How To Broach The Subject?

A little background:

I will have been with my boyfriend for three years next month. We started dating my senior year of high school, when I was 17 and he was 18. I love him, and we're in this for the long haul.

Which isn't to say there aren't any problems. We've been in a long distance relationship for a year, and will be at least until we finish school, which I'm totally fine with. We're young, and even though it sucks sometimes, I welcome the opportunity to focus on ourselves while we're apart.

But here's the thing: he's my first everything, and one of two people I've ever kissed. I'm naturally very curious, and I want to have other experiences. I've been thinking about that on and off for awhile, but now, as the long distance relationship is really getting into the grind (we passed the one year mark a few months ago) and more people seem to be openly assuming we're going to get married, the circumstances are really bringing this to the forefront.

I was struggling with my options before the idea of an open relationship kind of fell into my head. I don't want to forsake my own personal growth and learning for my relationship, or vice versa, so why should I?

I just don't know how to approach my boyfriend about this. We've almost touched on it a few times, but in another context. I'm pansexual and once brought up if he would be okay with me having experiences with women, and I got the "If I watch" answer, which I loathe. That's the extent to which we've ever spoken about it, and I just don't know how to go about it in a way that doesn't make him feel threatened or jealous.
meanderingthru meanderingthru
18-21, F
4 Responses Nov 29, 2012

My wife has a boyfriend she enjoys a couple times a week. She and I are great together and still deeply in love but she's a girl who needs more than one, sexually, and id rather have twinges of "lucky bastard, lol" when they're together than deprive her.

I'm in a similar situation as you and I’m really enjoying it! I love me man but I’m truly enjoying the freedom. At first I thought he would be the one who would jump on every chance to be with someone but I find myself doing it mostly. How often do you? My bf actually gets turn on when he knows I’m out having fun. He enjoys me telling him all about it while we have sex. Is that crazy? LOL hope to chat with you soon.

I'm a bit older than you, but I remember when I was your age clearly, and I also was in LD relationships then. I'm presently in an open relationship.

My thought is less about open relationships and more about having perspective on the LD relationship. At your age, your dating career is relatively short and experience with long term relationships (as an adult), virtually impossible. By long term, I mean relatioships started as an adult and lasting beyond a year or two.

A LD relationship is 90% fantasy and attitudinal, especially at your age. It's "an idea" of a relationship, or of being a person who is in a relationship. It's like being a member of a club to which you never attend. It becomes part of your identity and the way you think of yourself, but in terms of lived, practiced, reality - that doesn't really happen.

As you get older, you can sometimes get away from the black and white thinking of "going steady" vs "single". Single can take on a meaning of "dating" or "open to dating" without actually being in an "open relationship" - which suggests a level of permanence and continuity that is probably hard to gauge from where you are right now. That's not a bad thing at all - it's the way it should be.

It sounds like the open relationship definition is complicating a simple thing. You like your boyfriend but he is unavailable. You would like to have a boyfriend in your life, rather than sitting out this period on the bench while others explore. If your boyfriend is away and you don't see him, it's not like you are a married couple with ten years under your belt and your husband is going away for a month. No, within the context of your relationship as is, there is no actual lived relationship. No movies, no assumed date, no cuddling, no tactile assurance and just "Being". In a LD relationship, hanging out is always an EVENT.

I think, if I were you, I'd turn your thinking around. Part ways with your boyfriend - call it what it is and explain what you want - (which is a boyfriend, not a pen pal). It's probably right for him too. Pursue more tangible options close to home, and if it's appropriate, pitch the open relationship to the new guy, or just date him and leave a door open for your ex, if he still wants to be a part of it.

Though I expect that a clean break is easier in the long run, less fraught.

I found myself in the same place as you. Met at 17, been in a relationship for 7 years, some of which was long distance. Love each other, want a family together eventually, etc. We got married last spring and leading up to the wedding I had slight anxiety about getting older and wanting to explore my sexuality while I am young (but at the same time not looking for a different life partner). Most people get to date a few people first, be single for a bit, then settle down. When you find that person too soon, you can either 1) stay together but be forever curious about what you didn't experience 2) break up because that's what society makes you think you should do when you have those thoughts or 3) have an open relationship where youre both totally honest with each other about how you're feeling and how you don't want any regrets when you're older but you also don't want to break up over it, if you don't have to.

How I first brought the subject up? I asked my nd if he's ever wondered, if we'd ever had sex with a few other people, like most of society,do you think our sex would be better because we'd have more experience to draw from?

and it went from there.