Dear Alaskans,

I am having some conflicting issues, and everything in my gut tells me that I am being ridiculous. I am not sure who to turn to about this and I am hoping you can help.

My girlfriend and I have been together for three years, and a few months ago she told me that she has always been interested in having sexual experiences with a woman. We had several conversations about it, and it was apparent that this was not something she wanted to experience with me, or any other guy present. I told her that I would not have an issue with it, and that if she ever felt comfortable, she should explore these feelings. This upset her, and she said it felt like I was OK with her cheating on me. I tried to explain that if she had my consent it wasn’t cheating, and that the offer would stay open.

Last week she went to meet a friend and during the night texted to tell me that one of the women she was out with was flirting with her. She seemed excited and I told her maybe this was the girl that she could talk to about her fantasy. I didn’t hear any more from her until she got home.

When she walked in the door, she told me that they had hooked up and started going into details about the experience. She had a lot of emotions, both good and bad, about the entire night, and so I tried to be loving and supportive.

The problem is that there is still something that does not feel right about the way it all went down. I know that I have no right to feel negatively because I gave her permission to do it, but when she went into the details it started to hurt, and in some way I do feel betrayed. Am I allowed to feel badly about a situation that I created? Help?

Am I a Cuck?

Hmm. Cuck. No, we would not call you a cuck. Cuckold in this sense refers to a person that is sexually aroused by the idea of their partner have sexual experiences with others. It does not seem like you experienced any sort of arousal at all. Nor did you experience compersion, which is when we experience joy because of someone else’s happiness. We have a theory on why this is.

What you offered in the beginning for your partner is great. To be so open, kind, and loving that you would tell your partner to go experience their fantasies, and explore their sexuality is wonderful. That is the kind of partner everyone should strive to be. Being possessive is the first sign of poison in a relationship. If someone is trying to own your every experience it means that they don’t trust you, and that they want something that not a lot of people can really give. You started out in a great place. The problem comes in that you stopped there.

For most people that participate in ethical non-monogamy, they have set out expectations and needs for their partner and themselves. You stopped at permission and didn’t anticipate your feelings or hers.

Months ago, you told your girlfriend that a hypothetical situation was ok with you. She said she wasn’t interested in doing it. You left the offer on the table. Then the hypothetical became actual.

There are quite a few discussions that we would have had with our partners before we allowed that to become real. When we participate in types of ethical non-monogamy, such as open relationships, polyamory, or swinging, each couple must make up their own rules for how it goes. Do you get to meet the other person that your partner is having sexual experiences with? Are their certain sexual acts that are off limits? Are they ok to spend the night and sleep with this person after “sleeping” with this person? Do you want to hear the sordid details, or is this something that you would prefer your partner processes with someone else? Is your partner ok to start dating another human, or would you like it to be sexual only, and have them remain emotionally monogamous? What are the safer sex precautions you would like them to take? Should they set up a safe call?

Those are just a few of the questions we would discuss before it ever went so far as to be an actual hookup. Much of the reason you are likely feeling betrayed is because you did not have all the information or ask all the questions when you gave your consent for this to happen. When your girlfriend came home, she had not told you in advance that the flirting was turning sexual, and instead used permission that was months old. She also did not ask if you were in an emotional space to listen to her describe her antics with this other woman.

You seem like a pretty open partner, and we are willing to bet that if the two of you had discussed all these other details, you would not be feeling the way that you are. Also, you can have feelings about anything when it comes to your relationship. No emotions are positive or negative, they are simply feelings. It is the actions that you take after feeling them that can be good or bad. Yes, you are probably hurt, angry, confused, maybe even sad. That is all totally valid.

In the end, nobody did anything bad. You are your partner merely skipped some steps along the way. So, while there was permission for the act to occur, there wasn’t enough information for you to get a grip on the situation before she launched into a description.

In the future make sure that you have a lot of communication about things like this. It really is the only way to have a healthy relationship.

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