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My girlfriend and I are both 21 years old and we have a long history together that began over 5 years ago. We originally started dating in high school for over a year. Then she broke up with me. Then we were best friends for 2 years, although we were something a little bit more than friends too (we would hold hands and cuddle... everyone who didn't know us assumed we were together). During those 2 years we both dated other people - I ended up having sex with two other girls, but she never had sex with another guy. We both had 1 semi-long relationship during that time. Then, 2 years ago, she said she wanted to be back together with me. We have been together ever since.

But now we have agreed to enter into an "open relationship" - and I'm not particularly happy about it. I am just looking for any advice people can give me on how to cope with my situation.

Now I'll explain things in a bit more detail.

We are both deeply in love with each other. We truly are. We have an incredible, caring relationship. But there have been some difficulties.

For one thing, we have a long-distance relationship. I go to college away from home while she stayed at home, so I'm only actually home a little bit over 5 months of the year (but during an 8-month stretch I am rarely home).

Another problem has been that sex has always been painful for her. As in, when I put my thing inside of her, it hurts her. She's even gotten a tool kit for this. I know this is not my fault, as I have had sex with other girls. But I am afraid this certainly doesn't help things. (Before you say anything, yes, I broke her hymen)

To substitute the lack of intercourse, we have a lot of oral sex. However, I liked to have oral sex more often than she did. Apparently (I now know), I was often too pushy in asking for and giving her oral sex when she wasn't in the mood. The result was that she started to view oral sex as a bit of a chore.

All of these things surely played a significant factor into the fact that she says she is not as attracted to me anymore (although still professing to feel some attraction for me). Also, like any long-term relationship, much of the 'passion' factor that comes with a new relationship is gone and she says that she wants to have that feeling again. Most of all, I think she just feels that she is 21 and wants to see what else is out there.

Let me clarify that even further - she wants to see what else is out there because we have both talked openly about the fact that our relationship seems to be on a direct path towards marriage. She wants this one day just as I do. But she also always envisioned being with more than 1 guy in her life, and if she doesn't experiment with other guys in her last year of college, when will she?

So when she expressed her feelings for me, my initial reaction was that if she wanted to breakup, I could no longer be her friend, because it would be too hard for me to get over her otherwise. She said this would devastate her and that she couldn't lose me - she wouldn't know what to do. So I asked her if, because we love each other so much, we can stay together for while longer and see if we can iron out our issues. She agreed to do as such - but without the sex/oral sex for a while, until she felt the desire again.

Then we had to spend a month being 400 miles away from each other again, and things got awkward. She would call me very infrequently, which drove me crazy. I started calling/texting her a lot, and was probably annoying her (I couldn't help myself since I couldn't stop thinking about her). Whereas our conversations were once frequent, enjoyable and had a duration of about 45 minutes, our conversations got infrequent, awkward and had a duration of about 15 minutes. Then I learned that she was going on a family vacation without me (the last 2 years she had always invited me to go on vacation with her family). Things just didn't seem right.

So [I]I[/I] proposed the idea of the open relationship. My exact words were something along the lines of "I was thinking the best solution would be to have an open relationship for a little while. We would be free to do whatever we want with other people. Once next semester ends (which will be in April), we'll see where we're at". She agreed to this.

I saw her last night - we spent the whole night together, mostly making out in the nude, kissing her breasts - but there was no genital touching. Nonetheless, there was definitely a sexual tension and the love in the air was so apparent - it was so obvious how happy she was to be with me again.

But now I'm nervous about how I am going to cope with the idea of her sleeping with other men. One of the biggest problems is that she is drop-dead gorgeous, sweet and a scholar. She admits she gets asked out by other guys frequently when she's not with me. She's also not a slut - which is a problem in the sense that I am worried about her developing a relationship with some Prince Charming.

I myself am a very sweet, caring guy. 6'1, in good shape and above-average looking. But I'm still not a natural 'ladies man' and am not comfortable trying to meet new girls in general, so I might have to struggle to find someone while she will have no problem knocking up other guys anytime she wants.

So this is all eating at me.

One other thing that's eating at me is this - I feel like I need to have another talk with my girlfriend to set more strict 'rules' about our open relationship. I already mentioned that "Our primary relationship will still be with each". And she agreed to that. But I also want to emphasize to her that "We should view this as something temporary. Unless something changes, we should plan on becoming exclusive again starting in May". But I am not sure if this is the right thing to say or not. Also, she says she doesn't want to talk about our relations with other people... but I'm not sure that's what I want. I think NOT KNOWING what she is doing with other guys might drive me even crazier than knowing for certain what she was doing.

So, that's pretty much everything. I know I just wrote A LOT so I would be amazed if anyone actually read it all. I've talked about this situation with my family and a couple of close friends already, but it still feels better to type it all out and ask for the opinion of strangers.

