Updates: “Just My Name” Responds

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.

When I wrote to you in June, I was unhappy and insecure about my budding “from friends to benefits turned serious” relationship. Of course, I didn’t know where we stood. After reading your advice, I told him I needed commitment, meaning a “boyfriend,” and that I wanted to fall in love. He assured me he “really enjoys being with me, I am “very special,” and he is actually opening up a lot of his life and time for me. He told me that, at his middle age, “girlfriend” is a much more serious title bearing life-partner potential and ultimately displaying our relationship to his family and friends as “marriage-bound.” It turns out he was taking titles much more seriously than I had thought.

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 [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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  1. WWS all the way. Its a fundamental difference in goals that you each have. How can you be happy, truly happy like this? You need to be honest with yourself & put your own needs & happiness first. Neither of the options you are asking about will make you happy. Burying your head in the sand will drive you crazy, while full knowledge of what he is doing & who he is doing it with will break your heart. MOA.

  2. It turns out he was taking titles much more seriously than I had thought.

    It isn’t the implication of ‘marriage bound’ he objects to (since you must know that is BS) it’s the monogamy implied that he objects to.

    Instead of hanging your hopes on being ‘special’ and him enjoying time spent with you acknowledge those statements for what they really are – code that means “the status quo works for me…and I’ll say whatever I need to to buy me some more time enjoying it.” In fairness to him – he told you who he is. He is not someone interested in monogamy. He sleeps with multiple women. You may be special…but so are those other girls. Do you really want to vie for being the top chick in a brood of women? This doesn’t seem like a life style you would choose for yourself – so don’t let this guy choose it for you.

  3. Sunshine Brite says:

    There’s more than two ways of doing things. One idea is to take back the power in your relationship.

  4. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

    WWS and WEES. You can try and phrase it however you want to, but I totally disagree with you- you ARE trying to fix something that is broken.
    For example, you want the dating titles and to fall in love, he calls you special and plays semantics with words and blames his middle age = broken. You’ve spent numerous hours trying to convince each other…something, to no avail = broken. Each of you wants a fundamental aspect of your open relationship to be the exact opposite of what the other wants = broken!!!!!
    Don’t get m started on the fact that after all your discussions, it is still only a hopeful presumption that he doesn’t want transparency bc it may cause you pain!

  5. He’s 50 to her 25…

    I wonder, are you also meeting and interacting with other men LW? If so, respect his right to privacy if that’s what he wants to do. If you’ve both signed up for an open relationship and the price to having him in your life in this way is him not telling you, then you have to put it out of your head. Go out there and have your own adventures and maybe you won’t care so much.

  6. This guy is a proverbial square peg and you are trying to cram him into a round hole. Stop it. It won’t ever fit. Move along, nothing more to see.

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