BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

Advice for the Modern Man: Let’s Talk About Threesomes

Love triangle

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(Questions have been modified for space and clarity.)

Before we were together, my girlfriend had a threesome with two strangers. I found this out during a recent game of “I have never” we played with a group of friends.

I never like to ask about someone’s past, because I don’t think it’s relevant to the present relationship. But to cut a long story short, my girlfriend explained to me that she hooked up with a guy, and when they went back to his place, his flatmate was there, so she hooked up with both men.

To be honest, I find this quite gross but have been trying to suppress those feelings for some time. The issue is that when I am drunk or when we have an argument, I keep calling her the “S” word. I hate using that word, and I hate berating her. I’ve never acted like this before. 

I love her dearly, but my behavior is driving her away. Is it normal for me to react this way? Any help you could give me would be much appreciated.
-qotsa2016; London, England

Ahhh, threesomes…just the topic I want to write about knowing my mother’s going to be reading this.

Let’s get two things out of the way first: It’s never OK to call your girlfriend derogatory names, nor is it OK to berate her. No matter what.

I feel like I’m piling on a bit in saying that, because it seems you recognize you’ve been wrong for doing so. But that awareness is irrelevant if you don’t stop doing it. So please stop doing it.

With that made crystal clear…

When it comes to your problem digesting the fact that your girlfriend previously had a threesome, I get where you’re coming from. I get the nausea, the discombobulation, the dazed-and-confusion. Faced with a similar situation, I’d likely suffer the same symptoms.

Generally speaking, guys do not do well dealing with anything regarding a girl’s romantic resume. We just don’t. Hearing about it, thinking about it, it evokes this visceral, stomach-churning shudder, like what happens when you see Lawrence Taylor eviscerate Joe Theisman’s leg. (Click on that link if you dare…I didn’t.)

Chris Rock captures this perfectly when explaining why you should never ask a woman how many men she’s slept with (NSFW) — no matter what number she gives, it’s going to be too high.

“Two?! Two?! Two?! No, no, no…two?! Two?! I guess that’s how you was raised!”

Most of us are just not strong enough or secure enough to handle this type of information in a healthier, more mature way. Which is weird, because we are attracted to wild, even promiscuous girls, in the same way girls are attracted to wild, rebellious guys. There’s an intrigue, a danger, an opportunity to fulfill our craziest fantasies.

But then that whole “Who do you want to have fun with” versus “Who do you want to have children with?” dichotomy comes into play, and we freak out.

Your girlfriend had a threesome before you were together. This means that threesome falls outside your jurisdiction. You can’t hold it against her, and you can’t throw it in her face anytime you get drunk, angry or upset.

That said, it doesn’t mean that threesome can’t still sabotage your relationship, because that’s what it’s doing right now. Or more accurately, that’s what you’re allowing it to do right now.

You said you love your girlfriend dearly, and it sounds like you want to make the relationship work. So in order for that to happen, you have to figure out how to move past it. That’s what a commitment is — accepting someone in all 360 degrees.

Have you talked to your girlfriend about it? I’m sure that’s the last thing you want to do, but I’m not suggesting a recounting of lurid details. Just explain to her what you’re struggling with, why you’re struggling with it and what you’re trying to do to get over it.

Knowing where you’re coming from might slow down her withdrawal. It’s like any argument or trouble spot in a relationship — the more your partner understands what you’re going through and where you’re coming from, the more they’ll help you work through it and the more patient they’ll be. Communication is key.

And patience is probably the best present she can give you right now, because what you need is time. Her being in a threesome is something you’ll never be able to un-know, but it will get easier to accept and stomach — or to at least lock away in some deserted corner of your subconscious. It’s a skill I’d imagine fathers learn once their daughters start dating.

Until you can master that, though, just be kind to your girlfriend, and to yourself. And in those darkest of moments, when your mind is flooded with unwanted thoughts and visuals, focus on the fact that your love for her in the present and future is stronger than your distaste for what she did in the past.

What do you think? What advice would you give this reader? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

This article originally appeared on the Good Men Project.

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Photo Credit: riekisa Flickr via Compfight cc

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