So if you've read everything (or even just bits and pieces), I have 3 questions for you:

1 - How do I cope with the idea of a girl I am deeply in love with in bed with other guys? Is it as simple as being in bed with other girls?
2 - Given my situation, do you think that proposing an open relationship was the right idea? Or should I have just tried to keep things going even though they were not-so-great at the moment (since she had agreed to try to work things out with me while staying exclusive)? Or should I have simply broken up with her (or allowed her to break up with me, really)?
3 - Is it okay to emphasize to her that we should expect to be exclusive again starting in May (when I come home from college for the Summer)... or is that being too pushy and unrealistic with regards to setting a precise timeline on all of this?

Just keep one thing in mind when considering my situation - I emphasized all of the BAD of my relationship with this girl, but I did very little to emphasize the good. We really do have an incredibly loving and caring relationship. We can't imagine our lives without each other. We both bless the day we met each other. We still feel that the time we spend with each other is magical. And we both still see each other as the people we want to walk down the aisle with and have kids with.

Yes, you can tell me feelings change, and that she may not always feel that way about me. But I am counting on feelings to change (just in a way that is more to my benefit). Her feelings with me started as romance, then changed to just her best friend, then felt romance again, and now feels a combination of deep love with uncertainty. It is my hope that the feeling of uncertainty will pass with time.

If you decided to read any of this and answer any of my questions, I really appreciate that.

After seeing how long this post ended up being... I have to chuckle myself! lol
"There's no in between stage with you because you know damn well as soon as you come back from your separation that you're going to be really jealous and angry and unable to forgive her for being with other guys while you were separated."

That's not true. Although I do hate the thought of her being with other guys, that would happen even if I just flat-out broke up with her. To say I would be unable to forgive her is simply wrong. I am not angry with her in any way whatsoever. When I see her again, I am not going to be angry with her. If we become exclusive again, the last thing I am to do is not be able to forgive her. I would absolutely be able to forgive her. In fact, the way I see it, there would be nothing for her TO forgive for.

It's silly of you to suggest that this is not a "true open relationship". An open relationship simply means that two people have a romantic relationship but also consent that it is okay to see other people as well.

I am sure most people in an open relationship do not care about each other as much as me and my girlfriend do, and I'm sure most people in such a situation would not feel jealously. But all open relationships are not the same. The fact is, my girlfriend and I are in a unique situation. We are both going to feel a bit jealous thinking about each other with other people. We are both of the view that this will be a temporary situation, after which we will go back to being exclusive. Of course something could go wrong, I am not taking that for granted, but that's our plan. And given the fact that we love each other so much, and we both agree that we want to be exclusive again before long, I don't see any reason it SHOULDN'T happen.

Here's another way of looking at this:


The Answer: Being together with my girlfriend IN THE END.

So, what is the best way to make sure that happens?

A) Tell her I want us to stay exclusive for now despite her desire to experiment with other guys while she is still young.
B) Break-up with her and stay friends.
C) Break-up with her and disassociate myself with her entirely.
D) Agree to have an open relationship for a few months, and then see where we stand.

Option A is the option that would make me happiest in the short-term, but I don't believe it is the right long-term approach.

Option B is a bad option in my opinion, as there is a chance it would make her come to see me as just a 'best friend' to her over time.

Option C may be the best option for 'getting over her' (which would still take a very long time), but is probably the worst option both for my immediate happiness and the worst option for getting her back in the long-run.

Option D is a flawed option but still still beats A, B and C. Yes, there will still be sting involved, but the sting will be much less so than Option B and C. I will still be able to have physical and romantic relations with her. Compared to Option A, it makes me seem more mature and secure because I am comfortable and mature enough to let her sleep with other guys for now if that's what she wants. The advantage is that by still being in a relationship with her, it lessens the chances that she will become serious with someone else.


So, I completely reject the logic that our ONLY options are that we can force ourselves to stay exclusive, even though she has desires to sleep with other men OR we break things off completely and go our separate ways.

Is there a relationship rule book that says these are the only two options?

If both my girlfriend and I agree this is the best solution for our long-term relationship together, why is it so bad just because it's something most couples never even consider doing? We're our own people - we can do anything we want.

You point out my jealously a lot. Yes, as I have said, I will feel jealously thinking about with with other guys. But guess what - at this point I would feel jealously either way! I know in my heart that I am capable of managing my jealously until we become exclusive again. I managed my jealously for over 2 years before while we were just best friends - all the while wanting her back. And guess what? I made it out the other side okay. Sleeping with other girls should be an additionally effective way to help manage jealously. And jealousy works both ways. When she finds out that I've been sleeping with other girls, she is going to feel jealous, which may speed up the process of her wanting to become exclusive with me again.

Since I suggested the 'open relationship' idea a few nights ago, it seems to have spiced things up, and the romance that seemed to lacking for the last couple of months really seems to have spiked again. This couldn't have happened if I kept things going the way they were. This also couldn't have happened if I decided to break things off entirely with her.

So, screw this whole concept of "Oh, but you HAVE to do either this or that! You simply CAN'T go half-way!". I don't see anything wrong with going half-way for a little while, until we are ready to become exclusive again.

Even my own friends and family think I am doing the right thing.

Why is it so hard to believe that what me and my girlfriend are going to be doing can't work?

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