Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Equality in Exploration

Dear Elizabeth,

I admire your freedom and positive approach on exploring love beyond the recognized norms. My significant other and I share love, friendship, and the responsibility of children. Our situation is complex as are most. He was dating another female when we met, and continued to see her through the beginning stages of dating me and through the birth of our daughter. He was never completely honest about the goings on, and would spring things without much warning or consideration. Even though we each knew of each other, we never met face to face. Eventually the other relationship ended. The fact that I was bound by love AND responsibility while they had only the highs of love made me jealous, in connection with my not being allowed another partner make me not want to return to a situation like that. I felt alone and emotionally void in his absence with the entire weight of our shared responsibility preventing me from any alternative outlet.

He's made comments about happy men having more than one partner, like Hugh Hefner, but when I share that freedom should be equal, I get the "Absolutely Not, it's different for men." I think deep down he wants to be polyamorous or polygamous, and he won't recognize my need for intimacy if there is a void from his. I have not explored the poly lifestyle, but I'm interested in learning more without my needs being limited.

Isn't Polyamory about love being open and mutually acceptable, not one-sided? The men only having multiple partners that reflect polygamy is not worth my exploration. I have needs too!

Any advice?


Exploring Poly Views

Dear Exploring,

To be in a healthy relationship of any kind, the needs of both or all partners have to be considered. It’s unfortunate when a partner wants to explore and take part in the pleasures of an alternative lifestyle, like polyamory, but isn’t able to accept the other partner doing so, as well. I know several couples who have chosen to pursue monogamy instead, as a result of this and other reasons. Sometimes that is the best solution, even if only until partners can build a foundation of trust and become open to sharing each other with additional lovers.

Do you want to explore polyamory and additional partners just to fulfill the lost intimacy for when your significant other (SO) is with another partner, or do you wish to find another partner regardless? While it might seem to make things easier to spend time with someone while your SO is dating, it’s not necessarily a good enough reason to be polyamorous. Successful polyamory requires a lot of work and commitment. And if your primary relationship is not healthy to begin with, polyamory is not the solution. However it can be a wonderful goal to work towards and incentive for making your relationship stronger.

Determine what you are and are not able to accept in your relationship with your SO. If he refuses to accept you having additional partners, yet insists on having his own; is that unacceptable to you? If so, let him know. Perhaps he’ll find that he’s willing to pursue monogamy or to try letting you date, too, once he realizes you may not be in a relationship with him otherwise.

Spending time with a poly-friendly counselor can help, as well; both in assisting you in finding the answers for yourself and in communicating your needs to your SO. If your SO is willing, try seeing a counselor together and/or have him see one on his own. He may simply have fears of losing you to another partner, and perhaps those fears can be mitigated through communication, reassurance and counseling. He may have control issues, as well. In the end, however, it will have to be his decision to change if he wants to.

In the meantime, look to see if there are any poly support groups, meetings, potlucks and/or organizations in your area. If you tell me where you live, I’ll research what is available in your area to help get you started! Get involved online in discussion groups like the Polyamory tribe on Tribe.net (I’ve gotten lovely advice on my own relationships from that particular group several times). You will likely soon find others who have been in your shoes before and can help you, giving support and encouragement. Better yet, you will discover that you are not alone.

Send questions or comments to elizabeth@polypositivity.net.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Polly & Marie

It seems like just last month I was lamenting the lack of positive poly role models in society. Well, society may soon get a couple of new role models in the forms of Scott and Rebecca McCaw, the polyamorous couple in a new television show that is being shopped around for the small screen. The trailer (http://www.pollyandmarie.com/General/) and following blurb arrived in my inbox this morning, and I am very excited!

“Polly & Marie is a scripted half-hour dramedy revolving around the love lives of a 30 something interracial, polyamorous couple, Scott and Rebecca McCaw, who have agreed to open up their marriage to see other people, and the sexual and relationship high jinx of their fellow alternative life styled friends and neighbors: Bartholomew and Ernesto, a monogamous gay couple, one of whom, is still closeted to his family, and the frustrated, single, sexy, and celibate lipstick lesbian, Faith, who is the surrogate mother to the gay couple's son. Also featured are: Kevin, a gospel hip hop Recording Artist, who happens to be Rebecca's brother, Bell, a serial monogamist who is widow to seven husbands and may lose the eighth at any moment and Judge Eve Landers, a well-known, conservative Federal Court Judge (Rebecca's Mother).”

