How can I get over being jealous of my boyfriend's ex?
December 18, 2008 9:04 PM   Subscribe

How do I get over my jealousy of my boyfriend's sleeping with his ex-girlfriend, and how do I not take it out on him if I can't rein it in? Sorry, this is kind of long.

We have been dating for just over a year. This is my first serious LTR, his third. He still keeps in close contact with his previous long term girlfriend, C. When we started dating, he said he was unsure that he wanted to be exclusive with me, but that he also didn't want to lose me to anyone else. This led to an agreement whereby he would be free to have (safe) sex with other women, and I would be committed to him. Okay, sure.

He's had a few opportunities over the past year to have sex with other women, and turned them all down. He mentioned to C that he was going to be home around Christmastime and that he was interested in having sex with her. Well, she liked the sound of that.

Right now, he's on the plane to meet up with her and go do things in his hotel room.

C broke off the relationship with him about 10 months before he and I started dating, so I worry that he still has some residual feelings for her and when he sleeps with her he'll decide he doesn't want to be with me anymore emotionally. This is compounded by the fact that lately when we have sex, he seems to be enjoying it less. He needs the mental and real images of other women to get off, when previously he was satisfied with just me. I'm also concerned that once he sleeps with her he will no longer desire me sexually. I'm attractive, not perfect, but attractive. But she is 6 inches taller and ten pounds lighter, and he told me once that if she hadn't dumped him they'd probably be married by now.

I know this is really stupid. He has asked me several times if it was okay that he was doing this. I voiced my concerns, but then told him that it was okay for him to sleep with her. In all, he's a wonderful guy. I'm just really jealous of all the attention she has in his mind right now. How do I stop being jealous of her, and how can I refrain from letting the boyfriend see how much this upsets me?
posted by Night_owl to Human Relations (102 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This led to an agreement whereby he would be free to have (safe) sex with other women, and I would be committed to him.

Um. How does this seem fair? It would be different if this was working for you, but, you know, it's not working for you. It's not stupid to be upset by this. Yes, you told him it was okay, but you've changed your mind. That's okay, too.

But somehow I think that if you were to call him up and tell him you've had a change of heart it wouldn't make a difference. Wheels in motion and all that.

he told me once that if she hadn't dumped him they'd probably be married by now.

You don't deserve to be treated like that. You're not a way station.
posted by sugarfish at 9:17 PM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]

What. the. heck. Don't call someone a boyfriend if they're doing that to you. Don't talk to someone who can't respect you enough to be exclusive with only you. Obviously this is not OK with you, so don't allow him to do this crap to you!!
posted by KateHasQuestions at 9:18 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

You can't make an intellectual decision to feel a particular emotion, I think you're stuck with jealousy for at least the short term. That's fine, jealousy isn't a great feeling, but you have a right to feel that way, even though you okayed this behavior with your boyfriend.

You should tell your boyfriend, "I'm sorry, I thought I could handle this situation, but I'm jealous of you having sex with your ex." It's okay to feel that way, most people would feel that way in your situation. It might spell the end of your relationship. That would suck in the short term, but I'd be willing to bet thousands of dollars that you'd be glad you did a year or two from now.
posted by bluejayk at 9:18 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

This has to be a joke, right? He is not a good boyfriend. Maybe if you re-read this you will realize what a terrible agreement he has forced you into. I would call and dump him, preferably before they do the deed, to retain some of my self respect - which, coincidentally, will avoid jealousy over your boyfriend's ex, because she will be your EX-boyfriend's ex.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 9:18 PM on December 18, 2008 [8 favorites]

How do I stop being jealous of her, and how can I refrain from letting the boyfriend see how much this upsets me?

If it upsets you, you shouldn't continue to agree to it and let him treat you this way. This is not a committed relationship, this is your boyfriend having his way without having to compromise. You don't deserve to be in a one-sided open relationship if you're not comfortable with it and you can certainly find someone who shares your desire for commitment.
posted by Asherah at 9:20 PM on December 18, 2008

Dump him. If it is ever going to go anywhere between you and him, it won't do so until he's over his ex, which he clearly is not. Don't wait for him.
posted by sinfony at 9:21 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

You told him you were okay with this arrangement but you're clearly not. He should know better but clearly he thinks he has your blessing so you can't really fault him for doing as you allow. I think you need to rethink this relationship and your ability to stick up for yourself. If you want him to monogamous, you have to tell him that and be prepared for him to call it quits with you.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:21 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

Wow, you should really re-think this relationship. I mean, really, what exactly are you getting out of this situation? He can have sex with whomever he pleases, you get to be jealous and feel insecure about your relationship. This does not exactly seem to be equitable.
posted by anansi at 9:21 PM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]

Read what you wrote. He wants to have sex with other women, which means he isn't into you. He wants his ex, who he's going to have sex with right now. And you can't tell him that this upsets you because... why? This is not, contrary to your assertion, an LTR. Dump him and move on. It'll hurt, yes, but it'll hurt less in the long run.
posted by smorange at 9:22 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

Ummmmm.... if you aren't ok with him sleeping with his ex, which is completely acceptable, you should probably tell him you aren't ok with it. And maybe, just maybe, tell him not to? Because you've been going out for a year? And perhaps this whole "he gets to sleep with other women while he 'makes up his mind' and you feel insecure in your relationship" thing you apparently agreed to (???) is no longer ok with you?

Basically, I can see keeping things casual on one end if you're in a new relationship. But with a guy you've been with for over a year? I mean, maybe this arrangement has some unseen benefit to you, but otherwise? He's probably happy to have a girl devoted to him while he gets to sleep with his ex. Meanwhile making you feel insecure and jealous. There is no reason you should feel like you have to hide your feelings about this.
posted by MadamM at 9:24 PM on December 18, 2008

Also...please note that this is the same boyfriend who you've stated in a previous AskMe answer has said to you, "You're retarded, and you don't know what you're talking about." That's enough of a criteria for his ass to be dropped.
posted by Asherah at 9:26 PM on December 18, 2008 [20 favorites]

How can I get over being jealous of my boyfriend's ex?

1) Dump his manipulative ass.

2) Get a new boyfriend.

Trust me, the jealousy will be completely gone after these two steps.
posted by Ookseer at 9:27 PM on December 18, 2008 [17 favorites]

I don't think that you should refrain from letting your boyfriend know how much this upsets you. Almost everything I've read about polyamory and open relationships has emphasized how centrally important honest communication is. (Which actually probably applies to any kind of intimate relationship.)

I also don't think you can just decide to shut off your feelings of jealousy. It sounds like they may be tied to some real problems in your relationship. You can find ways of dealing with your jealousy though--talking to trusted friends, writing in a journal or painting or drawing or singing, beating up your pillow, taking long walks or whatever else works for you.

Did you really feel okay with this happening when you told your boyfriend it was okay? If you didn't, why did you tell him it was? It's okay for you to be honest about how you feel and for you to refuse his requests.

I think, when your boyfriend gets back, you need to have a long conversation about all of this, not just his sleeping with his ex, but the agreements in your relationship, your fears and doubts, his seeming lack of interest in sex with you. Maybe you're not really okay with him sleeping with other women. And maybe you're never going to be okay with him sleeping with this one woman in particular. If you do decide to stay with him and to keep the current arrangement, I'd suggest reading The Ethical Slut.
posted by overglow at 9:27 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

In a perfect world, Muntadhar al-Zeidi would throw a shoe at your boyfriend.

If you truly wish to continue this relationship, you may need to reassess your relationship with this man. How do you define "boyfriend?" Is it someone who sleeps with other women, fantasizes about others during sex, tells you he would've married another had she not dumped him, but still dates you? Or is it someone who loves you, is committed to you, and fantasizes with you, about you during sex?

Your question is: how do you not be jealous of this man's relationship with another. But really, you are asking how to suppress natural, legitimate feelings of distress, rejection, unfairness, anger, and hurt.

Let the feelings come up. They are trying to tell you something urgent.
posted by terranova at 9:31 PM on December 18, 2008 [12 favorites]

I suspect you might not be cut out for an open relationship , given how this arrangement's making you feel-- and that's fine. This kind of thing crops up in polyamorous relationships all the time, and it's only worked out by constant, intense attention to communication between all the affected parties. But, if you're going to try to make a go of it anyhow, here's my read:

If you haven't met C, of course you're going to be jealous. The version of C in your head shits ponies and rainbows and never, ever steals all the blankets in the middle of the night. She's six inches taller, 10 pounds lighter, and a mistress of the ancient arts of lurve, a seductive siren whom no man could resist.

Of course, she's not. She probably has spinach in her teeth right now, and she'll leave her sweaty socks over the heater and they'll smell weird all night, and she probably mispronounces "Jean-Paul Sartre" in some small, grating way. But, you have no way of knowing this, and thus the only thing you have to go on is your boyfriend's idealized image of her.

If your boyfriend's going to keep fucking her, and he wants everyone on all sides to be cool with it-- I'm assuming she knows you exist, otherwise that's an entirely different issue-- he's going to have to let everyone get to know each other socially. You don't have to fuck her, but you do have to know more about her than what he's told you so far if you're going to feel comfortable with the arrangement, and it sounds like you haven't had an opportunity for that.

