Dear Rhonda,

My fiancé and I used to have an open relationship but we stopped because he was having some trouble finding a girl who likes him. To tell you the truth, at first, I didn’t like the idea of an open relationship, but now I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have a wandering eye and I have been feeling attracted to other guys. I’m trying so hard to control myself but I’m finding myself struggling with that. I love my fiancé so much, but I have this urge that I’m finding hard to control. I’m scared to bring up the open relationship because I know he’s going to say no. When we had the open relationship I got with a lot of people and he didn’t, and he thinks that I’m selfish for being with a lot of people instead of finding a woman for him. I feel so bad because how I am is not fair for him. He’s such a good fiancé but I feel like I want this open relationship. I don’t want to cheat but I can’t control myself, what should I do?


Dear bdenis,

You’re in a tough situation. It’s not uncommon for one partner in an open relationship to find partners more easily, and that can cause tension, and (as happened to you) the end of the arrangement. Have you talked about what happened when you shut things down? Did he feel insecure when you were with others, or resentful that you had what he didn’t?

Before you take a precarious course of action, you need to talk again. Tell him how you feel, ask how he feels now with the relationship closed, and what he would need in order to feel comfortable if you were to open things back up. Ask questions and listen until you understand exactly what his objections were before, so you know what you need to do to help him feel comfortable now.

If his concern is primarily around not being able to find a match, you can offer to limit your partners until he finds someone, or look at couple swapping or swinging, where you are both involved equally. You can also offer to spend time helping him find someone suitable. If prospective partners are concerned that your fiancé is acting outside the relationship, make yourself available to reassure them.

If he agrees to open your relationship, negotiate and set the limits of what you are each comfortable with and stick to it. Show him you respect the boundaries you agreed upon, so that he can feel safe.

If he doesn’t agree, then you have a tough choice to make.

  1. You can stay, and accept that monogamy is the price you pay to keep the relationship you have. It will then be up to you to work on acceptance so that you don’t resent your partner.
  2. You can stay and cheat, accept the risk that he will catch you out, and live with the emotional consequences of going behind your partner’s back.
  3. You can leave, accept that the price of staying was too high, and the consequences of losing the relationship you have to pursue something that meets more of your overall needs.

I wish you the best of luck.

Rhonda x

This question was originally asked in response to ‘How do I tell my boyfriend I want an open relationship?’ (question edited for clarity).

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