Confession: My Boyf and I Are Going on a Break


photo by Matt Seppings

Our contributor Kristine deGuzman, a junior at UC Berkeley, has a confession to make:

I’m studying abroad in Spain over the summer, and my boyfriend and I have decided to go on a break, because, as he puts it, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When else are you going to get to hook-up with a Spanish guy?” Yeah, he knows what’s up.

I know this may seem strange to most people, just as openly discussing crushes while in a relationship may seem strange, but here’s the thing: my boyfriend and I have only ever hooked up with each other. We met when we were freshmen at a frat party, hooked up once, kept hooking up, and then eventually realized that our hobbies and interests were actually really compatible. Now, two years later, we’re still together, still virgin to anyone else’s bodies other than our own.

Being the sexually adventurous people that we are, we know we would be unhappy if we spent the rest of our lives having only had sex with each other. If we end up staying together for the long haul, I don’t want my boyfriend to be the only person I’ve ever slept with — and I don’t want to be the only person that he’s ever slept with, either. So after much discussion, we’ve come to the decision that we need to sleep with at least one other person before “forever” potentially comes along. And, well, this summer seems as good a time as any to get through the inevitable.

A few of my friends think this is weird, since they can’t imagine letting their significant others hook up with someone else. Many of them have said, “I just feel like I would think about them together and see them having sex in my head. How can you be okay with that?” To be honest, no, I’m not comfortable with the image of my boyfriend hooking up with some other girl, but I’m also not comfortable with the idea of him regretting not having sex with another girl. I don’t want him to ever wonder what it would feel like with someone else.  It just seems very limiting — and he feels the same way about guys and me.

This is not to say that I’m planning on flying off to Spain with a quota of Spanish men that I need to hit up, and this is not to say that my boyfriend is counting down the days until my departure and his newfound freedom to scam on new chicks. But I am looking forward to being able to party all night in Spanish clubs and making out with whomever I want, if the occasion so arises. And it’ll be even better knowing that my boyfriend is okay with this. Likewise, he told me that it’ll be nice to get his flirt on like old times, but he’s not exactly planning on bedding the first girl who flirts back. We’re just keeping our options open and seeing what happens from there.

We have discussed getting back together after I get back, but nothing is set in stone. We know that we’re young and that we have a long way to go before either of us considers settling, so, to be a little cliche about it, whatever happens, happens. We haven’t discussed what will happen if we do get back together and can’t block out the mental image of other people bedding our partner, but I imagine we’ll discuss and deal with it together, much how we discuss and deal with our crushes on other people. Neither of us has jealous tendencies, so — though I can’t be entirely sure about this — I’d like to think that we’d be able to work through it together.

Ideally, I’d like our relationship to turn out the way it did for one of our couple-friends. They broke up at the beginning of last year because she was going to study in Australia for the school year, and they wanted to avoid anything complicated and long-distance. They spent the whole year “keeping their options open,” which involved, yes, hooking up with other people. However, when she came back they decided that they preferred being with each other, so after a year of being apart and in other people’s beds, they got back together.

Maybe my boyfriend and I will bounce back from this and maybe we won’t. If we hook up with other people and decide to stay apart, then maybe it was for the best. But if we go through the experience and discover that staying together was exactly what we both wanted, then we’ll always be able to say that we put our relationship to the test, and it survived.


  1. There are a million different ways to do a relationship and no sure fire way that works every time. So I hope the judgemental comments don’t get to you at all…I think what you two are doing is brave and inspiring. More power to ya!

  2. I think conscious negotiation shows a consideration for each other and a great deal of self-awareness.

    There are as many different ways to have relationships as there are human beings in the world.

    Many of my colleagues, friends and clients are polyamorous and/or in open relationships and/or practicing ethical non-monogamy.

    And many are monogamous. The common factor in all the successful relationships, regardless of configuration or orientation, is truthful, kind, mutually supportive communication.

    Some useful books if communication ever gets difficult during those Deep Conversations: _Opening Up_ by Tristan Taormino (specifically about polyamory), _Non-Violent Communication_ by M. Rosenburg and _The Five Love Languages_ by Gary Chapman

    May all individuals co-create the right and perfect consensual relationships for them in the most loving way possible.

  3. I am not sure praising her attitude to this break is a good thing to do. Reading the post it is not a break to see if they are together at the end. It seems to me the relationship has grown stale and they are breaking up amicably.

