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An Open Marriage Can’t Fix Something That’s Already Broken

March 26th, 2015

A new memoir called The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Quest for Passion At Any Cost is giving a lot of committed monogamists the chance to say “I told you so!” about open marriage.

Here’s the book in a nutshell: San Francisco-based magazine editor Robin Rinaldi felt like her marriage was in a rut, and convinced her husband to open their marriage for a year in an effort to save it. He said okay, and she went on to sleep with eight men and two women in a year, while he had a lengthy affair with just one woman. Then, soon after she returned to him, they decided to divorce. It turned out she’d fallen in love with one of those eight men, and she’s now married to him. It’s like a morality tale for the Nerve.com generation!

Except that what Robin and her husband were going through was a little more intense than a rut. Here’s Rinaldi writing in the New York Post:

Stuck in a rut — our once-a-week sex life was loving, but lacked spontaneity and passion — I was craving seduction and sexual abandon. I was having a midlife crisis and chasing this profound, deeply rooted experience of being female.

Before then, starting a family had felt like one route to this elusive state of feminine fulfillment. But Scott had made it absolutely clear he never wanted a baby, and even had a vasectomy.

I broke the news to Scott that I wanted an open marriage in early 2008, a few months after his vasectomy. “I won’t go to my grave with no children and four lovers,” I told him repeatedly. “I refuse.” [She'd had only three partners before marrying at 26.]

In other words, “once-a-week sex [that] was loving, but lacked spontaneity and passion” wasn’t even close to being the whole story. The inspiration for opening their marriage sprung more from a kind of deeply emotional and fraught tit-for-tat: If you won’t give me children, then you have to give me more sexual freedom. We’re not saying that this is a bad reason to want to open your marriage, — her reasoning actually makes complete sense to us — but the fact that Robin Rinaldi’s experiment failed to save her troubled marriage shouldn’t be considered a failure of open marriages in general.

Open marriages may very well be able to get you out of a rut — if that’s all you’re experiencing. Of course, as The Wild Oats Project demonstrates all too clearly, the risk you take when opening your marriage is that one of you will fall in love with one of the pinch hitters. (Rinaldi limited herself to three dates per partner, to keep things light and casual, but who hasn’t fallen in love within three dates before?!)

But what open marriage can’t fix is a marriage that is broken because one partner wanted children and the other didn’t. It’s the reason that most people discuss this subject before getting married, after all. Here’s Rinaldi talking about her experiment on British TV:

I got into my early 40s and my husband got a vasectomy and I knew the discussion of having a baby was over, which kick-started this experience. I looked forward to my death bed and thought, What will I have? I won’t have children and grandchildren. Will I at least have lived fully? If I couldn’t have one I wanted the other. Like a lot of women at that age I was hitting my confidence and sexual peak and suddenly realized very dramatically that I wasn’t going to have children. It was the perfect storm.

So, sure, maybe Rinaldi’s marriage wouldn’t have ended if she hadn’t opened her marriage — but then she would have been trapped in a marriage that had a lot more wrong with it than lackluster sex once a week. And you can’t blame the swingers for that!

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Why I Won’t Ever Regret Getting My Tubes Tied at 28

March 26th, 2015

by Chelsea Hottovy for YourTango  |  photo via flickr

What I want is to be happy.

I’m often told that I’d make a good mother. Depending on my relationship with the person making this wildly incorrect statement, I have one of two reactions: either a small, insincere smile and a “mmmm” response that does not invite further discussion or a hearty laugh followed by a firm “NO.”

Don’t get me wrong: I love kids. They’re hilarious, they’re adorable, and I (mostly) enjoy spending time with them. But without a doubt, I do not want them. And here’s why.

I don’t want to worry about diaper rash and “tummy time” and I don’t want to know what colic is.

I don’t want to put a kid on a Kindergarten waiting list and I don’t want to decide between public and private education. I don’t want to coordinate basketball practice drop-off with ballet lessons pick-up, I don’t want to help with trigonometry and darling, I will not deal with your teenage angst because you best believe I invented that sh*t. I’d rather have bamboo shoots shoved under my fingernails than try to figure out how to pay for my child’s college while I still owe roughly twelve kajillion dollars for my own degree. I’ve more than once done something “just to tell the grandkids about it,” but I never actually planned on there being any grandkids.

