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Complicated Situation- Dating Someone In An Open Relationship


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I became friends with someone back in August. I will call him Nathan. He and I hit it off as friends immediately, as we had much in common and always had something to talk about. We are both musicians, love the same things in life: travel, music, movies, books, psychology, hiking, biking, and more. I did not pursue anything romantic with him, since he was in a relationship.


We got together one evening in November and it became pretty obvious there was something deeper than friendship there. He then opened up to me that he was in an open relationship with someone he's been with for 5 years. I have only been interested in monogamous relationships, but I was so intrigued by this person that I decided to pursue it further. I met his partner one evening and know Nathan has been truthful with me.


Nathan and his partner are allowed to date others, not just for sex, but for emotional closeness as well. Nathan has revealed to me that, at age 24, he only has sex with his partner once a month. I get the impression he is not fulfilled in this relationship, sexually and emotionally. He said he feels he could only see having an open relationship with his current partner (that's what the partner wants) and that his other relationships have been monogamous.


We were supposed to get together last Monday, but he canceled our date, as he said he was going through some personal things, felt bad, and didn't want me to give up on him. Later in the week, he revealed he has been depressed for about a year due to issues with his relationship.


I have fallen for this guy and am not sure how to navigate this. For a while, I have had the feeling he was going to hit a though patch with his relationship, so this didn't come as a surprise to me. He seems to be needing space from me, yet he has told me that he doesn't want me to give up on him. He is so joyful when we are together and has told me he is always happy when he's spending time with me. The fireworks between us are palpable and he says I am on his mind all the time. I think he must feel extremely conflicted right now.


My questions are:


1) Should I just leave him alone at this point and wait?


2) Should I check in with him occasionally via text or phone call?


3) Has anyone out there gone through this with someone in an open relationship? If so, what is your advice for navigating this situation?


Ultimately, I would love to be with him in a monogamous relationship. Thanks for your advice!

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Nathan has revealed to me that, at age 24, he only has sex with his partner once a month. I get the impression he is not fulfilled in this relationship, sexually and emotionally. He said he feels he could only see having an open relationship with his current partner (that's what the partner wants) and that his other relationships have been monogamous.


I suspect that a lot of relationships that are "opened up" down the road are situations where it's the last ditch effort to stay together. He sound monogamous at heart and upon meeting the right person will left the relationship and start up with someone else.


Are you that somebody? Objectively, it sounds like your in the running. I would say stay on your current path. Keep spending time together, but do not escalate. Once sex is involved Nathan will be less inclined to leave because he's having his cake and eating it too.


Give it time. Revisit things in a few weeks and tell him you have feelings about him but would like to date just him. Not as part of his open arrangement. Then leave the ball in his court.

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So he's basically telling you to stick around as is convenient for him. Right now he has to work out some things with the gf, but he doesn't want you bailing out and stop feeding him up. He doesn't want to be alone.


Yet. IMO. For there to be any chance to have an actual relationship with this man, monogamous, and with a chance at success at all in the longer run, he needs to be alone and learn how to do that. That takes time. Hell of a lot of time; more than is worth you sitting and waiting for. First he'd have to leave the girlfriend. Then he'd need time single. Then he'd need time to look around and decide, hey yeah, I do want her. Anything else is shortcutting and you can't short cut when it comes to these things without it biting you in the butt later on. Maybe not in a few months, but it'll bite back later.


So I think unless you are cool with being perpetually catering and adapting to his emotional needs, you book it the hell out of this mess.


You fell for a guy who is not available for monogamy. So no; don't try and backdoor it, as Ms. Darcy said so well.

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I may be viewing things a bit differently here, but my take on this is Nathan is trying everything he can to save his current relationship. Clues to this are he says she wanted the open relationship while he's always been monogamous--i.e. he's agreed in theory to what she wants, he's been depressed for a year over his relationship issues--i.e. he really deeply cares and is trying every way he can to hang on to the girl he's with no matter how unhappy it makes him and finally although he seemed interested at first he has pulled back from you when it came time to taking your friendship to the next level. What I read into this is that Nathan is in love with his partner, is doing whatever he can to make her happy even at the cost of his own happiness and while he may like you he is not, by nature someone who can deal with multiple relationships.


I think you would do far better to pull back, way back and tell Nathan to look you up when and if he ever leaves his current partner and has had time to heal from that. I say that because what I see is a man in love with his partner who is miserable trying to make her happy, but she is priority number one in his life and my sense is she will be for a very long time to come. That means he won't be starting a relationship with you, he may cling to you as a means to try and make himself a bit happier but his heart is, let's face it, with his current partner. And if she chooses to change her mind about that open relationship you will be gone in a heartbeat.


In short Nathan isn't really free no matter what he says, he's desperately trying to please and hold on to the girl he's with now. You can choose to stay in touch, but my sense is you will always come second to Nathan's partner. Worse even if he does leave her you may well just be the rebound or the woman he hooked up with trying to give his partner what she wants or calling her bluff, not necessarily because he wants a relationship with you. So if you aren't prepared to always be second and to be in the open relationship for good with her taking first spot then I'd say back away and let this friendship die and find someone who really is available, because Nathan isn't.

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