I'm inclined to say this isn't exactly minor. They set rules: check-in first, fornication second. Her ignoring that order and asking after-the-fact displays a certain disregard for the whole bond of trust thing. I mean, how hard would it have been to make a discreet phone call or something?
That said, yeah, he's overreacting by hitting the nuclear option of instant breakup. I say close the relationship for a while, reestablish trust, et cetera.

Footnote: what in damnation does "I've been attacked trying to save her before" mean? To borrow from my therapist, I'm seeing some victim-perpetrator-rescuer triangles popping up here.
LW, you feel 'conflicted' because what you thought was "love her more than anything" was actually "love her as long as she agrees to do everything I say." You're 'conflicted' because you didn't realize how jealous you can be until it's staring you blank in the face.

So stare back. Either talk to yourself in the mirror or sit quietly and ask yourself, "Do I want to live with my jealousy or do I want to live with my girlfriend?" If the former, then dump her & enjoy yourself. If the latter, get over her breach of technicalities (she *did* ask before fucking, right?) and continue to love her, warts 'n all. No, she's not perfect, but neither are you.
This seemsike a dumb rule , to me. So, she's met a hot guy , she phones the LW- and he says, what? No, sorry honey I don't feel ok about you going out with this hot guy.
Yes yes, she agreed to the rule. Just seems dumb.
If LW and partner had decided it's ok to go with someone else while they away, then shouldn't that just be it. You can go with others/ you can't go with others.
To be allowed to go with others, but call first? Weird.
Seems like.
The question is, how hard to you think it would be to find someone who has all the stuff you love about this woman (apparently great roommate, great friend, great lover, and sexually adventurous in ways that you appreciate), but is less likely to screw up on occasion and hurt your feelings?

Maybe she wasn't that great before? Only a so-so roommate, so-so friend, so-so lover? If so, then, sure, let her go find someone who wants what she has to offer.

But if you had felt before this incident that you had hit the jack-pot, then I would try Dan's advice to work on forgiving her. Did you ever have the outside sex you negotiated for? If not, then maybe that would help you feel less screwed over. That might mean renegotiating -- seems like she should give you an in-town freebie given her loose application of the ground rules the two of you had negotiated before your respective trips.
@1, re "victim-perpetrator-rescuer triangles" -- yes, especially given this statement: "She can't really afford to live on her own."

Um, if she can't afford to live on her own then let her go find a room in a house with other people. Or move back home. Adults don't stay in a relationship out of pity for someone else's financial troubles.
Dear straight dudes,

Know this. You are, in all likelihood, not Don Draper. In fact, in all likelihood, Don Draper is not Don Draper.

So. An "open" relationship really means that to 88% of you — while your girl friend is going to get laid like crazy — will sit home alone jerking off, stewing in resentment that you will force yourself to mask as sensitive nobility.

That, or you will lower your standards appreciably and you will end up banging mostly ogre wives.

Adjust your expectations accordingly.
Yeah, gonna have to disagree with Dan on this one.

Sure, there are ppl who literally have no rules with regards to the ppl their partners can fool around with. For the large percentage who are ok with non monogamy AS LONG AS there are rules, those rules are there for a reason and should be considered sacrosanct (assuming bith partners still really want to be together).

Even if the rules seem "dumb" "irrelevent" or "arbitrary" but they are there as emotional safeguards.

With this couple, it was pretty clear that talking FIRST was one of the rules. Her breaking that was no different then if she fucked the guy and no sex was one of their rules.

And I can totally get such a rule. My open relationship had a similar was important to my sanity because if I knew beforehand she would be sleepi ng with someone, I could a) have a say in it and b) prepare myself emotionally.

I knew that if we hadn't discussed it yet, it hadn't happened yet. If she was out hooking up with ppl and THEN telling me, that wouldn't work for me. At any given moment, she could be out getting laid. And at any moment I could have gotten a phone call saying "I just got laid honey!" And yo hear that without being in the right mindset wpuld have been very poor for our relationship.
@3 it may be dumb to you, but lots of ppl have odd rules with this stuff. Because everyone has thir own emotionally vulnerable spots, the rules are put in place because one of the partners wanted it there to protect themselves.

But if it's there, it's there for a reason. And that's the ppint of rules...because you care about not hurting y ur partner, even if you think the rule is dumb or doesn't make sense.

I agree with 1 - SVTR's wife violation was pretty serious and I am kind of surprised that Dan seems to be giving her a pass. In a podcast where someone asked whether oral sex on a plane meant you had joined the mile-high club, Dan's point was [paraphrasing] "Is oral sex 'sex on a plane'? Sex is the second word of oral sex. Therefore, you had sex on a plane." Ergo, SVTR's wife had sex in violation of the "call before coitus" agreement. Furthermore, this was apparently their first time opening their relationship (I assume SVTR would have mentioned that these were rules that had applied to previous trips or an existing open relationship) and while he might have left this out, it sounds like his wife's call saying she wanted to sleep with the guy did not begin with "I am sorry, but things got a little carried away and the guy ate me out before I called you."

To SVTR - Although I come down hard on Dan, this bungling of the opening of a relationship is common as evidenced by the calls and letters Dan gets. Ergo, the question you have to ask yourself is whether this fits into a pattern of behavior. Does she violate mutual agreements on a regular basis? An even more important question is whether she tries to put the blame on you (e.g. It's your fault you're upset since we agreed we could sleep with other people on our trips). If the answer to either of those questions are Yes, then dump her.
@7 that's probably a not very accurate generalization.

Yes, if a guy and a girl both approach 100 members of the opposite sex, the female will have much more success. And yeah, if the goal is pure numbers, of course the female has a huge advantage.

But All you need is one person who likes you enough to fuck you on a regular basis. One does not need to be Don Draper to find one or two ppl lIke that.
@1 yeah that was weird.

I took it to mean she's a big flirt at best and flat out scandalous at worst.

Sounds like this is not a one off thing with this girl.
I had a similar rule once, and it ended up being terribly frustrating. Sometimes you don't know when something might happen with someone else. You're out, having drinks, you are attracted to someone... and then you have to make a somewhat drunk phone call? Have a heartfelt conversation outside of a bar while said guy and all your friends are taking shots? Should I send a text?

In practice, it just never worked. I ended up turning down a lot of opportunities that I wanted to say yes to because I couldn't work in the consent conversation with my long-distance boyfriend, as most of my opportunities were not planned but spontaneous. In the end, I resented the rule deeply, and my boyfriend because of it, as I felt I was in the most limited "open" relationship ever.
Is the pre-sex phone call supposed to be a screen of some kind? Does she have to describe him, what she plans to do to him, etc? Sounds like a super weird and awkward conversation to me. I can see why she was just like, "you know what? This seems silly. I'm just going to blow him and worry about it later."
what a hassle.

you're not ready for an open relationship; hardly anyone is.

go ahead and break up, it's inevitable at this point.
This dude is 28?
Get over this, dude.