It amuses me to tell people I don’t want children because no one ever quite knows how to respond. I’ve gotten “Well, when you meet the right guy, you’ll change your mind,” which is basically suggesting I’m incapable of making decisions regarding my own life without consulting a nameless, faceless FutureMan and is, by the way, astonishingly offensive. Others immediately ask what I do for a living, as though my employer holds the key to my womb and has locked it up until I retire. I don’t really consider myself a career-minded kind of girl; I’ve always worked to live, not lived to work.

Two mothers have actually said to me, “I didn’t know what love was before having a baby. You should reconsider.” I’m happy they’re happy now but “not knowing love before kids” is one of the most acutely sad things I’ve ever heard. Occasionally, I get a hearty “F*ck Yeah!” from like-minded women, some of whom will eventually become mothers and some of whom will not. I appreciate the support.

But at this point, it doesn’t matter how much anyone tries to change my mind because the decision’s been made – permanently.

Last October, I spent a wonderful morning with my doctor, during which he performed a tubal ligation on me.

Yep, I got my tubes tied at 28.

I admit that once my doctor agreed to perform the surgery, I had a moment of panic. It immediately crossed my mind that maybe everyone was right and I was wrong and I would wake up at 30 and want a baby more than anything in the world or that maybe my “hard pass” on kids was a rebellion against expectations simply for the sake of a rebellion.

Maybe I would love the complete upheaval of my priorities and schedule and life in general. Shortly after these hysterical thoughts raced through my mind, though, I regained my sanity. I picked a date for the surgery. Done. Tubes tied.

Here’s the thing: I’ve spent years carefully crafting the most amazing life I can.

I’m surrounded by people I love very much, who love me in return. I’m well-educated and well-traveled. I have endless time to learn about things that interest me and to see wonderful things and to meet the greatest people on earth. I leave piles of library books all over my bedroom and plan fabulous trips all over the world. I stay up until 6am watching Sons of Anarchy because I know no small person is relying on me to feed them in a few short hours. I occasionally eat chips and salsa for breakfast and drink beer for dinner and feel no guilt that I’m teaching anyone horrific eating habits. I spend my days finding my bliss, like all the inspirational posters beg of me.

All this being said, I can’t wait to be an auntie. Whenever my friends start popping out kids, I’ll be there with inappropriately loud and expensive presents. I’ll be the aunt who slips them a vodka martini on their 16th birthday and I’ll rant and rail with the best of them whenever they feel slighted by other kids.

And when I’m off for six months teaching SCUBA in Venezuela, I promise to send lovely postcards. 

I get the reasons people want kids. I do. I’m not such a heartless, selfish monster that I’m incapable of understanding the appeal of a small person who loves you unconditionally and relies on you to guide them safely through a scary world. Parents are brave and strong and incredible people. But so are astronauts and brain surgeons and I don’t want to be those things, either.

What I want is to be happy.

And I’m doing that. I’m there, I’m living that dream. I’m happiest not being a mom, but hey … call me if you need a babysitter. I’m great in a pinch.

More from YourTango:

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In Defense of Sex Toys, Feminism and Trolls

March 25th, 2015

For the most part, we tend to ignore the trolls. But every once in a while, outlandish claims need to be addressed to ensure that reality-based facts win over fear, insecurity and hate. In response to a post about a woman whose inability to orgasm without a sex toy was hurting her boyfriend’s feelings, one commenter recently made some particularly ridiculous, utterly unhelpful statements — we break them down, one by one, below (without his, shall we say, colorful language).

Claim: Sex toys make women loose.
Reality: It’s pretty much the opposite. The vagina is not a cheap sock that goes limp with repeated use. It expands and contracts with arousal. The perineal muscles which surround it help maintain its integrity. So the more pleasure the area receives, with say a sex toy, the more workout those muscles get, the stronger they’ll be, and thus the more supportive they are of the area, the tighter they can contract, and the more responsive they become to stimulation. Win-win-win!

Claim: Men don’t want to be with women who use sex toys.
Reality: Smart people know that women who use sex toys are comfortable with their own sexuality, better understand how their bodies are built and work, know what they like, and are more successfully orgasmic — all things that make for better partner-sex. Men who are comfortable with their own sexuality will use sex toys with their partners for variety and fun without feeling threatened. Which is not to say that dangling a toy with “realistic” aesthetic details but “unrealistic” proportions in front of one’s self-conscious male partner is polite — in fact, it’s the epitome of insensitive rudeness. But a woman who uses her favorite toy, discretely if feelings require it, while finding some other accessory she and her partner can both enjoy can only improve their sex life.

