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DOMDOM
Apr 28, 2007

don't put your dog in the fire

Fun Shoe

I feel like this is all really dumb, but I need outside perspective because I'm not sure if my feelings are justified. Or really, what those feelings should be at all.

Started seeing a woman back at the beginning of March.

Backstory: She's someone I had known from high school, we dated briefly right before parting ways for college, and while it was really good, we fell out of touch. Next time I saw her years later she was married. We talked for a bit and kept in touch here and there on Facebook.

This year we started talking again and she let me know she had been divorced for a few years now. She invited me to hang out and we spent a really great day together. We hung out again and it was equally amazing. But this time, she laid down some ground rules. She made it very clear that all she could commit to right now was a FWB type situation. When she had gotten divorced years prior, she was running from an abusive marriage and was able to escape with the help of Zack who she ended up moving in with and dating. Her and Zack broke up 6 months ago and now were roommates living in the same house but in separate bedrooms. She was working on finding her own place and living her own life.

As someone whose been terrible at longterm relationships, this FWB arrangement seemed to be right in my wheelhouse, so I agreed. I've done it before and managed not to catch feelings.

She also noted that she was a swinger while married and that her and Zack's relationship had been a bit open. She was cool with sex with other people as long as it was just physical, safe, and everything was kept on the up and up. I've read enough internet to know open relationships lead to a lot of heartache, but I also know personally that as a bi guy with a high sex drive I have cheated on every girl I've dated (usually with guys). I am not proud of this.

And so we embarked on a casual FWB situation with the door left open to maybe some kind of future, but don't hold your breath.

We continued hanging out and the dates got more regular and more intimate. During this time, we also hooked up with other people and we always let each other know. Not specifics necessarily, just that it happened, it was safe, etc.

From the start there was an instant connection. It’s a connection I never really felt with a woman before. I used to think maybe I was gay, but dating guys never appealed to me. And yet every woman I dated I ended up not being able to stand, eventually growing to really hate our time together. I always felt like I was pretending to be someone else. It got to the point where I gave up for awhile and made peace with being alone with occasional sex here and there.

So the months went by and this connection intensified. She dropped the L word accidentally last month. We agreed to reign that in and slow down. And yet, despite that, we kept getting closer. It is difficult for me to describe the feelings. No one has ever understood me like this. When we hang out, even though we said FWB, it’s been way more just being with each other than some pure sex arrangement. Holding each other. Talking about everything.

Every time we make plans to watch a movie, we end up skipping it and just sitting around talking and being with each other. It’s really kind of great. We both feel it, we’ve said as much, and it seems really obvious that we compliment each other well and make a good couple. We’ve talked about the future and things were looking amazing. We both agreed this had, despite efforts to put up walls, become a relationship and the feelings on both sides were very strong.

Then yesterday happened.

We had both taken the upcoming Friday and Monday off with the intention of spending the long 4th of July weekend together. I had ordered us some fancy new sheets that just came in and needed to be washed. I don’t have a washing machine, so she offered to do them.

Great. Thing is, I had never been to her (Zack’s) house. She’s an avid gardener and had said in the past I should come see her plants. When I asked about Zack, she said we’d just have to tone down the flirtation while in the yard because she did not want to hurt him by rubbing it in. So we agreed yesterday I’d come by to drop off the sheets and check out the plants.

And I did. Except what I thought was going to be a quick stop to drop of sheet and look at some flowers turned into a “come inside and hang out with Zack and I.” I felt blind-sided by this, but it actually was not too awkward. Zack bent over backwards to be accommodating. Overly so. Best, most gracious host ever.

At this point I was not sure how much of our relationship he knew, but I got the feeling he was putting on a brave face. I say this because Zack seemed to be a lot like me and if I were in his spot it’s exactly what I would do to hide my pain.
When she started cooking dinner I politely declined and made up a reason to leave. The whole encounter left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt ambushed. I was not prepared for that, and to make matters worse, I felt really awful for Zack. Like he was trying to hide this incredible pain.

We talked about it later that night and she made it clear Zack knew about us, which just made his hostess-with-the-mostest act even sadder to me. And that’s when she dropped the bomb:

a woman posted:

If it helps, just know that I haven't been sleeping with him for almost a month.

DOMDOM posted:

Ah. It's okay. I didn't realize you guys were still sleeping together that recently.

I know you had said you'd tell me about other people you were sleeping with early on, I just didn't realize that was still a thing with him.

