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The Vine: July 2, 2002

Submitted by on July 2, 2002 – 3:24 PMNo Comment

Hey Sars,

I've been with my boyfriend for well over a year, and for some reason (neither of us knows how it came up, quite frankly), we've been discussing having a threesome with another girl. I have resolved any issues I have of watching my boyfriend have sex with someone else (because…well, I'll be getting something out of it, too). The only issue I have is that he doesn't want to do one with another guy.

I can understand his feelings on the matter — I just happened to be attracted to both men and women, while he's only attracted to women. However, I feel like he's still going to be getting more out of the scenario we've both agreed to. I feel like I'm making a sacrifice that he's not willing to make. Again, I don't feel like some sort of martyr here. I like the idea of being with my boyfriend and another woman. Furthermore, he said he would never want to go through with this unless I were perfectly comfortable. I just feel like it's unfair of him to unilaterally say that he won't have a threesome with me and another guy. I don't know. Am I being too unreasonable?

No Clever Pseudonym, Sorry

Dear No Clever,

It's not a "fairness" issue. He's not attracted to men. The idea of threeway with you and another guy holds no interest for him, and that's the way it is. You, on the other hand, like both men and women. A threeway with two men works for you, and a threeway with two women works for you, and that's the way that is. Do you see what I'm getting at here? It's not a gesture your boyfriend's in a position to make. He's straight, and he's not going to change to do you a solid; it doesn't work like that.

The real issue here, I think, is that you don't "like the idea" of a threeway with another woman on its own merits as much as you say you do. If you did, you wouldn't feel like your boyfriend has to "make a sacrifice" in return — you obviously feel like a threeway with another woman is a sacrifice for you. In a threeway with another woman, you'll have to share him in a way that he's not going to have to share you, and you want him to do the same for you, but he's just not set up for that.

So yes, it is sort of unreasonable of you to insist that he consider a threeway with another man. It's an understandable response — you feel insecure, and you don't want to feel that way alone — but it seems to me like you'll only consider a threeway with another woman if he'll do one with another man, and that's not realistic.

Either you can cope with another woman sharing your bed, or you can't. That's the central issue here. If you don't feel comfortable, don't do it, but don't go ahead with it thinking that you can guilt your boyfriend into "paying you back," because it's not going to happen.

Dear Sars,

I have a boyfriend who lives with me. No, wait, it goes deeper than that. My boyfriend is from Switzerland and he has only been in this country for a couple of months. He came here to be with me. He is about 90 percent the perfect man and the other 10 percent is insanely jealous, totally defensive and irrational, suspicious, insensitive, and completely unempathic. We met last year in a group thing, and we slowly got to know each other by mail and email, et cetera. We had our problems while separated, but I truly thought that the distance was the cause of suspicions and paranoia. Now that he's here, we're having a fairly regular conversation about whether or not I'm cheating on him (which I'm not), and frankly, I'm just about worn out from it. I'm not doing anything I need to feel guilty about, but suddenly I'm worried every time my phone rings. If it's not a girl, and it's not a family member, I'm probably gonna catch hell about it later.

I love this man. I really do. But I'm starting to worry that I will kill him in his sleep if he doesn't goddamn relax! I am as reassuring as I can possibly be; I am never anywhere that he isn't with me, except work, in which case we email each other practically all day long. I want to work it out with him, but I am feeling pressured by time. If it isn't going to work out, it's best that he go home when his ticket comes due and that date is quickly approaching. I know that it's got to be extremely disconcerting to be in a completely different country and totally dependent on someone you're not married to (why I wouldn't go there), but this is beginning to get out of hand. I can't handle much more of this persecution based on NOTHING without snapping out on him, which will, of course, make the problem worse. It's gotten to where, at the first sign of jealousy-based phrases or cues, my temper thermometer shoots up and I'm already at 8 by the time the conversation actually goes there.

I know that's not the mature way to handle this, nor will it get the desired results, but I can't seem to help it. What really sucks is that all this is going on WHILE I'm at work, so my insides get all knotted up, and I'm distracted from my job and annoyed that I can't be at home really dealing with it instead of using minimal words, trying to defuse the situation via email.

So, Sars, here it is. I probably already know the answer, but I'm less than thrilled with it. He's such a great guy when he's not temporarily insane; he treats me really well, and I genuinely love him. But I am trying to get smarter in relationships as I get older and not take quite so long to get the hint. Just want to know if there is something I'm not seeing, or maybe another creative way of handling this. I'm open to any and all suggestions and opinions you might have.

Thanks for your input,

Dear Belladonna,

All right, first of all? If he's bothering you with this jealous bullshit at your job, you need to shut that down. "It's inappropriate for me to deal with a personal issue right now. We'll talk when I get home." That's it. Period. Done. Put a stop to it. He should know better than to pull that crap, and you should know better than to indulge him.

The same advice applies to the entire situation, really. Start shutting him down. Tell him that you aren't cheating on him, that you don't want to have this discussion anymore, that he can trust you or he can shut the fuck up, and that continued whining and suspicious questioning will be greeted with a set of walking papers. Mean it. Do it.

You can't change him. You can only change how you handle him, and in my opinion you need to make it very clear to him that you have had it with this particular line of inquiry. You will not respond to insecure questioning about who's calling you. You will not allow him to tell you what to do or whom to see. You are not five years old, and neither is he, so either he starts acting like it or he can stuff it in an Alp. He pulls the jealous routine because it's a reliable way to get attention, and he needs to hear that it's not going to work anymore.

You don't have to say it in a mean way, but you do have to say it. Make sure he hears you. Make sure he understands that you've earned his trust and that you'll get that trust or you'll get rid of him, because otherwise it'll just go on and on this way and life is too short.


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