Claim: Your vulva/vagina is your male partner’s property. AND: Men only like women for their genitals.
Reality: Do we even have to address this? It’s so tiresome, so transparent. We get it. You long for a time when men ruled the world, and women were their sex slaves. And now it kind of sucks that you have to deal with this upwardly mobile class of people who now have rights and power, often more power than you. And so, in a desperate attempt to slow down the inevitable rise of this group, you try to take them down a peg or two by insulting them. Are you twelve? It’s been quite a while, at least in this country, since women were married off as property. Yes, human rights are actually a good thing. Please acknowledge all the happy, well-adjusted grown-up men around you who interact, work, fall in love and/or have sex with women they view, value and respect as equal human beings. Both men and women are multi-dimensional — it’s not all about intercourse.

Claim: Sex toys make it harder for women to reach orgasm.
Reality: Many women require clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. Unfortunately, it’s another of Mother Nature’s cruel jokes that the jackhammering many men prefer during intercourse avoids contact with the clitoris altogether. Add to that the great variability among women with how their genitals operate and respond to stimuli; the atrocious state of sexual education in this country; the pervasiveness of male-centric, unrealistic porn; the still-rampant sexism in our country which shames women’s sexuality and limits their sexual agency (Exhibit A: your comment) – and it’s a miracle women can orgasm at all! They need all the help they can get; sex toys offer that help. And often times, once a sex toy can finally get them to their happy place, they’re better equipped to experiment with other ways to find satisfaction, both alone and with a partner.

Dear Commenter, we condemn the straight woman (or women) who hurt, belittled or shamed you. They are not representative of our entire gender. Just as they should not speak ill or dismissively of the male member (as we’re assuming they did), neither should you speak so ill of women’s genitals. Both men and women, gay or straight or transgendered, are so much more than the sum of their sexual body parts. The more we all start thinking about sex with our heads instead of our junk, with our hearts instead of our hatred, the better we’ll all get along, both in and out of the bedroom. Here’s hoping you find someone who can love you for you, and vice versa.


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Comments of the Week: Sexuality Is Fluid

March 25th, 2015


photo via flickr

We loved these two responses this week to our post, “Your Call: I Was Bi, But Now I’m Not Attracted to Men. What Happened?”

The first is from reader (and frequent Comment-of-the-Weeker!) Nikki:

You should look up “fluid.” That might be you. Some people’s sexual orientation shifts over time. In fact, some people identify their sexual orientation as fluid. There is research out there suggesting that fluid sexuality may be far more common than we think, especially among women.

I am sorry you are dealing with depression. As far as your attractions go, I think pointing to the depression is a red herring, or an attempt to pathologize your current lack of attraction to men. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being attracted to men, even if you used to be. You might become attracted to men in the future, or you might not. You might still be bi, or you might be a lesbian. But don’t let anyone tell you who you should or shouldn’t be attracted to.

And the second is from Dave, another regular around these parts:

Disclaimer: I am not Bi.

However, I know I go through sexual phases. Sometimes I’m more interested in butts & sometimes I’m more interested in boobs. Sometimes I’m thinking about oral sex and sometimes I just want vaginal sex. Sometimes I’m interested in the same thing for a month or two and sometimes I want as much variety as possible.

I think it would be perfectly normal for a bisexual to go through phases as well and a couple of weeks is too short of time to lose your status as bisexual.

To be perfectly honest, after my son was born I was so tired that I barely thought about sex in any way for a month or two and that didn’t make me asexual because I’m back to a fairly normal sex life now.

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New Web Series: “Swipe Click Bang”

March 24th, 2015

The new web series from director Michael Sasso called “Swipe Click Bang” is about the mating habits of Millennials in the age of Tinder. Each webisode focuses on one couple who’ve just met through a hookup app and are either about to do it, are doing it, and/or just did it. According to Sasso, the show is an official selection at the HollyWeb and LA Webfest festivals and is nominated for 4 awards, including Outstanding Series.

Swipe Click Bang” is pretty safe for work, at least in terms of nudity (there is none). And, with only six episodes less than 7 minutes each, the show already feels incredibly inclusive: There are gay couples (both male and female), interracial couples, and some average body types. Topics covered include safer sex, body insecurity, casual sex etiquette, virginity, and the potential dangers around meeting strangers. Some moments are funny, some are painful, some are awkward, and some are painfully awkward — just like real sex. We didn’t have high hopes — the production values are pretty modest — but thanks to the clever writing (“talons”!) and decent acting (save maybe for #3), we got sucked in and happily watched all five. Below, you can too. (Short on time? Check out #2 and #6.)

