I’ve been dating this guy online for months. About 4 months in he told me that he’s cheated on all of his past girlfriends, and that he’s tempted by other people even though he doesn’t want to mess up our relationship. We talked about maybe opening up the relationship, but I told him I’d have to think about it. He said he wouldn’t break up with me if we didn’t, but he felt like he was going to fuck up eventually. We talked about it more later and I agreed... but I’m still not confident.
He said he wouldn’t fall for anyone else, but he wants a steady friend with benefits. And he wants to spend time with her, stay in calls and sometimes sleep in a call with her, like we do. Thing is, we hardly get a lot of time together, especially when he decides he suddenly wants to be alone. He even told me there would be times where he’d probably leave me when we’re hanging out so he could hang out with her. I told him I wasn’t interested in doing things with other people, but I might go meet and flirt with other people if he spends a lot of time with his new girl, because I’m gonna want attention. He immediately shut down and said he didn’t want to talk about it anymore and that I won’t have to do that because he’ll still give me attention. He always had a problem with jealousy, hating it when I even talk to new people and especially hating it if I ever talk about anything sexual because he doesn’t want other people to think about me that way, even though he straight up tells other girls sexual things he’d do, even before he opened the relationship.
We agreed he could have casual flings for now, and after we meet at the end of May, then he could try to find other girls. I guess I just wanted to ask, does this seem like something that could work? I feel like I’m just giving permission for him to cheat rather than having an actual healthy open relationship. I would most likely be monogamous if given the choice, but I don’t think I really have much choice here. Should I wait and see how it actually goes, or should I try to address things now?
It is rare that I get a letter with this many red flags. (And the letter was a lot longer before I edited it for length, so not all of the red flags are even present here). Friend, you need to RUN, not walk, away from this guy and this relationship! To answer your actual questions: this does NOT seem like something that could work, and you should NOT wait and see, and you should “address things now” by refusing to be treated like this and ending a relationship that’s on such cruel, unfair terms.
He is using emotional blackmail - essentially saying “I’m going to see other people regardless, so you can either give me permission to do so, or I’ll cheat on you.” That is not healthy, safe, or fair to you. He is acting like telling you up front that he’ll do something means that he isn’t accountable for the consequences later on. That’s called a threat. If I punch someone in the nose, that’s not okay, even if beforehand I said “just so you know, I have a history of punching people, and I’ll probably punch you too.”
Then after bullying you into agreeing to an open relationship, he tells you that he doesn’t want you to even get attention from other people? Not okay. His “jealousy” and “hating it” when you talk to new people are major red flags. You also talk in the edited sections about his habit of suddenly withdrawing his attention from you, either because of his “moods” or because he’s distracted with another person. This is a classic control tactic - using the withdrawal of his attention as a way to keep you hooked. A relationship where you feel that you “don’t have much choice” is not safe or healthy. These are all textbook methods for someone laying the ground for a suffocating, controlling, emotionally volatile, imbalanced, or even abusive relationship. Get out now.