Q: I am a 30-year-old straight man and I've been with a 28-year-old bisexual woman for a year. Early in our relationship, after much discussion, we established that it would be open. I would have the liberty to see other women and so would she. We just had to be safe and always keep each other informed. The key was that she agreed to see only other women. I was uncomfortable with the idea of her being with another man, and she went along with it. Fast-forward a few months, and she told me that she had drunkenly kissed a male coworker. Hearing her say that hurt me. However, since then she has explained to me that the rule that she can be only with women is unfair because she's bisexual and she's attracted to both men and women. I can see whomever I might find attractive, but she has to limit herself. After much soul-searching, I came around to her point of view and she now has the option to see men too. My question: How do I deal with the jealousy and emotions that will come up when she does kiss another man? Or does even more with another man? We love each other, and I think it's important to note that while we have both been on dates with other people, neither of us has had sex with someone else yet.
—Having Emotional Reaction Means Asking Nervously
A: "Hard Truth #1: Renegotiating is crucial to the survival of all long-term relationships—even more so in unconventional, custom-designed relationships where there's no established template," said Christopher Ryan, author of Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships. "And while I don't see any unfairness in HERMAN's girlfriend wanting to have the same freedom he has (to see whomever she wants), if he agreed to the open relationship on the condition that she 'see only other women,' then renegotiating is going to be difficult."
Your description of that particular limitation—only other women—as "key" to opening up your relationship, HERMAN, left Ryan feeling less than optimistic.
"Hard Truth #2: It's a time-wasting mistake to negotiate nonnegotiables," said Ryan. "I'm not saying we shouldn't be willing to learn and grow by trying new things. But our first task is to 'know thyself' and take it from there. For example, if you're certain you want or don't want kids, then that shouldn't be open to negotiation just because you met someone you like (or love) whose dreams go the other way."
Assuming you're willing to renegotiate, HERMAN, where do you start?
"Perhaps the question of why he's more bothered by her being with men than women," said Ryan. "Maybe he could ask her to set up a three-way with a man they both like so he can face the dragon, so to speak. See if the flip side of his fear isn't that he's actually turned on by the thought of her with other men. Lots to explore, once he's certain he wants to explore it. But, again, if this is a nonnegotiable—if this really isn't something HERMAN wants, despite his desire to be fair—it might be better to end the relationship than to attempt to be someone he's not or agree to something he'll never be at peace with."
Follow Christopher Ryan on Twitter @ChrisRyanPhD, and check out his podcast (Tangentially Speaking), videos, and swag at ChrisRyanPhD.com.
Q: What are your thoughts on two Doms sharing one sub? The scene I envision includes the domination of the other Dom. Do some Doms enjoy the submission to another Dom while also enjoying dominating the sub? It's probably best to put it into the context of my fantasy. I tie my sub to a chair or tie her down and then send a Snapchat to her other Dom. I invite the other Dom to come over and have his way with her. I would then leave, but they must stop immediately when I return, no matter where they are. The other Dom must then leave, and I do what I want from that point. Is this something I should talk with the other Dom about beforehand or should I just do it and see what happens? I've talked to my sub, and she is really into that scene, but she doesn't know how her other Dom would feel about it.
—Dominate Other Man
A: Sharing a sub could strike me as a great/hot idea, DOM, but my feelings are irrelevant—the scene isn't going to work if the other Dom thinks the idea is terrible/lame. That said, I don't see any harm in waiting until your sub is tied down to propose this scene—lay out the details out in advance on Snapchat, not once he's in the room, so he'll be free to take a pass if the scene doesn't appeal to him. But by waiting, you run the risk of discovering, after it's all set up, after you've sent the Snapchat, that her other Dom loves the idea but is out of town/watching the GOP debate/sitting shivah/whatever.
Longtime reader and listener (magnum podcast subscriber!) here, and I have a conundrum. My partner and I have a DADT agreement in regards to extramarital relations. I'm a fortysomething woman who travels a lot on business, and I find those trips a great opportunity to have NSA flings with younger men, all in good fun. So far, Tinder seems to be a good way to meet people, and I try to take precautions to ensure they are who they say they are by checking them out on social media and meeting them first in a public place. But a girl can't be too careful. Sometimes I wish I had someone I could call and just say, "Hey, I'm hosting a stranger tonight at my hotel. Could you call me at a specific time to check he hasn't chopped me up into little pieces?" My partner can't be that person because of the whole DADT thing. My friends don't know about my flings. And the front desk seems inappropriate. Is there an app out there providing this kind of service? Or does someone need to create one?
—Seeks Discreet Call Service
A Tinder-like app to hook up random people who are about to hook up with other random people so the randos who met via the Tinder-like app can verify neither was murdered by the randos they met via Tinder itself? Sounds a little complicated, SDCS, and I'm not sure the market for your proposed app is big enough to attract investors. I also don't think introducing a second potentially unreliable and/or sinister stranger into the mix is going to make your hotel hookups appreciably safer.
Here's a better idea/simpler life hack: Schedule a wake-up call for an hour or two after your Tinder rando is due to arrive. You can schedule wake-up calls for any time of day, SDCS, and in nicer hotels you can even ask the front desk to ring you personally instead of scheduling a robocall. Just tell the receptionist you're a heavy sleeper and you need them to verify that you're awake/alive in time for your big meeting.
Or you could take a risk and confide in a friend about your open marriage, your flings, and your need for a safety buddy.
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