I hadn’t dated since I was 18 and was getting back into the swing of things when I met this amazing guy.
He was thoughtful, motivated, kind, handsome, a good listener — and he was moving far away for a job in 12 months. We spent the next 12 months getting to know each other, building such good chemistry, and falling in love. He asked if I’d want to work on this relationship long-distance, and I agreed to try.
I was previously open with him about the fact that because of my limited dating history, I would eventually want to explore more than monogamy. Because of this, he brought it up to me before he left to let me know he’d be open to it in the future too. After this conversation, I felt like we were in such a good place. However, as the reality set in that he’d soon be leaving, he started to feel insecure and told me that he wanted to be clear that he wouldn’t be ready to open the relationship until he got more comfortable with the distance. I agreed that his feelings were valid and did my best to support him.
What I failed to mention to him is that I have a crush on someone else, and I would love to take it a step further with that person. Now I’m sad because I miss my boyfriend and I feel guilty because this other guy is so sweet too. I guess I’m wondering if it would be best to be honest with my boyfriend or if I should just give up on this crush and being in an open relationship.
A. “What I failed to mention to him…”
See, this doesn’t work. You shouldn’t be failing to mention anything right now.
Non-monogamy (and all kinds of relationships) can work when there’s transparency, honesty, and shared expectations. Your boyfriend told you what he needs right now and it sounds like you want the opposite. If you’re already bummed about the potential loss of a crush, that says plenty.
My guess is that you’re not ready to be exclusive with anyone, even temporarily, and that’s OK. In some ways, the distance makes this an easier decision.
Maybe this relationship can start up again later. Perhaps you can keep in touch and see how things go. There’s a better chance of a great future for the two of you if you stay honest about your feelings.
I know this would be a loss — you’re very into this boyfriend — but you’re not in the same place, literally and otherwise. Tell him.
After 8 years of a failed relationship, you shouldn’t jump right into another one.
I don’t think you want an open relationship, I think you want permission to cheat on your boyfriend with your crush. If both people in a relationship aren’t all in with being in an open relationship, it’s not going to work. Do your boyfriend a favor and end the relationship.
Just end it with the long-distance guy. You aren’t ready to be in a committed relationship. Oh, and going forward, if you want to try “more than monogamy” don’t get into a monogamous relationship with the idea that you will want to open it up at some point in the future.
If you want to play the field, I think that is understandable. No reason not to pursue this crush if that is what you want to do, but you need to be open with your boyfriend about it. And take the lumps. Not everyone wants this kind of relationship. So weigh the risks. And be honest with what you really want. Do you want non-monogamy (where your partners will also be dating others) or do you just want to see what is out there before settling down (I assume again)?
Send your own relationship and dating questions to [email protected] or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.