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My girlfriend wants an open relationship

Tagged as: Cheating, Dating, Three is a crowd, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (3 December 2009) 5 Answers - (Newest, 8 December 2009)
A male United States age 30-35, *ackofcades writes:

Hey all, I've been off and on here various times these last few months, seeking random tidbits of advice for my ongoing relationship with my gf. Let me start off with a bit o' history.

Notably, answers from the 'net have barely helped and in my problems, the most common answer went along the lines of, "Oh, dump that chick! She doesn't care about you, shes cheating! Etc., etc." Despite that, I've tackled every problem and kept my girl's love. But guy friends only help so much, arguments with my gf produce strain, and despite it all ... I need to update my game plan with your help.

It's so hard to explain it all without an essay! I'll try to keep things succinct. We've been together for a year. I'm her first Bf - she's my first Gf. We love each other. This girl is ridiculously accepting and open!! Sometimes I doubt feelings like jealousy, hate, and ulterior motives have even touched this girl. Her good points fade, though, whenever she get's close to a random guy. Be it a party or even with her many guy friends, I usually find myself wincing or simmering at the sight of her being playful with other guys. She tells me it's innocent. My discomfort, here, lies in her definitions of innocence, friendship, and love.

I place things like sex, intimacy, and appropriateness higher than her. Now that we've done it, she wants sex to be part of her other friendships. She's not offended by guys groping her. Intimate touching is not only for me. Sleeping in other ppl's beds is ok. She's told me time and again that she cares deeply for me, moreso than all others, but that she feels a very strong need to be sexual and intimate with other guys. After all it feels good, huh?

I keep telling myself that all this could be solved if I agree to be in an Open Relationship with her. She wants to be in one. I first heard about them from her, I did my research, and in the end, I wouldn't want one. To me, it's a step in the wrong direction. It's going to sound nutty, but I've declined her many suggestions to go and fling with other girls. It's her way of letting me balance out her desire for male attention, I guess. But the second I go off with some girl is the second I take her for granted, that I depreciate all that she's given me. Not to say that I avoid the female company, no! But nothing intimate.

Simple solutions like 'getting back' at her won't work. The above paragraph is proof. What about getting to know these guy friends? That's a partial solution. It's worked before, but there's just some guys that I reel at being in the same room with. Being so accepting, she ends up around some pretty odd folks.

This isn't the usual relationship. All I wanted was me and her. And it's commendable that she's able to handle being intimate with more than one person! When discussing this with her, we even set little rules. They still need major tweaking, but in the end I'm forcing HER beliefs down for MY own security. She'll follow them, but she'll be the one struggling. How fair is that? Part of me even takes a step back: she's 20 years old for goodness sake, she's in one relationship with one guy. Do we hold any illusions that this is the end-all to relationship? Who am I to stymie her experience?

So, what to do? Does one of us have to change? Is there any way for me to fulfill her more? Trust can't be the issue when the very things she finds OK I find uncomfortable. After a year, is this really what she wanted? Honestly, I thought the lines I've drawn were accommodating!

View related questions: her ex, jealous

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A male reader, jackofcades United States +, writes (8 December 2009):

jackofcades is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Er ... oy vey, I uh ... yeah. Disregard my last post. This just goes to show what jealousy can do. I told my gf about reading her IM and the guy she met. Bah, she didn't like him at all! And she practically forgot about the meeting, so didn't tell me 'cause it didn't matter.

I dunno how often this happens on here, but the very girl I've been complaining about SAW this post and told me there's no worries. She respects my idea of monogamy and her desire for other guys isn't 'strong' but she'd still be for it. And even with kinky fellows, she doesn't link that with sex, and told me that her only intentions would be to 'learn' kinky things from them, not 'do' it with 'em. With that knowledge, then, she'd probably just show me, heh.

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A male reader, jackofcades United States +, writes (8 December 2009):

jackofcades is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Oy, first, thanks for the advice ppl. A lot of me wants to recede to that basic thought of 'if she loved me she'd be more prudent with these things'. My guess is her idea of love is simply not identical to mine. I AM her security net, but I never imagined it'd be for the tight rope of other relationships.

