When they started dating, she didn’t mind that he was seeing other women, but now she wants him to commit to her and her alone. Does she stand a chance?
Dear Dr. Gilda,
I have been in a nonmonogamous relationship with a man I met at the end of my marriage. I have not been with other men, but he let me know from the start that he was with other women. At the time, I didn’t care because I was not ready to be in another relationship.
This weekend at his house I found another woman’s clothes. I shut down immediately. He apologized and I asked how many other women he was sleeping with, and he said two. I asked how he ranked us in order from one to three. He said he didn’t think of it in that way, and he was offended that I asked.
He said he has never tried to flaunt the other women. That is true; when we are together, it is always about us.
I am having a hard time with this. I felt that we’d been getting so close during the past few months. We go away together, and our children know each other.
Everyone says I should bail out now! I feel lied to. He always told me he didn’t want to be in a relationship because he has a bad heart ailment. He was married for 10 years and felt he wasted a lot of time with his ex, and that all relationships require work. I have always made myself accessible to him, and now I feel so stupid!
—Ready for More
Dear Ready for More,
OK, exactly when did you become “Ready for More”? Not after your marital breakup. Not when you entered a nonmonogamous relationship with this man. Within the last few months when you sensed that you and Mr. Noncommittal were bonding, that’s when you became “ready for more.” But, honey, you bought the farm as it was. When you suddenly decide to change the mortgage agreement, how would you expect any guy to react?
All along, your boyfriend assumed that things were fine with you and his harem. But, as my Gilda-Gram says, “What you accept, you teach.” From the outset, you accepted the conditions of your affair and you (unwittingly) taught him that nonmonogamy was your choice, too. In actuality, you told him “Keep it coming!”
Unfortunately, you miscalculated that the two of you were “getting so close” during the last months. I have a concern about this: How “close” could you have been if you didn’t know what he was doing when he wasn’t with you?
You insecurely put yourself in a bad position by asking him to rate your importance when compared with the other women. Have you no pride?
You made yourself “accessible to him” even though you knew that he was not interested in anything long-term. Did you believe this would buy his affection and turn him around? Listen, Ready, you can’t buy love. If you give in order to get, resentment will only build over time — he would think he’s being had, and you would never get what you really wanted.
Here’s what I suggest you do now:
1. Decide what YOU really want from this player. He blames a heart condition for not wanting commitment, but his heart seems healthy enough to pump out his sexual gyrations! How does that work, exactly?
2. Reexamine your definition of a “close” relationship and amend your definition since it’s not what you thought this union would bring.
Assess whether this guy’s need to play the field is the attitude of someone you want to continue seeing.
3. Stop beating up on yourself for past vulnerabilities. You met the guy on the rebound — which is not a good time to begin dating. Thankfully, your dark cloud has now lifted!
Fortunately, you’ve grown and changed since the two of you met. Celebrate your progress. If this guy doesn’t fit with the person you are today, let him go without malice. You are now indeed “ready for more” — with someone else!
Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.), is a media personality, a product spokesperson, has a private practice, and is an associate professor at Mercy College, in New York. Her best-selling books include "Don't Bet on the Prince!," "99 Prescriptions for Fidelity," and "How to Win When Your Mate Cheats." Please visit her at www.DrGilda.com