Dear Wendy: “My Boyfriend Wants To Hook Up With Someone Else”

My boyfriend and I are both 20 and have been in a long-distance relationship for almost the past year. We have an amazing chemistry and connect in a way I didn’t think possible. The issue is, although he has now had a couple long-term relationships, he’s never had a random hook-up. My first semester freshman year, I made out with a lot of guys at frat parties and what not, and he knows that. This past June, he started talking about how he wished he had that experience, too, but we talked about it, and moved on. Unfortunately, he’s talking about it again. He says that he thinks I’m the one and I honestly feel the same way, but he also says that it’s bothering him that he’s missed out on something. I know it’s only going to stay bottled up inside for him and then explode at random times. I suggested taking a break so he could have whatever he wants and then after, like, six months we could get back together, but he said he doesn’t believe in breaks ’cause it would just hurt me to have him mess around like that. I know he doesn’t want to have sex with anyone else — just a random girl to make out with. I know that one encounter will set his mind at ease, but I’m at odds as to what to do about this. — Not a Random Girl

Reading between the lines, it seems what you’re asking here is whether or not it would be a good idea to let your boyfriend have a single make-out session with some random chick to get it out of his system once and for all so you two can enjoy a happy relationship together without any lingering doubts or regrets. But your implied question is based on a lot of assumptions, NARG. First, you’re assuming that your boyfriend “doesn’t want to have sex with anyone else,” which is a stretch for any man, let alone a 20-year-old who has had very limited sexual experience. Maybe what you meant is that he wouldn’t have sex with anyone else, which is still a little far-fetched if we’re talking about a guy who’s interested in pursuing a make-out session with one woman while he’s dating another. What makes you so certain he’d stop at just that? Finally, you’re assuming that all it would take is that one random hook-up to satisfy your boyfriend’s curiosity. Now, come on, NARG, be honest with yourself. What are the odds that your boyfriend, who is 20 and horny (at least horny enough to want to mess around with someone else) is going to kiss a girl and say, “Eh, that’s enough for me!”?

What this really sounds like is a major red flag, not too different from #9 on this list, and what it comes down to is this: your boyfriend is not ready to be in a committed relationship. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you or that you don’t have a future together. But if he doesn’t have his own time to explore and date around first, he’s always going to wonder what he missed out on. So, regardless of how much it’s going to hurt you, you need to let him go. The writing is already on the wall — if this is a recurring issue that has been around at least since June, it’s not going to go away and it’s not going to be “cured” with one measly random hookup session. Your boyfriend needs freedom, but he’s too wussy to come right out and say it. So, you need to be the strong one here and end your relationship — a real breakup, not just a “break” — so he can do what he needs to do. It won’t be easy and it’s going to hurt like hell, but I’ll tell you what will hurt worse: if you stay with him and he ends up cheating on you because he couldn’t resist temptation. Or, if you invest another year or so only for him to break up with you because he’s not ready to settle down just yet. Like the old saying goes: “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”

My boyfriend of one year has an adorable, lovable dog. She is very sweet, well-behaved, and I love her to death. The problem is that he is so affectionate towards her, that I find myself resenting her and even actively disliking her because of this attention. I understand that she has been with him through thick and thin. I understand that she was there first. I understand that I need to be more mature about the situation and just “stop being jealous,” but I feel like the other woman. It has gotten to the point where I’ll be on the phone with him, and he’ll be talking to her about how cute she is. It’s just a dog, right? — Dog Tired

Hmm, well this is a new one. Have you told your boyfriend how you feel? Because that would be a good place to start. If you’ve never had your own pet before, it can be hard to appreciate the bond between animal and human and how the love between “master” and his pet is so different than that between two people — even (or especially) two people in love. That’s because a pet is sort of a vessel for our love. They accept it (and give it) without any of the complicated emotional tug-of-war that often accompanies interpersonal relationships between humans. They’re just … they’re easy. But that certainly doesn’t mean the relationships we have with them are deeper than those we have with the people it’s sometimes more complicated to love. Sure, they can be, but if you’re really worried your boyfriend has a deeper bond with his dog than with you, that probably speaks much more to what’s going on in your relationship with him than his relationship with his pet.

If you don’t have any reason to doubt your boyfriend’s love and affection for you, let the dog thing slide. In the great scheme of things, is it really that big of a deal? So, he loves his dog a lot. Maybe he’s even obsessed. But, wouldn’t you rather him be cultivating a relationship with a pet, who truly poses no threat to you, than, say, with another woman? Aren’t you glad he has a passion in his life and it’s something that doesn’t really take him away from you — like maybe his work or solo hobbies (like video games, for example) might? Try to cut him some slack, but if you’re really getting annoyed by all the cutesy talk about his dog, just tell him! It can be as easy as: “I know this is silly, but you’re always going on and on about how cute “Sally” is and I hardly ever hear you say the same about me. I know I’m not in competition with a dog, but would it kill you to give me some doggy-style attention like that every once in a while?” I bet he’ll think your confession is cute and kinda hot.

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