ARTS / FILM
Variety show ignites netizen debate on ‘open love relationships’
Published: May 16, 2021 06:33 PM
A screenshot of a participant at the show <em>Informal Talks</em> shares his opinion on 'open love relationship' Photo: Sina Weibo

A screenshot of a participant at the show Informal Talks to share his opinion on 'open love relationship' Photo: Sina Weibo

Informal Talks, a Chinese variety show that focuses on the multi-cultural exchanges, recently become a hot topic on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo after it threw out the topic of "open relationships," which inspired not only the different-minded show participants to discuss the issue from their own cultural backgrounds, but also Chinese netizens to share their qualms and hopes concerning the unique take on intimate relationships. 

The main debate involved two sets of contesting opinions: One side remained conservative, believing that the idea is good in theory, but unattainable for those who believe that commitment and responsibility are intertwined with one's sense of morality, while the opposing side argued that a commitment-free relationship can bring true freedom to people in love.  

Such libertarian attitudes soon sparked disagreements on Sina Weibo. Many netizens said they see belief in the "supremacy of freedom" a reflection of divergent Western-Asian cultural differences. 

"As a Chinese person to really want to start a serious relationship, I find it unacceptable. We have been educated to sacrifice ourselves, including our freedom, to contribute to your family, this has never changed for me," said Xiaoxue, a 34-year-old woman who lived in the US for eight years, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Other netizens did not blame cultural backgrounds the differences in approaching relationships, but pointed out that actual uncertainties such as social judgments and possible harm to their mental and physical health makes them unable to accept this more free way to love. 

"I'd be very paranoid if I was in an open relationship with someone who is more on the loose end of his/her sex life. It is like having unprotected sex, you put yourself in danger," posted a netizen on China's Sina Weibo. 

"Even if both of us made perfect and peaceful plans when we decided to do it 'openly,' I still realized that it wouldn't work because a lack of communication does make people become strangers to each other, not to mention fall in love with each other," Pear, a 29-year-old woman in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Despite such concerns, some more hopeful netizens used their own experiences to point out that this type of relationship can work well for couples in which each person has a strong sense of individuality and as long as both are willing to prioritize other life goals before "love." 

"Being in an open relationship often requires the two sides to be even more mature than people in committed relationships. The two people need to have the mental power to conquer insecurity, jealousy, and selfishness, a true rival between sense and sensibility… It is actually an intellectual and self-dependent type of way to love, but has been misused by some as an excuse to avoid responsibility," Xuyan, a philosophy researcher and a two-sex expert in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday. 


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