Then review @3's points and change your rule into not a rule but a protocol about how you see other people, and don't make it involve asking permission first.

Or, if it's really her hooking up with other people that you can't deal with, then see about changing the thing about you two being able to hook up with other people, and see if you're both happy with that.

But either way, just get over this one thing, because it just doesn't make all that much sense. She had sex with you twice on the day you parted ways, and you'd already agreed you both might hook up with other people. "But she didn't follow the letter of the lawww!" Um, yeah.
@11 you tried that theory out?

Look, I've been married for 23 years. So I've been out of the internet age fuck scene. But I did come of age before AIDS and getting laid was pretty easy (getting laid in your twenties is spectacularly easy). And for women it is generally astronomically easier. And maybe the internet makes that process less stressful and also allows women to be much more selective that ever.

So I still I can't imagine sexual dynamics have changed all that much and that there are a whole bunch of women wanting fuck buddies already in relationships.

They are not called unicorns for nothing.

The time it takes the average dude to find his one or two "regular" fuck buddies, his girl friend has already found ten.That leaves a whole bunch of weekends home alone jerking getting resentful off until your theory delivers. And it also mean the girlfriend has a deeper and thus higher quality pool of applicants from which to select.
@18, your theory is accurate if women wanted the same things that men do. But (on average) women in a open relationship are looking for a second relationship, while men are looking for no-strings sex.

So the woman is the one who doesn't have a very large pool of applicants (not many men want to be a boyfriend to someone else's wife).

And a man like armyguy26 who is looking for someone normal (neither Christina Hendricks nor an "ogre wife" @7), for a longterm, loving relationship, actually is going to have a decent pool of applicants.
And, yes, I speak from experience.
This seems like a bit of an overreaction.

Yes, she broke the rules. But this doesn't seem like a relationship-ending thing to me. It seems like a major bungle perhaps. I don't want to trivialize it. But do you really want to end an otherwise great relationship over this?
I'm getting a vibe that this girl is bad news, and the boyfriend is hanging on the one concrete fuck up (clear rule, clear violation) because she's otherwise good at deflecting blame, so he can't pin anything else on her. @1, that phrase immediately had me thinking "Captain Save-a-Ho."
@13 + @14: Yeah, this check-in-first rule, how could that ever work in practice? More workable would have been a go-only-this-far-the-first-time rule (making out, manual, oral, whatever) - a single hall pass to a point certain.

Now, if the 23-y-o GF had sussed this out more than the 28-y-o LW had (not hard), she would have left a sealed note with him saying, "I'm going to ask for permission on my trip, but it will a pretend ask. And if you say yes, I won't really fuck anyone, but initially, I'll report that I did. So you can sit with that before I really do something. And if you have a meltdown (as he had), we can reverse it. And if you don't have a meltdown, I can be more secure in our relationship surviving an actual hook-up in the future."
Hear, hear, EricaP. I speak from experience too, as an open-married straight guy (and boyfriend to a lovely married woman), and your assessment is the more accurate one!
This is the first time you opened the relationship, she broke the rule about calling each other first, and then she lied to you about giving a dude a blow job? And she's 23 and you're 28? And if you break up, she'll move to another state?

And then we have this line:

I've been attacked trying to save her before and been through crazy shit with her.

Listen to your feelings, dude, they are telling you something very important.
This is the Jack/Kate/Sawyer luv sandwich from Lost. Next up is the cage secks.
I'm with @7. The opening of his letter acts like they were both going to be having crazy hook-up sex while on away. But she was going to party; he was going to work... And like @7 said, casual hookups are much easier on average for women to obtain. The odds were stacked against the LW, and I think he had to be honest about whether his reaction has any foundation in bitter grapes.
I think when you first open a relationship, it's best to practice "Don't Ask Don't Tell". Once you can handle hearing about things your partner is doing with others, then you can talk about it more, but the phone call first seems awkward. I personally think this guy is not ready to handle an open relationship & is just freaking out about it because his girlfriend got some action and he didn't.
I’m not going to weigh in on the LW — I suspect the girlfriend is crazy, but an awful lot of women are crazy when they’re your girlfriend so it may be the same for him no matter who he sees. Anyway. No opinion.

But I think armyguy26 has it. I always say goodbye to whoever’s in the house — especially babies and dogs — when I leave because it’s not fair to leave the baby or dog to spend their days wondering if someone might disappear. If they are confident that I will tell them when I leave, they know that I’m there and don’t have to worry about me maybe being not there.

I offer my beloved the same respect. If I tell him when I’m going to have sex with someone then he never has to wonder if I am or what I’m up to. Internet dating makes that particularly easy: ‘I’m going to meet someone tomorrow and will probably go home with him/ will not go home with him.’

I have no trouble at all communicating that I am going home with someone. The first time I ask for my date’s cell phone and text his address to my beloved, or even take a photo of his license plate and text that. Any subsequent time I just tell my beloved that I’ll be having sex with X at Y time.

If I were single I wouldn't do this — I trust my judgement and it hasn’t led me wrong yet — but I’m not single. Occasionally a date has lectured me about not being prudent so texting also reassures dates that I am prudent, in case they care about that. Not everyone does. It also confirms that yes, I really am in an open relationship. Further, it helps establish that I am direct, that communication is going to be straightforward and that I have no shame.
Her call was a humblebrag.
@30, or at least it felt that way to him.
I think the letter writer's not really up for non-monogamy, or maybe he's just looking for an exit to this relationship. I hear the other commenters who are saying she agreed to the protocol, it's on her, but honestly, his reaction is over the top, and that's really all on him. Being disappointed because there was a protocol failure? Fair. Dumping her because she did something he says he would have been ok with if only she'd just followed the proper procedure? I call shenanigans. These are not the ramblings of someone who was really ok with his girlfriend banging someone else. These don't even really seem like the ramblings of someone who particularly likes his girlfriend. I recommend that he own that. Do you want out, letter writer? Do you? Then do the deed. Are you just freaking out because you don't like the idea your girl was doing someone else? Calm down, let it go, and go back to monogamy.

I suppose if you're really keen on trying the non-monogamy thing again, then I'd avoid trying to get so involved in your partners choices next time. Keep things simple, and low on detail. (I'm with @28.) Focus on developing coping strategies that are things you personally can do, and are less telling your partner what to do.
Did anyone ready what LW was saying?