Also, you and your boyfriend need to be having very serious talks, very often, about this while you work it out. It's not about what you're willing to put up with to keep him, but about what sort of relationship you two mutually find agreeable and fulfilling. Preferably, you'd hammer out the full scope of your agreement together before something like C's visit occurred. The timing now may make a fully agreeable solution difficult to work out, but, again, persistence and communication may see you through.

Or, you may never get comfortable with it and you'll dump him, or he could be playing you and trying to hook it back up with C for the long monogamous run. Either outcome would be okay. Being the kind of person who can rock the non-monogamy doesn't make you more evolved, more hip, or more special-- it makes you a person who can rock the non-monogamy, nothing more and nothing less. Not being able to do that isn't a failure on your part. Good luck.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:34 PM on December 18, 2008 [8 favorites]

Chiming in with another "Let him know how much this upsets you by telling him." If is isn't willing to change the terms of your relationship, there's your answer. Dump him. I like Ookser's advice but would change it slightly:

1) Dump his manipulative ass.

2) Get a new boyfriend. A better one. One who wants you and only you.
posted by coppermoss at 9:36 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

Why are you with him? No really, why? What I'm seeing is a very VERY long list of why you should not be with him. And that list has nothing to do with the fact that you might be jealous, or possibly insecure about your importance to him. It has everything to do with the fact that he is using you. He wants you to be exclusive to him, but he gets to sleep around-WHA?

This is a male's evolutionary wet dream*. And, if we were winged blackbirds, everything would be fine and dandy. But we're not, and the fact that he's jaunting off to sleep with an ex while you are alone is NOT OKAY.

You deserve better.

*This is not intended as a "men suck" chauvinistic statement. I think it's realistic to mention that biologically men are geared for polygynous behaviour, and this situation is a replica of such biological desires.
posted by thatbrunette at 9:36 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

stop with all the DMTFAing because this is as much her fault as his, if nor more because um…yeah, the boyfriend sounds like a jerk but on the other hand, the OP has allowed it. which. stupid. i mean, he would be free to have (safe) sex with other women, and I would be committed to him—and jealous and insecure. c'mon. jesus. sorry, but this is really your own damned fault. if you're not cool with your boyfriend sleeping around with other ppl, then get one who isn't sleeping around with other ppl.
posted by violetk at 9:41 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Okay, sure.

There's your mistake right there.

The jealosy reaction is telling you that you do not like what is going on. It is built into you for a reason--to protect you.

Some people may insist that jealosy is some how a low or base reaction. But there are no bad emotions. There are only emotions and your reaction to them.

Right now a powerful emotion is telling you that you do not like the situation as it is. If you do not, you have every right to tell your bf that you want a new arrangement regarding monogamy or, to stop dating altogether. You are not obligated to remain in a situation you do not want to be in. This is a basic rule of survival.

I strongly urge that you find a situation where the arrangements are what you want, whether it be with this person, or some other. You may even decide to contact him now to let him know of your feelings. Express that you are becoming more and more uncomfortable with thw situation and that you are having problems coping with this and that the relationship may be put in jeapoardy if he continues forward, if that is indeed how you feel. That's fair to him and fair to you, no matter what you said before.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:42 PM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]

How long would you continue staying with him if nothing changed?

Assume nothing about your feelings or his activity will change.

You probably do feel insecure, and for a good reason: you are not secure. Not in yourself, and definitely not in this relationship. Your boyfriend isn't doing anything, not the least little thing, to help you feel more secure. He prefers you to be insecure - telling you he won't commit to you but doesn't want to share you, the very essence of an unsure and unstable relationship. He doesn't do or say things that reassure you as to your primacy in his life. He wants you to understand you are not in that role for him.

Meanwhile, you seem to be content to stay insecure - you don't rock the boat, you aren't honest about your feelings, and you seem to be willing to go along with anything to stay in this relationship. But look - you're comparing yourself to other women, imagining the worst, feeling yourself to be inadequate.

I don't think the problem is your jealousy - I think it's that you would actually like more clarity and security than you're getting in this relationship. And, in fact, you deserve it. If he isn't going to give you what you need to feel secure, this is pretty much the feeling you can expect throughout your relationship with him. And if you never insist upon it, you'll never know whether he is even capable of giving it.

But basically it sounds like you have totally undervalued and neglected your own very real and very common needs and expected yourself to act like someone you aren't. Not a recipe for happy togetherness.

Sorry you're in this situation - but I don't think suppressing your feelings and lying by omission to your boyfriend is doing you any favors. You'll be living a lie and the real you will be buried down inside somewhere, afraid to speak. Where are you in this equation? Who are you? What do YOU want and need?
posted by Miko at 9:46 PM on December 18, 2008 [12 favorites]

This is not polyamory.

This is him having his cake and eating it too, and you not having enough self esteem to trust your feelings and demand he stop.

He may dump you. He may not want a LTR. He may want to fuck lots of fillies, and maintain a safe backup in the barn that he's not really into but is better than nothing.

Guess what? You're the barn horse.

He has to fantasize about other women just to get off with you? How insulting that it is that way, and further, how insulting that he'd ever tell you that.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:48 PM on December 18, 2008 [12 favorites]

It's been a year. The window of time when it would have been understandable for him to be hesitant about commitment is LONG gone. Now, he's just using you as a safety net in case his other sexier adventures don't work out. I wouldn't want to live as some guy's placeholder.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:52 PM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]

You agreed to something that you oughtn't have agreed to. When your "boyfriend" gets back from his trip, having had sex with the girl whom he prefers to you, you are going to need to sit him down and talk about your feelings.

I think you already know that this will end the relationship that you think you have with him. But you know what? You don't have that relationship with him now, and you never did. He's not your boyfriend, not as most people, including you, would define that term. So it's not going to end, because it never really began. There's the off chance that he may come to his senses and decide to be your boyfriend. But if I were you, I wouldn't count on it.

Does this girl C even know you exist? I bet she doesn't.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:58 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

To follow up to ikkyu2's comment, your boyfriend saying that C knows about you is not verifiable proof that C knows you exist. That's one of those things that you can only find out by arranging to meet her, or speaking to her yourself on the phone, or otherwise having a setup where you get absolutely incontrovertible first-hand proof that this girl knows who you are, and that you are fucking her ex and intend to pursue a relationship with him.

Anything less than that is some form of bullshit on his part, and you should get out of the situation.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:10 PM on December 18, 2008

Nothing that hasn't already been said, but you deserve better than this bucket of douche. Get out.
posted by phaded at 10:14 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

you know, as someone who was dating someone (for a loooong time) who contacted her ex.. it's a bad sign for your relationship. it immediately discounts your importance in their life. if you're satisfied with that, let it happen.

but if you respect yourself, make him aware of EXACTLY how it makes you feel. You've only got a year into this.. life's too short to spend another week like that.

in my case, i let it happen. i'm not proud of that, but at the time i didn't feel like i had a choice and it was better than seeing her leave me forever. i should have just taken it as the sucker punch that it was, left her behind and moved on with my life. but love is a fucked up thing.
posted by ninjew at 10:20 PM on December 18, 2008

Seconding phaded. If what you truly want, in your heart of hearts, is a one-sided relationship where you may never know where you stand and the person you love and are devoted to does not seem to return that love or devotion, then stay. If not, beat a hasty retreat. As soon as humanly possible. Because you deserve much, much more than he is willing or able to give you.

And, as someone said once in a previous AskMe question, life is much too short to spend your precious time on someone who may not miss you if you leave.
posted by anonnymoose at 10:21 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

This led to an agreement whereby he would be free to have (safe) sex with other women, and I would be committed to him.

This asymmetric agreement is a disaster in the making. You two are not on the same page regarding what you want out of the relationship.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:28 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thanks for all the answers, guys. Just to clarify one point. I know for a fact that C knows that I exist (that he is dating someone, and has for over a year). We have spoken via AIM once or twice.

I don't want to dump him, I don't think, but I guess I have some introspection to do.
posted by Night_owl at 10:30 PM on December 18, 2008

Let me second terranova: your feelings are trying to tell you something, urgently. Please listen to them. You are being treated in a way that is making you feel really, really bad. I don't believe you deserve that. Do you?
posted by scody at 10:35 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

This is such a ridiculously unfair, one sided set up. He's taking up so much mental space it verges on absurd. It's completely not cool to demand you not be lost to anyone else while he has the opportunity to screw around. It's also not fair for him to be fucking someone who he also says he would probably be married to if she hadn't dumped him.

Step back. If your friend told you about this set up with her boyfriend, how would you react? What are you really getting out of this relationship? Love and support or frustration and a drop in self esteem?

I'm guessing a lot of the reason you are staying with him is insecurity, since he is your first LTR. Sweetie, you can and will do better if you walk away right now.
posted by piratebowling at 10:36 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]

I know this is really stupid. He has asked me several times if it was okay that he was doing this. I voiced my concerns, but then told him that it was okay for him to sleep with her. In all, he's a wonderful guy.