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The Amount of Sexual Attention Testicles Should Be Given

March 24th, 2015

photo via flickr
Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: Should I pay more attention to my boyfriend’s balls?

Straight Single Guy (Mark): Well, at least don’t forget about them.  Getting past the generic notion that everyone’s preferences are different, and thus communication with your partner is key — absolutely true of course — I’d imagine that some guys rather enjoy the attention there, others could take it or leave it, and still others might even be quite averse to any focus there.  It could even vary from session to session depending on the mood.  I’d probably most equate it to nipples for gals — certainly an erotic component of the sensual buffet that shouldn’t be completely neglected by any means, but bottom line, they’re not the feature attraction.  Pay attention to them to the extent that they’re a complementary ingredient to an exquisite main course, and accordingly, season to, um, taste.

Straight Married Guy (Figleaf): I’m sure it’s not what you meant, but if you don’t pay attention, you can accidentally hurt him.  Which brings up the most important thing about paying attention to his balls: even if you’re careful, he still might flinch until he’s sure you won’t hurt them.  The great news is the skin covering balls is marvelously sensitive.  And responsive!  Most women have had partners who can’t get enough of using a light touch to crinkle their nipples…and then to soften them again by cupping or mouthing to warm them back up again.  You can do much the same thing to crinkle his balls and then relax them again.  It won’t hurt him, the combination of sensations will feel good to him, and you may find it just as fascinating.  Final hint?  It feels wonderful to have one’s balls lightly tickled or scratched during orgasm.

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Questions to Ask Each Other Before Getting Married

March 24th, 2015

We’re not talking here about the kinds of questions everyone should ask each other before deciding to get married — things that could be actual deal-breakers, like, Do you want kids? And, Are you a member of the Republican party? No, these ten questions are things you should ask each other in order to have a more harmonious, fulfilling marriage together. The answers to these questions shouldn’t be deal-breakers — but knowing the answers to these questions should help make you a better spouse.

We don’t expect you to do exactly as your partner would like after asking and answering these questions — after all, their preferences might be completely unreasonable! (Ahem, porn, ahem.) But it is helpful, at least, to know what their preferences are, so you can be sensitive to them.

(Oh, and: All this advice could also refer to people are deciding simply to co-habitate ’til death do them part. For the purposes of this article, “marriage” is simply short-hand for “forever love.”)

1. Where do you draw the line between intimacy and T.M.I.?

Are you okay with me peeing in front of you? Should I close the door before pooping? What about hair removal? Should I knock if the bathroom door is closed? Do we have an open-fart policy? Would you prefer I didn’t read your email and text messages? Etc.

2.

a. What are your feelings on masturbation?

I will probably want to masturbate at some point during our marriage. Possibly fairly often. Where and how would you prefer I did this? And are you okay knowing that I do this, or would you prefer a don’t-ask-don’t-approach to self-love?

b. What’s your position on porn/erotica?

Will we be watching/reading it together? Can or should we watch/read it alone? Do you have any restrictions on the kind  you’d prefer I consumed (or how often, or where, etc)? Do you think restrictions are reasonable to begin with? Would you like me to always let you know when I’m going to enjoy it? Or would you prefer that I never discuss porn with you and pretend it doesn’t exist?

3. How much or little can we let ourselves go?

FYI, it’s much easier to discuss this topic before either of you adds on fifty pounds. Does your partner expect to be found attractive through thick and thin…waistlines? You may always love your partner, no matter how they look — that’s easy to promise. But attraction is a different beast. Sure, there are some things people can’t control (disease-repeated weight gain, genetic hair loss, etc.), but we all have a certain amount of control over the way we look. Do you expect your partner to take pains to fight the aging process, or do you expect that with age (and marriage) comes some amount of inevitable, understandable, and therefore forgivable deterioration? Where along this spectrum do you two lie, and if it’s worlds apart, can you meet somewhere in the middle?

4. Will we air our dirty laundry?

Do you mind if I tell my friends when we have a fight? Do you mind if I tell them when we have really good sex? What about if we have really bad sex? Can I talk about your crazy family?

5. Do you want me to tell you if you’re having a bad hair (etc.) day?

Yes, it is a spousal responsibility to let each other know if one of you has a piece of toilet paper stuck to their shoe, spinach in their teeth, or their fly down. But what about the other stuff in life? Do you want me to be honest when you try on an outfit for me? Do you want me to honest when you ask if your hair is thinning? Do you want me to tell you if you’re being too loud at a party? Do you want me to tell you if that anecdote you’ve been bringing out at every single social gathering is really not that funny? Etc.

