This past Wednesday we published a thank you letter from a reader who [patting ourselves firmly on the back] benefited from our advice concerning his open relationship. Well, we know that we’re not solely responsible for the success story, so we asked Zac to elaborate on how he was able to banish the green-eyed monster. (Catch up on the back story here first.)
The way we tried to resolve things was through the same methods of inquisition used by Socrates. Basically asking endless questions! Not just yes or no questions, but questions aimed at prompting introspection, debate and true soul searching. This helped the worries subside temporarily, which allowed us both some breathing space from the issue. Of course, after a while the worries came back, but this second major bout did not make me feel as helpless and clueless. We had a launch pad to work from, a basic understanding — though of course this understanding was still entirely theoretical. I understood the concepts in theory, but had not seen or felt them in the real world.
The hardest part was realizing that the only way to move forward and live the life we both wanted to live (which was being together regardless of whether we were going to bring another girl into the relationship) was for me to put my academic understanding of zoe to the test. I had to summon the courage to decide to trust that she was being honest with me about her sexuality (in how her relationships with women would differ to her relationship with a guy). An extension of this fear was that she may not have been honest with herself or may not have truly known herself. Both these were put to rest when we decided to put our theories to the test.
Once I made the choice to trust that she knows better than I do, we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of frequent discussions about our relationship with another girl, girls we both liked, feeling compersion at seeing each other enjoy the other girl, indulging our exhibitionist streak in front of another girl, etc. We had had experiences with girls together prior to and during the worries era, but all were tainted afterward and often left us both feeling something wasn’t totally right.
Then one night, about six months after we found ourselves on this great, exciting and liberated new path, we spontaneously went to a bar with a female friend whom neither of us had really considered as a potential partner/play mate. Somehow we all ended up in bed together and I distinctly recall one defining moment during which I was having sex with our friend while Zoe watched and played with herself. Our eyes met and she looked at me with the most sincere happiness, love, and desire, and I instantly knew that her love for me would always outshine the type of relationship that she seeks with girls. I finally “got it.”
Our friend remained a friend and our relationship was left stronger and on the verge of something very exciting.
In trying to understand my girlfriend, I tried to put myself in her shoes, and it definitely helped: If I pictured myself with a guy, I would only want the sexual aspect; I had trouble comprehending anything further while still identifying as predominantly straight. It helped me understand how her relationships with other women could never become primary, as there is too much she seeks in the opposite gender. Zoe envisions her relationship with a girl as more of a romantic best-friendship/playmate.