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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » cheating... but not really

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Author Topic: cheating... but not really
JollyHolly
Neophyte
Member # 93955

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I was seeing a guy for about a month. I really liked him, he really liked me (which I know because he told me), but we'd never really defined our relationship in any solid way. We were seeing each other about 3 times a week, having sex, going on dates, bumming around each other's places, texting about our daily routines on days we didn't see each other... but no talk about relationship rules or girlfriend/boyfriend labels or anything.

He slept with an ex of his the other night. (The girl is also a friend of his, but that was the first time they'd had sex since they split up a few years ago.) He told me about it the next day, in person, and he was completely ready to accept whatever I wanted to do -- no longer date him, cut off all contact, date exclusively, just be friends, whatever. I'm hurt and angry, but I honestly don't believe that he did anything wrong, since we didn't have any relationship rules for him to break. This could have been easily avoided with better communication, and I certainly don't think that he was out to hurt me intentionally.

I like this guy. I'd like to keep seeing him. I fully believe that he never would have slept with his ex (or anyone else) if we'd been more clear about our relationship expectations. I'm good to go on everything, logically.

But not so logically? I can't stop thinking about them having sex and fooling around. The day that he told me (also the last day that I saw him in person) I went to kiss him goodbye, but then I immediately thought of them kissing, and I felt physically ill. I don't know how I can even look at his bed again, knowing that's where it all went down.

I'm really confused by my reaction. I was once in an incredible polyamorous relationship, and I never felt like this about my partners having other partners. But for some reason the fact that his ex and I are overlapping as his sexual partners is really squicking me out. Maybe because it was a surprise? Maybe because I don't know the girl? Maybe because he and the girl have a lot of history, and he and I have only known each other a month?

I was just wondering if there's anything that I can do to stop getting weird flashes of them having sex. Is this something that should go away eventually? Or is this something unfixable, and I should just get on my way to getting over this guy?

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Patricia H
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Hey JollyHolly,

I'm sorry you're feeling upset over this. Given how you made clear that there was no communication about the nature of the relationship you are having with this person, I can see how feeling hurt and angry would be a natural reaction, regardless of whether or not "he did anything wrong."

That being said, I think we can both agree that a talk is in order. Let him know how you are feeling--that you like him, that you'd like to keep seeing him, and how you fully believe that he never would have slept with his ex if you two had been more clear about relationship expectations. Let him know everything that you've told us here, and then have him tell you what's going on. It's possible he has a completely different idea of what is going on between you and him right now, and unless you say something, it's likely things aren't going to change by much.

Did you want some advice/tips on opening up to your partner?

--------------------
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

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JollyHolly
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Member # 93955

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We actually talked a lot about that stuff after he told me what happened. We had a huge 4-hour conversation. The ex-sex is something that won't be happening again, regardless of what happens between him and me.

He would like to date me exclusively. Apparently he broached the subject in a roundabout manner a few days ago, but I didn't recognize it for what it was and made a joke about it. His feelings were hurt, and he turned to his ex for comfort. With conversations, he's a bit subtle and I tend to poke fun at everything, and both of us have agreed to work on those things when talking in the future.

I would like to date him exclusively as well, so we're on the same page there. My only problem is that I keep thinking about them messing around. I'm not sure how to get past that.

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Patricia H
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What is it about them messing around that you're grappling with? Do you not trust him? What feelings are coming up when you do think of them together? Is there someone in your past that you are associating those thoughts and feelings with? Is this really about him, or you?

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Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

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JollyHolly
Neophyte
Member # 93955

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Those questions are awesome... I think it really is about me. I'm not super confident about sex, and I feel like the ex has an advantage -- like the sex they had together is better than the sex he and I were having, because they dated for longer than a month. So when I think about them, it's all hot and passionate and perfect like it is in movies, and I've got myself convinced that's how it was the other night.

And I guess I don't trust that he really wants me. They broke up due to circumstance -- she moved away, and she was actually just in town visiting the other night. Part of me feels like I'm being settled for, and part of me feels like that's a paranoid thing to think. My self-esteem isn't always the best though, so that factors in somewhere as well.

Thank you for the food for thought! I'm going to ponder these things for a few more days, then have another talk with him. This was super helpful, Patricia!

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Molias
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 101745

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One thing that may help to remember is that pretty much no one's actual sex life will look like sex in the movies! When people date for a while, they do have more opportunities to communicate their sexual desires and preferences to each other, but you can't necessarily draw a direct comparison between "length of relationship" and "quality of sex" (especially since "good sex" is so subjective anyway).

Maybe you could start having some of those conversations with this guy if you're wanting to make sure y'all are on the same page and both enjoying sex together, but honestly people's desires and sexual expression can be so different that I think comparing your own sex life with anyone else's is very very rarely going to be helpful.

Here's a good article on talking to a partner about sex: Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner

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