6. How do you feel about ladies’/guys’ nights out?

How often will we be seeing our friends without each other? Are there any activities you would be bummed about if I did them without you? (And, related: Which TV shows can I go ahead and watch some episodes of without you while you’re gone?)

7. How do you feel about my exes?

Are we staying in touch with our exes? Just Facebook? Just email? Phone? What about in-person get-togethers? Groups only, or is one-on-one acceptable? Day-time meetings only, or are late-night drinks get-togethers kosher? Etc.

8. Will we talk about our fantasies?

Can we tell each other when we find someone else attractive? Can we share sexual fantasies? Do you expect me to share all my fantasies? What if I don’t want to share any of them? Is there anything you will never want to do in bed? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do in bed?

9. How do you feel about adultery?

Of course we’re promising to never cheat or lie or kiss or sleep with someone else. But let’s face it: some people cheat.  You may be 100% sure you’ll never cheat on your partner, and vice versa, but still — it’s good to talk about this stuff anyway. Do you believe that lifelong monogamy is realistic for humans? Is cheating immediate grounds for divorce? If it’s just a drunken one-night stand with a complete stranger, would you rather not know, if I promise never to do it again? Okay, probably not, but what if it’s just a drunken kiss and nothing more? Do you mind if I text-flirt with someone, so long as we never do anything? What about e-flirting with complete strangers? Could an open relationship ever be even a remote possibility?

10. Do either of us have minimum amounts of sex we expect?

Rarely are two people’s libidos perfectly matched. But someone who requires sex every other day may have a hard time living happily ever after with someone who could take or leave it once every other month. How much sex do we expect? Are there certain acts each of us feels we need to be satisfied? (Oral sex, for example.) And when we hit a rut — and we will hit a rut – will we just ignore it and assume our sex life will bounce back eventually, that it will come and go in waves over the years? Or do we think that a rut is the beginning of the end? And if so, should we pick a codeword to say to each other when it’s reached that point? Will we consider sex manuals? Sex therapy? Couples therapy? Opening our relationship? Divorce? Or will a rut not be that big a deal to us, considering all the other things we’ve got going on in our lives?

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Your (Hamlet) Horoscopes: March 23rd, 2015

March 23rd, 2015

photo via Flickr

Each week, we at EMandLO.com predict the course of your love life for the week with our own version of irreverent horoscopes — ignore our advice at your own peril. (Hyperbole intended for dramatic effect.)

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)
“To the noble mind / Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind. ” (III, i)

(Your actions are in the right place but your motives may not be.)

taurus (Apr. 21st-May 20th)
“Come, give us a taste of your quality.” (II, ii)

(You’re hot, you’re charming, you’re hard to resist. Get out and strut your stuff.)

gemini (May 21st-June 21st)
“I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; / God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” (III, i)

(Don’t be fooled by someone who has a way with words.)

cancer (June 22nd-July 22nd)

“This is the very ecstasy of love.” (II, i)

(You’ll find yourself in seventh heaven this week. It’s time to fulfill your fantasies.)

leo (July 23rd-Aug. 22nd)
“All is not well; / I doubt some foul play. ” (I, ii)

(Someone may be messing with your heart or mind).

virgo (Aug. 23rd-Sept. 22nd)
“Doubt thou the stars are fire; / Doubt that the sun doth move; / Doubt truth to be a liar; / But never doubt I love.” (II, ii)

(You’ll capture anyone you talk to this week. )

libra (Sept. 23rd-Oct. 23rd)
“Give it an understanding, but no tongue.” (I, ii)

(Concentrate on making love, not talking about it.)

scorpio (Oct. 24th-Nov. 22nd)
“Season your admiration for a while.” (I, ii)

(Just get out there and have some fun. Stop putting pressure on yourself to be in a relationship. Let love come to you.)

sagittarius (Nov. 23rd-Dec. 21st)
“Beware/ Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in, / Bear ‘t that th’ opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; / Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.” (I, iii)

(You’ll feel torn between the choices you have regarding relationships. Slow down, be honest and don’t feel that you have to make up your mind because someone is demanding a commitment. Back away from idle threats.)

capricorn (Dec. 22nd-Jan. 20th)
“Get thee to a nunnery.” (III, i)

(You’ll have too many temptations this week.)

aquarius (Jan. 21st-Feb. 18th)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt up in your philosophy.” (I, v)

(Love may not be where you expect, what you expect or who you expect.)

pisces (Feb. 19th-Mar. 20th)
“Assume a virtue if you have it not. ” (III, iv)

(Be your best self if you want to hook up.)