    Like helixbill said, if they wanted to stay together and explore, they would just be in an open relationship for a while. There seems no bedrock love underneath it all, and the author admitted she was young.

  4. Helixbill does make an interesting point-is what you want to be broken up, or an open relationship? the letter writer says they have no definite plans to get back together, so maybe that’s not what she’s looking for. but Lilly, would that work better for you?

  5. What a shame that so many people equate physical actions with intimacy and closeness.

    When I was married to my second wife (who unfortunately passed away many years ago when she was 32) she believed in Open Marriage. Her take was that 2 people could be much closer than just physically, the emotional part was more important.

    While I don’t think many people can handle Open Marriage I do think it is sad that we put so much emphasis on the physical aspect of our relationships.

    Trust me, at 62 and 63 my wife and I are neither as physically attractive as we were at 23 or 33 but we love each other as much as anyone.

    Funny thing is that when I was married to my second wife I never slept with anyone else and neither did she. I did occasionally take someone else to supper and an evening out and when I would come home she would say “Did you get any?”. When I said I hadn’t she said she didn’t see why I would take those girls out if I wasn’t going to get any. Then she would say, “Come on to bed and I’ll take care of you”.

    BTW. in my present marriage sleeping with others is not something either of us do. Different relationships require different understandings. Note that I said ‘understandings’, not ‘rules’. If you don’t agree on a subject it is not an ‘understanding’.

  6. I decided to do this with my boyfriend too, because of the same reasons. What I thought was going to be a “year of experimentation” has taken a turn – He’s got himself a girlfriend now, and they are very happy together. I love him and I am really happy for him, but I just secretly wish I can swap places with her once in a while. Nobody knows whether they will last forever, but if they did, then I’ll have to accept it.

  7. Alyssa-what? no.
    Lilly-if you’re vacillating, don’t go through with this because he wants to. It’s not going to work out if you both don’t truly want the break. well, I suppose talk to him. It is important, if you have definite plans to be together later that you have a way to deal with jealousy and doubts. Which can happen even if you never touch another soul, but still. If you’re going to get back together, being able to talk about your break in a way that you feel better about it is important.

  8. To paraphrase other awesome people, love is not a finite resource. Affection for and intimacy with other people does not diminish those resources for you. One can love someone deeply and truly and still desire other people.

    Jealousy is somewhat inescapable for some people. That’s fine. It’s as valid an emotion as any other. I’m constantly jealous (as well as envious and covetous) of people I love and respect dearly. But it’s not all as bad as we can make it out to be. Turns out we can feel jealous (and that’s ok) then get over/through feeling jealous (like we can get over/through other moods and emotions).

  9. Alyssa, that seems like quite a judgmental comment on love – there are lots of different ways to love, and just because you love someone doesn’t mean you have to be jealous if they sleep with someone else – and in this case, it’s with mutual consent. I think it’s brilliant for a couple be able to discuss things so practically and realise what your real thoughts and emotions are, and be honest with both yourself and your partner about what could happen on breaks. And at least if they both sleep with other people now, with both of their approvals, it wouldn’t add spice to any potential cheating if they got back together later.

  10. I think that if you truly loved him you wouldn’t be able to even fathom the thought of him being with another woman.

  11. I couldn’t do this. I would forever be repulsed with the thought of my boyfriend having sex, or even worse, going down on someone. I’m a jealous person and the nasty thoughts would always turn me off when trying to bed him.

  12. Just curious, Bubbles. How long was your break? My boyfriend is just graduating college and I am finishing my senior year…

  13. My husband and I took a similar break after he graduated college and moved out of state (I was completing my senior year). Although I’d had some experience with other men, I was his first “real” girlfriend. We were together for 2 years at that point and didn’t want to get married without having explored other options…it worked out for us. We are stronger together because of that separation or “break”. Hang in there and good luck!

  14. Wow, I’m a junior too, and my boyfriend and I are doing pretty much the exact same thing. While we both have the same attitude as you guys do, he is the one who brought up taking a break. Even though I knew we would need to take a break at some point. And while it makes sense to me, to explore other options before either settling down with each other or deciding that we need to go in separate directions, I am still nervous. I go back and forth between being okay and not being okay with the situation. People keep saying “what ever happens, happens” and “if it’s meant to be, it will be,” but I still am so anxious about taking this break. We love each other, and yet we are forcing a break into our relationship just to make sure? Can you tell I am vacillating?

  15. I agree with Johnny. It’s the hardest thing in the world not to be jealous, I am jealous of you for NOT being jealous, hahahah.

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