Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My last serious relationship ended because my boyfriend and I let the intimacy go out of our relationship. Because of that, I'm pretty sensitive about the importance of sex. My new guy and I have been together about six months now. A couple times when I thought he was going to come over and he didn't, I got really upset. A couple times things just felt kind of flat, and I freaked out a little. I didn't want to push him away so I recently explained how it's really important to me we stay physically connected. He seemed to get it.
Fast forward to last week. We were at a party and this really cute girl looked straight at my guy and said she'd totally be into doing a threesome with us. Imagine my shock when he said how cool that would be. OMG. I jumped in and told her we weren't in an open relationship, period, but hey, how flattering!
The next day he brought it up, saying he had wanted to show me that our sex life will never be boring like my last relationship (which, to be fair and accurate, that intimacy wasn't boring while we were having it, it just vanished entirely). I told him there's a difference between having strong intimacy and having threesomes. We had a huge fight about it and now I don't know what to think. Maybe he's not ready for a serious relationship? Please help.
First of all, I don't care what generous intentions one half of a couple purports to have — no one should be agreeing to allowing any third party into the scenario without prior conversation and agreement.
That said, I can actually see his perspective: six months in, and presumably still mutually lolling in the honeymoon period, he probably thinks things are going pretty well. Then you drop a doozy of a confessional conversation on him, wherein you confess past relationship failings and lay a whole layer of pressure on to the significance of maintaining a sexual connection. At that point, he might be thinking, "Dang, I thought things were going well. What can I do to show her I'm all in on giving her an ongoing amazing intimate experience?" Enter threesome girl, and cue his acquiescence, and the alarm bells.
Don't look at this disastrous party conversation as a failing or ending; see it as an opportunity to course correct. Clearly, whatever you said the first time stuck in the sense that he realized you've had some disappointments in the sex department; however he didn't walk away with a clear understanding of his specific role in preventing a repeat. As awkward as it may be, time for Conversation Round 2. Be very explicit in what you need — and don't — from him. And be clear: a solid intimate connection and consistency for you doesn't have to mean threesomes and other crazy props and twists. You just want some genuine energy and enthusiasm in the bedroom.
Now some might call that a win-win situation: If you agree to your BF's threesome pitch, he's like, "Jackpot!" If you don't, he falls back on, "But you said you wanted to keep things interesting …" Well played, sir.
OK, maybe he isn't just the cliché horn-dog who's already bored in bed with you. Maybe he was genuinely trying to make you happy and not selfishly trying to live out his own fantasy. Yeah, let's go that direction.
Expressing what you want and need from a relationship is admirable. Wanda and I would probably be out of business if everyone did that, or just answering letters about annoying mothers-in-law. But expressing your wants and needs while not being entirely clear about exactly what those are … well, still admirable but also open for interpretation if not downright confusing. So take Wanda's advice and talk it out with him one more time. This should make everything clear: exactly what you are looking for in bed, and exactly what he is willing to provide in bed right now.
And I mean one more time. Nothing against communication and open dialogue with a partner, but just be as thorough as possible with Conversation Round 2. Because if every time the topic of sex comes up and it becomes a trend of awkward fights followed by a big, emotional sit-down talks, he's probably going to start looking for someone a little less complicated and a lot more fun … like the girl from that party.
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