Advice

Dear Coquette: On Long Term and Long Distance

Pin it

“I can't stop thinking about the person my partner dated before me.”

Welcome to Dear Coquette, a place to have your burning and how-do-I-make-this-stop-burning sex advice questions answered. You might recognize The Coquette and her bare-knuckle honesty from her columns on Playboy.com, The Daily, or her own popular site, Dear Coquette. Send your questions to coquette@nerve.com.

I can't stop thinking about the person my partner dated before me. They only dated for a few months but I know it was really intense and even though we've been together for ages it keeps cropping up in my mind. I never used to be jealous before. Why is this happening now, so far into our relationship? It's completely irrational and it's driving me fucking crazy. I don't know what to do anymore.

Let me make the problem obvious for you by translating some of your bullshit:

When you say, "I can't stop thinking about the person my partner dated before me," what you really mean is, "I can't help projecting my own relationship insecurities onto the nearest available target."

When you say, "I know it was really intense and even though we've been together for ages it keeps cropping up in my mind," what you really mean is, "I'm terrified that they had better sex than we do, especially now that things are getting stale between us."

When you say, "It's completely irrational and it's driving me fucking crazy," what you really mean is, "I'm not self-aware enough to recognize self-destructive patterns in my behavior."

And of course, when you say, "I don't know what to do anymore," what you're really saying is, "I've never really known how to handle the inevitable ennui that sets in with every long-term relationship I've ever had."

My boyfriend and I have been together two years. We're gonna have to do the distance thing next year – we're graduating, and I found a job here while he found a job at home. Is this a terrible time to tell him that I still want to explore being poly? It's either the best idea or the worst and I can't tell which.

This all hangs on your use of the word "still." If you've already explored polyamory together, or at the very least brought up the possibility of being polyamorous, you should already know how your boyfriend feels about it.

Don't act like this shit is a mystery. You two can either handle it, or you can't. Factor in the added stress of a long distance relationship, and you know damn well whether this is the best idea or the worst idea.

Either way, it's still probably better than the alternative.

Image via Ferran Jordà