Regardless of the transgressions of the girlfriend, letter writer is still a drama-inducing controlling bastard. Best thing he can do for the girlfriend is dump her... For her own sake.
Wow, talk about a bait and switch. He says he would "probably" be fine with her having sex with other people; she does something with someone else that a lot of straight people don't consider "sex", leaving the "sex" until after she has a chance to clear it with her boyfriend as per their rules; he dumps her for it? Hello, dude, grow up. What's she going to do, interrupt a hot and heavy makeout session to call you? I think what happened was your "probably" was an overestimate, and based on your guess that YOU'D be the one getting the outside action.

What you need to do is apologise and discuss whether, based on what happened in this little experiment, decide whether you're cut out to be in an open relationship. My guess is no.
Well, her actions weren't cool. Yes, that rule seems nonsensical and overcomplicated as others have mentioned, but in this stage of initial negotiations it might've been a better choice to not have the sex, and to say after the trip, "Listen, I felt really cockblocked by our rules while I was in Philly, they seem awkward and overcomplicated. Do I really have to call you to clear a hookup after I find an attractive person but before we have any sexual contact?"

However, the LW going right to nuclear and saying his trust for her is now dead? Whoa. Calm down, dude. Is your relationship really built on a less than solid foundation of "she needs me and is dependent on me" and now that you've seen she can get laid without you, you're flipping out? Or was she pushing for an open relationship and you agreed in the abstract even though you seem to have a pretty monogamous conception of what sex should mean within a relationship? Are you prepared to be with a younger woman as she heads toward 30, which is often the sexual peak for women? So many questions here. You two need to sit down and have a frank talk about your expectations around your roles in this relationship. It sounds like whether you go for an open or closed sexual relationship, you have a lot of things to work through.
I read some stupid crud from another advice columnist today. I call this person "The Idiot" because this person often ignores the actual question (and gives stupid advice). I kept thinking, "Well I know what Dan Savage would tell this person." And here he is with another great answer.

Only thing I'd add: From this guy's letter, I can't tell what the rules were, so it's possible that he and the girlfriend had a miscommunication about what she was supposed to do.
The LW may have reason to ditch or reason to say, but in a more general way: that rule seems unwieldy. It seems like most opportunities would be spontaneous. Do you make the call when someone attractive starts flirting? When the invite back to a room has been proffered..? ("I'll get back to you...I have to make a call.") And on what basis would the person at home say no? "You can fuck him only if you really, REALLY want to?" "You can't fuck him if he's better looking than me?"
I am not speaking from experience, but it seems like full disclosure after the fact would serve the same purpose and be more practical.
LOL, as usual I should have read the thread first! Many above have already made my point.
Aurora Erratic @38,

Your partner should have no say in *who* you date, but it's fair and easy to tell them before it happens. It’s not clear that the LW had thought this through.
I must really be old.....IMO, people should not talk about their sexual activities with other people with their sexual partners -- TMI. The rule should either be "we are exclusive" or "we are not exclusive and don't tell me about it"
>"it's fair and easy to tell them before it happens. "

I agree - if you're trolling craigslist or plentyoffish. My sense was of a business/tourist trip and meeting someone in a bar. In that case, excusing yourself to check in with the insecure, controlling BF would be a major mood-killer for both parties in the bar.
Honestly, as a few people have mentioned, a lot of straight people consider manual and oral to fall under foreplay. Reading that second paragraph again, it sounds like the girlfriend thought exactly this and believed that she was following the rules about asking permission before she and dude she met got all the way to 'real sex'--that you don't drag your partner into this until it reaches that line. Whereas he seems to have put the 'call first' line at checking in before they get to any handholding. Seems like poor communication of what the amorphous 'taking each other's feelings into account first' translated to, combined with a lack of imagination. (If she chose a guy on CraigsList she could call bf before they met in real life; if she met a cute guy in a bar she probably wasn't going to pause to call and ask whether it was okay if she flirted back at him.)

To ease of finding partners: This was clearly a hall-pass-to-hook-up-on-business-trip type of open for both, not arranging another long-term partner in the city where they live.
What with the details about "being attacked while trying to save her" etc., Girlfriend strikes me as one of those Force Of Nature types, and Letter Writer is trying to get a sense of some sort of a grip on a situation in which he is badly out of his depth. The particular rule they settled on seems pretty unworkable, for all the reasons others have raised; but more than that, on general principles I can't recommend this approach when you are dealing with a Force Of Nature. Rules sound all wonderful and reassuring while in the middle of a conversation intended to make your partner feel secure, but out in the moment, you can count on "it's better to ask forgiveness than to seek permission" to be the governing principle.

So, yeah, rule-making and Force Of Nature don't mix. Either be cool with the fact that your partner is a Force Of Nature, or be with someone else.
@43: "This was clearly a hall-pass-to-hook-up-on-business-trip type of open for both,"

Well, not necessarily. It could have been "Oh stop worrying. I know you are going on business while I'm away for some fun (and possibly getting "attacked" while you aren't there to "save me"), but I'll tell you what, you have my full permission to fuck around too, okay?"

"not arranging another long-term partner in the city where they live."

The second half of your sentence, I agree with.
I can understand why he is having trouble trusting her at this point. They made a rule about calling and conferring before getting hot and heavy. Not only did she not call until after she had already let him have his mouth on her genitals (which implies nakedness, which implies quite a bit of peripheral action), she somehow neglected to tell him that she had also blown him. From his perspective, chances are dollars to donuts that she fucked him right away and has been minimizing starting with that first phone call, for purposes of damage control.

I agree with Dan that the rule was kind of dumb, as was his reaction to (supposedly) the rule -- I am dumping you in anger for doing what I would have been perfectly fine with you doing, and given you permission to do had you only asked first --but I suspect that his actual reaction is not to the rule, but to the realization that his girlfriend probably is a liar.
@46: But is she's a liar, why wouldn't she just lie about 'I'm thinking of meeting up with this guy tonight--he's really nice, you'd like him--and I'm thinking something might happen' when it actually already had 12 hours earlier? It's unlikely he's going to get a precis of precise naked activities from the guy that he can use to cross-check her timelines.

Maybe she's addicted to the most dramatic version possible. Maybe he's the latest guy shocked to discover that 'we're free to hook-up with randoms during this long weekend in different cities' meant she found instant action. (Both in the 'easier for women' sense and in the 'wait she actually is so into this idea she'd act on it--it's not just hypothetically two-way?' sense. That last part really matches the tone of the letter--why does their being highly sexually compatible and having sex twice on the last day together matter? (Beyond the 'open when things are good, not awful' rule, but that doesn't seem to be how he's applying it.)

I suspect the discussion had a lot about philosophical beliefs around the importance of taking each other's feelings into account (which is important) without getting into concrete details of whether the time for getting the absent person's blessing was before shaking hands or before locating a condom.
I don't understand... Why you made a deal in the first place. Seeing as you you both moved to a new city together. Where did that idea even come from to open things up?

