The Monogamy Switch

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I'm a sixteen year old that is very much in love with a soon to be seventeen year old. It is a long distance relationship. We've discussed marriage and its something we BOTH want in the future. Well... This serious relationship has defects like any other, except I'm not sure if this flaw is more serious and could potentially harm the relationship or if it's something silly. Here is the problem....she has close friends that are either bisexual or gay...4 male friends... [and she lets them touch her sexually].

I try to understand that she is just fooling around with her friends... She is aware of how I dislike that… I feel like its disrespectful to me as her girlfriend… it should be something preserved for her girlfriend...me. She also likes to show off when she knows she is being looked at (mostly by older people).  I feel like in the future I will end up the wife being cheated on.  I am uncertain on whether I'm in the wrong (thinking she will cheat) or if she is in the wrong (she claims to love me very much..).

What is your advise on how I can correctly handle this problem?

ANSWER

You aren’t going to like my answer, Baby Dyke, but here it goes:  Your girlfriend is hooking up with her guy friends.  I don’t know if it means she’s unsure about her own sexuality, but since you mentioned the ‘M’ word, I want you to be aware of who it is you’re considering marrying.  Marriage is hard enough when two people are crystal clear about their respective sexual orientations, but when one is ‘fooling around’ with a different gender from the one she claims to be attracted to, i.e., cheating, it does not bode well for even short-term monogamy, much less marriage.

You were pretty graphic in your email to me.  I removed that language, however, suffice it to say that among other things, her guy friends touch her breasts, they tell her that they want to perform oral sex on her (I'm unclear as to whether they have), and although you've told her that you don't like any of it, she continues, stating that she needs to be able to express herself in the relationship.  I'm here to tell you that your girlfriend is manipulative and that she's cheating on you, Baby Dyke.  No question.

I’m confused by your confusion.  Is a commitment less of a commitment because of your age?  I think a lot of adults would say so, but I disagree.  I think the relationship patterns that you establish today will likely be the patterns that you maintain into adulthood.  It concerns me that you’d allow someone to cheat on you.  Sure, today you’re only 16, but in your 20’s, you might still be in college (an age at which many justify accepting blurred concepts of commitment).  My point is that we don’t flip a monogamy switch when we decide to get married.  There is no switch.  It’s a muscle called impulse control, and if we haven’t strengthened that muscle over time, guess what?  We’re very likely to cheat.

The muscle that you need to build is called boundaries. You need to decide today what you will accept in relationships and what you won’t accept.  I have clients make this list all the time.  Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the center.  On one side, label it MUST HAVES.  On the other side, label it DEAL BREAKERS.  Keep that list, Baby Dyke, as it will serve as your compass throughout all relationships.  And no matter how much you love someone, decide today that you’re going to love yourself more ~ and that you’re going to put your need for respect above your love for a partner.

Writer's Stats: Female, Lesbian.