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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
Here's the thing...

To all you people saying "That sounds highly unusual. Don't get your hopes up. It sounds like you're going to get hurt!"...

What would you suggest I do then? Break up with her? All that does is GUARANTEE a broken heart. How does that help me when what I want more than anything is to be with her in the long-run?

To suggest she really doesn't care for me nearly as much as I care for her is only true in the sense that I am into her more sexually right now than she is into me - but not when it comes to how much we care about each other.

She would legitimately be miserable and distraught if she didn't have me in her life. This is not just wishful thinking on my part. She has told me this, and she would not have to say this if it weren't true. She has told this to mutual friends of ours. She can't bear the thought of not having me in her life.

She would not say she wants to marry me and have my children if it weren't true.

Let me ask you ladies. Do you think you would ever say that to another guy: "I want to marry you one day and have kids with you" if you didn't mean it? It seems like the last thing in the world someone would say if they didn't truly feel that way. She has told me this within the last few days.

Let me bring up another point...

When we first met (10th grade, she was 14, I was 15), she had an instant crush on me. I largely ignored her in 10th grade and even though I found out halfway through the year she had a huge crush on me, I did not feel the same way back. Then we dated for over a year, before she broke up with me. She said her romantic feelings for me were gone and indicated that she never thought we would date again, but she still cared for me as a friend. We became best friends for two years and actually became significantly closer than we were when we were dating. Then two years ago she said that she wanted to be with me again, that she had strong sexual feelings for me and wanted us to be lovers. Now we're in a situation where because of a bunch of little things her sexual feelings for me at the moment are not as strong as they were (although she still has them), so she wants to have a temporary open relationship until she has stronger feelings for me again. Why, I can't explain, but she says she feels very strongly that it's just a matter of time before that happens, and then we'll be together forever.

Here's the MAIN point: we have a WEIRD history together. If you've ever heard of a couple who have followed anything remotely like the path me and my girlfriend have followed, be my guest and share. The point is, we've taken an odd path to get here, and we've been together all these years... so just because this may seem like an odd path to most people, doesn't mean it's not the right path for us.

One other side note. I am not a person who normally posts on this type of board. But I do have a memory of posting on some kind of relationship board a little over two years ago. In that post, I explained to people my situation (of two years ago), saying that I am in love with this girl who I used to date who is now my best friend. We are so close it is almost like we are dating. My love for her has made it difficult to feel any kind of real emotional attachment to other girls I have dated since then. But I still feel in my heart that she is the girl for me. What should I do?

You know what EVERYONE told me back then? They told me to stop seeing this girl! They said that until I broke things off with her, I could never move on with my life. If we had been friends for over 2 years since breaking up, it's obvious she only viewed me as a friend and never would see me as anything more than a friend. Everyone told me to stop seeing this girl and to get on with my life.

Of course, a short while later we got back together, and since then I've had two of the happiest years of my life.

Perhaps the fact that conventional wisdom seems to speak against my actions again is a good omen.





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