My suspicion is that this guy is dating a crazy I gotta have it all the time type (a "slut") who basically is just super into whomever is in her presence at the moment. So when they're together it's great but ultimately she won't keep it in her pants. She's 23, obviously not ready to settle down. I'm tempted to say LW probably put a lot of blinders on when moving in with this girl - crazy lotta sex havers are generally highly charismatic - and now that's coming back to bite him. Call it a life lesson, don't put blinders on for anyone.

Alternatives are,
1, perpetually worry that your girlfriends vagina actually tastes like some other dudes come and essentially cuckold yourself
2, break up, move out, and let her figure out her own options
It sounds like his rules were quite clear and she didn't break them: Call before sleeping with someone. She called before sleeping with someone. Just as clearly, she seems to define 'sleeping with someone' to be having penis-in-vagina sex. Whereas he seems to define 'sleeping with someone' to include making out, blow jobs, cunnilingus, etc.

Instead of him blowing up that she couldn't read his mind as to definitions of phrases that the majority of people (including those on this comment thread) don't define the same way, he needs to calm the fuck down, accept that he fucked up by not being clear (there's no 'forgive her' that should be in the works here), and talk to her non-threateningly, at a time when he's not holding her future, the relationship, and her living area hostage, about what his definitions are.

All that said, my experience with controlling assholes is that he really ought to dump her immediately for her own good. The relationship is so unequal that he can easily slide this into emotional abuse and extortion, if he hasn't already.
@47: why does their being highly sexually compatible and having sex twice on the last day together matter?

Possibly because his ego was hoping that, although she had permission (in theory) to sleep with others, she was so happy with him she wouldn't actually do it? So he felt personally insulted when she did.
@50: Yeah, that is certainly what it reads like, isn't it?

I think there have been a lot of good points in this comment thread. I'm with the crowd who thinks that she actually thought she was following the rules by calling to ask before actually sleeping with the guy. Also, I think her horny brain probably said "call before the guy eats me out, call after... is there really that big of a difference?" and decided "No" because it was more convenient.

And honestly, the amount he is flipping out seems out-of-proportion to the offense. I think he's either flipping out because he didn't think it would actually happen and didn't really think his permission through, or there are other problems in the relationship that are causing him to give this more weight. I honestly think it's probably the former, but I understand why some people think it's the latter.
Just to say, I don't think the girlfriend is completely blameless here; I think she is guilty of bending the rules, if not breaking them. But she is new to poly and the rule wasn't very practicable, and she came clean about what happened. So they need to talk frankly about it, clarify the rules (or make a better rule which takes into account impromptu rather than pre-arranged hookups), and resolve to communicate better going forward, if they decide an open relationship is what they both want.
@46: ...but I suspect that his actual reaction is not to the rule, but to the realization that his girlfriend probably is a liar."

Yes, only there's no "probably" about it, since she at first lied about the BJ.

Guys, this isn't complicated: Conditional consent is conditional. "I only did something you'd have been okay with if some other condition had been met" means "I did something you aren't okay with." Compare to "I consented to safe sex, but you took the condom off without telling me." Conditions matter.

LW: Break up. You're dating someone crazy, and your whole letter is ringing the "I'm trying desperately to find some boundary my partner will respect" alarm bells. Those alarm bells mean it's time to break up. The fact that most of the commentariat here thinks that because you're a dude you're not allowed to have any boundaries doesn't matter. Your partner is never going to respect your boundaries. Partly because she's crazy, and partly because she lives in a culture that believes you aren't allowed to have any.
@51: "Also, I think her horny brain probably said "call before the guy eats me out, call after... is there really that big of a difference?" and decided "No" because it was more convenient."

Yup. Someone who decides your boundaries don't matter as soon as hornybrain switches on is someone who doesn't give a fuck about you. Compare to "All I did was have sex with a person, and you'd have been fine with that if that person had been you."
Pretty confident that if the genders were reversed, nobody except possibly Hunter would be having trouble remembering that the LW gets to have some boundaries.
@53: If she had anticipated her boyfriend's reaction would be what it did in fact turn out to be, NO WONDER she downplayed what happened. If you want honesty, you can't punish people for telling the truth.

To me, "My girlfriend and I decided ... that we would probably be okay with each other sleeping with other people as long as we discussed it beforehand to make sure we are taking each others feelings into account" IS the discussion they were committed to having before fooling around. They discussed it, then she did it, then she told him about it. How is that "crazy"? To me, "Yes, I'd be fine with it / What? I'm dumping you!" is crazy.
@55: If you want honesty, you can't punish people for telling the truth.

Right! That's why confessing to murder means you get away with it! Oh, wait, that would be stupid and insane.

He wanted to be treated like someone with feelings, and she decided not to do that. He doesn't have to keep dating her. Rule of life: If you don't want to keep dating someone, you don't have to. Even if you're male. You're allowed to break up with anyone, for any reason. "You cheated on me" is enough of a reason. Any reason is enough of a reason.
TL, DR: When someone tells you they cheated on you, no, you are not obligated to act like they didn't cheat on you.
What's missing from the letter is whose idea it was to open the relationship. From the letter, this is something they both wanted. Commenters like @48 and @53 seem to read it as her pushing for an open relationship, then not respecting the one restriction her boyfriend wanted -- which COULD be the case, but he never says that. It equally could be that HE wanted the open relationship, then got pissed off that she was the first to benefit from it. Funny how biases are coming into play, and yes, it would be interesting to see where commenters placed the blame if the genders were reversed.
@57: If you don't want someone to cheat on you, you should not tell them that you "would probably be okay" with them cheating on you.
Why do you keep pretending it wasn't conditional? Would probably be okay under certain circumstances isn't the same as "would probably be okay, and it's totally okay to ignore the conditions."

Conditional permission is conditional. I note that nobody forgets this when it's the conditions of a woman's conditional consent that are being violated.

For the benefit anyone who is actually slow, rather than just sexist: Honest nonmonogamy is different from being a CPOS, but only because of the honest part. If you make an agreement that specifies conditions under which sex with other people isn't cheating, then it's only not-cheating under those conditions.

If you agree to conditions and then decide not to follow them, you're a cheating piece of shit.
@58: It doesn't matter in the slightest who wanted the open relationship. It matters which of them decided that the other one's boundaries don't matter.
Eudaemonic: I'm really sorry your ex cheated on you. That must have sucked.
BiDanFan: I'm really sorry that you're so devoted to sexist bullshit that you have to turn to passive-aggressive personal attacks rather than acknowledge that conditional consent is conditional.