It doesn't make me uncomfortable, it makes me feel bad.

a woman posted:

Oh gently caress I'm really sorry We have separate rooms but had been occasionally having sex. Especially if we both have been drinking. Which is why I don't drink often if it all anymore. I put a hard stop to it when I realized that I was only being used for sex and there was nothing there anymore. I don't need that in my life. (He hasnt had any others partners since we broke up back February. He just drinks. It's sad)”

This has left me feeling not good. I mean... we had talked about being open about this stuff and had been, but it seems like a bit of oversight not to specifically mention. You know, like "hey you know that guy I broke up with 6 months ago and refer to as my roommate and told you we were done and sleep in separate rooms... yeah I've stillbeen occasionally loving him for the majority of the time we've been seeing each other"

To me, sex can be just sex and disconnected from the intimacy and love. Except when they are already intertwined. And therein lies the danger of open relationships, catching feelings, and the jealousy factor.

I mean sure I feel hurt that this wasn't disclosed earlier, but it's also left me feeling incredibly bad for Zack. I feel guilty. Like some cheap sidepiece. I keep thinking of the act he put on going so far as to tell me I'm always welcome and should come back soon and hang out and blah blah blah.

A day has gone by and I probably feel worse about it today. There's that stupid jealousy gnawing at the back of my mind. "hey remember that amazing day you had in the park with the picnic, what if she went home and hosed zack that night?" and it's not even the loving that kills me, it's the cuddling, the intimacy, the sleeping together. All the other stuff that doesn't usually come with hookup territory but does with girlfriend territory.

But then there's the rational side of me that says "who cares, it's about who she is with now, this girl is wonderful, you are most probably in love, and this could be the one for you."

I don't really know what I'm expecting by posting this here. I guess I just wanted some outside perspective from strangers and perhaps to be mocked a bit. In retrospect, was I stupid for not just assuming they were still banging this whole time? Probably!

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Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


I've already seen the future, and it ends with you cheating on her with Zack.

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


But for real, yeah you should have clocked that they were probably still sleeping together. I won't call it a ironclad rule, but if two people who were (seriously) dating break up but stay roommates for 6 months afterwards with no signs of motion towards moving out, either they are loving or they are fucky.

As to your story in general:

1) Catching feelings is the dumbest loving phrase, please don't.

2) Take the relationship as you will. You are an inveterate cheater on partners, she was into open relationships and swinging, and you both slept with other people during. Seems a bit double-faced to get het up on this now. Just say it like it is and stop pussyfooting around. At first I was cool with just FWB, now I think I love you and am getting serious. If you're serious too, move out from Zack in the next X timeframe and maybe let's not be so open (or at all).

3) Probably prepare to be shotgunned to death by posts about 'serves you right'

Cough Drop The Beat
Jan 22, 2012

by Lowtax


Just move on and chalk this up to being naive on your part. I don't really know how you could be okay with your new partner regularly sleeping with her ex, who she lives with and apparently isn't moving out on tomorrow, as recently as last month. You live and you learn, but like Jeza said it's not all that uncommon for people to bang their cohabiting ex so maybe see this as a potential red flag in the future???

DickParasite
Dec 2, 2004



Slippery Tilde

Both of you need to poo poo or get off the pot.

Classon Ave. Robot
Oct 7, 2019



Uhh you don't really get to be mad about your FWB sleeping with someone else, ex or not. If you don't have the balls to start a real relationship then you don't get to act like you're in one and expect someone else to treat it like that.

81sidewinder
Sep 8, 2014

Buying stocks on the day of the crash

You have learned a lesson here and please follow through accordingly.

remigious
May 13, 2009

Destruction comes inevitably


Hell Gem

She wasn’t honest with you in a situation that requires honesty to work. I don’t think there is any coming back after that.

Crosswell
Jun 7, 2007
Lying in a Bombay alley

Classon Ave. Robot posted:

Uhh you don't really get to be mad about your FWB sleeping with someone else, ex or not. If you don't have the balls to start a real relationship then you don't get to act like you're in one and expect someone else to treat it like that.

Not an emptyquote

Crosswell
Jun 7, 2007
Lying in a Bombay alley

With the addendum that without self reflection and a change in your decision making you’ll probably get everything you want with this woman and then go suck a dick just to inject drama into your life.

Coolness Averted
Feb 20, 2007

oh don't worry, I can't smell asparagus piss, it's in my DNA

GO HOGG WILD!


Classon Ave. Robot posted:

Uhh you don't really get to be mad about your FWB sleeping with someone else, ex or not. If you don't have the balls to start a real relationship then you don't get to act like you're in one and expect someone else to treat it like that.

It seems like from the OP's post they were supposed to be communicating about other partners. Like if it was never specifically stated, and he just assumed because they'd been pretty open, yeah bad on him but I read it more like this:

remigious posted:

She wasn’t honest with you in a situation that requires honesty to work. I don’t think there is any coming back after that.

