Sami Jankins suggests not being like the Grinch and instead to feel those feels.
I recently met this amazing woman. We clicked in all areas of our life and it’s great. We both are recently divorced and are still learning to accept our new place in life. We both have told each other that we wandered on our exes. We’ve been totally open about everything and why things happened the way they did. Sexually we’re twins and I’ve never felt more satisfied or fulfilled until I met her. This is a long distance relationship, and we both agree we have physical needs that we have to fulfill. My mind completely understands that we all have the need for human contact and sexual fulfillment. We agreed to an open long distance relationship so we wouldn’t have to go without. Why is it that in my mind I totally understand, but my emotions run rampant? I love this woman deeply and I’m scared that my emotions may ruin a wonderful new relationship. What do I do?
A Heart Not Two Sizes Too Small
Dear A Heart Not Two Sizes Too Small,
Help you, oh help you… I can, I can! After all, my name is Sam I Am. Yes, I know that’s not the same book, but I couldn’t quite come up with a super inventive Cindy Lou Who reference. I know my Dr. Seuss books fairly well and I’m pretty sure I can provide some useful advice. I’ve asked Santa to become certified in providing advice of this kind. Until then if you’re OK with advice from someone completely qualified only by having lived life, then let’s continue on.
I’m happy for you that you have found someone you clearly seem over the moon about. There are two extremely clear problems to me that are standing out and neither have to do with the relationship being long distance. The first problem is communication. Even though you mention how you talk about everything, you are obviously not OK with the decisions being made on how the relationship will progress. You cheated on your ex. She cheated on her ex. That doesn’t mean the underlying motivation of cheating was sex-based. Sure, that may have been the resulting outlet, but cheating comes as a result of deep dysfunction that isn’t being addressed by the couple. Why she cheated and why you cheated might have been because of completely different reasons.
What I’m hearing is “we assumed that cheating would be inevitable, so instead of being blindsided by it we just agreed to be open about it.” Sex is not the only thing in a relationship. Am I still typing? I wasn’t struck by a lightning bolt? No? OK, good. Sexual compatibility is extremely important, but communication is as important. You two are not fully communicating. Just because cheating occurred in a prior relationship, that doesn’t necessarily mean the only answer is a poly-amorous relationship. I’ve read the studies that drone on and on about how humans are not meant to be monogamous, but some are…some aren’t.
Do you really want an open relationship or are you doing this because you are scared you’ll lose her if you don’t agree to it? That’s a definite mismatch in approach to a relationship, and one that needs to be discussed as you move forward. Just because you don’t live in the same city doesn’t mean that the other person must be entitled to sex with other people to prevent them from “cheating.” However, if you both actually want a poly-amorous relationship, there needs to be rules established. Will you be each other’s main partner and sex will only occur with a fling versus with an individual that is already a part of and will remain a part of that person’s life? If you end up in the same city, will you continue to have an open relationship? Would phone or cam sex potentially maintain sexual fulfillment for the both of you without opening up the relationship if you truly aren’t comfortable?
Are you sure your mind is not rationalizing a situation you don’t actually want to be a part of? I can’t answer these questions for you, but I can tell you not to shut your heart off. Your second problem is that you’ve somehow established the belief that expressing emotions within a relationship is not OK. Emotions are scary. Feelings are a bitch. I am queen of pushing people away. I could offer a weekend seminar on all the tactics you could use to push people away and show them how much they shouldn’t want to love you. Please don’t do this. I have to actively remind myself when I get scared to not do this because whomever I’m with doesn’t deserve it. When scared, dealing with feelings head on is far more complicated.
We’ve turned into a society where the person who cares less seems to be the one who is “winning” in a relationship, but last time I checked love isn’t a competition. Trying to care less just feels awful, and it’s extremely unhealthy to put yourself and the other person through that. When you open yourself up to emotions, you are potentially opening yourself up to being hurt if things don’t end well. Don’t consider the end when you’re at the very beginning, that is putting the sled before the dog wearing antlers.
Love is about emotions. Emotions don’t ruin relationships. Overthinking things can ruin relationships. Worrying that your emotions are too much for someone else falls under the overthinking category. If you aren’t happy, something is wrong. That something wrong is not that you have feelings, it’s that you and her are not on the same page. Although it may be scary, you need to sit down and have that conversation with her to come to a mutual decision of what truly feels comfortable for both of you. That decision should (hopefully) leave you both happy. If you are as open and communicative as you say you are, then maybe this won’t be so scary. She might have no clue of how you are feeling. Isn’t it so frustrating that people can’t read minds by now? Get on the same page, whatever that may be, and I can guarantee you will feel relief. Never apologize for feeling. We all could benefit by permitting ourselves and each other to be openly emotional individuals. To feel is to be human.
Here’s for better dating days ahead,
Send your pressing questions for Sami to answer for Dating in the Digital Age to [email protected].