For more information and pictures of the cast, you can go to show’s MySpace page (http://myspace.com/pollyandmarie) and become a friend. While you are at it, sign the guest book (http://www.pollyandmarie.com/Guestbook/) to show your interest in having Polly & Marie aired on television. Better yet, tell all your friends about it and convince them to watch the trailer. It’s a delicious one minute and ten second clip that makes you want more!

The show claims to be “Sex and the City meets Will and Grace.” Considering those are two of the most popular television shows of all time (and two of my favorites!), this may be the best potential vehicle for bring polyamory to prime time television. The cast includes such hotties as Victoria Rowell as Rebecca (Young and the Restless, Dumb and Dumber), Natalie Raitano as Faith (V.I.P., Martial Law) and relative newcomer Dimitri Lekkos as Rebecca’s handsome hedonist husband, Scott.

This is one of those times when the poly community has the potential to influence mainstream entertainment and society by encouraging producers to air Polly & Marie on their networks. There has never been a show like this before. Putting Polly & Marie on TV will make polyamory a water cooler discussion around the nation and maybe, if we’re lucky, begin to bring acceptance and support to the poly community!

Send questions or comments to elizabeth@polypositivity.net.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

In a Poly Perfect World...

It was a little more than a year ago that I was having a conversation with Dane Ballard, the polyamorous host of Sexlife LIVE! (www.sexlifelive.org), when he commented on the lack of positive polyamorous role models in society.

I realized he was right.

Who do polyamorous folk look up to for examples on how to have a healthy and happy relationship with the multiple loves in their lives? Will Smith and Jada Pinkett admitted last year to having an open relationship that allows them to date other people, while remaining happily married to each other. (www.femalefirst.co.uk/celebrity/24732004.htm) However, it was barely noticed in the US and few people I’ve talked to had any idea about this side of their favorite actor and his actress wife.

The majority of polyamorous relationships are kept relatively quiet. Why? Because our society generally frowns on any relationship style other than monogamy. Even monogamous gay couples are achieving socially acceptable status in many areas of the country, simply because their committed relationships mimic traditional marriages that conservatives feel comfortable with.

A huge number of people have never heard the term polyamory nor have any idea what it means. Frequently it is confused with polygamy and associated with the fundamentalist Mormon sects that force underage brides to marry older men and share them with additional wives. Or, it is thought to mean that a person simply has sex with everyone. It can be difficult to explain what polyamory really is when it is such a relatively new concept for someone and they have misguided preconceived associations to influence them.

“The only cure for ignorance is education.” – unknown

I decided it was time to do something about it and opened up to anyone and everyone about being polyamorous. I wrote about my issues and relationships in a public blog that eventually turned into a column. Answered whatever questions came my way and relished the opportunity to enlighten those who wanted more information. I came out to my mom and friends, and introduced my boyfriend to them, with my husband and daughter joining us. Those who know me now know I am polyamorous and what that means for me. I am completely open about it and my life in general.

However, it’s not enough. I want to encourage others to be more open about being polyamorous, as well. That means providing means of support: finding businesses that will publicly acknowledge their poly friendliness and encouraging polyamorous folk to reward them for this by choosing their services; providing a list of resources through poly friendly professionals (i.e. physicians, counselors, real estate agents, massage therapists, etc.) that will allow poly folk to talk openly about their lifestyle and not fear discrimination or disapproval; posting and reviewing lists of movies and books that relate to the polyamorous lifestyle, and encouraging the publishing and entertainment industries to produce more polyamorous themed material; providing links to relationship networks that include or exclusively cater to the polyamorous lifestyle; and including every piece of news, study, or related information that I can find that will help to keep the polyamorous community prepared to educate their peers and neighbors when someone asks them: “What is polyamory?”

Polypositivity.net is my strategy to achieve all this and more. A website in its infancy, open to the ideas, input and suggestions of all who want to see polyamory become a socially accepted and supported relationship style. Let’s show the world that polyamory deserves recognition and respect, and what we, the polyamorous community, and our supporters can do.

Email your questions and comments to elizabeth@polypositivity.net.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mono vs. Poly: Round 2

“Imagine You & Me” is movie out on DVD with Piper Perabo, Lena Headey and Matthew Goode. I watched it last night and liked it...but felt that polyamory would have been a good solution to their problems. A woman marries her lifelong best friend, but discovers love at first sight with the female florist who she exchanges glances with briefly as she walks up the aisle. She just can't leave her new, wonderful husband, but she's discovered that she's really in love with this other woman.

