What is a hall pass in a relationship? Is it synonymous with cheating? Does it hamper the relationship dynamic? If you are a person wanting to expand your relationship and test new boundaries, these questions will surely be in your mind. Fortunately, we are here to solve every doubt you may have!
1) What is a Hall Pass in a Relationship?
A hall pass is basically a free pass that people in relationships can use when they want to have sex with someone else only for one time. It could be a celebrity, someone who they once met in school, basically anyone out of reach.
This topic received a lot of fame and dialogue after the release of the movie ‘Hall Pass (2011), starring Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer, and Christina Applegate.
The idea behind having a hall pass is very simple: your partner agrees to let you venture outside your relationship for one time, and lets you have sex with that fantasy person. But, that’s the thing about hall passes!
They are simply ‘fantasies’ that are very out of reach in your real life. Because of the low chance of a hall pass actually occurring, conversations surrounding the topic are light-hearted and friendly, not serious.
Now, another common area to explore is how is a hall pass different from an open marriage, or an open relationship.
2) Hall Pass, Open Relationships, Cheating, and Polyamory
An important aspect of answering the question of what a hall pass in a relationship, is to distinguish it from open relationships, cheating, and polyamory.
2.1) Hall Pass v/s Open Relationship
If you are interested in non-monogamy, you might have researched open relationships. In any case, here’s a refresher; an open relationship is a non-monogamous term used to refer to couples that consensually have sexual and emotional intimacy outside their relationships.
Unlike open relationships, a hall pass is a one-time deal. You can’t pursue as many relationships as you can in open marriages.
2.2) Hall Pass v/s Cheating
Melanie Shapiro, a licensed psychotherapist has said that cheating is when there is a violation of the agreement and commitment to monogamy. This violation could be in emotional or sexual terms.
Emotional cheating is another angle that ends up hampering relationships in the long run. Even though emotional affairs are a gray area, they do fall into the realm of cheating.
Allowing yourself to indulge emotionally with someone who isn’t your partner can make you substitute another person for your partner, and in this course, damage the trust between you and your partner even more.
2.2.1) Main Difference
The main difference between a hall pass arrangement and cheating can be summed up in one word – consent. In a hall pass situation, you and your partner consent to allowing each other a ‘free ticket’ with someone else, which can be very hypothetical.
In cheating, on the other hand, you betray your partner’s trust, go behind their back, and indulge in behaviors that would damage your relationship dynamic – be it sexual or emotional, if you’re doing something with someone else that you do with your partner, or you can’t tell your partner about, it’s probably cheating.
2.3) Hall Pass v/s Polyamory
A hall pass is very different from polyamory. A hall pass means you are allowed to have sex with someone else; someone who you will never meet again, someone you might never meet at all, or someone you simply fantasize about (actors, for example).
Polyamory, on the other hand, is when each partner builds meaningful relationships with other people. These relationships involve love, quality time, and trust. It isn’t just about sex with multiple people.
3) How to Bring up the Discussion with Your Partner?
People in relationships often see hall passes as insecurities, so it is important for you to breach the subject carefully. Consider following these steps
3.1) Why Do You Want This?
Understanding why you want to have intimate relations with someone who isn’t your partner is important, as it will help you understand if you are happy in your relationship.
Going forward with this because of bad intentions may lead to disaster. Ask yourself these crucial questions:
- Am I interested in sex with others because I am not satisfied with my sex life?
- Am I interested in sex with others because I am not physically/emotionally/intimately satisfied with my partner?
- Am I approaching this to upset my partner?
- Am I doing this just to leave the relationship?
- Am I doing this because I lack the amount of confidence I have in my body and need reassurance from elsewhere, too?
3.2) Talk About It
You need to ensure that you aren’t forcing or manipulating your partner, even accidentally. Ensure you inform them that comfort is important, and you won’t force them if they aren’t ready or comfortable.
This decision needs to be a mutual agreement, and not just a way to get your own hall pass.
Be honest and straightforward about your needs and wants. Honest communication will help your partner continue trusting you and will show them that you aren’t doing this to hurt them.
You should also tell them that if they want to choose the person you can have sex with, that is something that can be arranged, too. Ensure that they know their part in this and the fact that the whole idea is based on mutual consent.
Lastly, ensure you ask them how they feel about it. If their response makes you feel guilty, maybe you can reconsider your decision, too.
3.3) Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries is the core to avoiding things going wrong. If you want to imagine a future where you are able to have a hall pass while also ensuring you and your partner are happily married, happily together, or just happy, you need to set boundaries!
Your partner may be okay with penetrative sex but doesn’t want any kissing to happen. Maybe your partner doesn’t want to know the details about the encounter.
Your partner may even deny permission from having sex with someone the both of you know – answering all these questions is as important as understanding the question of what is a hall pass.
Having a long conversation about triggers and boundaries about hall passes and marking out what does and does not work for the both of you can help ensure that your relationship, if a married one, doesn’t lead to divorce.
3.4) Figuring it Out
As mentioned earlier, figuring out the technicalities of who you can and can’t have sex with takes time. So, be patient about it.
3.5) Things to Deal with First
Jealousy is an issue with hall passes. If your partner has a jealousy streak and doesn’t do well with you being around certain people, ensure you remove those people from your hall pass list. If your partner isn’t on board with the idea of someone else kissing you, take it off the table.
Ensuring that you deal with stuff like this before taking up the hall pass route helps prevent problems in the future, and makes the process fun and adventurous for both of you.
4) Finding the Hall Pass
Now, you’ve talked to your partner and they’ve given you permission to do this. So, how do you do this?
4.1) Be Frank with the Other Person
Be honest, clear, and concise with the other person. Tell them that you have a romantic partner and are committed to them, and you both have agreed to a hall pass agreement.
You aren’t looking for a relationship, and are only interested in a one-night stand. Your partner knows about this.
You might get turned down because of the taboo surrounding the term, but it’s still better than hiding it and hurting someone’s feelings.
4.2) Picking Someone
Picking someone up in a physical setting may be a little easier because of the flow that is set, but you may be more nervous while doing so. One thing that could help is if you ask your partner to accompany you if they are comfortable with it.
4.3) Mutual Friends – Yes or No?
Big no. If you are someone who meets them very frequently, it will become awkward and messy for all three of you. So, try avoiding it.
5) Applying the Hall Pass
The last step of this journey is making use of the past.
5.1) Pick an Area You Both Are Comfortable With
Try to avoid bringing a third party to your and your partner’s home. It can feel like a lot of pressure at times. Instead, pick a place where everybody would be comfortable, like a hotel or motel room.
5.2) Have a Good Time
You may feel guilty, and new to the experience, but this is actually an opportunity that may not come again, so try to make the most of it!
5.3) Don’t Forget the Boundaries
Remember the boundaries you have established. Of course, having fun is important, but so are trust and respect.
We said we’d wrap the article in five points, and we did! But it’s necessary to be careful about the rules and regulations of hall passes. There’s a lot of taboo surrounding hall passes or even open relationships, for that matter.
As a society, we are just used to seeing anything other than monogamy as cheating and immoral behavior. In times like these, it is important to remember, and remind your partner that there is nothing wrong about hall passes that have been decided through proper communication and mutual agreement.
You aren’t an immoral or bad person if you want to try new things and increase the romance and excitement in your relationship.
‘What is a hall pass in a relationship’ is probably the easiest question you’ll answer about this topic. But, it is the first step to exploring an interesting idea that could just bring up the spark in your relationship.
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