My only reaction to your question is to wonder, what's wrong with your self-esteem that you put up with this? He gets to get laid with all these other women, while you commit to being faithful to him? Why do you not insist on fairness? He gets to come back to you with some other woman's cooze-juice on his cock, and that's fine --- but he ought to also have to accept that there may be some other guy's cum dripping out of you when he does that.

You say he is a wonderful guy. To me, he sounds like a manipulative asshole.
posted by jayder at 10:41 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

This led to an agreement whereby he would be free to have (safe) sex with other women, and I would be committed to him. Okay, sure.

You are being used. Asymmetry in relationships is fine.. How has he reacted when you said "Well, if you want to sleep with other girls, it's fine if I want to sleep with other boys, right?"

You did ask that, yes?

His reaction will tell you everything you need to know about whether this is actually an arrangement you arrived at together, or whether he wants to have his cake and fuck it too.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:05 PM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]

I was in a very, very similar situation. It was incredibly damaging to my self-esteem and left me with hang-ups I'm still trying to overcome 10 years later.

If you're anything like me, you will never stop being jealous. You will never stop worrying that he's going to leave you. You will never stop feeling like if you were just a little more awesome, you'd be enough for him. You will never stop comparing yourself to the other women. You will never stop the lurid imaginings of what he's doing in that hotel room.

And if he's anything like my ex... having this piece of cake and eating it too will encourage him to pursue bigger, more hurtful-to-you pieces of cake. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair.

My ex and I are still friends... he's a wonderful guy, if you're not romantically invested in him. I've watched him do the same thing to the poor women who came after me, finally realizing that it was never my shortcomings at all... he just needed the validation of having more, more, more women want him.

My two cents says bail.
posted by Gianna at 11:20 PM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]

Oh no. I've been there, and the associated pain is still fresh some 20 years later. Listen to what folks here have been telling you. This will probably not end well for you. Please please don't accept this kind of treatment, no matter how much you care for him. Do stand up for yourself. I did, and am so glad I did, for the sake of my self respect, even though it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, since I loved him so.

In my case, I was dating boyfriend when he fell for another woman. He was seeing us both for a bit and then I said enough is enough, this is too painful, and I broke it off. Fast forward about a year, and he says he wants to see me again. We see each other for a bit, but he is still also dating 2nd woman. I think about it for a little bit, develop my backbone, and then put my foot down and say - no more of this, you need to grow up and pick one of us because seeing both of us is not fair to anyone concerned. Amazingly, he ultimately did a lot of growing up, and he did commit to one person, but I don't know that he would have, or maybe not for a long time, if I hadn't been really clear about the situation being unacceptable.
posted by gudrun at 11:34 PM on December 18, 2008

What a terrible "agreement" you have: he gets to do what he wants, and you won't leave him for it. If that were a contract, it likely wouldn't be legally binding, because generally contracts are only legally binding when both parties benefit from the terms in some way.

Here's a story that might help, and it's true (I know, because I was the young jerk in the story):

Once upon a time, I was dating a girl. Okay, I wasn't really dating her, nothing exclusive, we just hooked up every so often. Couldn't stand to listen to her talk, just liked sleeping with her, and it seemed like that was cool with her, too.

It was getting near holiday season, and she let me know she'd be traveling out of the country for a month or so. She asked if I was planning to sleep with any other girls while she was away, and I said outright that I didn't have any plans, but if the opportunity arose, I might. She didn't respond in any way that suggested to me (young and stupid was I!) that she'd have a problem with that.

She goes away, and during a holiday party I run into a high school friend. We hook up, and start dating.

The first girl comes back, we get together and she asks me if I slept with anyone while she was gone. I said yes, yes I did. She was not happy about this, as she "didn't think [I] was actually going to do it!"

Now, being young and stupid, I got angry, because I thought it was unfair; after all, I'd told her up front what I might do, and I was honest about having done it. I figured that put me in the right, she was wrong, and it was her problem so she should get over it.

It's been a long time since then, but I know now what I didn't then: I was a jerk who didn't value my relationship with her and didn't care whether my activities bothered her or not, so long as I felt good about my being honest about it, and she was naive to think I was anything other than said jerk. She should have left me, and she didn't, so I continued to reap the benefits of our hookups and she continued to feel like crap.

I sincerely hope you don't follow in her footsteps, unless you're getting something really awesome out of it, and it doesn't sound like you are.

Good luck.
posted by davejay at 11:36 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]

I don't have much to add to the previous answers, except to tell you that in my several years of my daily AskMe fix, this is the first time that my mouth has literally dropped open reading a question. This situation is untenable. You do not need to change your feelings, or for God's sake, feel you need to hide those feelings. This man is incredibly selfish and I hate that you are allowing him to get away with this.

I have been ambivalent about people deciding to use this forum rather than seeing their doctors. I have thought to myself, ok, fine--you will eat year old cod if that is AskMe's advice? Sounds good. I have, although I was a therapist for many years, thought that all the "Get thee to counseling" answers could sometimes be over the top. But for this question, I want to type DMFA! in 45 point type.

There is someone out there who will cherish you and make the choice to forsake all others if that is your choice as a couple. You are not the selfish one for wanting this.
posted by thebrokedown at 11:46 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

he was unsure that he wanted to be exclusive with me, but that he also didn't want to lose me to anyone else

Greedy little fuck.
posted by flabdablet at 11:59 PM on December 18, 2008 [11 favorites]

"He needs the mental and real images of other women to get off, when previously he was satisfied with just me. I'm also concerned that once he sleeps with her he will no longer desire me sexually."

"He has asked me several times if it was okay that he was doing this. I voiced my concerns, but then told him that it was okay for him to sleep with her. In all, he's a wonderful guy."

No, he's not. You deserve better. Dump him.
posted by iviken at 12:11 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Uh, what many others have said, viz., you're getting played. Don't put up with it. Seriously. I have a very fast DTMFA trigger, but, well, it's because of stories like this.
posted by paultopia at 12:14 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

How do I get over my jealousy of my boyfriend's sleeping with his ex-girlfriend, and how do I not take it out on him if I can't rein it in?

Just wanted to add that you seem like a caring person, and it's obvious just from the way you phrased your question that it's important to you to protect your boyfriend's feelings and look out for him. Ask yourself: does he feel the same way where you're concerned? I hate to say it, but from everything you've told us, the answer is a resounding no. Talk about red flags. Even as a friend, that kind of one-sided take-without-give is a total dealbreaker.
posted by anonnymoose at 12:27 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]

People matter more than anything. Authentic, whole people know this. In-authentic, un-evolved people think that what they can GET by using people, matters more than anything. You're dissing yourself for being an authentic, whole person who knows this, feels this, can't help but feel this. That's why you feel jealous. You know and value people...not for what you can get out of them...but for who they are. And you need this value to be reciprocated to be the authentic, loving person that you are.

Since you are an authentic, whole person, you will be not be satisfied being with a man who doesn't feel like you do...doesn't think that people and not what you can get from people, is the most important things in life.

This man doesn't care more for the other girl than for you. He cares more for himself than for you. He cares more for himself than for her. Or for anyone else. Rather than subjugating your real self to be with a person who will use you for what he can get, and go elsewhere to get whatever he can't get from you, why not hold out for someone who actually cares deeply for you personally, uniquely, individually? Someone who cares for you..your authenticity, individuality, not-another-like-you-anywhere-ness.

It's easier to be authentic, in the long run, and to find someone who values you in the way you do him, than to stop being who you are (which if you remain authentic, you'll find to be an impossible proposition). Stay real, who you are, find someone who will be glad you want them to be your one and only just as you want to be theirs.
posted by mumstheword at 12:54 AM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]

Oh Night_owl.

I just want to give you a big hug. You're asking for something so soul crushing. I know you want to stay in this relationship - you want it to work. You want not to be jealous of other women, to find a way to control how your boyfriend feels about you (sexually attractive) perhaps you also want him not to want to have sex with other women. You want not to care if he does. I get that.

What sends my heart out to you is that you don't seem to realize that you are essentially asking how to ignore and accept disrespect. You're asking how to smother your emotions, how to not feel how you feel. It's like asking how to make yourself smaller. You're asking how to not be you - or at the very least, how to get rid of all of the healthy, self esteem features of your personality that make you a whole, resilient human being.

He may have many wonderful qualities, but as a women's college graduate, my data from college implies you can only hold in your jealously and resentment for so long. Eventually it oozes out in catty phrases and other passive aggressive behavior, which the poorly behaving partner will find offputting. He might even use that as the reason to end the relationship. And that drama filled wrenching silliness will probably make your head spin.

The generous description here is that you and your boyfriend just want different things right now. It's a shame, but it's the way it is. No one's to blame. It's wonderful that you are generous to let him be the way he is, feel the way he does, and do what he wants to do. Perhaps you could turn that same generosity of spirit towards yourself - let your self be the way you are, feel what you feel, and say what you need to say.

