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It started off as casual sex, but now we both want more. How can I overcome my insecurity?

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I moved to an island for work last May, but as my work is mostly solitary, I have not really connected with many people on the island. I did, however, befriend an Israeli man after a few months here. To be quite honest, I was feeling lonely and he was so easy to be around. I ended up sleeping with him fairly quickly and we then entered into a 'friends with benefits' relationship that went on for 6 months.

Initially, I was unsure how I felt about it, quickly realizing I was not the only one he was hooking up with. I decided to try and not let that bother me, although it was a bit strange as I come from a more traditional background and have been an on-and-off serial monogamist with the exception of a trial open relationship that did not go well.

So I saw other people as well, we would even tell each other about other people, and we would never kiss. He began to talk about leaving and I realized how much I cared for him and confessed I relied on him as my only good friend on the island. He admitted he cared for me, but would refuse to kiss me or completely commit.

In the end, I got severely frustrated and ended up kissing quite a few people and sleeping with one last New Year's Eve. I realize that this was unhealthy behavior. He got hurt and ended up agreeing to kiss me and try to be in a relationship. He has very little long-term relationship experience - even at 29. At 30, I have been in several committed relationships and know I would like to settle down soon.

Back to this current relationship: we both say we are in love now. It was such a struggle at the beginning - we are not each other's physical ideals and while that was not as much of an issue for me, it took him a while to reconcile his dreams of a perfect woman with his feelings of loving me in my less perfect state. He has been very slow to commit.

He is very sexual, as am I, so we are very sexually active - almost every day. Yet he was constantly eyeing other women, even with me, and talking about how he really believes he wants sexual variety. I told him how I found this hurtful and disrespectful and that I recognize the urge - I just don't want to hear about it. I seek a loving monogamous relationship.

To make the story short, he eventually came around, has really made an effort, and has been a great boyfriend, otherwise. He spends almost all of his spare time with me, cooking dinners, planning adventures. Yet he still says he loves me but just has the urge to have sex with other women. Not that he has anyone in mind; he just wants to feel free to do so, though he won't do it now because he does not want to hurt me. He even says he would not mind if I slept with others.

I am not generally a jealous person, but am thinking perhaps the rocky start has made me insecure. I find myself upset by this and hurt when I find out about others he was with when we were just getting to know each other.

How do I get over this?

This question was submitted by 'Shannon'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Shannon and thank you for writing in.

Well, of course, there is no simple answer to that one. The tone of the relationship was set from the start. You have both already experienced one another being with other people and talked about that. And it may be hard for him now to withdraw from the excitement of variety and be true to only you. He is being honest with you and telling you he wants variety, meaning he still wants to sleep with others. That must feel normal to him, especially as that's how your relationship began.

The danger is that, even though he's got no one in mind right now, you will worry and fret if he ever goes away or comes into contact with other women. He says he wouldn't mind if you slept with others.

The question to ask yourself and really think about is: Do you really want to be with a man who would be fine about you sleeping with other men? If not, then this relationship is not for you. If yes, then you need to take the rough with the smooth and learn to live with the potentially self-esteem-damaging effects of such a still casual (even if it doesn't seem it on the surface) kind of relationship.

He might feel and be committed to you right now, but what about in six months, a year? He may be able to settle down or time may make him more restless. That, in a way, is his test and your test and only time will tell.

Another question to ask yourself is: Are you with him because of limited choice of available partners or because you feel a unique connection with him?

You want a monogamous relationship and he doesn't, really. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how this can work - although I'd love to be proved wrong.

It's natural to want exclusive 'rights' in a relationship and the fact that, by the sounds of it, all his previous relationships have been casual and non-exclusive means that he may just never be happy to commit to one person. It might be a case of you wanting something from a source that is unable to supply you with it.

So, I don't think you need to work on feeling more secure or non-jealous, as I don't see any sign of pathological insecurity or jealousy. The way to get over this might be to find someone who can give you what you need.

All best wishes,

Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - January 21st, 2015 in

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