Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
Messy Ex and Playing Together
I recently broke up with my boyfriend of two and a half years because we didn't get along (always arguing). But I still love him, and I'm trying to remain friends.
Here's the problem: He's now dating another ex of mine who was a jerk to me. He knows this. I think it's a slap in the face. I'm really hurt. I didn't think he would stoop so low. I know he can date whomever he wants, but why couldn't he pick someone else instead of my sloppy seconds? Is he trying to get back at me? And how do I deal with my feelings of anger and hurt?
Signed, Dissed and Pissed
Dear Dissed and Pissed,
Some people can be vindictive and it hurts, especially if it's someone we love.
Instead of worrying about what his motives are, I suggest you focus on yourself, releasing your anger. Anger is a feeling that has to be let out of the body. You may want to try anger-work outlets like stomping, hitting a mattress with a plastic bat, screaming into a pillow, or boxing. Physical exercise like walking, strength training, or aerobics also help. You can also write down the name, or get a picture, of who or what hurt you, on a piece of paper. Throw darts at it, burn it, tear it up, squish it or toss it in the trash. You don't have to feel angry before you do any of this. Doing it will bring up the anger and vent it out.
Observe your feeling experience. Give yourself permission to grieve. Understand you may feel hurt and sad for a time. It can help to share whats happening and lean on a supportive friend, family member or other trusted ally.
It can be exhausting to process this kind of information. Listen to your body. Get plenty of rest, nutrition and support. Avoid addictive and other risk-taking coping behavior. Remember to be gentle with yourself and take good care of yourself.
All The Best, Angelo.
My partner and I have been together for fourteen years. Several years ago while we were on vacation, we had a three-way with another man who was staying at our bed and breakfast. Since then, we've had several other group encounters, but nothing recently. I think I'm more into this alternative than my partner. I would like more opportunities for us to play together with other men or other couples. How can I best broach the subject with him?
Signed, Let's Play Together
Dear Let's Play Together,
This issue has to be talked about openly, honestly and clearly. Consider my Eight Quick Suggestions For An Open Relationship. It's best if the two of you:
1.) Equally agree that non-monogamy is wanted. If one person wants it and one doesnt, it wont work well.
2.) Use an open relationship to build upon an already healthy relationship, not try to salvage it. So many couples make the mistake of opening up their relationship in an attempt to fix it. This doesnt work. Your relationship has to be healthy enough to sustain the issues the freedom of an open relationship can bring, like security, trust and devotion. Successful couples who open up their relationship have their partner as their primary emotional commitment. They have a strong emotional foundation, making each other number one. Theres usually a separation between love and sex as well as a prohibition against outside romance.
3.) Play in order to complement an already good enough sex life between you, not fix it. So many couples also make the mistake of opening up their relationship in an attempt to save their sex life. This doesnt work either. Your sex life has to be healthy enough to add other men into the mix. Other guys should complement, or supplement, your sex life as a couple, not replace it.
4.) Avoid possessiveness by creating the right balance of independence and together time.
5.) Continue to commit to, be present for, romance, nourish and nurture each other.
6.) Mutually develop clear rules about playing and honor them honestly.
7.) Set boundaries around tricks to avoid jealousy, especially around time and money.
8.) Be honest and respectful of each other, taking your partners feelings into account.
All The Best, Angelo.
The Gay Man's Therapist
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