Even if your relationship falls apart, you will survive it - everyone survives the end of their first LTR one way or another. But why not say how you feel, and explore how it unfolds, rather than trying to contort yourself to hold it together? There has to be enough room in the relationship for you to be who you are, and I hope you find the courage to present to him the person you are with the feelings you have, not some mask of the person you wish you were. As that lovely song by the Corrs song: Baby be brave! (

Dang it, I'm going to quote a poem and song lyrics in one night, but here it goes:

Maybe deep down inside, you don’t believe it
Your wailing wall, it isn’t weeping at all
And you’re not worthy of adoration
You’re scared that somebody somewhere’s gonna find the burst pipe
And as fast as they bow down they’ll leave you behind
But baby be brave cause what’s the point of it all
What’s the point of it all yeah
Baby don’t blow it, tell me what’s it all for
If you’re not terrified to fail
Are you terrified to fail?
posted by anitanita at 1:09 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Nthing "don't agree to things that you're not actually okay with." If something you agreed to before starts to make you feel bad, let him know your feelings changed and you want to change your agreement. It's okay to insist on monogamy or to say you don't want to be with someone who has such mixed feelings about you.
posted by salvia at 1:13 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

You're not ok with this skewed, half-monogamous relationship. And you know, I wouldn't be, either. Plenty of people would be. But not you. And that's perfectly ok.

You voiced your concerns but went along with it. I'm guessing this is because, well, it was easier to comply than to take a hard stand for what you really need. It's hard to say, "I love you, but this thing you want to do--it's a dealbreaker for me."

He was upfront with you and it sounds like you may communicate well. Good for him for not hiding it. Still, good communication is necessary but not sufficient for a loving relationship. No amount of communication will make up for the fact that you two seem to be looking for a very different things in a relationship.

If you stay with him, it will always be like this. And if knowing he's off somewhere having sex with someone else makes you unhappy, and if being unhappy for the rest of your life is not acceptable to you, it's time to move on. Learn what you can from the experience, tell him that you thought you could do this but it turns out you can't, and break it off.

It's sounds like a painful situation. My sympathies.
posted by kprincehouse at 1:15 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

The only one in a long-term relationship here IS YOU. If you voiced your concerns, you obviously had a problem with it and he knew that, if he asked enough times, you would cave in and he would get what he wanted. I doubt he views you as more than a steady booty call that runs errands for him. Find someone worth spending your emotional energy on.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:46 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Aw, honey... this is your first LTR, right? Because you've been dating him a year? Because you've introduced him to all your friends and family? OK, that explains why you're afraid of losing him.

But it doesn't explain why you're so afraid of being yourself around this guy. That's part of the relationship thing, right? Being yourself and having the other person accept you? You're accepting him and his bullshit. This is grade A, nuclear grade plutonium kind of bullshit from him, by the way, and you have every right to not accept it. The fact that you are not OK about this is a very good sign.

What was involved in making that agreement between you? Why would you do it in the first place? Think about that. Is this guy really worth this kind of torment?

Did he have a similar arrangement in place with his ex, I wonder?

Polyamory only works if there's honesty on all sides, and equal opportunities for all in the relationship. This isn't polyamory. You aren't even trying to present it this way. You're saying "he's cheating on me and I feel I've made some sort of Faustian deal to grin and bear it... help me figure out a way to do that" Why should I? What fantastic benefits do you get from this relationship? Do you have kids and a mortgage with this guy? Do you have 30 yrs of history with him? No? You've been dating him a year? A year in which he's cheated on you pretty flagrantly and been incredibly disrespectful? I don't know you, but I wouldn't wish that kind of relationship on my worst enemy. Please, honey, please - listen to the advice you've had on this thread so far and really listen to what the nice Mefites are trying to tell you.

Think about what you've described as happening over the year you've been together. He's slept with other women. He's told you that he isn't into you sexually, but sleeps with you anyway. How nice of him to be so kind as to do that, eh? Not only does he sleep with them, but he doesn't even have the courtesy to try and even soften the blow. No way in hell is he naive enough to think that you're going to not have some sort of discomfort over him being with other women.

I think he's being deliberately hurtful to you. The whole thing smacks of control to me. He tells you that you're unattractive, so you're grateful when he sleeps with you. He tells you that he was really, really into his ex and is interested in hooking up with her... and does just that, in front of you. He's making you feel like nothing. That's borderline abusive in my view. Think about how much time you're investing in thinking about how to hide your feelings from him. Why? You're thinking about how you can bend yourself to be acceptable to him. Or to protect yourself from him, because you don't want to look, what? Emotional? Uncool? Clingy? In this case, none of those adjectives apply to you.

Anyway, I wish you luck on this. Ending that first LTR is hard. In this case, though, I think it's absolutely necessary.
posted by Grrlscout at 2:52 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

You say, "I don't want to dump him, I think." Let me do some thinking for you. Yes, you do want to dump him, for your long-term mental health. He took advantage of this being your first real LTR. FUck him. I mean, don't fuck him. Don't talk to him. Just break off all contact, cry for a couple days, and go get some rebound from some other guy that got dumped on Christmas Eve.
posted by notsnot at 3:02 AM on December 19, 2008

This led to an agreement whereby he would be free to have (safe) sex with other women, and I would be committed to him.

he said he was unsure that he wanted to be exclusive with me, but that he also didn't want to lose me to anyone else

He mentioned to C that he was going to be home around Christmastime and that he was interested in having sex with her.

He needs the mental and real images of other women to get off

and finally there's this:

I don't want to dump him

Can't help you if you don't want to help yourself. Seriously, you need to make the decision to be happy and come to the realization that this relationship isn't making you happy. "Wonderful guys" don't make you feel like shit and have you making painful comparisons between yourself and his exgirlfriend.

when he sleeps with her he'll decide he doesn't want to be with me anymore emotionally

If it's not going to be her, it'll be someone else. One of the reasons that people are bothered by cheating is because people develop emotional connections through sex. Your BF is already emotionally cheating on you and probably has been for a while.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:48 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Adding my opinion to dump him, but with a little bit of a different argument.

From what I understand, an open relationship is one in which both people are separating "love" from "owning the other person's sexuality". Usually, too, both people have the option to say "stop" to this, at any time, when jealousy crops up so they can communicate openly about their feelings and reevaluate if this is right for them at the time.

I don't know -- maybe that works for some people. But, without arguing the pros/cons of that, know that you don't have that at all. He owns your sexual experiences, but you are not allowed the same.

So your question is not "what does Houstonian think about my boyfriend," but instead, "who can I get over being jealous?" My opinion is, you feel jealous because you want to own his sexual experiences just as he owns yours. One way to have this is to own his sexual experiences -- that is, he promises to be monogamous. He doesn't agree to this. The other way is to stop wanting that ownership. Since you tie the necessity of monogamy with love, that means loving him a lot less.

Please. He went home without you, over the holidays, and is sleeping with another woman while knowing that it is upsetting you. Please dump him. He is no good for you.
posted by Houstonian at 4:00 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Just another voice in the chorus: Dump him. Do it very, very soon. I have been in your position, I know how hard it can be to face the thought of a lonely life without the person who's treating you badly, but it just doesn't have to be this way. The kind of relationship that will feel good to you is not the kind of relationship this guy wants. It's not going to get better with him.
posted by jon1270 at 4:49 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

So, he's basically telling you that he can't have sex with you and orgasm without imagining or looking at photographs of other women? And you find that acceptable? To me that's even more of a red flag than the half-open relationship, honestly. It displays such a disregard of normal human caring it's fairly breathtaking. It would be one thing if that was just the way he is, but the way you phrased it makes it sound like that didn't used to be the case, but he told you that in order to show you he's tiring of you.

I know you might not be into the idea, but any chance you can spend the break having wonderful sex with someone else? It might help you, and it's certainly not morally wrong regardless of what you agreed to in the past. You could even tell him ahead of time if you felt better about it!
posted by miss tea at 4:58 AM on December 19, 2008

DTMFA, he's a manipulative jerk, and he's using you. He's not committed to a relationship with you, he's just getting sex on his own terms.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:17 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

When we started dating, he said he was unsure that he wanted to be exclusive with me, but that he also didn't want to lose me to anyone else. This led to an agreement whereby he would be free to have (safe) sex with other women, and I would be committed to him.

So, if I'm understanding you correctly here, the implicit assumption is that not "being committed to him" (i.e. having sex with someone else?), could lead to him losing you. So how does that not apply the other direction? Surely if he sleeps with someone else, then you might lose him?

Of course you're jealous! It's baked right into your agreement.
posted by losvedir at 5:51 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's pretty rare that Mefites are unanimous about anything, so you should take the previous 50+ comments as a very clear indicator of what to do.
posted by desjardins at 5:53 AM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]

This "arrangement" (not relationship) and every single thing you described is absolutely heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. I truly do understand your feelings of not wanting to lose him. But is this relationship worth losing YOU instead?

The answer is unequivocally, no. No person, relationship, arrangement, job, or even family, is worth losing yourself, your authenticity and integrity.

Ending this relationship with this cruel person will be painful, but not nearly as painful and debilitating as what all signals are pointing to if you stay---You continue to swallow your feelings and accept his unacceptable behavior and in so doing, he kills your spirit, steals your soul and then he dumps you when he is done using you, again on his terms.

Your choice is him or you....please choose you.
posted by murrey at 6:30 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

If he's so wonderful, then I'm sure he won't mind it when you tell him, "You know, I think I'd really like to be able to sleep with other guys. You don't have a problem with that, right?"


