The Hook Up: “I want monogamy and she doesn’t. Are we doomed?”

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I’ve been dating a swell girl for four months. We’re at a crossroads now. Why? Because I want to be exclusive and she wants to date other people. Are we doomed?—Monogamy Or Not, Otherwise Great

Dear MONOG,

Quite possibly! Generally when two people don’t want the same things in a relationship that relationship will end sooner or later. For instance, if one wants to get married and the other doesn’t. If one wants kids and the other doesn’t. If one loves Game of Thrones and the other can’t possibly see what the big fuss about dragons could possibly be, Eileen!

It’s hard for me to tell from your short letter, MONOG, but here’s a tiny bit of encouragement. I was super into monogamy when I started dating my current girlfriend, and she was not. We decided to fall in love anyway, like idiots, and not worry too much about the repercussions.

About two years into our relationship, I discovered that I wasn’t actually all that into monogamy after all, and we opened that door a tiny bit. When that proved to be okay, we opened it a little bit further, established boundaries and rules, and tentatively and respectfully went about our merry, slutty ways.

While our relationship is more “ajar” than full-blown-skirt-swaying-in-the-breeze open, if you had asked me four months into our tryst, I probably would have said I didn’t want to be in an open relationship. And yet, here I am.

People can and do change. This isn’t across the board, of course, and sometimes people change in ways that don’t always thrill our partners. What I would do is have a good long talk with your girlfriend and find out where your hard lines are when it comes to being together. What will you absolutely not compromise on? What would maybe be okay in the right circumstances? What are you fine with? You might find that there’s more middle ground for you to work with than you think. You also might find that she simply needs more time to figure things out (or that you need more time).

If, after this talk, it seems like you’re not as compatible as you previously thought, it might be time to cut the cord and spare yourselves the anguish. But I hope that’s not the case.

Best of luck, MONOG.

 FullSizeRenderilllustration by Natasha Miren Terbraak

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