On the realities of an open relationship


I’m in my early 30s and my boyfriend of 6 months is in his late 30s. I was married forever and neither bf or I had a real great time with monogamy, so we decided to have an open relationship wherein we can bang freely with a few minor rules, like safety first, and try not to fall in love.  To achieve the latter, we try to stick to people in other couples or that might have children at home and those who are not interested in relationships.  Seems like it might work.  Life is long and I’m realistic – I had no luck nailing the same guy for the rest of my life once, and I wouldn’t expect to again.

Here’s where I feel like a shallow shit.  My boyfriend, for his few dalliances since we’ve been together, has had sex with the skeeziest women.  I feel awful for feeling this way (shitty/superior or secretly skeezy too?!), but I shower regularly, own a home and car, and I’m not on acid all the time.  I feel a major disparity in the level here and it grosses me right out to the point that I don’t want to hear about it and I’ve been kind of shitty to him about it.  Should we just implement a DADT policy?  Or am I just being an asshole?


It’s not that you’re being an asshole. (Although you might be, I dunno.) It’s that you’re not acknowledging the reality of the situation.

If your boyfriend could regularly fuck other women on your level, you wouldn’t be his girlfriend. He’d be in a relationship with someone above your level, and he’d dip down and fuck women on your level to satisfy his open relationship sport-fucking needs.

That’s one of the differences (and double standards) that exist between men and women in open relationships. Men tend to fuck below their partner’s level, and women tend to fuck on or above their partner’s level. (If you’re asking yourself “why?” in both instances, the answer is “because they can.” It’s merely the path of least resistance for all parties involved.)

Please keep in mind, I’m not saying it’s good, and I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just telling you how it is. Maybe your boyfriend is just doing the best he can, or maybe he has a thing for sport-fucking dirt squirrels. Either way, being shitty to him creates more problems than it solves, so at the very least, you should start addressing the issue in a civil and forthright manner.

If you can’t bear the thought of your boyfriend getting his kicks in skanktown, then it’s on you to modify the terms of the open relationship. Fair warning, though: a don’t ask don’t tell policy is almost never the solution. That inevitably leads to mistrust and an eventual loss of mutual respect.


On your anthropology paper


In his book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” Yuval Noah Harari states that social ideologies, such as Communism, Capitalism, and Nazism, are all religions because they are “a system of human norms and values that is founded on the belief in a superhuman order.” Unlike Christianity or Islam that views superhuman order as Gods, social ideologies view “the law of nature” as superhuman order.

In a well-written essay, develop your position on whether you agree with Professor Harari. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observations to support your argument.

Do your own homework.

(Although when you do, perhaps consider the difference between a “superhuman order” as it relates to social ideology and a “supernatural order” as it relates to religion. The superhuman is not the same thing as the supernatural, but Harari would lump the two concepts together in order to label social ideologies a subset of religion. He’s basically asking you to disregard the distinction between philosophy and dogma so that he can broaden the traditional definition of religion. That’s fine. He can do that if he wants. Agree or disagree with Harari, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s all just taxonomy — a mere semantic argument.)


On a white guy with dreadlocks


A friend of mine and I are having a discussion about his decision to get dreadlocks (he is white, yes). I told them despite the fact of them looking severely unflattering on his shorter hair, it’s cultural appropriation. We got deeper into it and at one point he said it was problematic to him that he can’t get a hairstyle because he’ll seem racist. So two questions: one, why does this bother me so much, and two, why does it make me not want to be around him anymore?

1. This bothers you because you weren’t able to convince your friend that he was wrong, which is doubly disappointing because it makes you feel like an ineffectual advocate while also making you feel like shit that your friend is such a punk. These feelings were further amplified when he came back at you with terms like “problematic” without the slightest understanding of either their meaning or the ironic implications of his own willful ignorance.

2. The dreadlocks aren’t the reason you don’t want to be around him anymore. You don’t want to be around him because he’s a selfish, disrespectful little douchebag, and this argument is merely the thing that made you realize it. Maybe he’ll grow out of it one day. Maybe he won’t. Either way, it’s not your job to hang out and try to fix him in the meantime.


