Advice on Non-Monogamy: The Perks and Pitfalls of an Open Relationship
Hello, hello! It’s another advice column piece from your favorite (only?) dating bitch.
If you’re new to the blog, Dear Dating Bitch is my online advice segment where I answer questions from readers like you!
Today, I’ve got a few questions for you, all of which are related to opening up your relationship in some way. Let’s get to the advice, shall we?
*Note: questions may have been edited for length/clarity.
Dear Dating Bitch is my online advice column. Submit to me here (don’t worry, it’s anonymous!)
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Q:Is it wrong that I no longer feel fully satisfied sexually by my boyfriend because I miss having sex with women? For context, I’m bisexual and I’ve been with my boyfriend 5+ years, but lately I’ve been craving lesbian sex. What do I do?
– Craving something more
Dear Craving More:
To start off with, No, it’s not wrong for you to feel that way.
Having feelings is not wrong. Even when those feelings are uncomfortable or can potentially hurt someone else. Simply having them doesn’t make you bad. Feelings are not something we can control. Actions, on the other hand… actions are.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to explore sex with different partners, but now you need to consider your next move. Obviously, cheating on your boyfriend with a woman would not be a good idea. (For the life of me, I can’t think of a scenario where cheating on a partner would be a good idea, but if one exists, it’s not this.)
So, here are the options as I see them:
1. Break up with your boyfriend to pursue relationships with women.
2. Ask your boyfriend for an open relationship. (Or some other form of non-monogamy that would allow you to explore this craving.)
That’s it! Those are the options.
Of course, with scenario 2, you run the risk of him saying no. In that case, you might have to consider option 1 again. But, before you do anything else, I think you need to do some serious introspection and then talk to your boyfriend – in that order, too.
Do Some Introspection:
You mention in your letter that you’re bisexual and give that as a reason for why you’re feeling unsatisfied with your sex life. That very well might be true! OR it could be that you’re feeling unsatisfied in general and the fact that you’re bisexual makes you think that’s the root cause. As a straight woman, I can’t tell you which one that is, but I do know that people tend to try and find the easiest explanation for difficult feelings.
Take some time to think about what you’re feeling. Are you genuinely just craving a different kind of sex? Or is what you’re really craving a different kind of relationship?
Then, Talk to Your Partner About the Possibility of an Open Relationship:
After you’ve reflected on this, if you’re certain that you want to continue being with your boyfriend, you need to talk to him. When you do, explain that you have started to crave lesbian sex and that your sex life together is not really satisfying to you anymore (I’d try to find a way of saying this that doesn’t come across as, “You don’t do it for me anymore, babe.”)
You can’t force him to be OK with an open-relationship if it’s not something he’s into, and unfortunately, that might mean that the two of you should go your separate ways. But ultimately, that’s better than continuing to repress your needs and wants which would lead to either you feeling resentful of him or you cheating on him (or both.)
Related Read: There’s Pride in Discovering Your Sexuality: A Guest Post
Q: How do I tell my boyfriend I want to try explore something new in our relationship like sex toys and vibrators without offending him and making him feel like he’s not enough?
– Cautiously Curious
Dear Cautiously Curious:
“Joe, I’ve been thinking lately that it might be really fun to try something new in the bedroom. I’d really like to try X,Y,Z. What do you think about that?”
Introducing the idea in a playful, sexy way is a good bet, and unless he has some serious insecurity issues, he probably won’t even think that your suggestion is in any way a dig at him or his bedroom skills. But if, for whatever reason, he does think that, you may need to rethink the relationship.
Related Read: Dear Dating Bitch: How to Create More Excitement in the Relationship
Q: My boyfriend wants to have sex with other girls too. I offered an open relationship but he said he wasn’t interested in that. We love each other so we don’t want to break up. What should I do?
– Open Relationship Offer Denied
Dear Open Relationship Offer Denied:
I don’t mean to sound rude here, but I think you need to reconsider how much you actually love this guy. He told you that he wants to sleep with other women, to which you responded with a (beyond considerate and open-minded!) offer of polyamory. That could’ve been the end of the issue but he said no to your offer.
What he’s suggesting, then, is an open relationship for HIM. But he expects you to stay committed and monogamous. I have nothing against those who want to be polygamous, but what I do disagree with is this sort of power-imbalance. It suggests a high level of control and I think you’d be wise to get out of this relationship.
