Ask Nadia: My Partner Slept With Someone Else. Now What?

September 3, 2019

SHESAID’s resident sexpert answers your stickiest sex questions every week.

Dear Nadia,

I let my girlfriend of ten years sleep with her PT instructor but now I’m regretting it and can’t get it out of my head. Will I ever learn to forget or will it be this way forever?


Jealous Guy

Dear Jealous Guy,

This is a tricky question to answer without more context, but going from what you’ve told me here, it sounds like this was consensual and something you guys openly communicated about.

If you’ve been reading my columns for a while, you probably already know what I’m going to say here: Monogamy is incredibly, incredibly difficult. Which is why divorce rates are high, and research shows just about all of us have at some point in our lives either taken part in, or been with a partner who has had an affair. 

The first humans to pledge “till death do us part” didn’t have a particularly daunting task ahead of them. The average life expectancy back then was around 40. That wasn’t such a stretch.

Today, we’re living well into our seventies and eighties. That’s an awfully long time to keep having sex with the exact same person – over, and over again. 

It may also explain why non-traditional relationship constructs like polyamory, swinging and open marriages are trending. Even the most devoted and loyal of us secretly crave novelty and mystery – a break from our routines. The fact that it seems you and your partner were able to acknowledge and openly discuss this is a huge testament to your relationship and the strong foundations of trust and open communication you’ve built together. There are few couples who are brave enough to tackle this topic.

Now, onto the jealousy part. Because that appears to be what you’re experiencing. 

You might be surprised to learn that even seasoned polyamorous couples experience this. Jealousy is a natural human emotion and so experiencing it is not at all unusual. The problem with jealousy, however, is how we’ve been taught to react to it. 

We’ve been conditioned to believe it’s something we must never, ever experience within the bounds of a ‘healthy relationship’, so that, if it arises, we’re compelled to see it as a big red flag, and a sign we should end the relationship.

The fact you’re experiencing negative emotions around your partner having sex with someone else is normal. Healthy, even. It doesn’t, however, mean you now need to break off the relationship. 

If you’ve decided opening up your sexual relationship isn’t something you’re comfortable with, after all, that’s fine. Simply clearly and honestly let your partner know, and then reset your boundaries, perhaps with a plan to revisit things in six to 12 months’ time. 

If you still love your partner, your communication remains strong, and your partner’s feelings for you haven’t changed since this liaison, my advice would be to accept the jealousy that arises in you when you think about your partner sleeping with someone else, and then to simply ride it out, rather than let it dictate your future together.

Nadia x

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Join the discussion: Would you ever consider letting your partner sleep with someone else? 

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