How One Couple Conquered Jealousy In Their Open Relationship

About 18 months ago we answered a reader’s plea for advice about her open relationship. And then just this week we heard from the reader’s boyfriend, Zac, who told us that the advice totally worked! We’re suckers for a success story, especially when it’s one of our own, so we thought we’d reprint the various elements of the story here. By the way, he didn’t admit it at the time (even to us), but the Zac we responded to in the abridged comments section below is indeed the mysterious jealous boyfriend in question. Tune in again on Friday for our Q&A with Zac about how he was able to transcend his jealousy issues and make their open relationship work.

January 2008
Dear Em and Lo,

My boyfriend and I are in a committed and loving relationship, and have been for about a year and a half. We have been together and in love since the night we met, and the very next day we moved in together. He has the kindest heart, the most beautiful and creative soul, the most brilliant mind, and he is the most gorgeous Herculean piece of ass to have ever walked this earth. We have never had a fight or raised our voices at each other, though this issue I am about to tell you about has brought many tears.

We are and always have been open to inviting girls into our bedroom, however my boyfriend has had a nagging worry that seems only to be getting stronger. He feels that because I am bisexual, there is “a special set of feelings and attractions reserved for someone of the same sex,” that he “will never have access to or be the recipient of.” He feels that while I “have the capacity to be ALL and fulfill all” for him, that he “simply can not do the same for me in return.”

Despite his worries, in my heart I truly feel that for the long-term, I could never be fulfilled with just a girl. I feel like I would long for that power-exchange, that feeling of belonging to my Love, that polarized masculine/feminine balance (the feeling I get as a submissive when I kneel down to kiss his feet)…however, my Love does not seem to understand that. He worries that somewhere in the corners of my head, I will always be longing for a girl.

What confuses my Love is that I get depthless, silly little schoolgirl-type crushes on girls all the time, and this worries him. I feel that though girls are lovely and sweet, they just wouldn’t make me feel the ways a boy does, and that I need what a boy offers more. Needless to say we are being monogamous until this is cleared.

So, what can we do to make him see and trust that he fulfills me in every way, that a girl just wouldn’t cut it? We have discussed it endlessly, but his worries won’t budge…we are out of ideas.

Thank You So Much!


Dear Zoe,

We hate to belittle your problem, but if your boyfriend can’t see that he has the sweetest deal in relationship history, then we’re not sure we can help him. Let’s see: he’s in a committed, loving relationship with someone who thinks he’s the most gorgeous Herculean piece of ass to have ever walked this earth. Plus, he gets to share you with other hot women whenever the mood strikes you both. Also, you like to kiss his feet. You’re obviously too nice to say it, so we will: What the fuck’s his problem?

Tell your boyfriend that he can ask any full-time lesbian and she will confirm that women like you — i.e. women who enjoy hooking up with and even casually dating women but could never take one for better or worse — are practically an epidemic. You may be the bane of the lesbian community, but this should be a balm to your BF.

Here’s the deal: the current world population is approximately 6.6 billion. Does he really think that it makes a difference to your relationship whether you have the potential to be physically attracted to all 6.6 billion of them, or only 3.3 billion? Relationships are about a lot of things — faith, hope, love, chemistry, compromise, vibrating cock rings, shared household chores, hot monkey sex — but they’re not about statistics or beating the odds.

Tell him all this, and then tell him that at some point, he just has to grow up and trust you. You’ve accepted that he’s not going to be lured away by any of the 3.3 billion people in the world that he has the potential to be attracted to. So what’s another 3.3 billion on his part? If he can’t see that, then frankly, we don’t think he deserves the sweetest deal in relationship history.

Tough love,

Em & Lo

DATE: 01/15/2008 04:49:43 PM
This will sound crazy, but I know what this guy is going through and it’s much more complicated than what this girl (or people reading the article) think.  As a normal guy, it sounds like a dream come true.  As someone who has been in this same situation, it’s a nightmare.  I’m not saying it CAN’T work, but I’m guessing they introduced this whole concept into their relationship way too early.

DATE: 01/15/2008 05:01:43 PM
Okay Laird, we’ll bite: How is the situation a nightmare? Do tell. Just think, by sharing the downsides of this kind of set-up, you’ll be doing a favor to all the women out there whose boyfriends are now comparing them unfavorably to Zoe…

DATE: 01/17/2008 01:52:37 AM
Ok, first of all I have been in a very similar situation and can explain on what levels it can be a nightmare.

1. Most take the opinion of the common, stereotypical man. Sure it is a dream come true in many regards, however to glorify it to the point where the general attitude considers it the “highest point” of male existence is pathetic.

2. I have no concern of other guys taking my gf from me, as an alpha-male its not even an issue. I don’t see other men as competition or a threat. However my love of women allows me to view them as a whole different league of competition, complete with an inherent set of advantages that I do not possess, with things that I can not provide.

