By Mark Rutherford LCSW
My boyfriend and I have been together for two and a half years. We
were best friends before we started sleeping together, and he was the
first to admit that he wanted to be more than friends. We live
together now and always enjoy each other’s company. The problem is,
I’m feeling a little restless. He’s six years older than me and has a
lot more experience than I do. I sorta want to “catch up,” if you
know what I mean. He’s open to letting me try new things with
different people, and I want to be able to tell him about it.
But…he doesn’t want to know or discuss our outside dalliances. The
thing is, I think it’d be a turn on to know what he’s gotten up to
without me. I’m not the jealous type, but he is, and he doesn’t think
it’d be a good idea to talk about what we do outside of our
relationship. What do you think? Is it healthier not to discuss these
My first thought would be to talk with him about “why” he doesn’t want to talk with you about your extra curricular activities. Find out why it’s okay to play around but not okay to talk about it. To me, this is sort of like the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the military. Many male couples initially state this agreement works well for them. Their reasoning is that it “complicates matters” and “it’s easier not to know”. The logic behind these statements eludes to the fact that if your partner would find out about outside sexual connections, he would be hurt. This, initially, might be true. I have found, however, that talking about it in some form is truly the best policy.
Some partners want to know all the gory details. Like what you did with the other guy. What the other guy looked like and acted like etc. If he wants to know, it should be offered up with no hesitation. He may just want to know the basic details like “did you have a good time?” An honest answer goes a long way.
If all this sounds like I’m pushing you to be honest with your partner, you’re right. I am. It is my belief that a couple can exist long term without being completely honest. I just don’t believe that either partner is completely happy or satisfied. Try talking to him about his fears of having honest discussion about sex. Find out what really trips him up. It may turn out that he is not ready for you to experiment sexually outside the relationship. He may have only agreed because he knew you wanted it so bad. You may come up with the concept of only playing together with an outside man. Many couples use this as a viable alternative. It helps both parties feel safe because they get the experience of outside sex. Also, the partner doesn’t have to worry about asking questions. He’s right there to see what’s happening with his own eyes. If he sees something he doesn’t like, it’s his duty to bring it up and talk with you about it. Only then can the two of you begin down this long road to emotional intimacy and long term connectedness. Good luck.
I’m dating a couple different guys at the moment. The other day, two
of them found out that they weren’t the only ones I was seeing. I
think they were disappointed about it, but we’d never discussed not
seeing anyone else. I’ve only been seeing them for a couple weeks
each and I think that’s too early to be exclusive. What sort of
speech should I give them so I can continue to see as many guys as I
want and still have them want to see me?
Signed, Jon (fort laud)
I think you should skip the speech and try to have a conversation with these men. I think it’s entirely okay that you haven’t yet had the “I’m dating/seeing/sleeping with other guys”. However, it had to happen sometime and now that they know, it’s an amazing opportunity to get all the cards on the table. Find out what they’re thinking about you and try to give an honest account of your feelings as well. If you only want to keep it casual, have the balls to tell them exactly that. If they say they want to be your exclusive partner and you don’t want that, again you must rise to the challenge and let them know what is going on inside.
It’s okay to date a couple of guys at a time. It’s how every gay guy since the beginning of time has done it. It’s also okay to have some anxiety about it too. Some poor chap back in the 1800’s was probably pacing back and forth about the same thing. Relax into these feelings. They are normal. Your only job is to talk to the men in your life about them. And stay true to yourself in the process. Don’t date a guy exclusively just because he really wants to. Nothing spells disaster quicker than beginning a relationship under false pretenses.
If all of the guys are okay with your multiple dating then I say “Go forth young man…have a blast!” But, if you find that one or more of the guys do indeed have a problem with it, then it is time to make a decision. Do you whittle away the men in order to have one true boyfriend? Or do you gently exit the connections that aren’t working for you so you can continue to do what you want? These are not easy questions. And there are no easy answers either. Give yourself some time and space to decide what it is that you want and how you are going to go about achieving it. Best of luck to you.