Ask Erin: Help! My Girlfriend Wants An Open Relationship

"As the saying goes, sometimes love isn't enough."

"As the saying goes, sometimes love isn't enough."

She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all. 


Hi Erin,

My girlfriend of nine months spoke to me and told me she wants an open relationship. She says it's not that 'our sex' is not enough, but she just regards sex with others as different — not better or worse. 

We have agreed on rules like no kissing after sex, etc., to minimize attachment. 

The thing is now I don't fully trust her, to be honest, when she is not with me. I have huge fears of abandonment from childhood, and I feel like every day when I’m not with her, I’m falling apart. 

Not sure what to do. I believe her when she says ,“I love you,” but I really want to be monogamous. I have to shut part of myself down. But, if we were monogamous, she would have to shut down her sexual side and wouldn’t be happy. 

— So Confused....


Dear “So Confused,” 

Neither of you is in the wrong, per se, in this situation. (Although, one could argue that maybe she should have mentioned this before you committed.) 

Sadly, you may just not be the right partners for each other. 

And, I don't think this is something that is likely to change. Neither of you should have to shut down parts of yourself to be together. That you wish to be monogamous is totally fine, and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Likewise, it’s her prerogative to want or need an open relationship, and kudos to her for being honest about it. 

You owe her that same honesty. Because agreeing and then driving yourself batty worrying about what she's doing or if you can trust her is unhealthy and dishonest. You need to be clear and open with her about what you want, as she has done with you. 

Does this leave you at an impasse? Yes, probably.  

But, avoiding this is merely delaying the inevitable. That’s where the confusion is coming from. You know this isn't right for you, but you’re pretending you are cool with it, and that pretending is making you feel clouded and lousy. 

The sooner you have that conversation with her, the better — for both of you. As the saying goes, sometimes love isn't enough. There is nothing wrong with the expectations either of you has for a relationship. 

And perhaps freeing yourself from a situation that’s not quite right (and causing you distress) will allow you to find someone who is the right fit. 

If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, breakups, friendship, boundaries, Blue Lace Agate, reproductive issues, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at As always, your anonymity is golden. xoxo

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