I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back October 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan
Originally published May 15, 2008:
I'm a 31-year-old man and my girlfriend is 28. We've been in a monogamous relationship for four years. Recently we've been doing the long-distance thing, and we're going to be doing it until I can move from Canada to the United States. This is our problem: She brought up the idea of an open relationship until I get down there. I said okay—trying to be GGG—and 24 hours later called back and reneged.
Dan, I can't stand the idea of another guy with her. I can't. I trust her and I believe that she would only be after the sex—but the idea of another guy doing anything to her drives me nuts. I've read that open relationships just don't work for some people. But I also believe in being able to improve yourself. Is my jealousy a negative trait that I can get over?
Help me be modern!
Confused In Canada
My response after the jump...
Help you be modern, CIC? But there's nothing premodern about your feelings, no area where you require "improvement," nothing you need to get over.
Look, kiddo, there's a difference between being a jealous asshole and being a self-aware sex partner. Asking your girlfriend to remain monogamous until you get your ass down to the U.S.? That's just stating a sexual preference, if I may repurpose that phrase. A sincere desire to be your girlfriend's one and only sex partner should not be confused with something as base as jealousy. Jealousy is not trusting your girlfriend when she's out of your sight; it's flipping out when other men notice her; it's making furious and baseless accusations of cheating. Jealousy is controlling/manipulative/abusive behavior masquerading as insecurity. Jealousy is a poison. And you're not jealous, just monogamous.
Open relationships are great—ahem—but they're not for everyone. Some folks aren't built to share a sex partner, don't want to share, and consequently shouldn't share. We're talking sex partners here, CIC, not large pizzas or pot stashes—a reluctance to share is not evidence of a character flaw. Yours is an alternate lifestyle choice, CIC, one that, while I don't fully understand, I do fully support.