 chance that they don't share the same feelings. Student “A” also claimed that “hookups are dangerous because one of the two gets screwed over.” What if the other person is not looking for a relationship? What if they have been seeing other people on the side?

Image Credit: Flickr/Yuchao.L

This brings up a quote from student “B”, who says that “different people have different views of what a casual hookup means. For some, it means that you can hook up with other people.” This sometimes divides people by gender: the tendency is that often the girl feels that a casual hookup should be between just two people, while often the guy feels free to have fun with other friends. Student “C” claims that, as a male, he feels that men are more likely to look for other hookups, they don't feel tied or committed to anyone. But of course, that's not always the case, and when the situation is reversed it is equally awkward. 

The title is important—it proves that you are together. Yet the danger is when the title of a relationship is used as a security blanket for ensuring that the other person remains faithful to you.

According to student “A”, “if both parties just want to have fun and have a physical relationship, then everything should be alright and fine.” If you are on the same wavelength and understand the agreement then there shouldn’t be any issue. Yet if you catch feelings for someone (and they for you), then, to student “A,” the title is important: “It proves that you're together, you want people to know that they are with you.” The danger is when the title of a relationship is used as a security blanket for ensuring that the other person remains faithful to you.

Hookup culture seems ideal on paper, but having someone’s company without having the “contract” get messy very fast, as people have a tendency to develop feelings for someone they share their bed with. It begs the question: is the hookup relationship you're in really worth it? Or is it better to fall in love and then into the sheets?