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Your Call: I Was Bi, But Now I’m Not Attracted to Men. What Happened?

March 23rd, 2015


photo via Wikimedia Commons

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Leave your suggestions in the comments section below. 

Submit Your Own Question to EMandLO.comTry Our New
*PRIVATE*
Advice Service!

 

Dear Em & Lo,

I’m a 21 year old woman who realized she was bisexual about a year ago, but recently my sexual desire for men has disappeared. My sex drive is fine, and my attraction to women is still there, but I don’t feel anything for men any more.

I’ve asked my mother and some friends, and they said it could be because I’ve been heavily depressed, but I’ve been clinically depressed for years and it hasn’t affected me that way at all. And, as I said, I’m still attracted to women — in fact my attraction to women has increased.

Was I just a lesbian all along? Do all bisexuals go through phases? I’ve been like this for weeks, and I’m worried I’ll never love men again.

– Bye-Bi Birdie

What’s your advice for Bye-Bi Birdie? Leave your thoughts in the feedback section below.

 

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Confessing Your Love to Your BFF

March 20th, 2015
We all know how it goes. Sometimes, we want the things we can’t have.

It’s hard when you think you’re fine being just friends with someone, but once they change their Facebook status to “In a relationship”, you realize you’re not as happy for them as you should be. Falling in love is sometimes messy—amazingly messy.

It’s especially so when you fall for a close friend who is in the dark about the feelings you’ve been harboring. Maybe, until recently, you were too. So, what do you do?

It seems simple enough to just blurt out, “Oh hey, I’m in love with you,” but it’s not. It’s risky to say something (as well as not to) and there are consequences. Before rushing in to anything, here are 6 questions you should ask yourself before dropping the L bomb.

1. Will your friendship survive?

If the foundation of the friendship is solid it won’t crumble, and you should go ahead and confess. If this person is truly your friend, they’ll understand. It’ll be awkward for a few days, and even if you come to find the attraction isn’t mutual, you’ll find you can still be friends. The best-case scenario? The feeling is mutual.

The worst-case?

It’s not. If you don’t think your friendship will bounce back or aren’t sure you can handle the rejection, then you should probably keep your mouth shut for the time being. Distance yourself a little to cope. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet their doppelganger on the subway.

2. What do you hope to gain?

By telling your friend, do you hope they’ll dump their significant other, or that it will help you never to wonder ‘what if’? If it’s the former and they break up for you, are you sure you want to be responsible for breaking someone else’s heart?

If your friend is truly the right one for you, hopefully they’ll realize their current squeeze doesn’t stack up and break up on their own—or once they gets the signals they’ve been waiting for from you. If you think ‘what if’ could lead to forever, it might be wise to suss out if your friend’s considered it, too, before laying your feelings on the line.

3. Are you sure you’re not just jealous?

We all know how it goes. Sometimes, we want the things we can’t have. Often they’re material like that Marc Jacobs bag you’ve been eyeing or a fancy new apartment you’ll never afford waiting tables at a burger joint. Whatever it is, it’s unobtainable and that’s what makes it attractive. This goes for people, too.

It’s natural to be jealous of a close friend’s new companion; the good news is that it subsides. Take a minute and evaluate your feelings. See where things go. If you find that it’s jealousy, then hold off on acting on it. We promise it will get better.

4. Is there a real attraction?

Misinterpreting signals is very common. Often we fall in love based on what we think is going on when, in reality, we could be wrong. Don’t mistake what the Frisky calls “false flirting” for falling in love.

5. How serious is this other relationship?

It’s tricky when there is a third party. It depends how far along the relationship is, whether it’s a week or 9 months. The more serious it is, the harder it will be on your friend. They might feel you’re being unfair and, although not intentionally, you’re pressuring them to choose. You not only have to do what’s best for you, but for everyone else involved, as well.

6. Do you honestly think your friend will be a great lover AND friend at the same time?

You might be saying, “Of course they will! Why else would I be in love with them?” Sorry but friend and boy/girlfriend etiquette don’t fall on the same page. Looking back on past conversations, maybe you notice that you were always the one to initiate them.

Or there were a few times you planned to catch a movie, but your friend canceled on you when something better came up. The things that blow over in a friendship aren’t the same things that blow over in a relationship. Make sure that this is who you want, the good and the bad, before saying “I love you.”

Readers, have you fallen in love with a friend? Tell us how you handled it.

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