When your SO calls you a retard for disagreeing with him, when he has to fantasize about other women when having sex -- and told you this, when he constructs a lopsided fidelity scenario that makes you the barn horse...

is that really what you want? Or is it that deep down, you think that if you do the right thing, say the right thing, that someday he'll realize you're the only one he wants, and you just have to swallow your hurt and jealousy until that magical moment?

Sadly, I think you will be waiting a long, long time.

From High Fidelity:

It made sense to pool our collective loathing for the opposite sex, and while we were at it, you get to share a bed with somebody at the same time. We were frightened of being left alone for the rest of our lives. Only people of a certain disposition are frightened of being alone for the rest of their lives at the age of 26, and we were of that disposition.
You deserve someone who will love and cherish you; someone who only calls you pet names and goofy names; someone who negotiates a fidelity agreement that doesn't leave you feeling hurt, jealous and insecure; someone who will bolster your sense of self and your self-esteem.

I don't think this guy is the guy. If you're having the horrible fear common to most of us when we had our first relationship, "Oh god, oh god, it's not perfect, but if I fuck it up, I'll never find anybody and be alone," let me tell you from the far other side that as paralyzing as that fear is, it is not pre-destined. You will have other chances at happiness - but only if you stand up for yourself and demand to be treated with respect and kindness.
posted by canine epigram at 6:30 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

Oh sugar, this is a heartbreaker. More than anything I wish we were meeting in real life so that I could look you in the eye and tell you you are worthy of somebody better. And you would tell me how great he is and much you love him and how you can't imagine life without him. And I would wipe away your tears and tell you that if you do stay with him it will always be like this. He will always get his way, fucking whomever he wants and you will always be the one crying at home.

You need a friend. You need a mom or an aunt or a big sister to shake you and tell you that you that turning a blind eye to this guy's sexual escapades is only going to damage you more and more. The longer you stay with him the less self-worth you will have, until-- and this is the kicker-- he dumps you. That is the future, count on it. His actions and his words have proven he doesn't value you and so it is just a matter of time when he decides he can live without you. Please, don't let him continue to walk all over you, you deserve better than that.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:32 AM on December 19, 2008 [7 favorites]

In the unlikely event that one more voice can sway you to seek counseling, assert yourself, and start valuing yourself as much as you should, I'm with the "speak up!" crowd.

For whatever reason, some people seem to seek out ways of putting themselves in situations that make them feel demeaned and unhappy. There's a lot of exciting drama if you do this -- lots of intensity and emotion. But it's not the happy, loving, and fulfilling kinds of emotion, and the end results are usually pretty predictable.

Along with those intangible things to consider, have you thought through the practicalities of your situation? As in, if he "forgets" to practice safe sex with the ex-gf (or the condom breaks, as it sometimes does), will he be putting you at risk? Is his idea of safe sex the same as yours? (For many people, "safe sex" means saying "you're clean, right?" after they've fucked bareback. Are you cool with that?) Even people who are usually scrupulous with condoms can be willing to be casual when they are with a former partner, with whom there is great intimacy and trust.

So in addition to thinking about counseling, renegotiating your relationship with your so-called boyfriend, and considering DTMFA, I think you need to be prepared to renegotiate safe sex with him when he gets back, just like you were at the beginning of the relationship. Testing, condom use, sexual practices, etc -- it all needs to be on the table again for discussion, to ensure that you feel safe and protected.
posted by Forktine at 6:34 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Someday, I hope you have the opportunity to find a loving relationship with a considerate man who takes your own fears, desires, and needs into account when he is out in the world. I hope that you look back on this relationship, and all that you had learned from it, and thank your lucky stars that you spoke up, stood your ground, and moved on determined to do better for yourself. I hope that someday, when you talk with future man about your current relationship that he tells you that he's sorry you were treated that way, but he's glad that the changes you made because of it led you to him.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:46 AM on December 19, 2008 [24 favorites]

Oh, mrmojoflying, that was lovely. Really lovely.

Night Owl, take a step back and ask yourself what advice you'd give to your sister or your best friend if she were in your situation. I sincerely hope you wouldn't tell her to keep things the way they are. You're being taken advantage of and it really sucks and you ought to stand up for yourself and move on. I wish you the best.
posted by cooker girl at 7:16 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Is this a real question? Really?

because this isn't a relationship.

out. now. this is dumb.
posted by phritosan at 7:24 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your boyfriend is a greedy loser.

If you were to break up with him today, he'd be over you in under a week. THAT is what his actions are saying. I can promise you he does not care about you beyond the fact that you are "comfortable." You are being treated so badly...

...and you don't want to break up with him?

He does not respect you and is treating you like a possession. To be used when he wants and then tossed in a closet.

But she is 6 inches taller and ten pounds lighter

That has nothing to do with why a man is with you or not. A guy that cares about you, respects you, and finds you attractive is not going to run off because another girl weighs ten pounds less. You are focusing on the wrong things.
posted by Windigo at 7:31 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

If fact, I am going to say it again. In bold.

Your boyfriend is a total loser.

posted by Windigo at 7:32 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am in a non-monogamous relationship with my partner. I am totally cool with him sleeping with other women. He really doesn't pursue it, between our busy life together and his other interests it's not a priority for him, but the option's there. I don't really want to sleep with other people and don't.

So I approach this with a perspective that is not exactly "Monogamy or GTFO!".

I do think equal levels of commitment is a must. You are a better judge of this than I am.

Another must for a relationship is a basic level of kindness and decency. You haven't even seen this woman, and yet you know she's taller and skinnier than you? Well, first, that doesn't necessarily make her hotter, but second, why do you know that? Is there any reason besides cruelty on the part of your boyfriend, or at the very best, amazing thoughtlessness?

You're being set up to be insecure and jealous. If you don't want your boyfriend to see how much this upsets you (although it seems like he wants to see you upset) perhaps you should not communicate with him while you're upset. Anything else will set you up for some significant disassociation of your feelings from your actions, and that's difficult and unhealthy, in the long term.
posted by sondrialiac at 7:44 AM on December 19, 2008

But basically it sounds like you have totally undervalued and neglected your own very real and very common needs and expected yourself to act like someone you aren't. Not a recipe for happy togetherness.

As usual, Miko has it spot on.

You're asking us what to do about your feelings, because you don't want to hurt him. Now, ask yourself, would he do the same? IS he doing the same? Is he even considering your feelings in his quests to serve his own needs?

It seems that the answer is no. And that, more than who he may or may not be sleeping with, is the #1 sign that this relationship is totally one sided. His feelings are important to you. Your feelings are not important to him. This can not last. Eventually, one of you will end it. Just ask yourself if you'd rather be that person, or if you're going to wait until his needs are no longer served by having you around.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:20 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

This might come off as rude, and then might get deleted, but what you need is a kick in the pants.

How in God's name did you get roped into this horrible arrangement? If he wants to have sex with other people, well golly jeepers ain't that great. But why would anybody ever agree to remain committed if their partner is open? What could possibly be in it for you except heartbreak? This arrangement, unless it caters to some sort of sexual fetish that you have, is mind boggling. If he sleeps with other people, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SLEEP WITH OTHER PEOPLE, TOO. Your behavior is unfathomably spineless. First you allow yourself to be guilted into this incredibly imbalanced "relationship," then you ask how you can stop being jealous? This is absurd. This is like letting somebody beat you up, then apologizing for it.

Yes, he's an absolute asshole for doing this to you. But you are not much better for letting him. Think about yourself for once and Get Rid of Him.
posted by timory at 8:34 AM on December 19, 2008

Out. Out out out. Get out before this becomes even more of a wreck than it already is. There's no salvaging this "relationship" at all - there's nothing holding it together aside your inability to break this delusion. He doesn't love you, he doesn't care about your feelings, and has a typical "Me me me" mentality. He's an asshole, and while you let him manipulate you, it's now time to let him know that you're onto him, and this isn't going to fly anymore. He can wreck another girl.

Don't try to save what is already broken in too many pieces for you to hold. Don't stay in a toxic, stagnating wasteland when you should be in a field of green. Just get out of this, for your mental health.
posted by Bakuun at 8:55 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kick that sleazeball to the curb as fast as you can. The nerve of this creep!
posted by porn in the woods at 9:11 AM on December 19, 2008

He has asked me several times if it was okay that he was doing this. I voiced my concerns, but then told him that it was okay for him to sleep with her.

My jaw dropped when I read that line. This guy has the deal of a lifetime going on with you. He has free reign to do whatever he wants in the women department and has no risk. You're getting a VERY raw deal out of this. Ideally, you need to break up with him, as this relationship is no good for you. I realize that's easier said than done, but if you can't dump him, and you don't eliminate this infidelity clause, he'll never respect you and never take you seriously.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 9:34 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Just in case you haven't gotten the picture yet:

posted by booknerd at 10:00 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

The word "jealousy" has such weird edges to it. It's usually used to describe a feeling that exists without a good or verifiable reason, a feeling that we're kind of embarrassed about. Like when a guy is jealous of his girlfriend's best friend who is a guy, because they seem really close, much closer than he is with his girlfriend.

