Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Redux

The clarity I find to any situation I have, comes through clearest in writing, like here.  Sometimes I can come to a solution on my own, but often just making a linear description of the real issue, brings me to the most suitable research or outside voice to ask for advice.  This week I caught up on the Savage Love Podcasts from the holidays and low and behold some words of wisdom from two real pros.  Within the thoughtful debate between Ira Glass and Dan Savage I found solace in both not being alone, and the conclusions that both men reached.
The real big sticking point that I was having issue about was the dating site issue.  I have always responded with the gut reaction of unpleasant things when I see his dating site usage.  These very smart men pointed out a poignant truth that I had overlooked.  The reason why the pick up scenarios for men and women tend to be unequal in the amount of time used in seeking a sexual partner boils down to the time required in effort.  Simply put, it is easier for a woman to get laid than it is for a man generally speaking.  So what this means in an open relationship is that I have to have a little more empathy for the time spent finding a suitable person.  After all, safety is a concern, and as easy as it would be to just pick up a random chick after a short period of time, that leaves the door wide open for the crazy people.  This is after all about happiness, and not just about the basic act.
Perhaps this comes across as crude or incomprehensible.  The thing the sticks with me is that I do not like being told what to do or say.  I resent when I am told who I can and cannot spend my time with, so how could I do the same to my partner with whom I love and care for?  There are days this will be a more of a strain than usual hence my previous post, but learning to love and understand each other is an intimacy I have not felt with any other human being before.

In the same thread though of don’t ask, don’t tell I think many would be surprised at one little tidbit I will share.  Have any of you been cheated on, or had the don’t ask don’t tell policy?  If so, did you know right away because of a negative reason?  I have heard so many stories where the sex or the relationship actually improved because of a sexual extramarital encounter.  Or even that there was no effect, no disruption and thus it was easier to forgive or turn a blind eye.  Many couples have given a permission slip but succeed years later because they had no idea about the indiscretion and maintained a healthy and wonderful sex life and relationship.

The don’t ask, don’t tell policy has its advantages.  I do want more than that in the future, and that is what I want to work towards.  In saying that though I recognize that I am not quite there yet and I cannot have everything at once.  Things are really great right now, and I am a huge proponent of happiness in the moment.  Don’t rock the boat if things are moving in a direction where all parties are happy.  

The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Approach

I am at a personal crossroads here, to add to the complication there is another person and his views involved.  So my solution must be met by some sort of compromise as of course two of us are involved.  I do not enjoy secrets, and I know I have written about this elsewhere’s in greater detail.   Mixed with that this is my first long term open relationship and there are so many hurdles and experiences that will be waiting just around the corner.  Here is a bit of background on the situation which I hope will aid me in formulating and structuring the real issues here.  The boyfriend actively uses dating websites, which being in a open relationship makes perfect sense on the surface.  He loves the chase, the newness, and playing the game which is possible only with someone new.
I understand his desires, wants and needs thoroughly, and I want him to be happy.  My point of contention is in the execution in using the dating site.  On the one hand, I don’t want him to feel like he is sneaking around and talking to other women.  On the other hand, sometimes it is very hard not to react the way I feel programmed to react to what could be termed cheating in my past life.  I have a gut reaction and thus he interprets the gut reaction as I am not ready or able to view what he’s doing on the computer.  I read about so many open couples who go home and share with their primary partner their sexual experiences with the dates they go on.  They are open and supportive and for many even turned on by these exploits.  It intensifies the sex and strengthens the most important and meaningful primary relationship in their lives.  I know when I reach that point I will look back on this post and laugh at my impatience which has lead me to make impulsive decisions time and time again.
I liken it to meeting a guy and getting married within the first 3 months of meeting.  One just cannot have everything at once, and relationships are a gradual progression of the minds, bodies and souls.  That being said, currently I am in a don’t ask don’t tell situation where I am told if he sleeps with anyone else.  As well when it comes to the don’t ask don’t tell, I ask all the time.  I am intrinsically intrigued and curious about what he’s doing.  I want to be a part of that aspect of his life.  I know that I do not want him to only be able to share something that makes him so happy with his friends only and not with me.  But on the other hand, am I actually ready to hear about other women, keep my gut reactions at bay, and be the supportive open and loving woman that I strive to be? 
We have talked about this point, and I understand the evolution of relationships.  However I keep repeating in my head and out loud, that I want everything that I can have right now.  I want all the riches and satisfactions of where I am and where I want to be to be at my fingertips.  I rationally know that there is work involved, and emotional trials and errors.  Sadly my impulsive side may just have to be put aside as I work one day at a time striving to be the best person that I can.