Open Relationships Are Real Relationships

I’m Alexander Cheves, a writer, author, and sex educator. My nickname is Beastly. I give adult advice on this blog — no question is off-limits. To ask me something, email or send a message via the Ask Beastly contact form.

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Hey man, my name is Jose. I’m from Ontario, Canada. I came to this country to study, and during my time so far, I tried for the first time Grindr. I met an Asian guy, and he’s on an open relationship.

In the beginning, he stated the rules of our hook up, he was going to top me and no falling in love with each other, I agreed with those terms, and long story short the hookup became some quite repetitive. We started going out and having sex since June.

Every Friday we had sex, we stopped two weeks because he got gonorrhea from another guy and went to visit his bf in Vancouver. Since he came back, he started asking me to top him, so the rules changed.

Three days ago he texted me saying that we don’t have sex anymore because it was complicated for him to deal with the fact that I became a repetitive thing and he had a boyfriend. He wants to still hang out with me as a friend.

So after all my story here is the idea: Yesterday he came to my house, my aunt is a seamstress, and he wanted some shirts to sew. But he asked my aunt to let him the instruments to perform the stitches for his shirts, to be with me at home. At the end he kissed me and hugged me in the house, I couldn’t have a sharp reaction to his kiss and hug. He is only 26 years old, but I think he is quite expert in manipulation, but I think he fell for me.

Do you think I’m over reacting on this? Or I’m so stupid that he got me dominated mentally. I don’t have too much experience of being gay.

Thanks for all the help, hope I haven’t confused you with all my words.

Hi Jose,

Here’s what happened: He set the rules of engagement, then broke them. I don’t think he’s being manipulative or “dominating you mentally.” I think he caught feelings for you and you caught feelings for him. When that happened, he chose to prioritize his relationship — the established relationship with his boyfriend over the vague, unspecified one he unintentionally formed with you.

The fact is, he’s in a relationship. He’s not single. An open relationship is a real relationship. You’re not his priority here — you never were and never will be. This is causing you needless stress, since there’s not a significant chance that this connection you have with him will turn into a relationship, because he’s already in one. He’d have to dump his partner for you, and his behavior so far makes it fairly clear that he’s not going to do that. If I were you, I’d hang up this steamy thing and move on.

His visit to your aunt’s place was probably not cruelty or manipulation — it sounds simply like a foolish effort on his part to cling on to something against his better judgment. People do that all the time — this is why people occasionally sleep with their exes after a bad breakup and “try to be friends” with exes while their emotions are still raw. He made a mistake.

When he said he can’t have sex with you anymore, that was him choosing which relationship matters more to him — the one he’s in — and from my perspective, he made the right choice. He’s in an open relationship, which means he and his boyfriend have probably had several talks about outside sexual and romantic attachments, and they probably have a plan for how to navigate these things. My boyfriend and I also have an open relationship and I consider him my “primary.” Outside flings can come and go, but we are staying. We’re committed. In this scenario, you were an outside fling. No one has committed to you.

That might be a harsh way of putting it, but it’s true. Don’t waste your emotions on him. Find someone who is available and can prioritize you.

I would not suggest trying to be friends with him right now, since your feelings are still complicated and muddy. Get some distance from this situation and in time you’ll likely feel grateful that the experience happened and grateful that it ended when it did.

Love, Beastly 

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