And thanks Carrot2000 for what you suggested. It didn't feel good to read it but it is what I needed to hear. I've been downplaying her desire for other guys and I keep trying to show her that what I have to offer, is worth it. I wish I could give her distance to realize what I give her, but I cringe at the thought of what her guy friends have in mind to cheer her up, if you catch the meaning.

Honestly my problems have taken a bit of reality. Before I get into it, lemme say that part of her interest is in kinky stuff and whenever a guy shows up with the same kinks, she can't help but meet 'em and make a point of being available. Why? Obviously if she mentioned she had a boyfriend, guys like that quickly lay off and be more

respectable. I've seen it.

Meeting normal guys is One thing, but meeting a guy whose sole interest in her is a kink is Altogether Different. And it happened today. I was curious of an IM she left open and, though I felt bad about it, she had indeed made plans to meet a guy today, the whole subject being their kinks. From this guy's message, he felt very much like tying her up and doing some suggestive stuff to her. *facepalm*

I made sure to call her to see. And voila. I gotta call her multiple times, with her always saying a quick word and hanging up. Then when she DOES answer, its in an accent and will only talk if it's important. I KNOW she uses that accent whenever she meets a new interesting person. When I ask what she's doing, first she says she's in class, which I know isn't true. Then she says she was driving. Then I provide her with a story, like, "Oh so you went to subway real quick" and she agrees immediately. Blah, you get it. She's hid it from me.

Arguably, yeah, she hid this from me because I'd disagree with it. I just wish she'd at least admit it. Then maybe my honest disappointment will convince her that what she's doing is inconsiderate. Yeah, you bet, inconsiderate. Today's my birthday. And tonight, she's off to spend the night at another guy's house, to spend her cash on substances and do similar things that make me feel depreciated. Happy b-day to me, yay.

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A female reader, dianamd India +, writes (3 December 2009):

open relationship..hmmmm sounds dangerous means she can flew off any time by sayin u buhbye my own personal experience open relationship is dangerous and end up horribly by breaking hearts of many and breaking the trut of many ..if u think u can change ur girlfrnd mind by making her learn what real commitment is.. i mean real commitment insense give her space and time and make her realize ur worth ...chances are there she might change seeing ur love towards her and u both can lead a happy life further by being a gud,trustworthy and romantic life partners forever..wish u all the best

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A female reader, Carrot2000 United States +, writes (3 December 2009):

Carrot2000 agony auntThe key to making an open relationship work is that both parties have to want it. By "letting her go" just to keep her, you're losing yourself. In time you will grow to resent her for asking you to set aside your values, even though you agreed to the arrangement.

I don't believe that your girlfriend doesn't care for you, but she really wants other sexual experiences. If you really want to give this relationship a try, agree to put more effort into sexual experimentation within your relationship WITHOUT adding additional partners. If she is unwilling to let go of the idea of an open relationship, she really just may not be ready for monogamy.

The two of you really aren't on the same page when it comes to what you feel are acceptable boundaries within a relationship and allowing her to sleep with other men is not the solution. You know this, yet you are hanging on to someone who has different needs than you do. Why are you so unwilling to end the "formal" relationship, let her do her thing and allow yourself to find someone who shares your values?

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A male reader, CaringGuy United Kingdom +, writes (3 December 2009):

I think you need to think vey carefully about what you have said. Other posts before have told you to dump her, and they were right. But I will try to tell you why I think that, and I really want you to consider it.

Simply put, if she loved you, she wouldn't let other guys grope her, she wouldn't act the way she does, and she wouldn't be asking for an open relationship. She doesn't love you enough. The truth is, she still young and she wants to have fun with other guys with the knowledge that you are there as a safety blanket. Why would she dump you, then go out with another guy, when she can have you both? You have been more than accomodating. If my girlfriend was being groped by other guys and she was enjoying it, and asking for an open relationship, she'd be out. The girl doesn't love you enough, and she hasn't changed and won't. That is it. You've tried, and she's still throwing it in your face. Now you have a choice. Either be third best for the rest of yoour life with this girl who doesn't care about you enoug, or leave her, focus on your own life, and meet a girl who will commit. You are going to get very hurt if you don't leave her.

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