For the record, I don't think I've ever been cheated on. Also for the record, please don't have sex with anyone until you've figured out that consenting under some conditions is not the same as consenting under other conditions.
In contrast, last summer a new-to-poly partner of mine broke his own rule by making out with someone right in front of me, in addition to breaking the general rule of "be honest" by not telling me he had plans with her. Did it hurt me? Hell yes it did. Was it a dumping offense? I didn't take it as one. I see other people; certainly he can see other people. His going about it wrong was cause for conversation and forgiveness, not blowing up and throwing away a good relationship just because somebody got the details wrong. Sure, LW is within his rights to dump her on a technicality. But if LW values this relationship, perhaps he'll take my approach. Open relationships are seldom easy. Your bias means you're reading this as if she didn't care about his feelings, not as if she did care but made a minor screw-up on the execution. Either of these may be true; but your experience means you're only reading this situation in one possible way.

Not to mention a VERY sexist one, Mr Kettle.
Oh my. So it's not your experience that's causing you to read this in a terribly sexist and judgmental way, then. My bad for cutting you a bit of slack there, I guess...
@64: Amended to say that I am female, my new-to-poly partner is male, his Other was female, so there is no double standard in my logic.
I disagree that she lied about the blow job. She told him, in essence "met a guy, got to third, want to go all the way, are you okay with that? We agreed we'd talk first." Failing to give him a blow by blow of each first, second, and third base move doesn't constitute lying. Saying "Of course I didn't blow him! Okay, okay, I did..." would be lying.

E, you seem to see a crystal clear line where "okay sleeping with other people if we discussed it beforehand" meant "before going out or flirting with anyone," which is how he applies it later. But her calling to say the guy went down on her and could she sleep with him later, she wanted to strongly implies that she thought she was within their agreement: she wanted to get off third base with this guy, was it alright?

Conditional consent is problematic if the conditions are vague, as "taking each other's feelings into account" is. If 'before sex' could mean 'before you need a condom' OR 'before you consider flirting with anyone' then this comes down to poor communication.

It's totally possible that she is crazy, that she violates boundaries all the time, that she chose the most drama generating scenario, etc. But from what's in the letter, I think accusing her of "lying" about the blow job is way off base, and they had lousy communication about what talking "before" meant.

FWIW, flip the genders and I'd still think their problem was lousy communication of expectations, vagaries about feelings rather than specific "if you're interested in someone--before you kiss them, before you flirt with them--I need you to call me and tell me this might happen and we can talk about it" vs "if you fool around with someone and want to take things further, then we talk first." Both of which are incorporated within the vagaries "take each other's feelings into account" and "discuss sleeping with other people beforehand." But with reversed genders I'd read the naiveté of "we have great chemistry, we had sex twice before I left, I'm astonished they acted on my offer of an open weekend pass" with a touch more disbelief.
@64: I notice the "And then lied about it" part was missing from your story.

I also notice that you're still pretending that conditional consent is unconditional consent. It isn't. Nobody here seems to make this mistake when genders are reversed; nobody here, including yourself, would be so confused by someone saying "She consented to sex when she's awake, and even though she explicitly told me that she doesn't consent while asleep, I went ahead and did it because she'd have been fine with it if she was awake."
@67: " But with reversed genders I'd read the naiveté of "we have great chemistry, we had sex twice before I left, I'm astonished they acted on my offer of an open weekend pass" with a touch more disbelief."

Naive people still get to break up with people who don't treat them the way they want to be treated. I would be very surprised if you said "well, she's naive, so you get to do whatever you want to her and she doesn't get to protest."

"Saying "Of course I didn't blow him! Okay, okay, I did..." would be lying."
"I got her to admit that she blew the guy ..."

It sounds like he's describing exactly the scenario you're describing as lying.
@68: When did she lie?
His phrasing 'got her to admit' does not indicate that she claimed to not have given him a blow job, then admitted she had. It suggests that she opened with the information that she'd gotten to third with a guy, he went down on her, and when pressed for more details included that she also went down on him.

Switching "conditions" away from the very vague ones here--"take each other's feelings into consideration" "take each other's sexual desires into consideration" "so long as we talked about it before sleeping with anyone"--to someone being unconscious is really weird.

Two phrases from his complaint: "Okay... sleeping with other people as long as we discussed it beforehand" and "(asked) if it (would be) okay for her to sleep with the guy (she'd fooled around with)." If he believed that she had slept with the guy, then I'd expect him to call that out right there. He doesn't complain that oral is obviously "sleeping with"; instead he seems to agree that she called him before "sleeping with" the guy. But she didn't call him before "going out later" with the guy, which is where he thinks the "call before sleeping with" line obviously lay if they were going to "take each other's feelings into account."

Shorter: The standard "take each other's feelings into account" is wildly vague. Yes, we all want to date people who take our feelings into account, but that can mean the lyrics from "You were always on my mind" ("Yes, I treated you like crap, BUT I thought about you. That's what matters, is that while I cheated and lied I still thought about you, too.") It can mean a failure of mind reading. Anything can be in or outside that standard.
@IPJ: Again, when it's a woman's boundaries that have been transgressed, nobody goes to such lengths to parse her boundaries to find ways for it to be her fault and for her to be obligated to keep dating the one who treats her badly. When a man lies to a woman, nobody in the commentariat works so hard to invent ways for it not to have been a lie.

I get that he's imperfect. I do. You don't need to keep going on about how he's not the Finest Human Ever. Imperfect people still get to have boundaries, though, and I notice that you're fine with imperfect women having boundaries. The same standard should be applied to men.
The line was "call before sleeping with." By his phrasing, he believes that she did that. However, she did not call before thinking of going out with that night. Again his phrasing.

Now, possibly they had a pre-trip conversation in which unambiguous lines were laid out, and Dan just edited that part. e.g. "We will call if we're thinking of doing anything, including kissing or flirting. Before we do those things. And after we've talked to each other, we can go to whatever line we agreed in the phone call." If that's the case, then yeah, she violated trust etc and the problem is her and if this is a pattern break up already. But if that pre-trip conversation was about "call before you sleep with someone" (because 'meet up with while thinking of maybe fooling around later on that night' isn't usually synonymous with 'sleep with') and "take each other's feelings into consideration" and other vagaries, then the problem was on both of them for not being clear about their boundaries and trusting that "think about my sexual desires" would make those instinctively clear.
@68: The "and then lied about it" part was present in this part of my story:
"... in addition to breaking the general rule of "be honest" by not telling me he had plans with her."

which is a "lie" inasmuch as any omission is a lie, for instance, omitting to disclose that the oral sex went both ways. I'm with @70 here.

Again, not saying she did nothing wrong; just saying that it's a minor screw-up in the scheme of things. And in no way, shape or form have I ever argued that boundaries should not apply equally to men, women, gay, straight, bi, whatever. You're the one who's making this about her being female and imputing a double standard I don't see anyone else asserting is relevant.
@73: "By his phrasing, he believes that she did that. However, she did not call before thinking of going out with that night. Again his phrasing."