Only thing I'd add, if you two wanna set whatever arrangement, go for it. I'd personally lose a lot of respect for a partner who could be so blaise and torture an ex like that though.
I think you realize just how lovely that was, but you're also in that fresh lust/love phase. She can and will do the same to you. Just remember that going forward.

cda
Jan 2, 2010


Coolness Averted posted:

She can and will do the same to you.

Yep. The reason you feel so bad for that guy is you know that one day that'll be you. Unless you're ok with that, it's time to move on. She's showed you what she thinks is acceptable.

mkay0
Nov 7, 2003

I crawled the earth, but now I'm higher
2010, watch it go to fire


Or, OP could just have empathy

Angry Lobster
May 16, 2011

Served with honor
and some clarified butter.


The problem with open relationships is that the it cuts both ways, and most people just can't handle that. To me, it sounds that you really want a serious relationship with her, as you value more the conection and intimacy you have built over sex but you are too afraid to lose her if you try to push her out of the FWB zone, which is no good because if you can't handle the feelings of her hooking up with other dudes this situation will tear you apart over time.

cda
Jan 2, 2010


mkay0 posted:

Or, OP could just have empathy

Sorry I didn't mean to suggest that there wasn't empathy there. I see how it looks like that. Maybe it would be better to say that the reason it's so troubling isn't just because he feels bad for the guy but because he also realizes that on some level it's going to be him one day.

abgushte badamjan
Apr 4, 2009

for butts??????


From what I understand with non-monogamy, it's somewhat immature to try to define your needs in a relationship as having specific boundaries like "I can only do FWB" because it indicates that you see a hole in yourself that can be filled rather than seeing the other person as a person. Relationships should benefit the people in them, which also means they should be focused on each person--not fulfilling some specific personal need you see in yourself. If the relationship no longer benefits the people in it then it needs to change or end.

Don't let yourself get caught in the trap of wanting to hold on to her because you don't want to be the clown who fell deeper than FWB. From the beginning she probably didn't see you as a person but just someone that would serve whatever issues she's struggling with from her past.

JesusLovesRonwell
Aug 12, 2004

I want to touch my Rosalina-sama all over~

<3<3<3


Why do you tend to cheat on the women in your life with dudes and not other chicks? Just curious.

Julius CSAR
Oct 3, 2007

Shut up and die like an aviator.





Open relationships are just drama Chernobyls waiting to meltdown

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


Julius CSAR posted:

Open relationships are just drama Chernobyls waiting to meltdown

Maybe it’s just confirmation bias, and thousands of people have happy open relationships banging whoever they want and we never hear about them because they’re so amazingly fulfilled

DamnitGannet
Apr 8, 2007



I think it's understandable to be upset, but I agree that there isn't much to be done about it because you two weren't in a committed relationship to begin with and it sounds like you had no real interest in that anyway, at least at the time. If you want to stay with her, you will need to get over this and set rules you both can agree on when it comes to sleeping with other people.

I also feel bad for Zack because of the crappy situation he is in, but remember that he has chosen to live there for 6 months and pursued sex with her despite the fact she has been honest with him about loving other people. If he was that torn up about it he would have made plans to leave already.

Sorry you had to go through this, but try to think of it as a learning experience. There is always going to be trial and error as you navigate new things like open relationships, or being in a poly relationship, or whatever for the first time.

DamnitGannet
Apr 8, 2007



I just realized that she actually moved in with Zack and not the other way around, but he should seriously consider asking her to make plans to move out if hes as unhappy about the situation as he seems

Crosswell
Jun 7, 2007
Lying in a Bombay alley

There’s a lot of assumptions about Zack’s feelings here. They’re reasonable assumptions but even those are wrong a lot of the time.

cda
Jan 2, 2010


Crosswell posted:

There’s a lot of assumptions about Zack’s feelings here. They’re reasonable assumptions but even those are wrong a lot of the time.

The point isn't Zack. In a way it doesn't matter what Zack is feeling. What matters is that when the OP looks at Zack, his best guess is that the guy feels awful, and that's probably because he, the OP, would feel awful in that situation. And that situation is clearly a situation that the lady thinks is fine*, which means it's likely a situation that he, the OP will find himself in, at which point he will probably have the feelings that he currently ascribes to Zack.