Jealousy is wanting something that someone else has but that you don't. I don't think you're really being jealous here. I mean, it'd be one thing if he was sleeping with his ex and you were just his friend, but you're not pining for something that she has. You're not. You're pining for an exclusive relationship.

You're not jealous, you're just upset that your boyfriend is sleeping with other women. Like hardly anyone is going to think that THAT is something not worth getting upset over.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:28 AM on December 19, 2008

I don't want to dump him, I don't think, but I guess I have some introspection to do.

I'll give you a huge head start on that introspection that needs to be done.

What you want is a boyfriend. Problem is, this is not the boyfriend that you want. You're confusing yourself into thinking this is the one you want simply because this is the one you've got.

Don't beat yourself up over it. It's not a hard misstep to make in your first relationship. Hell, I'll admit to making it in relationships further down the line.

There's nothing wrong with wanting a boyfriend. Please, though, do realize that you don't need to settle. A beat up old clunker of a car will still get you to the store, and if that's all you need, hey, go for it. But a romantic partner is not a means of conveyance, and a relationship is not a trip to the grocery store. You should really go high-end on this one.

Don't settle.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:28 AM on December 19, 2008 [7 favorites]

If wanting to bone his ex-girlfriend wasn't a deal breaker, what will be?

If calling you a retard when you disagree isn't a deal breaker, what will be?

If demeaning you, controlling your sexuality, and suffering no sacrifice himself isn't a deal breaker, what will be?

I mean, I hate to say this, but it's clear that he doesn't respect you. He may be nice to you, he may tell you that he loves you, but that's because he likes fucking you, and you probably let him keep his stuff at your place. It's convenient for him to date you, because, hey, he still gets to fuck whomever he likes and all he has to do is manipulate you, consciously or not.

But the path you're headed down, well, if none of this was enough to get you to dump him, what will be? Does he need to move in with another woman? Would you keep letting him fuck you then?

I'm not saying that the guy is pure evil, but the only way he's going to be doing something that's good for you is if he finally can't take it and dumps you.

So suck it up, listen to some break-up music to steel yourself (you could do worse than "Breaking Dishes" by Rhianna) and tell him that you've come to realize that this is bullshit, that he's not treating you the way that you treat someone that you care about, and that you're not going to do it. He'll probably get pouty because, hey, you said it was cool, but so what? It's not cool. If he gives you any shit, tell him to fuck off. Either have a relationship on your terms, terms that make you feel good, or don't have one.

But Christ, his dick isn't magic. There's no reason to put up with this shit, and this isn't what successful poly relationships look like. If he complains, tell him it's his fault that he fucked up a good thing.

(Man, I'm just a stranger on the internet, but from this, I wanna go upside his head. What the fuck was he thinking? "I can't get off unless I'm thinking about someone else"? Well, you ain't gettin' off, then, asshole.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on December 19, 2008 [12 favorites]

Are you still reading this? Have you dumped him yet? If not, why not?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 12:22 PM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]

In all, he's a wonderful guy.

Many, many people have made really good comments above that I won't try to repeat, but given the amount of name-calling going on, I wanted mention that it is entirely possible to be a delightful and fun person to know, but at the same time be a shockingly insensitive and bad significant other. When people upthread say he's being a creep or he's a "greedy loser", you may feel like you need to defend him because none of us know him personally so we can't know what a delight he is to be around (when he's not having sex with someone else). I hope you can resist that urge for long enough to recognize that whatever his fabulous qualities as a person, in the context of the agreement and expectations around your relationship he is treating you badly and you need to choose a response that takes care of you.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:49 PM on December 19, 2008 [9 favorites]

I guess it's not impossible that this guy is in fact so wonderful that attractive women should be accepting any terms he demands in order to date him. In honor of that possibility, and in the interest of AskMe orthodoxy, I'm going to answer the actual questions you asked:

How do I stop being jealous of her

You'll have to accept that he is a much better man than you could at present get all for yourself, and focus your mind on being glad that you have even his partial attention. And you'll have to count your blessings:
  • you get to be seen with him in public (which is exciting even though everyone knows he's not exclusively yours)
  • you get to have sex with him (which is fantastic for you even though he's not really interested)
  • he's fun to talk to (as long as you agree with him)
  • he pays for dinner (please tell me he pays for dinner)
  • your parents like him (they are fundamentalist Mormons, right?)
  • you get to stand up front when his band plays (he is a musician, right? of course he is)
how can I refrain from letting the boyfriend see how much this upsets me

If you can convince yourself per the above that you are getting a good deal in this lopsided relationship, and that you "don't want to dump him", it should go a long way to help you choke back your natural sexual jealousy as well as your anger and despair at your own desperation and self-abnegation.

Hope this helps!
posted by nicwolff at 12:56 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

But Christ, his dick isn't magic.

But wait! What if it is?

Oh, wait, you're right. It isn't.
posted by davejay at 1:02 PM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]

Joining the choir, because I think it is important you hear the unanimous voice of the MeFi community on this. This is not a healthy relationship.

If you want my opinion on what exactly to do - you phone him, say you thought you were ok with his sleeping with his ex, but in retrospect, you really aren't. You say that you aren't trying to guilt trip him, but he needs to know that the situation has changed and that you want him to go in with his eyes open - sleeping with his ex is a dealbreaker for you. His sleeping with other women, period, is a dealbreaker for you. If he can't accept that, you move on. Try to keep the emotion out of it; you are revisiting the agreement made previously; it may seem unfair to do it at this late time, but people's feelings and fairness don't always go hand in hand. And to be fair to him, he needs to understand that what you have said previously is no longer valid (I say this not because he deserves fairness, because I think he has taken horrible advantage with you - I say that you need to treat him fairly because I think that will be an important part of you moving on with your head held high. You won't have trapped him or changed the rules after the fact, but will have been open and honest about your needs, wants and desires, and he made his choice based on those).

It'll be hard, but it will be worth it.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:14 PM on December 19, 2008

I thought this had to be a prank question when I read it, because it sounds too absurd to actually be true. I can't even fathom someone telling their SO that they have to imagine other women in order to get off when having sex. The other stuff he's doing, I feel like part of the problem is that you don't seem to give him any boundaries, and at least he is honest. But the getting-off-during-sex thing... wow, just... wow.

I hope you can get started with your actual first LTR relationship sometime soon, because this isn't one.
posted by kosmonaut at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm very sorry you're being treated this way. However, you have the ability to end this demeaning bullshit right now.

I get incredibly infuriated when I hear that yet another woman is giving the time of day to a shithead like your "boyfriend". This sort of asshole only gets away with their actions with the permission of their victims. Revoke your permission, for the sake of your dignity and your mental health. Then, go rebuild your self-respect, and refuse to have another relationship like this one.

I promise you that you will feel MUCH better with him gone, once you've gotten past the complex he's given you. But people like him often never feel any better, no matter how many women they manipulate into worshipping them -- because nothing is ever enough for people like this. Get away from him, never speak to him again, and if you think it fits the situation, let him know what a loser he is on the way out the door.
posted by Coatlicue at 2:12 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the help, guys. He'll be out of town for several more days, but the next time I talk to him we'll be having a conversation about this.

Thanks to violetk and others for the kick upside the head re: I need to be sticking up for myself.

Dumping him is on the table right now, but if he can promise to focus on me when he gets back (and actually show me he's willing and able to do that) then I want to try to make this work.

Oh, and two final clarification points. I have and would like to again actively pursue sexual options that include additions to the two of us. I think it's the emotional connection that I was worried he'd have with her. And he has not actually slept with anyone else since we started dating, she is the first.

Thanks again, green. I'll be working on getting help for the self-esteem issues.
posted by Night_owl at 3:15 PM on December 19, 2008

Late to the game and it seems to me that if what anyone/everyone has said here has not convinced you to dump him..not "have a conversation" with dumping him on the table"..but kicking his sorry ass to the curb...then my words have little effect.

However. If your feelings meant anything to him, if he had any respect for you, the minute you made it clear it him sleeping with the ex would bother he would have called it off. Without a moment of hesitation. Not push the subject until you caved. And he's not going to change. If he comes back from the trip all rainbows and sunshine and promises of faithful adoration, what he means is he tried to get back together with his ex but she just wanted to bump uglies.

You are spending all this time and energy thinking (and being turn up) about him having sex with this "perfect girl". And even though he is aware that it bothers you, at this moment you are not even a blip in his small, self-centered brain.

And this "sexual options that include additions to the two of us" You're talking about threesomes, right? If so, and obviously I'm just guessing here, but that was his idea? How can you handle actually seeing him have another girl when he's told you he needs to think of other girls to get off when he's with you? Also, if he does agree to be committed to you, do you relly think you can trust him? Or will you wonder if he "agreed" just to keep you from bailing and is still out looking for something more?

I know you believe that despite these bits of transgressions here and there, you believe he's a great guy. As others have said he quite possibly is, just not as your boyfriend, and he never will be(your boyfriend or a great boyfriend to you) Dump him. Preferably don't have any contact with him, but at best not until you are over him. Move on, I PROMISE you will look back and all this and realize
a)what a fucking tool this douche is
b)how leaving him was the best thing for you
and you will wonder what you ever saw in him.