Yup. I get that you've parsed his phrasing very very carefully and found ways for it to make it his fault when people treat him badly. Congratulations? He still gets to have boundaries. Violating them is still violating them. LW: Don't date people who exploit semi-imaginary loopholes in your boundaries in order to hurt you. And don't listen to people who think that lawyering your statements is a valid way to justify cheating on you, or invalidating your feelings, or trying to shame you into dating someone you don't want to date.
E, if the woman's boundaries are "think about what I might later on decide I object to, like I said third base on this trip was okay but maybe I mean third base only one way, or with no kissing on the mouth, you need to take my desires into account before you have sex with third parties though I'm giving you permission to so long as you also think about me and how we had sex twice before you left" I would be first in line to call that too vague. I'm also a huge critic of "anything the woman (or one partner) later feels bad about makes consensual sex retroactively into rape."

Parsing this letter (which Dan may have edited to be too vague) I get that "sleeping with" equals "PiV" and "call before sleeping with" equals "call before going out with." Those are not crystal clear instinctive definitions all people would use, even if they think about each other's sexual desires first.

(More often the poor communication re open relationship and gender comes as something like "My wife and I agreed to a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy when I'm out of town, and I slept with her sister on my last trip, and I don't get why she's now upset?" DADT carries a lot of implications re discretion, not overlapping her social circle, not rubbing it in her face, and "that includes not nailing my sister" shouldn't be something that needs to be spelled out in a special list. But the line "call before you do stuff I might not like unless I know beforehand" needs a lot more explicit nouns before reasonable people will all agree they're clear where the boundary is.)
@74: "You're the one who's making this about her being female and imputing a double standard I don't see anyone else asserting is relevant."

Yes! That's why nobody ever applies a double standard without explicitly asserting their double standard! Wait, if what you're saying is true, that would be stupid and insane. If you're neither of those things, could you try applying your statements with some consistency?

It's possible for people to be sexist without saying "I'm sexist!" I thought everyone who could read was smart enough to know that. You're going on and on trying to say it's okay to hurt this guy because he deserved it. On and on and on. You don't do this when it's a woman being hurt. That's a double standard.

The irrelevant thing is whether anyone's asserting it, because a double standard is a double standard even if the sexist jackasses who are using a double standard don't call it that. Duh.

If I only hire men and not women, it's a double standard. Even if I don't explicitly say "I only hire men and not women." Duh.

Pro tip: When you're saying incredibly stupid things to try to justify treating men and women differently, it's probably a good idea to stop doing both. You're trying to find holes in a boundary. You don't do this when the boundary-holder is a woman. These are facts. The fact that you've succeeded, in your own mind, doesn't change anything; what I'm talking about is the fact that you are painfully obviously applying a standard to male consent that you'd never apply to female consent.

This is extremely common, but you should still stop doing it.
@75: If "all sorts of crazy stuff" means she's into boundary violating then they should break up, even if this particular case isn't a good example. "We tried an open relationship so I wouldn't feel bad about my partner's cheating any more, and they still made me feel bad" is a very old tale around here, one improved by breaking up rather than by coming up with better rules.

Dan regularly goes on about how adding extra people is varsity stuff and requires careful discussion of what is and isn't okay, rather than trusting the three-way or open weekend to unfold in a fun and unhurtful way so long as you think about each other's feelings. In this case, from what's in the letter, it seems like she respected the boundary in one sense (called before sleeping with, where he agrees third base isn't sleeping with) but not the other understanding (called before thinking of sleeping with, which was where he seems to have understood call before sleeping with to emotionally fall). If a woman were writing in about how she gave her bf a hall pass for the weekend so long as he thought about her feelings and called before sleeping with anyone, and then he went and fooled around with this girl even though the two of them have great sexual chemistry, that wouldn't mean he was a cad. It would mean both of them should have been clearer about boundaries and she (as the LW) should have thought through whether a guy who just had great sex but has your blessing to seek more might take you up on that thing you said was okay. Violating a clear boundary (call before any physical contact, call before any genital touching) is one thing; violating an amorphous moving one (call before sleeping with someone in the sense of meeting up with them, when those aren't synonyms) is very different.
@78: "If a woman were writing in about how she gave her bf a hall pass for the weekend so long as he thought about her feelings and called before sleeping with anyone, and then he went and fooled around with this girl even though the two of them have great sexual chemistry, that wouldn't mean he was a cad."

I disagree, but I look forward to your spirited defense of the possibly-a-cad the next time something like this comes up, and your exceptionally careful parsing of the cheated girlfriend's stated boundaries, and relentless giving of the benefit of a semi-imaginary doubt. Either that, or I look forward to pointing out--when the spirited defense inevitably fails to happen--that you were lying just now.

I'd love to be surprised (I'm a pessimist, so I love surprises), but I don't think I will be. Anyone feel like placing bets on whether IPJ is going to act the same way, when the genders are reversed?

I'll bet one Public Apology in the comment thread, if IPJ actually treats a female LW with the same problem in the same way, and argues so much with each commenter who thinks the cheater did something wrong and works so hard to find loopholes in the "don't cheat on me" agreement. Anyone want to take that bet? I'd love to lose this one.
"I've been attacked trying to save her before"
idkwtm, but my best guess is that some friend told him he was pussy whipped to do so much for her. Like he's trying to drum up every reason he can think of to dump her and isn't coming up with much. He wasn't really cheated out of much, but his feelings were neglected, and it seems there was some hedging or lie. And it seems like he already twat blocked her and vetoed the intercourse she was asking for. She might be nursing her own grudge now too.

When my feelings have been disregarded, I want to be given enough loving actions from that person to negate the effect of the betrayal. I try to focus my anger energy into generating ways my partner could make me feel as important and loved, as forgetting about my feelings had hurt me. Then ask for it.
Had the letter come from the girlfriend in this exact situation--first 'open' weekend, ground rules were that they would call before sleeping with anyone and would keep each other's feelings in mind--then I would have had the same critique about poor communication: that 'went down on each other' was pretty well within 'sleep with' for many people and they should have clarified back at home with no horny naked people on deck whether that meant 'anything short of piv I don't need to know about, have fun' or 'anything involving genital contact I need to know first, or this will eat at me' and she should have erred on the side of caution in this first road test of openness. And maybe it wasn't for them, certainly they should close the relationship until they were more reliably on the same page, yes she might have blown her chance for future encounters by not sufficiently imagining how her bf might feel about things: all that stuff people told him upthread. Maybe they're a bad fit; maybe one of them is a nutjob; or maybe their first attempt at openness/third parties went badly due to poor communication and a failure of imagination, for which no one is going to give them a 'special first' prize. If it's that last one, no need to break up if otherwise things have been good; probably do break up if this is just the latest in a pattern. (One person violates boundaries, or one person says something is okay but then decides the details of how you did the okay thing make it not okay after all: it can go both ways.)

