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Lust in Translation

Dear Natasha,

I really like this guy and we’ve started saying the L-word, but he also wants a “somewhat open” relationship. At first I thought I could handle it. To see how I’d feel about this arrangement, I went on a date with another guy. We talked about kinky stuff and it was all fine, harmless fun, until he tried to kiss me. He had spent RMB 1,500 on dinner and drinks, and I figured, “Ah, what’s one little peck?”

But it was a bad kiss, and to make matters worse, kissing is the one thing my main man asked me not to do with other play partners; we had agreed that kissing was too romantic to do with other people outside our relationship. I don’t feel any emotional attraction to Expensive Dinner Guy and never have. But I did feel that maybe my partner was asking too much of me, and that I should get to do what I want if he gets to do what he wants. So messy!

Now what? Do I have to tell the guy I love? I feel kinda bad and confused.

Am I a horrible person? I need to get rid of the guilt. How? Help!


Guilty Party

Dear GP,

Lighten up, girl! You are not a horrible person. This is not a tragedy. Accidentally losing a favourite diamond earring when you’re messing around with some guy who isn’t even a good lover – that’s a tragedy. You, my dear, simply have a bit of a mystery to untangle. The mystery is: why the hell are you bothering with this guy?

So you feel guilty. Okay. That does not mean this guy is Mr Right and that you need to drown yourself in loathing and Merlot. Guilt is an indicator that you need to take care of yourself better. It is just an indicator that something is a bit off – like the “check engine” light in a car. When the check engine light blinks, it doesn’t mean “Holy Hannah! Jump out of the car into moving traffic!” Instant, total combustion generally only happens in the movies.

This is merely a “something’s beginning to get a bit sticky in here and you’d best take a gander under the hood for more info” situation. You say you don’t really trust your main man. If you know he’s going to be touching other ladies, and you don’t trust him to stick with you, maybe you kissed Expensive Dinner Guy because part of you wanted to keep one foot out of the pagoda. You’re not quite ready to sign up and convert to the rules he’s selling.

In my experience, love triangles work better on TV than in real life. If you have a “somewhat open” relationship, no matter how many times you two lay out the rules, it’s hard to predict exactly how you will react to physical intimacy with new people. And that’s a valid concern. When people get nekked together, there’s a lot of hormonal reward going on. It’s natural to associate your play partner with that reward, sorry to say.

It’s one thing to try to be a modern woman, strong and independent, blah blah, but how long do you want to be a human pinball, just bouncing from one thing to the next racking up points with nowhere to go but down? We all know that relationships are risky. But trying to prevent the other person from moving on just makes things heinously complicated if all he wants is to have his cake and eat it too.

There is a time for flirting and a time for loving. If you’re smart, you’ll make sure you’re not allowing yourself to get doe eyes for someone who’s ready to buck anybody in a five-mile radius. Sounds like you already know that, in your gut.

Good luck, GP.




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