So why not stay married to him and have a serious girlfriend? Why does she have to make a choice? She said she could be satisfied with being married to him for life, but longed to embrace the passion she had discovered with the beautiful Luce. Why not both? Why can't more people in this situation look to polyamory as an option instead of just torturing themselves and those they love by having to choose one or the other?


Seriously, I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched a movie and thought, “If only they were poly, life might be so much easier.” What if you didn’t have to feel the need to lie to your partner about having sex and/or relationships with someone else, because it would be okay? What if you didn’t have to divorce your husband because, no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t stop sleeping with other women…and you can just be happy for him because sex feels good and he’s getting a lot of it?

What if Guinevere and Lancelot could have had their passionate love affair with the full knowledge and support of the king and the people? Perhaps Camelot would have survived. If Scarlett could have had a week away with Ashley, and Rhett would have been understanding of it? Maybe “Gone with the Wind” would have had a happier ending than “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Thank goodness for “Scarlett,” the sequel!)

Think of all the pain and hard choices that could be avoided if only polyamory were considered a more viable option in society. What if you could promise “Until death do us part…” at your wedding, knowing that you can spend the rest of your life loving this partner, as well as anyone else you might fall for along the way?

To me, monogamy just seems so challenging…though the majority of Americans choose it, or at least, attempt it. How can one deny the opportunity for additional love? How can one divorce a spouse they care about just because someone new steps into the picture? How can one promise that they will never fall in love with another person, if they’ve not met all the people in the world yet?

Why does the monogamous heart only have room for one true love?

As a good friend said, paraphrasing Jessica Rabbit, “They can’t help it, they’re drawn that way.”

So many people question polyamory and polygamy. I question monogamy.

Send questions and/or comments to Polypositivity@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ex Etiquette

In a perfect, polyamorous world, we’d only gain partners and never lose them. Unfortunately, for most, if not all, this is not the case (please write me if otherwise…I’d certainly love to hear your story). The most we can hope for is that when a relationship must end, it ends well. Even better is that we end and continue as friends.

It’s not always that easy. In fact, it’s usually one person making the decision to end the relationship and the other person having no choice in the matter; save choosing how they will respond to their partner’s decision. Emotional investments in a relationship can make letting go a very painful and almost impossible thing to do. Often, we feel the need to retaliate with words or actions we think will make our partner feel the pain they have inflicted upon us, no matter how carefully (or not) they may have ended the relationship. Nonetheless, we must accept responsibility for our behavior when a relationship ends and it helps to follow some general rules:

1. Show respect. Whatever side of the break-up you are on, it makes no difference. This is someone you deemed worthy enough to share a part of your life with. Think of two teams on a playing field when the game is over. Despite the aggression, fouls, injuries, and hurt pride…when all is said and done, they suck it in and shake hands before parting ways.

2. Be understanding. Some people can turn “it” off very quickly; while others need more time to let go. Understand if your partner needs to meet for coffee or lunch a few times and work through losing you, and give them support as a friend in whatever way you feel comfortable. Likewise, if your partner needs to move on, try to understand that they are not deliberately hurting you…that they simply need to move on. We are all different, with our own timelines and ways of healing.

3. Give back the key. And whatever else belongs to them…without them having to ask. Do it soon. Gifts are different. Don’t expect gifts back and don’t feel like you have to return something given to you during the relationship, unless you honestly need to remove it from your life to heal. And no matter how emotionally distraught you might be, don’t violate their trust by withholding items that belong to them or taking things that you’ve given as gifts.

4. Create Space. If you can’t emotionally handle being around your ex then prevent yourself from being in situations that force you to interact. If your ex is having a difficult time, then don’t do things to make it worse for them…give them space.

5. Move on. Easier said than done. But the sooner you both make the decision to move on with your lives, the easier it will be. If your ex can’t let go of you, then move on, and make it clear that you’ve moved on, but don’t rub it in. If you can’t let go of your ex and move on with your life, then find a support network to help you. Friends, family, therapists, crisis hotlines, and your doctor can help. Getting a new haircut, embracing a new hobby, and finding ways to signify this as a positive change in your life will help to move on.

In addition to having exes in our lives, we may often have partners who have exes in theirs. In the poly lifestyle, this is even more likely. Most of the rules of Ex Etiquette apply in these situations, as well.