If she was LW and his focus was not "third base IS sex" but rather "I expected you to call me if you thought you might fool around with someone you met later that night, and I expected you to remember that we had sex twice before I left," that gets a lot harder to parse. It's an odd spot to put the boundary, and harder to figure out where violating it happened.
@77: "I'm talking about is the fact that you are painfully obviously applying a standard to male consent that you'd never apply to female consent."

I'm sorry, but the example I gave proves that you're wrong.
I don't know where you're getting this from. I don't know where your interpretation that the events could only have happened this way because she's female, or that everyone (male and female) who's opined that what she did wasn't as bad as LW thinks has done so because she's female. If what you're implying is that this is analogous to rape, no it isn't. It's a clumsy mistake that resulted from poor communication. LW wasn't raped; LW wasn't even THERE. If that's the parallel you're drawing, it's pretty insulting.
If a woman consented to an open relationship with some rules attached, and her boyfriend broke the letter but not the spirit of the rules, I bet you'd be the first person to call her a controlling psycho for freaking out about it.

"could you try applying your statements with some consistency?

Please point out what I've said that's inconsistent.
@80: I interpreted that literally. As in, one on occasion, someone threatened her physically, and he got into a fight trying to protect her.
@77: Oh, and NO, I am NOT saying "it's okay to hurt this guy because he deserved it." In no way can anything I have said be construed to mean that.
@81: "Had the letter come from the girlfriend in this exact situation"...

It pretty much has before, and it almost certainly will again. We'll see if you have the same critique; sadly, I don't have any hope that you will, or that you'll so vigorously defend the guy amid the cries of "DTMFA!"

For instance:
"DADT carries a lot of implications re discretion, not overlapping her social circle, not rubbing it in her face, and "that includes not nailing my sister" shouldn't be something that needs to be spelled out in a special list."

When this happens, nobody spends comment after comment claiming that it's her fault for not specifying and/or that it does need to be spelled out in a special list. But when the genders are reversed, the obvious implications suddenly stop being obvious to you all. Suddenly, oral sex doesn't count as sex. Suddenly, treating your partner well (instead of treating them like the opposing lawyer in a lawsuit) doesn't matter.

These are all egregiously wrong, and for some reason, everyone manages to avoid these errors when the wronged party isn't a straight dude.
@82: "Please point out what I've said that's inconsistent."

I did. Repeatedly. You ignored it. Since you've already demonstrated that you'll ignore it, rather than quoting you again, I'll just advise you to scroll up.
55: "If she had anticipated her boyfriend's reaction would be what it did in fact turn out to be, NO WONDER she downplayed what happened. If you want honesty, you can't punish people for telling the truth."

84: "Oh, and NO, I am NOT saying "it's okay to hurt this guy because he deserved it." In no way can anything I have said be construed to mean that."

I look forward to your attempt to claim that you aren't lying, even though it could not possibly be more obvious that you're lying.
Wow, I'm not sure I even want to wade into not only the nightmare of this letter but the shitstorm that this comment thread has become, but I'll give it a shot.

We don't know much. Here's what I can say for sure:

1) Despite this couple's having what the lw says were "ground rules clearly laid out," they obviously demonstrated an epic failure to communicate clearly. Either the gf violated the clearly-laid out rules, or those rules as articulated meant different things to them. Either is possible.

2) This relationship already has a high element of drama to it. ("I've been attacked trying to save her before and been through crazy shit with her.") We don't know what nature the attempted save or the attack took. BiDanFan thinks it was a physical attack and the lw got attacked by a would-be rapist, and that may be true; I initially read it that his friends "attacked" him (criticized him harshly and defamed her) for trying to "save" a drama-queen possible basket case. Either interpretation seems plausible, given the rest of the letter.

Here's what I can't say for certain, but I suspect:

The newly-opened relationship was the gf's idea, not the lw's. The wording "we would probably be okay with each other sleeping with other people" is very telling to me.
Probably; as in untested and hesitant. The fact that the lw is the one who is writing this letter and stressing the fact that there were ground rules which he thinks were broken and is now contemplating breaking up with the gf strongly suggests that this wasn't a mutually-originating development/decision in this relationship. It sounds to me that she brought up the opening up--just in time for a trip to her mother's birthday party!--and he reluctantly agreed.

The inclusion of their sexual chemistry and the fact that they had sex twice the day he left says to me that he is trying to both let Dan know that her behavior wasn't because she was sexually unfulfilled and also that he might have been hoping to satiate her enough so she wouldn't act on the concession he perhaps grudgingly granted. (Two hours before my now ex-husband's bachelor party the night before our wedding, I gave him the wildest, dirtiest blow job ever--in the bathroom at my parents' house where an engagement party for out-of-town guests was going on, in the hopes that he would be less horny at the bachelor party and thus less susceptible to temptation, should hookers be provided. Yeah, it's a cheap trick.)

In other words, I don't think the lw really expected the gf to go through with it. And it appears that she did so in record time. And at her mother's birthday party! Which likely means that her mother still lives in the same town as the gf used to live--very plausible, as the lw and gf have moved to a new city "recently" and she's only 23. It's likely she lived in the same city as her mother up until that move in with the lw. So either the lw hooked up with a stranger, or, what seems more likely, she hooked up with someone she already knew. Which leaves open the possibility that this was something the two of them cooked up beforehand, and then she tried to get permission to do it from her boyfriend without telling him it was a probability and he reluctantly agreed to opening with some ground rules, and . . .

Maybe not; maybe they met at a bar or the party or the grocery store, but she would have had to move mighty fast. And that may also be part of what the lw is upset about: the fact that either she wasted not one moment before taking him up on the deal, or she had clearly planned this in advance--and now he's looking for reasons to justify his hurt and anger and sense of betrayal, and has latched onto the violation of a strict adherence to a fuzzily-defined timeline. I mean, all the interpretations of what "call before having sex" means or could mean to different people have already been offered upthread quite eloquently.

What should he do? What should they do? His call. Either he can decide that they need more clearly defined and -articulated ground rules, and he can tell her how hurt his feelings are and they can try to repair things and try again (and I think this guy would really prefer and may only be able to handle a closed relationship), or he can say that this is the last straw with a drama queen who gives him more grief than he can take, and he can end things. Both seem like eminently appropriate responses.

But how this has turned into a battle of the sexes in a more broad way . . . well, if a man is upset by a woman and any female commentor doesn't rush in to condemn the woman in question, you can count on Eudaemonic to rush in crying sexism and double standards and then calling people liars.