*and maybe it is, for some people, I'm not judging I'm just saying there's a disconnect clearly

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

OP, you and Zack are two sides of the same coin right now. You're the before, he's the after. When you look at him and project your sadness onto him (justified or not, who knows how he actually feels) just know that everything you've told us about this woman means that before long, you will become Zack.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

After reading cda's post again I realize that I've basically said the exact same thing as they did and it's therefore a bit redundant, but seeing as you can't edit posts in E/N still, just take it as reinforcement I guess. If you really are 'catching feels' then I think you're setting yourself up for heartbreak if you get more involved with this woman.

meselfs
Sep 26, 2015

The body may die, but the soul is always rotten

It sounds like you have something pretty special and potent with a woman. I definitely would advise against breaking it off. Well done on finding something so mutually irresistible that rules are hard to follow.

I disagree that open relationships are necessarily a source of more heartache. Rather, they make the drama bubble up quicker. Don't forget the divorce rate is about 50%, and not all of the other 50% should stay married. Nonmonogamy just makes problems much harder to bottle, which I think is a good thing.

About you and Zack: I really think you should tell him what you're telling us. You don't really know the guy so yes, that could be frickin hard. You have so much compassion for him that you're taking responsibility for his feelings, wouldn't it be easier in the long run if you told him how you feel and that you mean no harm? He can take it or leave it.

Imagine what life would be like if you didn't, and things kept going well with a woman. At some point you two might want to move in together. It'll be hard (and frankly unhealthy) to avoid Zack.

Also, do not read feelings. You could be wrong about everything. Start from a place of curiosity.

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


meselfs posted:

I disagree that open relationships are necessarily a source of more heartache. Rather, they make the drama bubble up quicker. Don't forget the divorce rate is about 50%, and not all of the other 50% should stay married. Nonmonogamy just makes problems much harder to bottle, which I think is a good thing.

Well, no one in the current equation is married; talking as if marriage or an open relationship are the only two options is disingenuous. Did sequentially sleeping with whoever you want just fall out of fashion or something?

Queering Wheel
Jun 18, 2011



It sounds like your feelings for each other are real and that there was a misstep in communication about other partners involved. Just because she hosed Zack a month ago doesn't have to mean that she doesn't care for you. It probably means that she just wanted to have some more sex, not that she's secretly trying to play you.

Talk to her. If she agrees to be exclusive and then proceeds to gently caress Zack at any time after that specific point, then that's when there would be a problem. If she doesn't want to be exclusive and you're not cool with that, then you're either going to have to get over it, or leave her. It's that simple.

I would suggest option one, because why blow up a great friendship over jealousy or whatever the gently caress? People like having sex. She can gently caress other people and still have a deep, intimate connection with you. Some people like having both of those things. It's freedom.

meselfs posted:

About you and Zack: I really think you should tell him what you're telling us. You don't really know the guy so yes, that could be frickin hard. You have so much compassion for him that you're taking responsibility for his feelings, wouldn't it be easier in the long run if you told him how you feel and that you mean no harm? He can take it or leave it.

Imagine what life would be like if you didn't, and things kept going well with a woman. At some point you two might want to move in together. It'll be hard (and frankly unhealthy) to avoid Zack.

Also, do not read feelings. You could be wrong about everything. Start from a place of curiosity.

Also, this. Maybe you're just overthinking poo poo. If you're worried about anything, communicate with both of them. Communication is key, no matter what kind of relationship you want with people.

Sekenr
Dec 12, 2013






there is only one thing there is to say: why?

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



This obviously hurts and sucks, but I have to say: you two entered into a "friends having sex" arrangement that was explicitly open and not a relationship. She didn't have an obligation to disclose everyone she was currently sleeping with to you unless you hashed that out beforehand. I get what you're saying about Zack being a special case that you'd like to have known about, but unless you made that clear to her beforehand, you can't assume she thought or felt there was any difference between sleeping with him and sleeping with a hookup. And now that you're approaching a relationship, it looks like she is comfortable being more specific.

Doesn't make your feelings any less real, but I don't think she seriously wronged you here. Just sounds messy. You maybe had different, undiscussed expectations of what was "kosher" in your FWB arrangement and now you're getting the fallout of that. Your mismatched expectations could also reflect baseline different approaches to relationships and, as others have mentioned, that could bite you going forwards if you don't communicate about it now. Good luck!

Xenocides
Jan 14, 2008

This world looks very scary....

Are we going to start a pool?

Guessing Zach is in a findomme cuckold relationship with her now. Has that option been chosen? And somehow OP ends up in a sitcom situation where he is supposed to be having sex with both on the same night and awkwardly has to keep making more esoteric excuses with each to sneak off to the other bedroom until he is finally caught and we all learn about the importance of honesty.

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purple death ray
Jul 28, 2007

me omw 2 steal ur girl



It's honestly lovely to blame your infidelity on being a bisexual man. People from every stop on the kinsey express are capable of cheating on partners. You would probably have cheated on them just the same if you were straight.

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