On a friend who needs to chill


My friend had been in internet-love with an internet famous guy for awhile. They texted all the time and talked on the phone but IMO it was more fangirl crush than true Catfish love, but she was really head over hills. Plot twist is, he passed away unexpectedly. Then about a year later she moved to his hometown in California, and is now in a serious relationship with his step-brother (whom is also Internet famous). She, again, is head over hills and now lives with him. On what reality show level of fucked up is this? And more importantly, how do I explain that I can’t support her super creepy relationship without ending our friendship?

What’s the super creepy part that you can’t support? People meet via the internet all the time. People also bond over tragedy. Is it the “internet famous” thing that bugs you? Don’t let it. That shit ain’t real. The step-brother is just a regular dude in a regular relationship with your regular friend.

Seriously, is there more to this story, or are you just being super-judgy about your friend’s life choices? If she’s happy, healthy, and safe, then maybe you should just fuck off a little bit and chill.


On an intervention

1 Comment

I’ve been with this guy for 4 1/2 years. Lately his heavy drinking has turned into a drinking problem, mostly to self medicate anxiety attacks.  So now I have a man who’s put on 30lbs, a drunken ass, decreased sex drive and won’t let us talk about any of it. For the first time in our relationship there’s shit that’s  taboo to talk about, I have to walk on eggshells and can’t find a good way to tell him get a therapist where he doesn’t see it as an attack.  I’m not an ultimatum type of person, but this might be my breaking point and when I boil it down it keeps coming back to “fix it or I’m out”. Help me Coke, what is the right way to have this conversation?

Yeah, it’s intervention time. You can decide whether or not to involve his family (probably not if this is primarily a relationship issue), but it’s up to you to find a relationship therapist or an addiction specialist who can guide you through an intervention process that will address your boyfriend’s drinking problem and underlying PTSD symptoms.

This may come down to a “fix it or I’m out” ultimatum, but if you give it as part of an intervention, it’s much more likely to yield positive results, and if you do end up leaving him, at least you’ll have the comfort of knowing you did everything you could to save the relationship.


On a guy who deserves to be fucked with


A guy nutted in me and afterwards refused to pay for plan B. I said something along the lines of, “alright, I’ll send you pictures of the first sonogram.” He freaked the fuck out, told me I was being manipulative and that he doesn’t want me to contact him again. I’m not actually going to incubate his fetus, and I know this is all just a smokescreen for the terror and embarrassment he feels about potentially knocking up a girl he’s known since the third grade. My problem is the accusation of manipulation. I mean, that was bullshit, right?

What a punk. You should definitely send him that picture of a sonogram. (If but for no other reason than to show him there’s a difference between being manipulative and fucking with someone who clearly deserves to be fucked with.)

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

1 Comment

Why do I feel like love is exclusionary?
Because you’re not in it.

Coketalk, give me the crash course on letting go of a relationship that pulled you out of suicidal depression, then turned into severe one-sided complacency and lack of appreciation.
The relationship served its purpose. Respect that. Appreciate that. Let that be enough and let go.

Is it morally reprehensible to seek & be flattered by male attention even though you don’t have the slightest interest?
Attention seeking can be a bit shallow, but it’s not morally reprehensible unless you’re also engaging in deception or dishonesty.

How much of a stupid idea is it for me to ask the man who abused me as a teenager to pay for my counseling?
As a form of reparation, it’s not a stupid idea, but it’s a complicated thing to actually do. I’d recommend getting a lump sum up front to prevent your abuser from having any control over your therapeutic process.

Why is everyone obsessed with romantic love, including you?
I don’t accept the premise of your question.

What’s wrong with dating older men?

Is it worth pursuing an MD if you come from a poor family?
Yes. If your dream is to become a doctor and you realistically think you have what it takes, then go for it, but you need to have both passion and potential for it to be worth taking on that kind of debt.

My BF and I never seem all that happy together. Why don’t I wan’t to break up with him?

A friend of mine’s engagement fell through, and her mom wore her unused wedding dress when she renewed her vows with her husband on their 30th anniversary. On a scale of one to fucked how fucked is that?
It’s “minor reality show B-story subplot” level fucked.