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Conclusion: Considering an Open Relationship
That’s it for this week friends! I hope my advice was helpful to anyone considering an open relationship. I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions so please chime in!
Have you ever been in an open relationship? Would you consider it? Let me know in the comments below.
As always, my loves, thanks for reading!
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I think it depends on what both people want. I have friends who caught feelings while being in an open relationship. It does not feel so good when feelings are not reciprocated.
I love the advice that you give. You are so right about the emotions. We can’t control our emotions and it is natural to feel some sort of way. We could end up hurting people unknowingly.
I think it is a good thing to explore, to know what you want, to crave new things with your partner.
Thanks for your advice.
That’s very true – there’s a lot to think about when you’re considering an open relationship and it shouldn’t be something you agree to lightly. And who knows if the letter writers bf will even want that? He may say No, but if she’s feeling unhappy, it’s important to be open and honest about that.
your advice is always so insightful. i personally, have never been into open relationships just because i know myself and i’m more of a relationship gal / monogamous. BUT when it comes to other people. to each their own!
I’m with you. It’s not something I would be OK with, but as long as both people are good with it, I think it can definitely work.
Very interesting topics in this post! I’ve talked with a lot of people about their opinions of open relationships, but definitely don’t trust someone who wants to be an open relationship, but doesn’t want you to be. That’s pretty suspicious to me at least. Definitely curious to hear more about open relationships if it comes up again!
Exactly! That’s not an open relationship if it’s only one-sided. And I’m glad to hear that! I actually have another letter about an open relationship planned for next time!
Some great advice you have given to these individuals. I personally have never been interested in an open relationship (not knowingly anyway as I have been cheated on before) but I believe if that is something that someone is interested in then it definitely is important to have those conversations with the other person involved. Communication is so important for being able to understand each other’s personal needs x
Yep, same here. And again, there’s nothing wrong with wanting (or having) multiple partners, but it’s always important to be clear and upfront about that.
This sounds like a difficult situation. I agree, having feelings isn’t wrong. We all have feelings about various things in and out of relationships. It’s lack of communicaiton that can really mess things up x
Yes, absolutely! Not telling your partner can lead to a lot of bottled up resentment and that’s a recipe for disaster.
Great advice and very honest. I’ve been in toxic relationships before and sometimes you just need an outside perspective.
I also like the dig deeper advice. It’s so true for anything in life, to first get to the root of the problem..
Exactly! Without knowing the letter writer or her situation, it’s possible that the root is her own sexuality and a desire for multiple partners. But, it’s always worth noting that there might be something deeper making her feel unhappy with the relationship in general.
I enjoy reading the advice you give & even though I’ve never been in an open-relationship & I never really considered it, I do want to spice up my relationship since we’ve been together for almost 7 years. Your second piece of advice is really helpful in that aspect!
Good! I’m so glad to hear that. I think a lot of women are afraid of being open about their desires because it’s just not as socially acceptable, which is a real shame.
Fab advice, like always! I’ve never been in an open relationship before and I’m not sure it’s for me but if both people are okay with it I don’t see anything wrong with it! Thank you so much for sharing, this really made me think x
I feel the same way – but again, it matters that it’s equal and both parties are on board.
I have never knowingly been in an open relationship as I like to know I am the only one. But that is a personal preference as long as people aren’t hurting anyone and both parties are happy, then what’s the harm if people do that.
Lauren – bournemouthgirl.com
Same here – I’ve been in an open relationship, but I wasn’t actually aware of it at the time. It was closed on my end, but, a genuine open relationship requires both people to be upfront and honest about what they want.
This was such an eye opening posts. My boyfriend and I recently started talking about sex more, and listening to podcasts to further our education on open relationships. I really resonated with what you said to the first question, especially as someone who has been in her shoes. Great post.
I’m so glad it helped you! I don’t know if I could handle an open relationship myself, but I do know people who are able to make that work well for them.
You’ve provided some really great advice – I agree with what you’ve outlined. What resonated with me most is when you spoke about easiest explanations to avoid or mask uncomfortable emotions sometimes, I’ve definitely done this in past relationships without even really knowing it! Thanks for sharing this awesome advice.
Yeah, I think it’s a natural response to wanting to get rid of uncomfortable feelings and most people don’t even recognize it in themselves.