Be respectful of your partner’s exes. They were once important enough to be in the place you are now. Understand that seeing you in that place, instead of them, can be difficult for them to deal with; and that they may never be okay with it. Create space if necessary, to give them time to adjust to it. Help them to move on by being nice and friendly; making any social interactions as comfortable as possible for them, but not forcing it upon them if they are not ready or interested.

Most importantly, give your partner the love and support s/he needs to be a good ex. After all, the time may come when YOU are their ex…

Monday, May 29, 2006

Safe Sex & the Polyamour

Let’s talk about sex. It’s a wonderful, amazing, fascinating topic, and a part of human nature; in fact, sustaining our very existence as a species on this planet through procreation. But more importantly, it’s just a whole lot of fun! One of the benefits of being polyamorous is that by having loving relationships with multiple people, one generally gets to have sex with multiple people, as well.

However, once again, multiple partners mean more complications and potential problems, in addition to the added pleasures. Responsibility is a must. As with any sexual relationship, simple precautions and communication are necessary.

Every year, more than 12 million cases of STDs [Sexually Transmitted Diseases] are reported in the US (coolnurse.com). AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Hepatitis, and Syphilis are just some of the STDs that are common. Some are curable, some are not, and some (if untreated) can lead to an early death. But, almost all are preventable by either abstinence or the consistent use of latex condoms.

The more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract an STD. It’s that simple. By engaging in sex with multiple partners who also have multiple partners, you are expanding your risks exponentially.

The short answer is to always use a condom. Whether it’s a one night stand or someone you see on a regular basis, wearing protection will help keep anything from transferring from one to the other.

A condom, however, will only help with vaginal and anal sex, and oral sex on a man. For protection when giving oral sex to a woman, the use of a dental dam will offer the same protection. HSV-1 (Oral Herpes) can be transmitted through vaginal and anal oral sex. And HSV-1 or HSV-2 (Genital Herpes) is still transferable when there are no outbreaks.

Even if you always wear protection, get tested for everything on a regular basis. And if you have any unusual symptoms, such as burning, itching, smelly discharge, etc., then call your doctor right away. No STD should go untreated.

Fluid bonding is the practice of making some sort of commitment to a partner and engaging in unprotected sex. Many primary and married couples are fluid bonded and wear protection with all outside parties. Different arrangements can be made within groups, but communication is a must. If you choose to have unprotected sex with more than one person, they all need to be aware of this beforehand. Regular testing is especially important with multiple unprotected partners, because the likelihood of contracting an STD will increase dramatically, even if all partners are using protection with outside individuals.

Sit down with your partners on a regular basis and talk about what measures you and they are taking to prevent STDs. Keep protection, testing and results a topic of open discussion. Get vaccinated for Hepatitis. Get educated on the preliminary symptoms of the various STDs, and see your doctor at the first sign of anything.

If a new partner shares with you that they have an STD, please be kind. It can’t be easy to admit that they have a disease of any kind; especially one that was most likely contracted through sex with another person, and could potentially be contracted to you. It’s just another way to be rejected by a potential mate, and special consideration needs to be made. Above all, realize that this is probably a very difficult subject for them to discuss and let them know how grateful you are that they shared. If you choose not to have sex, that is a decision that your partner will have to understand…but tread gently.

If you already have an STD, then be sure to have that conversation with a new partner long before sex and/or potentially risky sexual play happens. Come to the discussion prepared with information to educate your new partner, answer any questions they may have, and be understanding if they are unable to deal with it, or need time to make a decision as to whether or not to engage in sexual activity with you.

But don’t be afraid to share. If someone loves you and wants to be in your life, chances are, they will be willing to work around an STD. If not, then it’s better that you don’t have a relationship built on false pretenses. Being open, honest and in communication with all your partners is necessary to having happy, healthy relationships.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

And Now We Are V

Dear Elizabeth,

I would love some advice right about now. I have been dating a gentleman about a year. Neither of us has ever wanted to force the other to be monogamous, and we have dated others; but the basis of our relationship has been between the two of us. A few months ago, a woman from his past returned and a few dates turned into a Poly relationship. She and I are getting to know each other and figuring out how to make this work; at this point we are a V relationship. I will be honest; I am having my moments understanding and wanting to make this work. The dynamics of the relationship have changed and I feel lost and confused as to my place in this relationship now. I feel like I am in a shared custody arrangement and it is stifling.

Your insight and advice would be greatly appreciated.


