I’ve been with my partner for a year. She says she loves me, but that she wants to have an open relationship. Is she lying about loving me? Or is she trying to have her cake and eat it too? I’m confused and hurt, why would she want me to hook up with other people? I’m not sure if I can handle the idea of her being with other people. Isn’t this just a loophole to cheat?
Help! -Old Gil.
What a conundrum. I can see why you would worry that your girlfriend just wanted an easy way to “cheat” on you, but when it comes to open relationships, that’s rarely the fundamental idea behind it. Most people persist with the idea of “true love forever”, because this is what has been fed to us our entire lives and is considered the norm (and if this is indeed what works for you personally, then this is fantastic and you should stick to your guns).
However, a growing number of people are starting to re-define the parameters of what constitutes happy sustainability in their relationships, and often this is expanding to include the freedom to see other people, whether strictly sexually, or otherwise. If your girlfriend is asking you to consider an open relationship, I’d say that she is probably considering this as a way for you two to be together long-term without having to compromise her personal idea of happiness in a relationship.
It’s natural for us to immediately jump on the defensive and feel hurt by this kind of revelation, but if your girlfriend is a good person she is probably putting this idea on the table because she truly loves you and wants to make it work. If she wasn’t interested in you, she probably would have broken it off straight up.
My advice is to talk to her about it, ask heaps of questions and ascertain her motivation for wanting an open relationship. It could be due to any number of reasons. I once had a friend who had a low libido, who suggested an open relationship so her boyfriend could satisfy his high sex drive without compromising their relationship. Give her a chance to explain to you exactly how she is feeling about it all.
Good luck and hang in there, Old Gil!