On your drama


Did the post about the breakup and the lending of money go away because it was getting appallingly messy in the comments?

Yep. I don’t mind messy comments, but I could see the slippery slanderous slope they were starting to slide down, and quite frankly, I’m the only one who gets to start shit on my own website.

A note for those seeking my advice: I provide commentary on your drama. That doesn’t mean I wish to become a player in your drama. If everyone in your circle is also a reader of Dear Coquette, either modify your identifying details or solicit my advice privately.

My comments section isn’t a forum for those involved to post potentially libelous statements about one another.


On fucking your friend’s ex


My friend-with-benefits is having ex sex with a mutual friend who does not know about our friend-with-benefits relationship. Is this dishonest?

If either of you are hiding the sexual nature of your relationship, it’s deceptive. If either of you are lying about it, it’s dishonest. This situation is tricky, because the mutual friend isn’t necessarily entitled to know you two are fucking, but at the same time, it’s pretty shitty of you to fuck your friend’s ex.

This is one of those circumstances where you should focus less on honesty and more on integrity. Do you want to be the kind of person who fucks over your friends by fucking their exes? Try applying the golden rule here, and imagine what it would feel like to find out that one of your friends was fucking your ex behind your back.

It would suck. You know it would suck, which is why your conscience is bugging you.


On young love and sacrifice


I love you for everything that you have been to me all these years, I guess you get that a lot, but I am sincere nonetheless. I’ve submitted questions before and you’ve kicked my ass, you’ve also been nice and constructive and just perfect. I don’t know where to begin, I write to you with a very heavy heart.

I was violently abused the last time I had a long term boyfriend, and left him in October 2013. It’s been almost two years since, but it feels like a different life. After that, I fell in love with someone and he was only going to be here for three months. He was polyamorous, and the drive towards polyamory came from him. I decided that is what love was, that I would love him unconditionally despite everything, and he even encouraged the fact that I see other people. I was hurt in  the beginning and then I grew to love it. The honesty and faith we shared really transformed me, I fell for his best friend, and he was the one who provided us with the condom. That was the time I decided that I was, in fact, polyamorous. The both of them left for home. It was over by then. We remain friends still.

I believed monogamy leads to abuse or some kind of violation given the dishonesty involved, towards your desires, needs etc. I don’t know if it’s a fair assumption. I just make it because I saw it careened to its vulgar extreme; I was twenty years old and found at my college farewell with a black eye, meeting suspicious and even pitiful stares. I don’t know if I am still over it. It’s only after that I became polyamorous. Then I was the other woman for a few months, and faced the emotional consequences, followed by feeling completely unthreatened or at a loss, grateful for everything he did for me, and was to me. I left when the time was right. I finally met someone who felt like the one for me.

This was in December. We bonded over our shared ideas on polyamory, love for music, spirituality, literature, philosophy, we even have the same cultural family background, it’s a long running a joke between us, that if we ever found that we were cousins, it would be the end of the world.

Except. He doesn’t use condoms, and my health is fucked because of birth control. Another thing, is that he was screwing some local b-grade porn star last year, and she messaged him around the 10th of July stating that she wanted to spend a week with him, and go on a weekend holiday because it’s her birthday, and that she would like to stay with him. He even said that she could live with him! Fuck on the same bed that we do. I learnt he hadnt told her about me yet, or my significance in his life. I urged him to come clean and let her know. It’s only then that he did, he didn’t feel the need to do it otherwise. When he finally told her, she lost her shit and said stuff like ‘whoever your fuck buddy is, what do you expect to happen, when she comes over, a fucking orgy?’ then later apologized for reacting and persisted in turning up here nonetheless, she is staying at a person’s place, who is a common friend of mine. They still fuck though, and he loses his shit when I say that it’s better he doesn’t see me while he is with her, even if it’s just a week. Also, I would rather he took a VD before he slept with me after doing her. It’s nothing personal. Just precaution.

Now, the act of sex does not bother me, it’s just that she is who she is, and I don’t judge people for their life choices, but it makes me wonder who he is, if he can be with someone like her, and someone like me at the same time. Does that make him sexually diverse? Or just lacking in a self-concept, standards, integrity? She might just be better in bed, whatever, I don’t care.

