On red flags and open relationships.

Dear Coquette,

I met a guy last week at a gay friend’s party. We hit it off, but he is bisexual and doesn’t believe in monogamy. I am also bisexual, a woman who mainly sleeps with men, and sees marriage to a man in my future. I have considered open relationships but have never tried one. A few of my friends (most of them gay) are in open relationships and it seems to work. I feel like I can fall in love with this man as we have so much in common and we connect on so many levels. I am 31 and want a family soon, and I want to let myself fall in love with him but am scared that I will get hurt if we pursue an open relationship. I know it’s only the early days but a part of me wants to try and experience this new sexual frontier in a loving and supportive manner. Another part of me wants to run for the hills.

My, what a lovely collection of red flags you have.

Let’s start with the fact that you’ve only known this dude for a week and you’re already talking about letting yourself fall in love. Come on, you’re old enough to know better than that. These are not the early days of a relationship. These are still the early hours of a crush. Get a grip.

It’s perfectly fine if you want a family soon and don’t want to waste time dating men with no long-term potential, but don’t confuse having high standards with this romantic version of a fight-or-flight response. You’re acting like a love-stoned teenager, and that’s no way to make a rational decision about a potential partner, especially one who challenges your ideas about commitment.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t explore new sexual frontiers with the non-monogamous bisexual guy, but you shouldn’t kid yourself either. If you want that experience, you’re probably gonna have to hit the snooze button on your biological clock for a hot minute, because new sexual frontiers are almost never the path that leads to marriage and kids.

This has nothing to do with monogamy, by the way. Open relationships can be great, but you both still have to have the same life goals. You are ready to settle down and start a family. Is this guy ready to settle down too? Will he freely admit to wanting children in the next five years? I kind of doubt it.

It’s wonderful that you’re smitten, and it’s understandable that you’re a bit freaked out by the implications of an open relationship, but don’t get distracted from your relationship fundamentals. Are you two genuinely compatible, and do you share long-term life goals?

Relax. You don’t have to answer that question until at least the second week.


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