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I have so many things on my list that I want to blog about but today I felt inspired by a post in a blog I’ve just recently started to read, (the site does contain some adult content so some posts could be NSFW), Queer Dirty Laundry, and the post is “Advice: Sexually Incompatible”.

This post was actually a letter that was sent to the blogger asking a relationship question.  Basically, the writer is in his first relationship ever and has been with the person for three years now.  He loves his beau but feels that their sex life isn’t working out and feels like he’s at a crossroads of wanting to explore sexually outside the relationship either with the beau’s permission or go so far as breaking up or cheating in order to do so.

I agree with the advice given for the most part but I feel like I want to flesh out a part of the dialogue a little more.

I think a key sentence of the writer’s letter is that he said that this was his first relationship ever, and it is not his beau’s first relationship.  So we can infer that his beau has been in relationships before (not sure how many, but enough to qualify).  Since the writer is still quite young AND it’s his first relationship, he has undoubtedly more things he wants to experience and is curious about.

This tells me that both members of this couple seem to be at a different outlook when it comes to a relationship.  The writer has moved into a long-term monogamous relationship before he’s experienced alot that he wants to experience before settling down and still sees sex as a defining characteristic of the relationship, and the beau has been through the trial and error already and is ready to commit to a single relationship and thus not willing to do the whole open/sharing relationship.

The writer never really says how they’re incompatible sexually.  So not sure if they just don’t have sex, it’s infrequent, or whether the sex itself is just awkward and not fluid/emotional.  If there’s a fix to the relationship it probably lies here.  With some willingness and open communication, new life could be brought back.

Sex in itself is not the sole reason for a relationship.  I see so many folks dating/entering into relationships purely based on attraction or good sex.  But you also need to make sure that the communication and potential for emotional relationship are there because that is what builds a solid partnership.  Once the sex fades away or slows down (and it will), what is there to take its place?  When we’re younger we think sex is such an important factor because of our libido, but as we get mature we see that it plays a part but not as big a part as the emotional support and authentic love.

New to the Dating World/Relationship Thing

I definitely agree that maybe the writer is probably not ready for a long-term relationship and would probably benefit more from light dating and focus more on friendships as this will give him more opportunity to gather experiences and feel satiated still as a young person.  I know when I was that age it was hard for me to commit to a single person for some reason and I was super emotional about feeling restricted.  Thinking back on it now it seems almost crazy that I didn’t want those relationships I found myself in, but I think I’ve found that we’re hard-wired when we’re younger to not want to feel tied down and to gather these experiences (safely of course).

I always tell friends that if they get into a relationship with a younger person (in general, there’s always exceptions though) that they should just enjoy their time together and not be too surprised if the person feels like they need to move on at some point.

Clingy vs. Committed

Now here’s where the real meat of my post comes in.  I want to be able to paint the beau of the letter in a better light, just because I feel like he’s in a better place for relationships from the information I have.

I have issues with the word “clingy” because it paints a negative picture of a person as controlling or suffocating.  And I think we use this word all-too-often in situations where it doesn’t necessarily apply, like in this case.  The beau is being painted as clingy because of the writer’s need to explore outside the relationship, and the ideas that the beau wants to spend much of his time together and doesn’t like to do things without the other.  In some extreme cases this can be clingy, but in my opinion this just shows a sign of commitment to the relationship and how much that person wants to be with the other.

He’s being seen as clingy because he’s limiting what the other wants, but what the writer wants is permission to stray essentially.  A majority of folks in a committed relationship would not switch to an open relationship willingly.  And if the writer wasn’t having doubts about the relationship sexually, these traits would probably not carry the negative weight as it does now in this case.  Switching to an open relationship now after three years together would feel just like a break-up, except slower and more painful.

I’m not sure if I could deal with being emotionally committed to a person and then have them possibly go out and have a relationship with another person.  I would feel like I’m losing the person and in need of finding new ways of trying to be able to hold onto my love.  It would be okay if everything outside of it could be just physical, but as humans we are going to gain emotional attachments and the possibility of losing someone to another is a VERY real possibility.  The grass always seems greener on the other side, but once you get there you almost always miss home.

My advice would probably have been more like this.  What are your priorities?  What is more important to you, getting out there and having those experiences or staying true to the person you committed to?  You can’t have both and need to choose one or the other because I still think he (in general) is still too young to maturely do both.  It would suck for the beau who is committed to the relationship, but it’d probably be better than trying to deal with a forced open relationship or finding out about unfaithfulness later if these feelings fruition into something more.

What are your thoughts on this?  What do you think of open relationships and do they work?  Is it more about “sowing your oats” or staying faithful to a commitment?