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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Friends with benefits getting a little confusing.

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Author Topic: Friends with benefits getting a little confusing.
GodivaSyndrome
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Member # 36232

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I'm really not sure why I'm posting this, probably to get it off my chest. Here goes nothing.

I am married. My husband is in the Air Force attending tech school in Mississippi while I am in California until Late August when we will be reunited. Because of this, my husband and I decided that in order to curb sexual frustration, we will keep our sex life open until we live together. So now I have a partner that we will call B. My husband has no partners as of yet.

So B and I are basically friends who have sex and cuddle. Well, until recently. Recently, things have gotten heavier. We are seeing each other more, sharing more of our lives with each other, and being generally very affectionate, to the point where people who do not know the situation think he is my boyfriend and vice versa. In a way, that is kinda how it is.

The thing is, I think I am falling in love with him. This confuses me greatly. I'm not sure how strongly he feels about me, though there have been some cues that he might really feel the same but doesn't want to complicate things. I think about him all the time and can't wait to see him again. It is so strange to me.

To make matters stranger, I still love my husband! I love him more than anything else. Given the choice between B and my husband, it isn't a contest who I would choose to be with and in August, my relationship with B will end. So why is this bothering me? Do I feel like I'm having an emotional affair or something? I love both of them and I'm really not sure what the problem is but I feel bad and confused about my feelings. I feel guilty.

Posts: 21 | From: Oakdale | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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The agreements and dynamics in open relationship all differ based on the unique situation at hand.

So, for some couples who have open relationships, that means other partnerships are only very casual or only about an expressly sexual relationship. other have polyamory models, which either allow for or expressly include secondary partnerships which are also known to be, or okay to be, secondary romantic relationships. In other words, there are some poly scenarios where a person or more than one person is in more than one love and sexual relationship at a time, and agreements are made for that situation.

So, have you talked about the whole of this with your husband? If not, it sounds like it's past-time to do that. Poly/open relationships tend to require more communication than monogamous models, and it's really important that things like this are put on the table and negotiated.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
GodivaSyndrome
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Thus far, it has been agreed that we follow a model that includes sex and that is about it. My husband knows that I care about B as a friend, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't know the extent of it.

Everyone is telling me I need to completely stifle my feelings for the sake of my relationship and break it off with B, but that doesn't feel right to me. Even if I don't tell B about exactly how I feel right away, my husband at least needs to know. The problem is that while my husband is a reasonable man, but it is a little hard to broach the subject when he is already stressed out and busy to begin with and is so far away. I know he won't get mad and blame me, but it is hard for me to come up with a sensitive way to tell him that "oh hey, you know B? I'm falling in love with him". Any ideas?

Posts: 21 | From: Oakdale | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Well, I think it's safe to say that when we have a close friendship with someone, we already have a relationship that is about more than sex. So, if all you two agreed to was super-casual sexual relationships with others, then having something with your close friend was outside that realm from the get-go.

It sounds like your husband knows you are having sex with B, but if you have not shared the feelings that are developing, that's something you're going to need to do if you want an open relationship that's functional and working. Again, in open/poly relationships, we can't keep things like this from our partners: it's very important those channels of communication are wide open, and absolutely include things like changes in how we feel about any given partner.

For sure, having a serious relationship be open without the ability/means to have deep communication often and when you need to is a pretty big problem. Ideally, before opening the relationship, you two would have talked about how you were going to manage that. Of course, if you're new to this model, you may not have known you would have needed to address that, especially if neither of you had any education on this model of relationship (happy to pass on some book suggestions if you want them).

So, sounds like the first thing you need to do is to make clear that it's become clear you need to have the means to communicate well and openly even far away, about things like changes in partnerships or negotiating anything, or refining your agreements around this as a whole. If the whole of your agreement sounds as simple as you're stating it, then for sure, that was less involved than most open/poly agreements and setups need to be.

Do you think that you can come up with some ways to have this kind of communication together ASAP and sustain it while he's away?

[ 06-04-2010, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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(By the by, are the people you're talking with people who have experience with open or poly models? If not, do know that you're likely better off talking with people who have. People who haven't just really often have a lot of biases and often are trying to apply monogamy ideals/models to something that's just radically different.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
GodivaSyndrome
Neophyte
Member # 36232

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An update:

So I had an honest conversation with my husband about my feelings toward B and "where we go from here". He said he figured and he is comfortable with my feelings. We have decided to just go about this as we had been before, with the allowance for more physical affection and closeness between B and I that goes beyond "just sex". The arrangement will pretty much end when we move in August, though I will definitely stay in contact with B.

On the other side, I had a little chat with B as well. He "really likes" me too and is fine with this arrangement as long as everyone else involved is comfortable.

I'm really lucky to be with the people I am with. They couldn't have taken the situation better and while I am new to this, I'm definitely going to keep communication about the topic as open as possible. If you have any book or article recommendations, I would love to look into it. Anything would be helpful because I really have no positive role models in this sort of situation, at least not ones that really talk about it.

Posts: 21 | From: Oakdale | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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