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Open Relationship my A**!

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I love Facebook.

I really do.

It's cool. It's got all you need to tell people about you - your photos, your likes, your dislikes, what you did for the weekend, what your grandmother had for breakfast etc.

One thing I like about Facebook is that it gives the opportunity for people to tell the truth about their relationship status, whether they were single, married, in a relationship and so on. As a social scientist who is somewhat versed in discourse analysis, allow me to analyse a few of them.

1) SINGLE - a lot of lovelorn teens and young adults post this as their relationship status. Mostly, when they say they are single on Facebook you can generally believe it. Reason - they're going to get a whacking/tongue lashing from their significant other, who is also on Facebook.

2) (Not Stated) - This equivocation is one usually used by people who are in a relationship but are not comfortable in admitting it yet, or are in a relationship but their significant other is not yet on Facebook, or used by those who actually do not have a relationship but are too shy to admit that they are 'losers' ( Not the personal opinion of blogger).

3) MARRIED - Those who are married, and whose spouses are ALSO on Facebook. Enough said.

4) IN A RELATIONSHIP - These are usually truthful statements, as they have to be verified by both parties.

5) IN AN OPEN RELATIONSHIP - Now, this is the one I have the biggest gripe with. A lot of young and trendy people in their late teens and their young adulthood may at some point or other choose to publish this relationship status. They may think (please read the next part in a ditsy sing-song voice) - 'Oh my bf/gf is so understanding, we have have a beautiful relationship, we tell each other everything, we have no secrets, we are so open, bla bla bla'. In short, many people, especially my students (current, past, university, school) are of the opinion that an 'Open Relationship' means a good loving relationship where both parties are open with each other and tell each other how they feel.


Just to clarify, allow me to state the definition of an 'Open Relationship'.

i - An open relationship is a relationship in which the participants are free to have emotional and/or physical relationships with other partners, often within mutually agreed limits. If a couple in an open relationship are married, it can be called an open marriage. (
ii - A relationship in which two people agree that they want to be together, but can't exactly promise that they won't see other people too. Basically, to have it all: a significant other and the freedom to hook up with other people. Common during college for many post-high school relationships.(

There are of course many other references, but I leave that up to your perseverance to follow-up. Suffice to say, when you state that you are in an 'Open Relationship' you are in fact telling the whole world that you have a spouse/bf/gf, and that you cheat openly, and that it's OK because they are doing the same thing. You're not going to get jealous if he/she is exchanging body fluids with someone else because hey - you're doing it too.

But some people may have their reasons for it - granted. It is somewhat acceptable if you do have your reasons for doing so, and both of you know what you are into. That is not for me to judge.

However, I DO have a reason to be miffed at the thousands of doey-eyed teeenagers and young adults who do NOT know what an open relationship is, and yet here they are, publishing that they are in an 'Open Relationship'!

Open relationship my a**...


izzati fuad said…

i totally agree with you. heh. how can they even put that?
hilmihamzah said…

While I understood the concept wholly and truthfully (and rolling on the floor laughing when people actually use it in their profile), I do believe that the concept will somewhat be 'altered' by the 'stupidity' of the its users. Think about it - all the idiosyncratic use of 'parking' or 'coupling' or many other words/phrases in Malaysian English among our society. The semantic implications can gradually change as human intelliegence grows (or flops).

Ironically as it may seem, we the people should be the master of the language, not the slave of it :)
Razee Salleh said…
Hi Bro,

Good one this.
Cat-in-Sydney said…
Open Relationship? Just like Brad & Angelina? har har har *evil laughs*
Abdullah said…
Helmi - Mmmm..coupling.... hahahaha!!! Yeah bro... That's what I'm saying.. language is bastardised and altered simply by the fact that people do not understand a word...pretty soon the bastardised version goes mainstream and eventually makes its way into the Oxford Dictionary of Contemporary English!

Cat - Think I can be on Angelina's list? hahaha!!!
Abdullah said…
Ijat - Makes you wonder huh?
Razee Salleh said…
Hi Bro,

How true, how true. So does that suggest that Language in itself is organic and lives the ages, collecting new things as it sees fit, or are we simply abusing it into accepting new words?

I'd like to think language is the former, though, what use is there to add the word 'Bootylicious' to the lexicon eh?
Abdullah said…
Bro Razee - that's the thing about language... It is a living, breathing entity that inevitably goes through change given the sufficient amount of time (my initial PhD proposal was on language change, but changed it last minute hehehe). The rule of thumb is if enough people say a monkey is a horse, give it a decade or so and people will start to say horse instead of monkey..
The power is yours! (reminiscent of Captain Planet)
percicilan said…
Maybe they do know, and ARE having open relationships? heh
Just my guess... budak2 sekarang, cannot underestimate them like the teenagers of the early 90s we were.. :P
Abdullah said…
CC - naaah.. but then again.. hmmmm...

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