Conquering Jealousy in an Open Relationship

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.


  1. I personally absolutely love my husband sooo much and moreover he is indeed amazing for me. I have a passion for just about everything that is related to him. The only problem though, is he is friends with way too many young women and I don’t like knowing that he could be speaking with numerous young ladies as an alternative to me. I hate being jealous. I’m trying to just ignore the jealousy but I can’t. Please help me out. Thanks.

  2. i’m been in a relationship for 1yr and 6months my boyfriend
    is bisexual likes both sexes. trying differnent things. he’s wanting
    to bring new people into the relationship. when women would come into the picture, he’s going to pay more attention to the women. i told him he did that she goe’s or i go. this sometimes
    scares me. i feel i’m not good enough for him. he tells me all the
    time he loves me. i question the relationship and want to stay, will
    leave if something happen for good or he drops her

  3. Honestly I have been in this situation having been the other girl. Oddly enough the girl in the relationship defined herself as bisexual where as I don’t. I can find a girl attractive but it doesn’t mean I lust for her. I feel comfortable hooking up with girls, I just don’t pine for them the way I do guys. If someone were to ask me if I was bisexual I would say no despite my actions.

  4. Sophie,

    My internal definition of bisexuality doesn’t require that a person be equally attracted to both sexes. That definition has evolved over time, and for a while now there’s been a threshold of being able to have a love relationship with either sex. As a longtime supporter of gay rights, this may have been a reaction against lesbian chic fashion. I did a little searching on the net before responding, and information on bisexuality seems to have improved in the last few years. I may alter my definition to include people who’ve consistently been attracted to or had sexual relationships with both sexes.

  5. Bisexuality has never meant to be equally attracted to both sexes. Except if all straights can picture themselves having sex (and pleasurable sex) with someone of their sex and gays with someone of the opposite, then I agree that bisexuality is about having an equal interest in both men and women. As I highly doubt it, we can assume bisexuality is a sexual orientation by its own, whether the self-described bisexual is more gay, straight, or equally attracted to men and women.
    I find it quite questionnable to say the girl isn’t bisexual. What is she, then? A straight falling for a “lesbian chic” trend? That’s quite unfair. Let’s leave the girl identify herself and accept it, because none of us has walked in her shoes.
    Plus, why the threesome would be a problem if she was equally attracted to both men and women? Zac is straight, why couldn’t he be the one falling for someone else? I can understand Zac jealousy, of course, but what about Zoe? Isn’t she (or wasn’t she) afraid to lose her boyfriend for one of the girl they invited in their bed?

  6. I guess I finally get it, though it makes me kinda sad. If Zac’s GF were truly bisexual(which she’s not in my book), then he wouldn’t be able to handle their threesomes, right? The thought of her being capable of having a married life with a woman, instead of only enjoying sex with one, would make threesomes into a situation where hearts could get involved, not just friendly frolicking. Bonus points for Zoe – she’s trusted him all along.

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