If nothing else, this would be the best (insert winter holiday here) you could give yourself.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 4:34 PM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

He'll be out of town for several more days, but the next time I talk to him we'll be having a conversation about this.

Have you told him you're not okay with him having sex with her? Because he's probably doing it with her, right now. If you wait to have your conversation til he gets back, well, he's already done the dirty deed and made you feel like shit over it. It's too late.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh but I have been you, in the past. I was even worse, actually. I didn't get to be called "girlfriend", because well, I just wasn't good enough for that status. I didn't deserve it.

Guys like this don't learn until they run out of all their other options and go back in their memory and remember how you treated them better than they deserved. They may even apologize, 10-15 years later. Don't hold your breath.

You deserve better. Ten thousand of us can sing this to you in a chorus and you still will not hear it because you don't value yourself. I don't have the magic formula to get that, but once you *do* have it, you will wonder why you let yourself be treated like this.

Think about yourself, ten years down the line, satisfied and secure with a committed guy who respects and loves you (if that is what you want). What would future-you say to now-you?

This is not the best that you can do. It's all you have right now so the distortion of limited perspective can make you think that. I have fallen prey to this myself and numerous other people have as well. If it makes you feel this bad, it is not right for you.

Seriously, print out this thread and give it to him. Who knows, he may actually start to realize how he comes across. Good luck.
posted by marble at 7:20 PM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]

I think it's the emotional connection that I was worried he'd have with her. And he has not actually slept with anyone else since we started dating, she is the first.

Are you forgetting that they dated, that he already had an emotional connection with her, that you " worry that he still has some residual feelings for her" ?!

Also, kept this in mind:
He needs the mental and real images of other women to get off, when previously he was satisfied with just me.

i.e. his emotional connection to you has died off and in a strange coincidence he's on a plane to an ex-girlfriend (a previous emotional connection) who's already agreed to have sex with him. I wonder if he'll need mental and real images of other women when he's with her. What do you think?

And for god sakes, practice safe sex with him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:12 PM on December 19, 2008

He has asked me several times if it was okay that he was doing this. I voiced my concerns, but then told him that it was okay for him to sleep with her.

Wait, am I reading this right? He asked you if it was OK, you said no it was not, and he asked AGAIN? Several times? Til you said YES?

Please tell me I'm misreading.

The first time you said NO should have been the last time he asked, full stop.

Pushing and pushing and pushing someone til you get what you want is what 4 year olds, teenagers, and selfish assholes do.
posted by tristeza at 9:19 AM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Wait, am I reading this right?

Unknown. She said her concerns were stated, but it's unclear whether she explicitly said no.

Still puts him high on "Slimy and manipulative, she should leave his sorry ass" list and her on the "Needs to figure out whether I can handle an open relationship" list
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:03 AM on December 20, 2008

Wow, people are still reading this?

Sure, I'm an idiot for putting myself in this situation. Sure, I should have told him when my feelings changed. Sure, I should have explicitly said no. And maybe y'all are right, and I should knee-jerk reaction dump him. But there are some practical reasons why this is not a possibility (I was without a place to live, so I moved in with him. Don't really have the money for stupid expensive apartment and deposit. Long story.) And I don't know if it's relevant, but he's six years my senior.

And darn it, another thing that I guess I need to clarify. He doesn't tell me he needs images of other women to get off, but since porn and talking about other women manifest themselves often in our sex life, I feel that way. When I ask him about it, he claims that it's just because he's tired, and since he does have a full time job, a part time job, and is a full time student, that's a possibility.

Screw it. I'm baring my soul to the green, which is a bad idea. Especially since no matter what I say, if I don't ruin his vacation by breaking up with him RIGHT NOW then I'm being an idiot.

Thanks for the help, now at least I know where to look inside my head to talk to him about this.
posted by Night_owl at 10:50 AM on December 20, 2008

if I don't ruin his vacation

He's ruined yours.
posted by Miko at 11:25 AM on December 20, 2008 [6 favorites]

But there are some practical reasons why this is not a possibility (I was without a place to live, so I moved in with him. Don't really have the money for stupid expensive apartment and deposit. Long story.)

Did you start a relationship with him because he has money? No? So why would you stay with him for that reason? Good grief, woman.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:29 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Especially since no matter what I say, if I don't ruin his vacation by breaking up with him RIGHT NOW then I'm being an idiot.

The only thing that'll ruin his vacation is if he can't get it up once or twice. Why are you so concerned with his feelings here? He's the one off pounding some other woman right this very moment -- it's not you that is doing anything wrong here.

And I don't know if it's relevant, but he's six years my senior.

It's probably very relevant to why you feel so disempowered and so unable to speak up for yourself. Being six years older is not an excuse for bad behavior, but it can provide some real leverage for someone who is manipulative.

I'm really sorry that you are reading this, and feeling attacked. My reading of this thread is one message of support and good wishes after another. But it is very hard, and very frustrating, to see someone making excuses for why she is staying in a bad situation. That doesn't make you a bad person (or even make him a bad person, either) -- but the situation is clearly bad for you. And when you read all this, and then continue to dig deep for reasons to not change, it's hard not to throw one's hands in the air and feel frustrated.

So I hope that eventually some piece of this trickles through, and you find your way to a place where you feel empowered to demand the love and consideration that you deserve as a person. Maybe this guy can reform and start treating you well, or maybe it will be with someone else. Either way, you in no way deserve this kind of treatment, and I hope that you realize that sooner rather than later.
posted by Forktine at 11:30 AM on December 20, 2008 [6 favorites]

a) (I was without a place to live, so I moved in with him. Don't really have the money for stupid expensive apartment and deposit. Long story.)

this is not ever a reason to stay with someone. period. end of story. don't you have friends? go stay with them until you can find your own place of how about getting a roommate if you can't afford your own place? people are looking for roommates all the time. i assume you can at least pay for your part of a roommate rental situation.

b) aside from all the nonsense about him getting to sleep with other people, as mentioned in your previous answer to a question about having conversations with a significant other, you describe how this "wonderful" guy interacts with you:…However, when we disagree, or on topics where I know we have differing opinions, or things I know and care little about, I have NO desire to talk. This is because frequently he will say something like, "That's retarded. You don't know what you're talking about," and then proceed to prove his point again. When I eventually concede his point (whether I actually agree or not) he gets angry that I'm just "giving up". um, this is not how respectful people have conversations with other people, let alone their significant others.

please, stop with trying to justify to yourself that this guy is worth staying with. he's just not respectful toward you, sexually, emotionally, intellectually. he has no interest in making sure you feel valued on any of those (major) fronts. so…why? why are you even considering staying with him? why do you put up with his bullshit? just the fact that he talks down to you the way that he does should have been a red flag. are you staying with him because you feel invested, because you put in all this time and energy and emotion, because he's your "first LTR"? this guy is not worth your investment. he just sounds like a douchebag. get out and work on your self-esteem because it's obviously so low that you're putting up with shitty behaviour that you shouldn't be putting up with. get out before your self-esteem gets even lower. stop with the emotional masochism.
posted by violetk at 11:33 AM on December 20, 2008 [4 favorites]

Never, EVER agree to a double standard. It sounds like your boyfriends playing a long con-job on you and should be NOT your boyfriend as quickly as possible.
posted by medea42 at 11:46 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm really sorry you feel like you're being attacked and I can't speak for anyone else but I certainly in no way think you're an "idiot." I truly hope that YOU don't think you're an idiot.
posted by tristeza at 12:09 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't think you're an idiot either. And I'm sure you do feel attacked, or at least overwhelmed by the vociferousness of the response. But it's a bit of a reality check, I think. It can feel like a cold slap in the face when you've been rationalizing a situation for awhile, and one day you just can't lay that final log on top of the fire of fooling yourself into thinking this is really a worthwhile relationship.

Sometimes, people responding in AskMe see a solution as so very obvious that it has to be acted upon this second. Many times it might be because some of us regret not having acted sooner in a similar situation, and cringe at the thought of another person going on with it when it's so very obvious it's no good.

BUt I can see the problems you might have with calling him out of the blue, having given him the idea that you accepted the situation, and saying you're done. It might be best having a face-to-face conversation. You may think that for your own good standing with yourself it would be wrong somehow to drop the bomb that this is over - he's confident you're not going anywhere no matter how poorly you're treated, and you haven't indicated that you are about to grow a backbone, so he will be surprised.

Given all this, take a couple days and think things over. It's great that you have a break from his constant presence - sometimes, that can make things clearer.

Think about getting a journal or just a notebook and doing some writing. Make a rule that you will write totally honestly - you can destroy what you write afterward, and you never have to read it again. And start writing in it, a little each day. Write about how you met this guy, how he makes you feel, why you fell in love. Write about why you went into this situation. Write about what you're afraid of - if you stay with him and if you don't. Write about what you want in your ideal relationship - not what you're willing to settle for, but what you would wish for if you could design a mate that would make you happy for a long time. Just be honest in this writing. It will help you understand how you got here and how you really feel. Be honest. You don't have to lie to a notebook. You don't have to hide your feelings. This will help you later on - you'll be a lot more in touch with the feelings and thoughts

Get into a stronger position personally. It seems like you haven't thought about what options you have and might feel a bit stuck with this guy. Are you still financially dependent on him? If so, don't be. Increase your income and salt some savings away. Personally, I think you couldn't start soon enough putting some distance into place between you and this guy. Create a Plan B - where will you go if you decide to leave suddenly? Do your friends or relations know you might be having some trouble, that you're unhappy in the relationship, at least as it is right know? Do you have one or two trusted people you could call on if you need a place to stay that night? If not, work on that. Start telling people close to you that you have some problems with your boyfriend. It's all right, people have problems with their SOs all the time. There's no shame in it, and you'll be more honest with yourself and others.

