Why you should care
Because realizing you need help is the first step to getting help. From a guy answering these questions in his underwear.
Boy, Girl, Boy, Oh, Boy Follies
EUGENE, SIR : My girlfriend and I have an open relationship largely based on me being a bisexual woman not particularly interested in strap-ons or men, really. Our “open clause” had yet to be tested though. But two weeks ago I asked her to come to a show with me. She decided to stay at her place and I went with another friend and met an ex of mine there. He was in from out of town, had no place to stay, and I didn’t think it’d be that big of a deal to have him stay with me. But a few things happened. We had too much to drink, the friend who drove us back texted and told her that we had had too much to drink and me and the male ex ended up in bed together. Then, let’s call her Amanda, showed up the next day and even though we were not in the act when she came by, she was livid. A shoving match ensued with screaming. She punched him, he called the cops, she’s in jail and no one is speaking to me because “bisexual women can’t be trusted” and so on. I feel terrible but it also feels like everyone but me is overreacting. A little perspective please. — My Fault?
Dear Damned If You Do :
Look, let me say this for the first but probably not the last time: “open” relationships should never be written without quotations marks since they are, in fact, trickery of the highest order. A trickery plied by:
1. Exceedingly cruel people whose claims of an addiction to “honesty” are really just a license to be cruel,
2. Those trying to catch you out, or
3. A submissive partner in full revel of the misery that they know is coming their way, but which they feel incapable of, for whatever reason, avoiding.
But opting into an open relationship means opting into a misery that you know is coming your way, but which you feel incapable of, for whatever reason, avoiding.
So the first mistake you made was falling for it, which is not to say that interest in “open” is dishonest — but being able to be honest about it is just impossible outside of the aforementioned parameters. Your immediate response when faced with the “open” discussion should be to immediately expand “open” to also include your partner, which is to say “open but not exclusionary,” shut it down by proclaiming no interest and thereby lie like a rug, or shut it down and honestly not be interested at all.
But it sounds like you figured it was a good “get outta jail” card and now have figured out that no such thing exists especially in light of the fact that women who like vagina exclusively get cranky about being with women who don’t. Which I partially defend on the grounds that while all is fair in love and war, you liking penis sort of undercuts the whole lesbian thing in a way that understandably makes lesbians nervous since it scatters the competitive playing field. And because, really, a strap-on is actually NOT a penis. Something I suspect was largely at play at the Punch Up in the Play Room you just lived through.
However, OVER-reacting? Well, drunken fist-fighting escapades, quote-marked “infidelity” as a footnote to the quote-marked “open” relationship, jail time and a social uproar that sees your holiday card list cut by 50 percent? Nope. Seems about right to me. If it’s any consolation, though, know that had this happened in a hetero relationship you’d all be dead.
You Say Potato, She Says Tomato
EUGENE, SIR : We’ve been together about 6 months and discovered that we’re both into verbal abuse. It’s hot but now we’ve got a problem since the last time we had sex (7 days ago). While he called me a filthy whore, which I loved, he didn’t like me calling him by a name that under other circumstances might be considered racially insensitive. I am white and 32 and he is Mexican. I think we’ve both been avoiding doing anything since then and haven’t talked about it but we can’t keep going like this and breaking up seems stupid. Suggestions? — G.W.
Dear Frito Bandito :
One of the best things about screwing, it seems, are the collected moments of unbridled freedom. And I think if you count up some of the best sex you’ve had, it’s probably been whilst and during times that are as crazily unscripted as the script will allow. That is, while the tracks of the rollercoaster are clearly visible from the outset, the ride can still be a thrill a minute. And some of the worst sex you’ve had, if it doesn’t involve felonies, is probably also composed of moments of painful self-awareness. Also known as “not being into it.”
Which is where you all are now. But with VA, or verbal abuse, you always run the risk of offense since you have no idea what in a person’s personal psycholandscape will constitute a minefield. Not after six months, for sure. And this is part of the thrill. But the other part, the getting your leg blown off part? Sucks.
And like you can’t easily reattach a leg you can’t really ignore your way out of this one. And talking/thinking about it — why is gender slurring OK while race slurring is not? — is not likely to yield overly positive results when you re-enter the arena of not so much talking/thinking: sex. In his defense you probably weren’t called a filthy whore until you were in junior in high school at the earliest (I hope), while he may have been getting chased and beaten for being Mexican since he was old enough to run BUT you were probably doing the furthest thing away from beating him. And still? He took offense.
So it’s clear he’s not ready for the major leagues, but can your relationship be saved? I don’t know, should it? I mean you just discovered he needs coddling here — and you know what’s not so sexy? Coddling. If he wants to go, I say let him go. He wants to stay, y’all got your work cut out for you.
The Inimitable Sounds of Love
EUGENE, SIR : I got a screamer. Not a problem for me. But a problem for the neighbors. I don’t want to tell her to shut up and really am having so much fun I don’t think of it until they start kicking at my door but we can’t afford to move out and I can’t afford beating them to death. But don’t we have some kind of rights here? — Knock, Knock
Dear Who Is It? :
Leastways I can figure out, you DO have rights and those involve doing whatever the hell you want with the space you pay for during certain proscribed hours. If you live in an apartment, there’s a certain amount of looking the other way that is more than necessary and them hearing you screwing is probably something they should be way less involved in as long — as you’re not making a habit of doing it at 2 in the morning. But, you know, if you’re having sex every night and the guy in the next apartment is NOT, you’re putting him under all kinds of pressure. Hence the vitriol. My suggestion? Do what thou wilt until midnight or whatever the no-noisy-screw time is. And after that? Faces in the pillow. Simple. Thank me later. Like at 12:01.
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