My partner and I have been together for about 15 years. We have a secure and trusting relationship. We’ve talked about her sleeping with another person (man or woman) off and on for a couple of years. I’m absolutely fine with it. In fact it turns me on a bit. But she is still reluctant. She wants to but she still thinks I might not be okay with it afterwords. What steps can I take to reassure her that it’s fine with me? I don’t see sex as cheating. Or is it me that’s wrong? What are the steps we can take to go down this path?
We don’t have kids – if that makes a difference.
Let me start off by saying that kids don’t make a lick of difference here.
Okay now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d say that in general you guys are taking the right steps. There’s obviously been a lot of communication, which is supremely important if you’re thinking about opening up your relationship. And what there needs to be more of also is communication. Its not surprising that she is worried about how you will react afterwords. She obviously values your relationship a great deal and doesn’t want to screw it up. Traditionally, sex outside of relationships has been known to screw things up. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
So how much more communication can there be? How about instead of trying to convince her that you’ll be okay after she sleeps with someone else, you move the topic to how you both plan on checking in with each other after she does. There is the possibility that you may feel ways that you don’t expect to feel and if you’re both prepared with how to deal with those feelings then the more likely this will all go smoothly. Talk about jealousy. Talk about what things you only want her to do with you. But make sure that before she has sex with someone else that you set up an appointment with each other for afterwords to check in on how you’re both feeling.
Before you both dive into the deep end I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up, which is about all kinds of open relationships. It will help you to set ground rules between the both of you (including having her always use protection!!) and help guide you through the process. She also has a website where you can talk to other people going through the same issues you are and even find local support communities.
Whether or not sex is cheating really depends on the people in the relationship. There are a lot of people in open relationships who definitely wouldn’t consider sex with others to be cheating as long as their partner was being honest about it. Some couples may be okay with vaginal sex outside of the relationship but reserve anal for each other. And then there are other couples who consider viewing pornography as cheating. So its all really up to the couple to decide and discuss. Just remember to communicate and be safe.