Dear M,

I applaud your continuing efforts to make this work, regardless of the difficulties it is causing you. You are a wonderful partner and this gentleman is lucky to have such an open and loving woman in his life. There is no mistake that you are the one who is sacrificing, in order for him to spend some time with his new girlfriend. To give him the ability to love two women in his life, both as full time as he can make them, is one of the best gifts you can give him in your relationship. It is the gift of freedom, trust, understanding, and wanting him to have even more love in his life.

However, it is important that you continue to keep communication open with him and his other partner, in order to establish your schedules and ensure that you have the minimum time with him and do not feel neglected. You have needs that need to be met in your relationship, as does he and the new girlfriend, and if you all work together, it can work out beautifully. It can feel very restrictive at first, especially if you’ve never really had to schedule your time with him before…but, if you can look forward to three nights a week, or whatever, on your calendar, and know those nights belong to you and him, it should make things easier.

So set aside some time, at least once a month, where the three of you can look at your calendars together. Plan important dates and events, and then divide up the rest of the time. Be sure to leave your partner with at least one night a week to himself, as we all need some personal time. Don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want, as long as you make it clear that you are willing to compromise if it doesn’t work. If you don’t say what you want out loud, how will anyone know?

It will get easier. Just give it time, treasure the dates you spend with your partner, and perhaps look at developing a friendship with his other girlfriend (if you are both open to it). If you are lucky, your life will be enriched with a new friend that shares something very important in common with you: the love of your partner.

On another note, I’d like to thank you, M, for handling this as well as you are and working at your relationship. I’ve been the new girlfriend in similar situations, and I have yet to be in a relationship where the other partner was able to embrace a second love in their boyfriend/husband’s life, regardless of their open lifestyle. I encourage my husband to find girlfriends and love to welcome them into our home and life, but I realize that it is difficult for many women to do this easily, if at all. So, it makes me very happy to hear from readers like you who are willing to try. M, I raise my mocha to you!

Please send questions or comments to polypositivity@gmail.com.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mono vs. Poly: Round 1

It’s not easy being Poly. It takes a lot of time, energy, love, compromise, understanding, forgiveness, and communication to make one relationship work. Adding another partner or more requires substantial quantities of the above qualities, along with multitasking, scheduling, organization, and serious dedication to making your relationships successful. And that’s not all. Unless you keep your relationship status secret, you are probably often in the position of having to explain yourself, along with the basics of polyamory.

Polyamory is easily misunderstood and frequently confused with Polygamy, the marriage of more than two people. According to Prof. Brian E. Schwimmer, from the University of Manitoba, polygamy is normatively approved in 77% of known societies. However, about 20% of known societies are strictly Monogamous (the marriage of one man to one woman). The US is one of them. In fact, it’s illegal to have more than one spouse, and, at the moment, that spouse must be of the opposite sex.

Polyamory, on the other hand, is not necessarily illegal. But discrimination against polyamory is not defended by the ACLU. If you are a woman, have a picture of your girlfriend on your desk at work, and get harassed as a result, you can sue for discrimination as a homosexual. However, if the same woman has a picture of her husband and her boyfriend on her desk, she can be fired for immorality, and have no recourse.

At first glance, a monogamously minded person may not be able to look past the fact that polyamory usually means sex with multiple partners. In most monogamous relationships, this would be cheating. Even more sex positive couples that take part in play parties and/or swinging (full partner swap, same room sex with another couple, etc.) still may frown upon the idea of actual relationships with other partners. Most of my Mono friends believe that falling in love with someone new means falling out of love with your current partner. And for most of them, it’s probably true.

But, Poly people are different. They have the ability and desire to actually fall in love with more than one person. The introduction of a new love into one’s life does not necessarily mean the loss of another one. In fact, many Poly folk want all of their partners to know and love each other. Making it work is an issue in itself, but when it does, having more than one love in your life is immensely fulfilling.

And that’s something most Mono folk may never understand.

Email your questions or comments to Elizabeth@sexlifelive.org.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

“Dear Mom, I’m Polyamorous…”

I’m not one to keep my life private. I share everything and rarely hesitate to answer even the most personal questions, whether my mom or someone I’ve just met is asking. My husband, however, is opposite. There are many pros and cons to either side; his is obviously “safer” whereas mine puts my life out there for any and everyone to judge. Out of respect for his preference, I agreed when we married to keep our open relationship from our family and straight friends.

At the time, it wasn’t such a big deal. We were just beginning to explore what it meant to have the stability of marriage and the freedom of being single, all at the same time. We dated others as we pleased…which was, for me, the occasional first date and rare connection. Mostly, I ended up accompanying my husband and girlfriends out on dates, because frankly, I like to play with girls; and I wasn’t finding any men I wanted to have a relationship with.

