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” who wrote last week about the non-exclusive relationship she was engaging in with an older man who refused to introduce her as his girlfriend or lover, saying he was not interested in using any “possessive” titles that insinuate exclusivity. Today, she doesn’t have so much of an update but more explanation of her position and a request for more advice.
It has been said that women use sex to get love and men use love to get sex. I am seeing how our relationship may reflect this adage. Wendy, you are so right. I do need to be honest with myself. I do want a non-exclusive relationship and consider myself polyamorous, but when I fall in love, I desire a well-rounded relationship.
I, frankly, am quite confused about our relationship, because it feels like an gf/bf relationship that’s just open. Sure, having sex is something we want to do when we see each other, but in no way is it the main activity of our time spent together. We’re not FWB because we have sleepovers without sex, have outdoor daytime dates, cook meals together, and are emotionally invested, sharing our feelings and what’s going on in our lives. But yes, one reason it’s not a gf/bf relationship is because when we have sex there’s more fucking than making love.
This was addressed last night when I came over to his place sexily dressed up and he took it as a cue to ravish me and I had to awkwardly kill the mood to let him know I wanted some sweet connection. This happens often, when he wants to fuck and I want to make love. But when asked, he has argued he is making love and is sweet. My understanding is his capacity to be emotionally expressive and soft is limited.
But yes, I know that when a relationship does not reflect expectations, sadly it’s time to move on.
Feel free to post this response. I look forward to hearing your response #2 as well! — Just My Name
Ok, so, basically you have everything you want in this relationship except the title and the kind of sex you desire. The title, really, is just silly. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, does it really matter if you don’t call it a duck? Isn’t it still a duck? If you FEEL like boyfriend and girlfriend and neither one of you is interested in an exclusive relationship, what the hell difference does it make if you don’t call each other “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”? Your relationship is still a duck. Or something like that.
The sex issue, though, is a bigger deal, especially when you are seeing your different desires as a reflection of your different capacity to express emotion. It’s an issue when you view sex as the main or even sole expression of love and care instead of all the other things you do together — sleepovers, outdoor daytime dates, cooking meals together, sharing your feelings and what’s going on in your lives. Obviously, something is lacking for you and you keep looking for it in sex or in the way this guy introduces you to people. It sounds very much like you want confirmation that you mean something to him — you want to know he loves you in the same way you love him. And if he isn’t telling you as much and you can’t figure it out in all the non-verbal ways, I suggest you ASK him if he loves you and, if you don’t like the answer or don’t trust the answer and are tired of waiting for what you want, it’s time to 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.