Back to our regularly scheduled program of sex and love, I have followed up with Ball and Chain, an upperclassmen who made a previous inquiry. A month has passed, and this is what she had to say.
V: The last time we communicated you were considering opening your relationship with your long-term boyfriend. Did you end up taking my advice?
Ball and Chain: Yes. I communicated with him, and we agreed to be open shortly after your response was published.
V: What were the terms that you both agreed upon?
Ball and Chain: We agreed on an open-book policy about the encounters, use of protection, keeping this decision private and to get tested before the next time we see each other.
V: After the decision was made, how did you proceed?
Ball and Chain: We both downloaded Tinder. I actually helped him create his profile.
V: How long was it until you first met up with a match?
Ball and Chain: Probably three or four days after downloading the app. I went to his house late at night and sucked his dick. I hated it. It wasn’t because I felt bad about my first sexual encounter with someone other than my boyfriend, but it was just not a good experience. The guy was a horrible kisser.
V: Have you had sex with anyone since you opened the relationship?
Ball and Chain: Yes. Two people.
V: What was that experience like?
Ball and Chain: It was probably a week and a half after I downloaded Tinder. He came over to my apartment and brought a bottle of wine. We had good sex, but I felt uncomfortable after because he was trying to snuggle. I kicked him out because it just didn’t feel right.
V: How did your boyfriend react when you told him you slept with someone else?
Ball and Chain: He told me he threw up after I told him. I knew he was upset because he expects me to text him even when I’m with other guys, but it’s impossible. It hurts me to tell him the details, but I know it is what we agreed upon. I want to be honest.
V: How long did you wait until the next time you had sex?
Ball and Chain: It was a week after I slept with Guy #1. Actually, the first time I hung out with Guy #2 we sat and talked. We kissed each other on the way out, but that was it. It wasn’t until the second time we hung out we had sex. The sex was boring, but I actually enjoyed his company. We still talk and have sex.
V: In the terms of your relationship it is okay to have sex with the same person more than once?
Ball and Chain: Yes, I just made it clear to Guy #2 that I am not looking for anything serious. It is too complicated to explain the entire situation.
V: How many encounters has your boyfriend had since opening the relationship?
Ball and Chain: None. I have realized that this is a lot harder on him than I originally thought it would be.
V: Have your feelings changed for your boyfriend after opening the relationship?
Ball and Chain: No, I still love him very much. I do want the relationship to stay open. However, issues have been brought to the forefront that we haven’t completely addressed even before we were open.
V: What kinds of issues?
Ball and Chain: Our communication isn’t good. We are either fighting or not talking. Even when we do communicate, it doesn’t feel normal.
V: How have you felt personally since the relationship opened?
Ball and Chain: I actually feel great. I feel more connected to campus life, less dependent on my boyfriend, and mentally healthy.
V: Since there is obviously a discrepancy in the way you both are feeling since opening, have you considered reverting back to exclusivity or ending the relationship?
Ball and Chain: I do not want to go back to being exclusive, and I have considered breaking up with him. I want to go to graduate school abroad, and I can’t keep carrying this relationship with me when it is already so strained. I still really do love him. This has been really difficult for me as well because he is the last person I want to hurt.
V: At the end of the day, you need to focus on doing what is right for you. I think you both gave a fair shot at opening the relationship, but it still isn’t working. Breaking up with someone isn’t killing them. Giving each other the space to grow and heal is necessary. If you still feel the same way about each other in a year or 10 years, you can always find your way back to each other. That is what true love is.