Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.


Dear Miss Information,
I found out the girl I’m dating was involved in a threesome with two other guys. I’m not normally a jealous type, but this revelation made me cringe. I decided my retroactive jealousy was irrational and I read up on the subject and talked to friends. I didn’t tell her since I considered it "my problem" to get over. A few days ago, she said to me that a person’s sexual past is a part of that person’s identity. This flew in the face of my coping mechanism, so I pushed back. She could tell something was up, and I eventually told her everything. She became upset that I hadn’t told her and said that the discussion we were having was evidence that I hadn’t "gotten over it." I immediately regretted having told her anything.

Am I wrong? Shouldn’t I have tried to work my irrational jealousy out on my own and not reveal it to my partner? I still don’t see what good can come of sharing these sorts of emotions. Isn’t that what confidants and therapists are for? Now that I’ve revealed my initial reaction, I feel that the problem has only gotten worse. I wish there was a way to put the genie back into the bottle. Potential Oversharer


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Dear Potential Oversharer,
Why is jealousy over a threesome irrational? I don’t like to think about a guy I care about doing it with someone else, let alone two people. At the same time. In an really erotic act only a small percentage of the population ever gets to experience. Sometimes in our quest to be sexually open, we wind up acting more like the repressed Puritanical-types we’re trying so hard to distance ourselves from. In trying to be "mellow" and "understanding" and "free," we sometimes mute our emotions, and that’s where we start to fuck up. Saying one emotion is more valid than another is the exact opposite of what all the sexy libertine folk wanted us to do in the first place, which is be super-open and honest with our feelings.
If it bothers the fuck out of you to think about your lady with someone else, then own that. Don’t paint yourself into some box because it’s how you think you’re supposed to feel. Now, while there are no bad feelings, there are bad ways of handling those feelings. Which takes us to your discussion with your girlfriend. You hammered too hard on one element of what your girlfriend thought was an esoteric argument. Then she finds out it’s not an esoteric argument. I’m sure she felt defensive and like your tactics were misleading. Which they were. But not on purpose. You were just finding an indirect outlet for your anger and jealousy. It felt safer for you to debate philosophical questions like "Is better to tell or not to tell?" "Should past lives be kept in the past?" "What constitutes a sexual identity?" than go to your girlfriend and ask, "Is our sex life interesting enough?" "Am I too vanilla?" "Are you bored with me?"
Let’s end the "I wish I never told you!" "Oh yeah, well I wish I never told YOU!" stalemate. That’s not going to get you guys anywhere. I want each of you say your worst fears about the threesome issue out loud. Get that shit out in the open. Let the other person refute them or confirm them or partially confirm them or whatever. Is there anything she can do to make you feel better? Are there any promises you can make re: the next time you’re feeling all caveman? What about some new ground rules for discussing your sexual histories? Don’t let the most important part — your relationship — get lost in all the intellectualizing and rationalization.
 

Dear Miss Information,
I’m a lucky guy. I’m tall, smart, handsome and successful. I have no problems attracting women. But here’s the problem: I spend most of my hours working. Seven days a week, sometimes ten hours a day. I have very little personal time and my apartment is a mess. Despite all this, I’m about to take my friend up on his suggestion to try a personals site. I’m just wondering if it’s fair to try to pursue a relationship with anyone when I have so little time to give. Am I over-thinking this? Should I just go on some dates and see what happens? Already Not Ready

Dear Already Not Ready,
If familiarity breeds contempt, unfamiliarity breeds confusion. Who are you again? What do you do for a living? Did we or did we not go to that little Venezuelan restaurant and give each other oral sex on our last date? In many ways your set-up is good. You can’t overdo it too much. You’ve got a built-in safeguard. On the other side, it can be a big pain. There’s a longer awkward period, and you might miss out on some good real estate because another buyer was able to move more quickly on the property. I know that sounds like a silly metaphor, but you’ll come to appreciate it once you start online dating. There’s rampant Photoshopping and both markets are fucked, though there’re always a few good finds and results vary by region.
How do you date when you’re getting three hours sleep and living in your own filth? It’s actually pretty easy. Call when you say you’re going to call. Show up for dates on time, or — if that’s not possible given what you do — apologize profusely and thank her for waiting. Focus on her during whatever time you are together and refrain from dicking around on your iPhone, phone-phone, and/or computer.
Be affectionate. Rather than yapping about your schedule and how overloaded you are, yap about how much you miss her. Send photos. Send e-cards. Send links. There are so many three-seconds-or-less ways to show attention, and that’s what it’s really all about. Not huge blocks of time but that feeling of, "Hey, this person really digs my shit!" If you give a person that feeling, they’re probably going to be okay with not seeing you all the time. That is, unless they’re a huge, sucking black sinkhole of emotional need. Then you probably shouldn’t be dating them in the first place.


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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com