Closing an Open Relationship, Part 3


by The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way,

My boyfriend and I have had an open relationship for a little over two years. We are free to have safe, physically intimate relationships with other people, but have always said that our emotional relationship would be exclusive. This worked for both of us for a while because we love the fun of the first kiss, the first touch, etc, which you can’t get when you only have one partner.

But my feelings about our relationship have changed. I feel jealous now when he’s with other women. I know that I need to talk to him about it, but I’m afraid—this arrangement is what he wants (and what I used to want) and it’s why our relationship has lasted as long as it has. I don’t want to lose him. Lately I’ve been thinking that since I’ve sucked it up for this long, I can keep doing it if it means keeping him. What do you guys think?—SN

Jody    The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer
Be careful what you wish for; you may just get it. Here’s the thing about relationships: the wishes, desires, interests, fantasies, and the practical day-to-day stuff that makes up life can change. When you start a relationship, it’s because you’ve found common ground. There’s something that the two of you can really vibe on together. And like all couples, there comes a time when the initial interest that drew you together switches for one of you. So what happens next? It depends.

You mention that the only reason your relationship has lasted is because of this shared idea about open relationships. If that’s all you have holding you together, you guys are done. It’s time for you to notice what other common ground you do share. What does your emotional relationship look like? How do you know that connection is there?

What concerns me most is that you would be willing to “suck it up” and not share your true desires with him just so you can stay together. Would you want him to do that with you? That’s not the sign of a healthy, glowing relationship.

Don’t suck it up, spit it out. Tell the man how you feel. But first, be aware of why you want this relationship to continue. What else is there holding you two together? If it’s only your open door policy, then shut the door, open a window, and make a new start.

Check in tomorrow to read the straight man's perspective by Chris Kennedy.

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.

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