It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Just My Name,” the woman who was in an open relationship with an older man who refused to call her his “lover.” She wrote: “He introduces me to other people by my name and chooses not to exhibit any kind of ‘claiming’ behavior. Do I dump him because he’s not proud sharing that we’re together? Or am I blind to his super-progressive approach to relationships?” Keep reading to see what she decided to do.
Since then we’ve had dozens of hours of thoughtful, yet frustrating, communication to help us see each other’s side. We’ve also spent some considerable about of time traveling, camping, and being together days on end. We’re reading David Deida’s “Enlightened Sex,” and it’s definitely reaffirming our desire to have deeper, more fulfilling intimacy. We frequently dote on one another and have come to use the “L” word, among others.
But, there is one thing I cannot seem to let go. We’re in an open relationship. He wants privacy on his end, and I want transparency on both of our ends. Not control, just transparency. He told me he just doesn’t find it helpful or relevant to tell me what he may be doing with other women. He feels uncomfortable with the thought of me knowing (and perhaps fearful of the potential hurt it may cause). “Why do you want to know? I am not going to tell you unless you give me a good reason to,” he says. I want to know because it drives me crazy not knowing! But it might also drive me crazy to know. For months I’ve been trying to not let the mystery bother me. There are two ways of doing this. Convince him to share, or stop caring to know. Which would you recommend, and how? — Trying to fix something that’s not broken
You keep saying that you’re in an open relationship, but is that what you really want? Do you want to see other people while maintaining a relationship with this man? Or, do you just want to keep this man anyway you can and you think letting him see other people while maintaining a relationship with you is the only way he’ll stick around? It sounds to me that it’s the latter, and, if that’s true, you definitely need to MOA.
Even if it’s the former, though, and you actually WANT an open relationship, you obviously don’t want the same KIND of open relationship. He wants secrecy and you want transparency. And either way, the idea of your boyfriend being with someone else drives you crazy, which again, says to me that you don’t really want an open relationship; you just want a relationship with this one guy.
Look, you may genuinely care about each other, but you want different things. Important things. Things that you can’t really happily compromise on. This isn’t about him wanting to watch football and you wanting to watch “House Hunters.” He wants to have sex with multiple women. You don’t want him to be with anyone but you. I say MOA.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.