Hey Annie -- Issue #10

Good For The Goose
Advice Question: 

 Hey Annie:

My boyfriend and I have been together for a few years. We’ve always liked to “play” with other people, couples, men, women, we’re both bisexual. We have always had fun with it and it’s been great. We never really had an agreement that we did it any certain way. On occasion he would see other people without me and I didn’t really like it, but he would always say, “well you can too if you want” but I didn’t really know anyone I wanted to be with alone. 
A couple of months ago I met a straight guy I really like. We cuddled and kissed some but I didn’t have sex with him because I felt I needed to talk to my boyfriend about it first. When I did he said I could only date this new guy if he also had a date with someone which didn’t seem fair but I went along. The next time he made a date I called my new friend. My date went well, we had sex and I spent the night, which my boyfriend has done in the past. His didn’t go so well. His interest was cheating on her husband and feeling guilty about it, decided not to spend the night or have sex with him. Now he say’s he’s not comfortable with dating separately anymore. He wants me to dump my guy! He says I “can’t” see him again. The night I spent with him none of us got any sleep because my boyfriend kept calling and texting all night wanting me to come home!
I am SO ANGRY! I feel that I should be able to do anything he did and I just know that as soon as I dump my guy he’ll find someone and tell me we’re back to “open” again. What the hell! Why is he acting so selfish?
Fighting Mad Gander....
Hey Gander:
“Why is he acting so selfish?” 
People behave selfishly when they feel, well, selfish. He’s feeling selfish, jealous, envious, controlling. What’s interesting to me is that you didn’t notice this when he was off having sex with other people without your agreement or consent. He’s obviously a selfish guy, and I’m sure you knew that, but are surprised at HOW selfish he is willing to be. You’re right, if you dump your guy, as soon as it’s convenient for him he’ll change the rules again. The structure of your relationship, defined by your partner, is flexible based solely on his desire to be comfortable and happy, with complete disregard for your happiness and comfort. What that tells you is that you’ll have to take care of your happiness and comfort yourself. 
You need to decide what to do based on your comfort and happiness. That may be hard, because I assume there is some threat, spoken or not, that you could lose your primary relationship if you choose something that makes him uncomfortable. That would not be a significant loss from my perspective, but then I don’t know what the relationship means to you. 
The conversation you have with your partner around this issue really needs to start with a calling forth. You need to call this man forth to live the life HE created. Tell him you know he’s afraid, envious, jealous and threatened. Tell him you understand those feelings because you’ve lived them all yourself. Tell him you will help him in any way you can, that you will be supportive, but don’t let him tell you what you can and can’t do. You are within your rights, and long over due frankly, to make choices about what kind of relationships you want to have. Keep talking but don’t let these conversations be controlled by your boyfriend. YOU tell HIM what you are going to do, and you tell him what his options are. Make it clear that one of them isn’t choosing FOR you. Remind him you love him, just as he loved you when he was sleeping with other people. Remind him you’ll be back home soon, just as he came back when he went out with other people. Remind him that he’ll survive feeling jealous and envious, just as you did. Offer him some resources to get him through, and turn off that phone....
Annie Ory
Dating, Relationship & Grief Coach



About the Author

Annie Ory - Advice Columnist - Former Contributor