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When a person in a one-sided monogamous relationship changes their mind – Chicago Tribune

“Ask Anna” is a sex column. Because of the nature of the topic, some columns contain language, some readers may find graphic.

Dear Anna,

My girlfriend and I have been together for three years. She’s 21. I’m 22. We were monogamous until about a month ago. She told me she’d be OK with me seeing other people and she also said she would stay monogamous to me. I ended up hooking up with a girl I met online. Since then my girlfriend changed her mind and says that she wants to sleep with another guy, which she says is “only fair.” I told her I would be OK with it, but it’s a lie. I’m not OK with her being with another guy, which I know is selfish. Advice on how can I get over this? — Not Open or Poly Exactly

Dear NOPE,

How you get over it is to experience whatever feelings arise — the jealousy, the insecurity, and selfishness, but also the joy, the excitement, and NRE (new relationship energy). That is, to feel all the highs and lows and mehs that come with the territory of opening up your relationship. That’s it. Though I suspect that’s not what you’re really asking.

A better question, however, would be to ask yourself: Where do I want my relationship to go from here? You’ve reached a fork in the road. No matter which path you choose next, you can’t go back. Not really. You’re young. You’ve both admitted wanting to experience sexual connections with other people — and have already acted on that desire, in your case.

Now you have to decide if it’s worth it to you to continue exploring outside relationships with each other in a non-monogamous situation, which means being forthright and vulnerable and navigating boundaries and managing those hard (and exuberant) feelings mentioned above. Or, you decide that’s not for you, and either return to monogamy or break up.

Whatever you choose, I hope you give it some careful consideration. Your girlfriend promising to remain monogamous while you painted the town slutty was, it turns out, too good to be true. (And if you had thought about that for a hot minute, I suspect you would’ve realized this.) But that’s neither here nor there. The real there is this: Now that you both know you want to bang other people, do you go the hard way with each other, learn to navigate those unfamiliar waters together, or do you admit it’s above your emotional paygrade, and swim back to the shores of monogamy, where do you know the rules and bylaws?

Ideally, the time to talk about your feelings around open relationships would have been before you opened your relationship. But, as we cannot travel back to the past, the second best option is to talk about it now. Before she bangs this guy, if you can swing it.

But don’t try to stop her from doing it, especially if you’re trying to get out of feeling things you don’t want to feel. Let her bang this guy. Not due to an obligatory sense of “fairness,” a tits-for-tat, if you will — but because she trusted you with the freedom to explore a physical connection with someone else after three years of monogamy, and you should entrust her with to similar courtesy.

What happens afterward is up to you both.

Dear Anna,

My boyfriend of four months makes substantially more money than I do, like $200,000 to my $37,000. The problem is that he likes to go on really expensive dates and then wants to split everything 50/50, which I can’t afford. Even worse is that when I tell him, he either acts resentful about it, or picks a fight with me. I’m not a freeloader. I’m happy to foot the bill sometimes or treat us, but I have limits on what I can pay for and I don’t want to bankrupt myself over fancy dinners and spa treatments. What do I do about this? — Currency A Stifling Heft

Dear Cash,

You should make like the trees that money don’t grow on and leave your stingy ass. If he’s acting this way now, at four months in, it’s not going to get better. He’ll continue to resent you for not going halfsies on his luxe habits. You’ll feel like you’re not “good enough,” and the fights will only get worse. End it now and find someone who’s more generous, more compassionate, or willing to split bills equitably. Someone making $200K is earning five times as much as you, and the bill-splitting should reflect that, especially if he wants the yacht lifestyle but your budget is Howard Johnson’s.

(Anna Pulley is a syndicated Tribune Content Agency columnist answering reader questions about love, sex and dating. Send your questions via email (anonymity guaranteed) to redeyedating@gmail.comsign up for her infrequent (yet amazing) newsletter or check out her books!)


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