Dear Miss U,

My boyfriend (A), is not a virgin, but I am. He lives in London and I live in Indiana, USA. It will be unfortunately two years or so before we meet each other. I can definitely understand his desire for physical touch. He wants to have a girl he can occasionally have sex with. He says it will be no strings attached and just sex. Also, he keeps reassuring me that he will love no one else but me. He also allowed me the same opportunity, but I declined that offer, I simply want no one else in any way, and I can wait for him. I’ve been cheated on 3 times in a row by different guys in my past, so my anxiety and thoughts of him leaving me part take in my past. Am I making a mistake of allowing and agreeing to him having open sex with someone else? I understand his needs and wants, but I also don’t feel completely comfortable about this. And I don’t want to express that to him, but he does know I have cried about the situation. I’ve been in only one more long distance relationship, but the topic of an open relationship was never brought up, for either party. Am I making a mistake? Should I also have a “sex partner” as well? Will my relationship with this amazing guy be ruined if I tell him I want to change my mind about him having someone else or should he just understand? He has said if I am too uncomfortable with it, he won’t do it. Please help.

Only His?

Dear Only His,

I think you should stick to your guns and say no. An open relationship is obviously not right for you at this time, and there’s no shame in that.

Listen, I think open relationships can be pretty great. I’ve done the “monogamish” thing (thank you Dan Savage) and I find it really works. But you’re kids. No offense intended there, but you are. Sex and relationships and all things intimate are still shiny new and exciting for you. In my mind, I can not see a benefit to your relationship from him having a bed buddy and I don’t see either of you having the maturity or the depth of trust required to make it work. I know age is just a number, and I don’t like to base my responses on it, but right now I’m going to have to go with NO. This is a bad idea.

Not least of which because you’re a virgin. Are you going to want your first time to be with some filler guy who you don’t really care about while your boyfriend who you likely want to share this event with is miles away? I doubt it. Thus an open relationship would at this point in time create an imbalance of power in the structure of your relationship. It would be entirely unfair.

How would you feel knowing he was in some other girl’s bed while you had the strength and dedication to wait? Pretty awful I imagine. That’s the kind of thing that breeds lasting hurt and resentment.

Maybe, later on, you’ll want to revisit the subject of open relationships, at a time when both of you can benefit and your relationship is strong enough to withstand the added pressure, but in the meantime, I’m pretty sure A can just masturbate like the rest of us do.

There are lots of ways to be sexual via distance that is all the more fulfilling because they build a connection with someone you care about. Encourage him to find ways to satisfy his desires with you and to broaden his concept of what constitutes sex rather than outsourcing to get this need met.

Dear Miss U,

My boyfriend and I started dating when I was a freshman in college and he was a junior. He is about to graduate and I have another 2 years to go. I love being with him so much. I feel like I can talk to him for hours. Our school is in the Midwest but I am from the Pacific Northwest and he’s from the East coast. My boyfriend isn’t sure what he wants to do or where he will live after college but we both want to be together even if that means long distance.

The issue is I have a feeling he will end up at home for a little bit which I think is fine. However, his mom has OCD and can’t have people over because she will go into a panic. Because my boyfriend has grown up with this he has become so used to it he has trouble with helping me feel okay about not being able to visit him. Although I know he will come and visit me as much as he can. I know I will have more time to try and visit him but I won’t really be able to because I will have no place to stay.

How do I act sympathetic but still express that this worries me?
I am nervous I won’t be able to see him very often and lose all compassion for the situation.

How do I understand this situation without feeling left out and hurt?

Nervous About Distance

Dear NAD,

Here’s the thing: it’s her house and you’re not entitled to stay there regardless of if she has a condition or not. Additionally, because it’s her house it really doesn’t matter if he wants you to stay there or not; it has nothing to do with him.

Dating her son does not mean this woman owes you anything. It’s nice when parents will allow their children’s significant others to stay in their homes but it is certainly not required. This isn’t something you’re entitled to. It doesn’t work like that. And that’s how you understand this situation without feeling left out or hurt: by accepting that it has nothing to do with you and that this woman doesn’t owe you anything.

Her home is her safe place. Her refuge. I don’t know a whole lot about her disorder, but having suffered from mental illness in the past I can assure you that this is a big deal. She isn’t bunging it on or using it as some excuse to keep people away from her son. It’s nothing personal. Again: it has nothing to do with you. It’s not a reflection of your personality or an attack on your position in her son’s life, it’s about her safety and sanity. It’s about her rights. Her needs. You don’t really need to understand it, you just need to respect it.

As to where you will stay if not at his mom’s house, talk to him about that. Perhaps he’d be willing to pay part of your accommodation costs or maybe he has other relatives or friends in the area who would be willing to give you (or even both of you) a place to sleep every other weekend.

Lastly, as inconvenient as this is, do try and have compassion. This is the woman who shaped your boyfriend into all the things you’ve come to know and love, so she probably has many good qualities that offset her inability to have people in her home. She is a person with thoughts and feelings, needs and desires, hopes and fears all equal to your own. She very well might be the only person on Earth who loves your boyfriend as much (if not more) than you do, so you already have something in common.

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