Go on Craigslist and do some apartment hunting. Look at the roommate ads, see how much places are costing near where you need to live. If this guy's really wonderful, and you're meant to be together, but you need to live in a sublet with a roomie for a while to get your head together, he'll understand. IF not, you need to know that.

But you DO have options, so get to know what they are. Have a little bit of a toolkit so that when you do have this conversation with the guy, whether that's now over the phone or when he returns, you don't feel like a weak little reed in the wind who gets talked into - or bullied into - staying in the same situation. Know your parameters - what is or isn't a dealbreaker. Know what you need to insist upon in a relationship. You have to do this to be an adult. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is for you to be happy and secure in any relationship you choose to take part in - if you are in a relationship, but unhappy and insecure, it is not good for you and you can do better and deserve better. That is true regardless of whether there's polyamory -- even in polyamorous situations, the partners should feel happy and secure, or working toward that with mutual respect. If you want a polyamorous relationship, that's up to you - but if it makes you feel like this, it's not a good relationship and not working. If you intend to continue that sort of relationship, you are going to have to get a thousand times better about being in touch with your authentic feelings and communicating your needs and wants to your partner(s). But, in your shoes, I would be questioning myself as to whether I really wanted that for myself at all, or got sold a bill of goods by someone who wants to sleep around but does not want a relationship involving actual work and mutual respect.

This isn't even about him: he's the catalyst, but it's really about you. Other people get to be in relationships with you when they meet your needs and you meet theirs and both of you feel happy about the arrangment. Now is a really good time for you to get that journal and write about how you feel until you are in much clearer touch with the insides of you.
posted by Miko at 2:05 PM on December 20, 2008 [8 favorites]

But there are some practical reasons why this is not a possibility

This answer hits at the core problem here, your inexperience in relationships. Forgive me if this sounds like an attack, it really isn't, just trying to point out several things.

This is your first relationship. EVERYONE does idiotic things in their relationship, be it their first or 50th. But after several relationships you figure out what you like and don't like, what works for you, what doesn't, what'll tolerate and how much of it etc, etc. Most of the people responding are doing it from the perspective of having had several relationships. All of them have put themselves in positions they later regretted or agreed to do things they ultimately found they didn't like. Male or female, they've dealt with liars, con artists, manipulators and others, if not once, then several times.

So when they give you advice about him, they're doing so from experience that says life and love is too short for that shit. If he's thinking that he can't be exclusive to you at the beginning of the relationship, then it's really not a relationship worth investing your heart. And then to move in with him because you really don't have someplace else to go doesn't help. Because as you noticed, you don't feel as though you have options. There's a part of you that is thinking "Shit, I can't piss off my meal ticket," and that's ok, as you said there are practical matters to consider. The lesson here is not let yourself get in that position where you have no options, if not now, then in the future.

But remember, you do have options. You could move out, even if it means taking some shitty job for a while, even if it means living with shitty roommates for a while. It may not be what the best option, but it will leave you with in a position of power over yourself and that's extremely important for having healthy relationships.

Because as you worry about ruining his vacation, he's probably flopping back on soaked sheets, gasping for air and thinking "Man, why did I ever leave this woman, that was fantastic?!" as her exhausted body snuggles closer to him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:12 PM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, just 'cause you've agreed to this, there's no rule that says you can't call him and say "Hey, I've changed my mind." Sure, he might be pissed, but part of being in a relationship is the willingness to listen to the other person, even if you really don't want to at the moment, 'cause damnit, their opinion matters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on December 20, 2008

And when you read all this, and then continue to dig deep for reasons to not change, it's hard not to throw one's hands in the air and feel frustrated.

Yes, I feel this way a lot in personal AskMes where the poster realizes that what the community has to say isn't really what they wanted to hear. We're not trying to judge you, Night_owl, but you've asked for our collective opinion and here it is. We are trying to help or we wouldn't be responding.

But hey, you take your chances with AskMe. Read the blue and the grey for a while and realize that we're all extremely opinionated mo-fos. Still well meaning, but we don't tend to mince words very often. Still, this is a web community and no one here is trying to disrespect you (that I can see), it's just a little tough lovin'.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:22 PM on December 20, 2008

Night_owl, I have been in your position...a long time ago when I was 21 years old and in my second LTR. I loved my BF, but he was unable to be monogamous. He was whip-smart and a lot of fun to be with, and handsome too. But that didn't make him a good BF when he decided he "had" to start seeing other women.

Like you, I tried to convince myself that I should put up with it. Otherwise, wouldn't I be controlling or the dreaded "clingy?" I thought caring about whether he was fucking some other girl made me weak. In reality, his desperate need for skirt-chasing made HIM the weak one.

Needless to say, I was miserable. I couldn't put up with it for too long. Our relationship lasted a month after he fucked some chick from his work. I still remember her name.

We were living together. I threw him out. Literally. I packed his stuff and had it waiting by the door. This was our second and final breakup. The first one had been occasioned by his crush on a redheaded poet who rejected him.

A few months after that, he came back trying to make nice. We had many of the same friends, so I tolerated him politely at parties. Believe it or not, we actually became friends over the next year, but it was only because I could see that he had some issues and I didn't take his cheating personally. The guy was addicted to sex and romance.

Eventually, he got together with another girl and put her through the same thing he put me through...after they were married. She also tried to deal with it like the cool, non-clingy wife she thought she should be, but he eventually left her for another woman. (The crowd I ran with considered themselves bohemian free spirits and there was a lot of pressure to take sex casually, even when married, which is why he was able to find more than one woman who put up with this behavior. Nowadays values are different).

He's still a fun person to have a conversation with about books and music, but I'd never date him again. He's not a bad person, just as I'm sure your SO isn't a bad person. But being with a charming, smart, and entertaining person who makes you feel bad about yourself is just as shitty as being with someone who's deliberately cruel.

Sounds like you're with a guy that has issues. Don't think you can change him, though. With no judgment toward you or him, I advise you to move on and find someone whose ideas of what constitutes a relationship are congruent with your own.
posted by xenophile at 6:52 PM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Be gentle with yourself. I don't think you've done anything particularly wrong, and I don't think you're a bad person. You're certainly not an idiot. You've got some personal growing to do - just like the rest of us.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:40 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

You're right. You're not an idiot. Knowing and asking for what you want is a skill it takes a while to learn. And as much as people say DTMFA, you have to do what you have to do, and only you can figure that out. If you can't move out or break up or whatever now, then you can't. If you don't know if you want to break up, you can take all the time you want to decide. If you're putting up with stuff you hate because you need a place to stay (am I reading your last comment right?), we don't know your logistical situation and can't second guess that.

At the same time, the little I've heard about this relationship does make me concerned. I wish he took your knowledge and ideas seriously. I wish he didn't use insults. I wish he took responsibility for his behavior and changed his behavior in response to your concerns, instead of making excuses ("porn and talking about other women manifest themselves often in our sex life...When I ask him about it, he claims that it's just because he's tired"). I wish you felt secure in the relationship. This sounds like it could be the kind of relationship that weakens and confuses a person over time. You might consider developing the resources (money, transportation, savings, outside friendships) that would make independence an option for you as you figure out what you want to do.
posted by salvia at 9:58 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry you feel attacked too, and I think that is just a byproduct of the forcefullness of opinion on Mefi, be it the blue, green, or grey.

But, I think this is a situation where you come up on the wrong side of a clearly concensus opinion. It's like discovering you are the only person that still supports going back to the gold standard or the only person who still believes that the earth is flat, and the moon landing was a hoax.

No matter how deeply you hold an opinion, when confronted with a thousand voices all calling "no, you're WRONG", it takes you aback.

Some people do think you're stupid probably, but I don't think most do. Most of us have been in situations, especially when we are young, and ESPECIALLY when it involves love, that we don't evaluate logically or rationally.

I think many of the posters, especially the female ones, are taking a protective tone, more of a "poor dear, you just don't know", not in a condescending or belittling way, more of a commiserating "been there done that" sort of way.

Don't be offended. People are passionate about some topics, and I think everyone in this thread thinks you are being taken advantage of, and THAT is what offends us.

And again, don't let your boyfriend pretend this is some sort of ultra-progressive cool hip way of participating in polyamory. There are several poly's on MeFi, and several more (like me) who are least interested in the lifestyle and taken some pains to find out about it, and I don't think any of them (us) would consider this at all any sort of healthy poly lifestyle.

You're just being taken advantage of, you are somewhat resistant to admitting it, and it is flaring passions. That's all.

Best of luck to you.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:25 AM on December 22, 2008

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