My Boyfriend Wants An Open Relationship, But I Don’t
So, my boyfriend of three years recently told me that he wants an open relationship. If that wasn’t bad enough, he brought it to my knowledge in a way that makes it seem like I have no choice but to accept this.
Particularly because he appears to already be talking to someone else, which I found out about when he left his Instagram account logged into my phone. When I confronted him, that’s when he let me know that he wants an open relationship.
He can be a bit aggressive sometimes when he wants something done his way. I mean, he doesn’t do something as bad as punching me or hitting me or anything like that, so I guess it could have been worse. But, since this whole thing, he’s been saying really mean things to me about myself, and I guess what I’m asking is, how can I let him know that I don’t want to share him with someone else, without him getting too upset about it?
– Worried In Love, New York
Hey Ms. Worried In Love, let’s dive in a little in this situation.
You ALWAYS have a choice. No one can force you to accept something that is not of interest to you nor should you allow it. Love can be a tricky thing, but never should it be only about one person. The issues here are a bit more complex.
- Your boyfriend is communicating a lack of respect for you on many different levels. Here’s the breakdown:
a. Was there a discussion in the relationship where it was ever discussed that an open relationship was an option?
If not, he has made a choice for you and did not grant you your own voice to decide if this was something that you would be okay with. Not giving you the respect enough to
b. He has already engaged in talking to other people and it does not seem as though your needs matter.
Whether you approve or not, it may not be of his concern because he will possibly still continue his explorations elsewhere.
- Complexity of abuse
a. Just because someone isn’t physically hurting you does not mean you aren’t experiencing a cycle of abuse.
b. Verbal abuse is very powerful as it goes hand in hand with emotional abuse.
- His verbal put-downs are being embedded in his communication with you as a means of breaking down your self-esteem.
- If he can make you feel less about yourself, he can gain a sense of power as you’ll look to him for when he isn’t being mean and highlight those moments more. You’ll start believing that, without him, no one else will love or want you which may make you give in to appease him.
- Not allowing you to speak for yourself and overriding your ability to make a decision in the relationship can also be a part of emotional abuse.
- The concern that he will get upset seems to suggest there is uneasiness about this.
The fact remains: you don’t want to share. He may want to have an open relationship but please understand, it does not have to be with you. I cannot say, however, that he won’t get upset if you tell him you don’t want to have an open one.
My suggestion, if you fear in any way that your safety may be compromised, ensure that you have a safety plan; somewhere you can go,
If he cannot honor the fact that you aren’t okay with an open relationship and refrain from doing so, then you may not want the same things out of the relationship. Ever heard the saying, ‘what you allow is what will continue?’ It speaks volumes. Under no circumstances should you stay in a relationship with someone who is mean, invalidates you, overrides your decision-making ability, or makes you feel less than the woman you are. Don’t allow anyone to take your crown, not even someone who may claim they love you but actions say otherwise!
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