I’m feeling strange about this because I have never experienced anything like this before. I am alright with one off sexual encounters that he might have with other people (he is a bit of a local celebrity, a musician, he tours, so I’m cool with it. I have slept with other people too, and we have been honest about things). I am not okay with someone having this space in his life, feel like she can get her way by throwing a tantrum. Hell, I’ve never once thrown a tantrum around him. I believe it’s important to be decent, no matter how trying the situation might be.

It’s making me feel like a terrible feminist, and even more so, it’s shattered my sense of identity. I don’t know who I am, or what I want. If I am not okay with monogamy, and I am not okay with his kind of polyamory, then what is it that I am okay with? I don’t want to be the person who restricts his impulses, and he isn’t aware of how I feel about this. I’ve just been playing it cool and blaming my emotions on going away (I got a scholarship to go to Paris for further studies, but neither of us are taking it too well). He says I am his first true love and he has never shared anything as meaningful with anyone in his life before. I’ve had his ex girlfriends chase me down, and insult me. I’ve lost friends to jealousy, I’ve lost the friendship of someone I loved deeply because I was with him, I’ve faced public ridicule, and social humilation and never given a fuck because I had faith in him and the love we shared. Everything was fine, those people became my friends again because they saw he loved me too. He did everything that was required of him.

I’ve made every sacrifice because I know there would rarely be another instance when I would love someone with this kind of innocence and honesty again. I feel like I am the one who deserves this space in his life, and that woman can’t just randomly turn up demanding to share the same quarters with him and take him away from me for a week. Please help. I am so torn, these last few weeks have been sheer torment. I am 22, he is 28, she is 35, if that is significant. She dumped her last boyfriend because he would fuck around. Though she says to him, that she is okay with the situation between the three of us. I don’t believe her, especially after the tantrum she threw that day. I have a feeling that is significant in your assessment of the situation.

Should I just end it with him while I am about to go abroad to study? Take time to know who I am? Understand why I consider it beneath my integrity to compete for a boy’s time with a miserable, almost middle aged woman? There is so much shit involved. I just want to cry.

My faith in you, dearcoquette, is unshakeable. Please help me.


Polyamory is not love. It is a modality for experiencing love, and the context in which you were introduced to polyamory (during a rebound from an abusive relationship) suggests that you might have gotten into polyamory for the wrong reasons. You need to understand that monogamy wasn’t the problem in your abusive relationship. Your abusers violence and dishonesty was.

I’m not suggesting you be monogamous, nor am I saying there’s anything wrong with you being polyamorous. I am suggesting that you need to have the self-awareness to understand why you’re choosing either lifestyle, and you’re struggling right now because you’re simply not there yet. Don’t worry. You’ll get there.

Here’s a sneak peek at the process you’ll go through in your mid-twenties: At the moment, you associate monogamy with physical abuse and betrayal. In a few years, you’ll come to associate polyamory with emotional abuse and general douchebaggery. (I promise this will happen.) Eventually, you’ll come to realize neither monogamy nor polyamory are ideal, and you’ll have enough experiences (both shitty and wonderful) to pick the best elements from both lifestyles and chart your own middle course. The way you choose to love may end up being hard to define, but it will work perfectly for you and your partner(s).

In the meantime, I highly recommend you move on from your current relationship with the musician. I get a super sketchy vibe from the picture you’ve painted of him. He seems selfish, crudely manipulative, and the no condoms thing is a huge red flag that he’s also emotionally abusive. I know you can’t see it yet because you’re young and in love, but there will come a day when you realize this guy is a gigantic douchebag. (It’s okay. At 22, it’s hard not to end up dating douchebags.)

So yeah, I think it’s a great idea for you to let your travel abroad be the natural end to the relationship. Go. Be single in Paris. Have romantic and spiritual adventures. Take all the time you need to learn who you are, and if there’s one single piece of advice I could give you to take on your journey, it’s to stop making sacrifices for the men in your life. Love is not sacrificial. No part of you needs to be destroyed in fulfilling a man’s purpose. Ever. Period.