3. Her affinity and admiration of the female gender (as friends and how they compare themselves to each other etc) can easily and frequently be misconstrued as romantic attention. Open style relationships are fine, but when you are constantly hearing about other women in day to day life (being pretty, being cute, etc) it is easy to feel that her sexual preference may not be as secure as you thought. Especially since there is a lack of comments/attention paid to the male gender (for whatever reason).

4. The fact that (especially after a few drinks) the concept of hooking up with another girl is considered more harmless than if she were to kiss another guy. Which leads one to feel more like she is less trustworthy when it comes to women.

There are plenty more reasons why such a seemingly ideal situation can in fact be somewhat of a nightmare.

It is so common for men and women to consider this an ideal situation for any guy, that he should be “oh so lucky” and that “he is doing men everywhere a dis-service” and to women everywhere he is “being uptight, controlling and a prude.”

But to assume this is stereotypical and fails to acknowledge “the thinking men” that are not genetically obliged to sell their souls or right arms, simply to be “allowed” to participate in a threesome.

Forget that! If I want a threesome I will be equal in it, not sit on the sidelines like some pathetic kid on a soccer team begging for his chance to kick a goal.

DATE: 01/17/2008 10:42:35 AM
Wow Zac, thanks for this incredibly thoughtful and helpful response. We were especially struck by point #4, because we think that most people would assume that another woman was less of an issue (we’re guessing that’s why your gf feels more comfortable raving about other women than about other men). But it’s an excellent point that this assumption makes you think she’s less trustworthy around women. That all said, we still think there’s a big difference between a woman who likes hooking up with women and a woman who wants to settle down and adopt puppies with one, but we stand somewhat chastised. Here’s our hat; here’s us taking a small nibble out of it.

August 2009

Dear Em & Lo,

I would like to thank you for some advice you provided us with over a year ago. I was having some trouble understanding my girlfriend’s bisexuality and it was causing me to suffer from some insecurities and jealousy issues. This was of particular concern because we both identify as polyfidelitous (if such a word exists!) and have both been long interested in finding a girl to invite into our relationship.

Well, after over a year and a half of excellent communication, deep soul-searching, and a little real world experience, we are finally both in a the right emotional place to start such a beautiful relationship. As we are sure you could understand, finding the right girl is very difficult, so we decided to start our own blog about our life together and our search for a “unicorn.”

If you want to follow our progress, check out our blog at Zacandzoe.wordpress.com. We hope to provide readers with a unique insight into relationships communications, relationship-style sexuality between three people, and also showcase a cute and contemporary love story!

Zac & zoe xx

Tune in on Friday for our Q&A with Zac about how he was able to transcend his jealousy issues and make their open relationship work.


  1. I am in somewhat of a similar situation. Before we were married, my husband had 3-4 sexual experiences/short relationships with men, as well as a few encounters with women. While I knew this going into the marriage, I suppressed it because the monogamy model doesn’t require that those issues really be thought through. However, about a month ago, for a variety of reasons (including his depression, our struggling sex life and my constant guilt for being attracted to other men), we decided to open up our relationship and show each other who we really are. Our first experiences (my having sex separately with someone after getting his permission, him talking openly about sexual feelings for me, us having a threesome with a bisexual man) have made me feel nothing but positive and we have grown so much closer by sharing all parts of ourselves. I feel honest and that feels great. However, today, he texted me and told me he was propositioned (unsolicited) in the gym locker room and I have been racked with jealousy, uncertainty and anxiety. I was very comfortable with him doing things to the guy in our threesome or even in the near future HIM initiating sexual contact with someone of his choice (the way I did), but after hearing this, all I could think about is that a random man approached him because he must have known that he liked men. And this bothers me more than I describe because part of what made me OK with this whole thing is him as a bisexual who would not be fully to the other side. I guess I relate now to Zac in feeling like I not only can’t be all he wants but that gay men see him as someone who they can approach, which makes me feel irrelevant and unconfident. I wish I knew how to rationalize this to myself or use parallels to make it feel better, but right now, it just makes me sadder than I can describe.

    On a side note, I’d love to have access to the blog to see your thought process – is there any way to get an invite?

  2. I’m sorry buy allow my Neanderthal response to override my thinking for a moment: WTF? He’s complaining that his chick constantly allows him to engage in threesomes???

    Now that’s out of my system (yes, I AM jealous), Im glad that he found a way to make it work.

  3. Em&Lo,

    This is a rare question where I think you guys missed the point. I believe his main concern is not whether she could be happy in a lesbian marriage, or even whom she finds attractive. It is, as the question states, whether he could ever “be ALL and fulfill all” for her. I’m guessing that somewhere in their soul-searching, they understood that if all possibility of threeways went away tomorrow, that she would still be very happy and fulfilled. The resolution of his insecurities on this issue probably cleared the way for them to have hot threeway sex again.

  4. I smiled when Zac referred to himself as a “thinking man.” He’s actually what I usually think of as an over-thinking man. I await Friday’s Q&A with baited breath.

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