Then, one day, I did; and he eventually became my boyfriend. I was bursting to tell my mother about this man I was madly in love with…how happy I was that he and my husband got along well and respected each other. There were a hundred little things that had absolutely nothing to do with sex and everything to do with how much I adored him…and it made me sad to realize that I was keeping him in hiding, like some dirty little secret.

So, my husband and I discussed it. Our daughter is being raised knowing full well that we have boyfriends and girlfriends, and she has dinner with them when they come to visit. It is only a matter of time before she mentions “Mommy’s boyfriend” to her grandmother, my mom. I’ll not put my daughter in the position, ever, to have to hide anything from the world. My husband agreed to support me in coming out to everyone, though I’m still not in any hurry and will discuss it with those I want to when I feel ready.

I spent several hours drafting a long letter to my mom. It included the reasons why we have an open relationship, why I am polyamorous, and that our marriage is stronger, in fact, because of the freedom and support we give each other. I explained why I wanted to tell her, about our daughter knowing our partners, and how much I wanted my mother to know them, too. I included pictures and a little background about the people I am dating, how proud I was to know and love them, and that I looked forward to her meeting them when she visits again. And I attached some of my Polypositivity columns, particularly the one where I define what polyamory means for me.

Finally satisfied, I emailed the letter to her and waited. She responded short after that it was a lot to think about, but that nothing would ever change her love for me…and that she would take some time before getting back to me with her response. I was relieved and thrilled that she was at least going to accept me, regardless of whether she supported my being poly.

It turned out, in the end, that she didn’t support it. Not really. She wrote me an equally long letter explaining her thoughts and concerns, many of them related to her religious beliefs. But she did say she would love to meet my “friends” and that she would support how important they are in my life. She promised that she would never try to change us, or negatively influence our daughter because of the lifestyle we choose to lead. And this was all I needed to know; along with that she knows who I really am and loves me anyway. In fact, she’s quite proud of my column…but, “It would be nice if you were writing about something I could share with the whole family.”

Not to worry, Mom, I’ll be sharing it with them soon enough…;-)

Email questions or comments to elizabeth@sexlifelive.org.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Husband Wants a European Escape

Dear Elizabeth,

I've been a happily married poly wife for more than ten years. I have a boyfriend, but my husband currently does not have anyone. He has a friend of ours with whom I am fine with him having a full-on sexual/emotional relationship with, but they have yet to get together due to the distance between them. They are planning on a trip to see each other this spring, which I’m also fine with. But they want to go to Europe and I think that is too huge of a first meeting, never mind the money. Even so, I would be supportive of this except for the fact that he wants to take her to a city that we’ve been to twice before, and I consider special to us. I have a difficult time thinking of them spending time together in a place that he and I have made such wonderful memories.

Am I being unreasonable?

--Frustrated in the Fog

Dear Frustrated in the Fog,

No you are not being unreasonable. Of course it’s not going to be easy to share a part of your life that you consider to be special to you and your husband. And as long as he is making an effort to take vacations and spend time with you, I think it’s good to support him taking a vacation of his own, with whomever he chooses.

You seem to be generally supportive of his trip, despite the expense and overseas aspect. So, I would go to your husband with this, explaining that you are thrilled he is developing this new relationship and excited for him to be taking a trip with her to Europe. Then explain that you’d really be happier if he chose a new city to explore with his girlfriend, to make their own, as you’d like to keep the city you and he shared together special to your individual relationship.

Hopefully, he’ll see the reasoning in this and will agree. However, if he is adamant about wanting to see this city again and to show it to her, perhaps you should consider just being supportive and not weighing too much into it. It may be that because this is a new relationship, he wants to go somewhere that he already has some knowledge about, so he’ll be comfortable showing her around. It may be that because the two of you had such a wonderful time together there, that he believes the locale will affect this new relationship similarly. And, reasonably enough, he may just really like this city and want to go there again, no matter who it is that is accompanying him.

In the end, if the relationship does not work out, you don’t want to be the perceived cause of it, through demands that you have made. He needs to have the freedom to develop the new relationship on his terms (generally respecting agreements you have made, of course) without heavy influence from you. Otherwise, he may end up resenting you.

Just think, now you can start planning the vacation you and your boyfriend are going to take to find a special place for the two of you…

Good luck!

Send your questions and comments to Elizabeth@sexlifelive.org