February 2, 2015

I’ve been dating someone for a few months and we’ve decided to officially call each boyfriends and tell others we are in a relationship. We’ve had the talk about open vs. monogamous relationships and even though he would prefer a monogamous relationship, he is willing to be in an open relationship at my request. At this point, he’s only asked that I don’t tell him who tops me and has also said that he doesn’t plan to have sex with others. I understand the importance of communication and prioritizing our relationship but I’m wondering what other aspects of an open relationship we should be aware of. I’d like to make things work and so far I think we’re starting with a good foundation but I would like to prevent the open relationship from creating problems. What other things should we talk about when it comes to having sex with other guys but being in a relationship at the same time?

One aspect of an open relationship that you should be aware of is consent. While you may believe you have consent in this relationship, what you actually have is coerced consent. You waited until you had been dating for 6 months and made the decision to become boyfriends and enter into a relationship before you told him that you were not a monogamous person. Because society’s default setting is that people can expect monogamy from their relationship partners, you essentially lied to him about your intentions for six months. This allowing him to become emotionally invested in you, before you turned his own emotions against him and blackmailed him into giving you what you wanted. It could very well have gone the other way if the balance of power favored him in this relationship and monogamy was the order of the day. He could have blackmailed you into being monogamous and you would have been required to comply with his wishes, thereby leaving you sexually unsatisfied or in a position of being a cheater. So, how is your boyfriend going to cheat on you? He’s going to cock-block your attempts at sex with others, he’s going to emotionally manipulate you into forgoing a tryst in order to spend time with him, he will monopolize your time so that you cannot have sex with others, and he will impose more and more restrictions on when and how you can have sex outside of the relationship until you don’t remember if it was okay to get sucked by cheating to suck, or vise versa. The whole time he will be building resentment that he is not enough for you, and you will be building resentment that he isn’t living up to his agreement. Your relationship will self-destruct and you’ll be sitting there asking yourself what happened when you did everything right. Either that, or he’ll build resentment that you’re having more fun then him, and sneak around behind your back, never owning up to sleeping with others. This could cause you to freak out when you find out he’s been lying to you, or cause him so much guilt that he can’t function properly in the relationship. There is a very slim possibility that he will come around to your point of view and you’ll end up in a happy, healthy open relationship. I’m a betting man, and I wouldn’t put money on that possibility.

My advice to you is to not do this again. Next time you start seeing, or dating, someone, before you have “the talk” about being boyfriends, have “the talk” about monogamy. I suggest somewhere between the beginning of the first and end of the third date. Casually mention that you are looking for an open relationship and that sexually you’re not the monogamous type. If he bolts, let him bolt. It’s better to find out that you’re not compatible BEFORE you are both emotionally invested. If he stays, he’s a keeper. When I met my partner 10 years ago, I told him six things about me on the day we met. As we sat in my work parking lot, I told him to think about those things and accept them, or drive away and never come back. Every conflict that him and I have had over the course of our relationship has been in because one or both of us were trying to change one of those six things. Some of those attempted changes have been for the better, some have not; but either way I can look back on that conversation and say, “I told you about this on day one.” It’s a reminder to us both that we accepted each other, warts and all, and entered this relationship with our eyes wide open.

Part of good communication and prioritizing your relationship, is shattering your partner’s false perception of you as early as you can. Don’t let your partner build you up to be something more, or less, than you are. I understand that we all want to put our best foot forward and make a good first impression, but that doesn’t mean that we out and out lie to our perspective partners, and we definitely don’t want them to lie to themselves about us. Where your partner was envisioning weddings, and taking you home to meet mom; he’s now seeing bacchanalian orgies and picturing you and five other men in his bed while he’s at work. If you want to save this situation, the first thing you need to do is go slow. You don’t want to rush out and have sex with the first guy that comes along. Gradually warm your partner up to the fact that eventually you will, but that you are content to be with him, for now. Next, you need to be discreet. Definitely let your sex partner know that you have a partner and that you have permission to play, but don’t play with the barista that serves your partner his coffee every morning, or anyone in your circle of friends. Be honest; if your boyfriend asks you about something you’ve done tell him the truth, even if you think he won’t like it. A little bit of honesty up front, will build a great platform of trust down the line. Likewise, a platform of deceit will destroy that trust and your relationship. If the truth is something that he has asked not to know about, inform him that answering this question will provide him with information he told you to keep from him. Then ask him if he wants you to answer the question. Always make sure he knows that you are both willing to share the information; and respectful of his feelings, and let him decide if which is better for him in the moment. Also remember that no matter what happens later, you cannot take back a lie that’s been told. The best way to avoid any conflict about lying and mistrust, is to avoid lying at all costs. Be respectful of his feelings and his time. Never make a date with a fuck buddy if it breaks a date with your boyfriend. If you already have a date with a fuck buddy and your boyfriend wants to make plans, respectfully decline but then offer an alternative. If you find your dance card too full of tricks to make time for your boyfriend, re-evaluate your choices and priorities. Always leave time to jump in the shower between seeing a trick and seeing your boyfriend.

At some point down the line, you should also apologize to your boyfriend for withholding important information about yourself in the beginning, and admit it was a dick move on your part. That the most important thing to talk about in regards to sex with other people and your relationship, and may be the deciding factor that saves this relationship if it can be saved.

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