I really love your definition of "lying." It certainly doesn't jibe with any definition of "lying" I've ever come across, which is, "to tell a deliberate falsehood."

My quote was an attempt to explain WHY she might have downplayed what went on with the other guy, not to say that the LW "deserved" anything. If you're a kid, and you've stolen the cookie, and you know you'll get in trouble for admitting to stealing the cookie, does your mother deserve to be lied to? That logically doesn't follow.

Logic doesn't seem to be making much inroads here, though, but then it wouldn't, not with someone who thinks lying and rape are the same thing.
@88: Rapist, or mugger, or abusive relative, I wasn't drawing conclusions about who he was trying to save her from, only that it read to me as if he was physically saving her, rather than some dramatic "save her from herself" scenario.
"What can you expect" != "What do you deserve."
I can see where the LW is coming from. If you go so far as to let your SO fuck other people but they can't just work within those very loose boundaries then how can you trust them with harder stuff?

I would still consider giving her a pass if she seems appropriately apologetic and understands why he is upset but I don't know that it is quite as much a la-di-di non-problem as Dans response would suggest.
LW does seem pretty dramatic, but my husband and I are in an open relationship and we also have a check in first rule (before going out with a potential partner, not before sex.) I would also feel bad if I were told after the fact. We have so few rules, but the one or two in place are there to make sure the other partner is comfortable every step because we love each other and we want to be nice to each other.

That said, when I was 23, I used the "I didn't break the rule because you didn't specify what I should do in this exact situation" which is thankfully an excuse people grow out of. Maybe don't put all your eggs in the basket of someone whose emotional maturity moves toward saving face over acknowledging your hurt feelings.
I think that calling each other to ask for permission to have sex with this particular person is a rule that pretty much makes the whole permission to sleep with other people in general unusable.
If you can't handle your love to fuck other people, so be it. But I think that this couple just had a bullshit prohibitive rule for their open relationship.
And that's where the mistake is. SVTR would've not let her fuck this other guy. It's very clear. So he wants her to ask him so he can say no every time.
@88: Re (1), one could expand this letter into a short-short story in which clearly:

A) She's a drama-lover who hurts him every chance she gets; he's the regular guy convinced that if she just thinks about the power of their love she'll settle down

B) He's a drama-lover who says something is okay but then gets hurt anyhow; she's the regular gal convinced that if she just listens better and talks things out they'll be on the same page at last

C) They're both enthralled by their mutual drama and should stay together to limit the fallout

D) They're both regular people whose first attempt at openness ran aground due to confusion about how much should be shared when and a reluctance to get into concrete 'when a hand goes here...' details, but they can work it out in some fashion since things are otherwise strong

(I lean toward D, with both admitting "okay, you're hurt and we didn't talk about this enough and I'm sorry.")

You make a good geography point, though, and that does raise the specter of an ex, and the oft-told "when my partner raised the possibility of openness in a vague philosophic way I didn't realize they had someone on deck ready to go, which is making me queasy in a way the abstraction didn't." (Though it's possible she's in town for a week coinciding with her mom's 50 next weekend, going out with her old friends to old bars where she knew she might have new options. Or that Mildred's party is THE spot to get laid every year.)
The more 'rules' you have in a relationship, the more you need to be very precise about the substance of the rules and what, exactly, they require each partner to do. It appears to me this young lady took "no sex before checking in first" as meaning "no penis-in-vagina sex before checking in first." While I think cunnilingus and fellatio qualify as "sex," a lot of people don't.

As Dan says, relationships are a forum where people make mistakes, and no relationship is going to last if the attitude of the partners is "one mistake and you're out." Open relationships, in particular, are that much more difficult because the opportunities for making mistakes is that much larger. (This is one of the reasons a lot of people in open relationships have only one rule -- don't be a dick -- and try to avoid a long list of "shouldn'ts," which not only infringe on the individual participants' autonomy but needlessly create opportunities for unknowing or inadvertent infractions and hurt feelings.)

SVTR comes across as inflexible, punitive and emotionally immature. He should probably get out of this relationship, but not because she "cheated." He simply seems unequipped to navigate the choppy waters of human imperfection.
"[W]e would probablybe okay with each other sleeping with other people as long as . . ."

So it happened and he wasn't "okay."
It happens. We can't really know how we'll feel when the hypothetical turns into the real; we can't really know how we'll react to a situation that hasn't actually happened yet.

And perhaps we can--we should--say no one's to blame. It's not at all uncommon for someone to agree to opening up a relationship, only to find after it's been opened that s/he can't actually handle the feelings of jealousy or hurt. You're allowed to feel that way. It's okay to prefer a closed, monogamous relationship. It's okay to change your mind.

It seems that that is what happened, and now SVTR feels he has to justify his feelings of betrayal and pain and jealousy. He knows he agreed to opening up and so he seizes on a technicality. This is silly and childish, and a bald attempt at face-saving.

If SVTR is reading, I'd say he's entitled to feel hurt even though he agreed to this. Human emotions can't always be contracted. This seems to be an issue with a lot of people--that "shouldn't have agreed to that before" or "should have discussed that possibility before (even if "before" was 20 years ago!)" or some other variation on a theme that doesn't allow for the messiness of human emotions and their unpredictability and our inability to control them at will.

He's entitled to regret the decision to open things up; he's entitled to want to either close them back down or to break up; she's entitled to not want to close things back down, in which case, they may break up even if he wants to stay together.

Here's the script I'd give him: "Maxine, I know I said it would probably be okay for us to sleep with other people during this time when we were apart, but it turns out that I can't handle it. I feel jealous, I feel hurt. I don't want to have an open relationship. I want us to go back to having the kind of relationship we had before."
I've been attacked trying to save her

Is this the kind of woman who gets in drunken fights with men and then requires her boyfriend to take the punches thrown at her?

LW don't sound too bright either.
gcl1 @93 "Don't put all your eggs in the basket of someone whose emotional maturity moves toward saving face over acknowledging your hurt feelings."

Yes, that.

What I see the LW saying is: I feel cheated and naive...I loved her before this happened...I feel like I've given so much...I'd like to tell her to move out...But she can't really afford to live on her own.

The only reason for not asking her to move out is that she can't afford it. Which isn't much of a reason. But okay, if the LW is too much of a white knight to put her out on the street, here's my advice. People who want to break up but can't live separately for financial reasons should do their best to get on different schedules so they can share the living space without having to see much of each other. Also, he should stop having sex with her. And they (one or both of them) should start saving up money to pay for her to move out.

"While I think cunnilingus and fellatio qualify as "sex," a lot of people don't."

It is kind of amusing how oral sex either qualifies as sex or doesn't, depending on the motivations of the people involved. "What do you mean no sex for the last three weeks? I blew you twice, didn't I?" It's sex when you want to get credit for it, and it isn't sex when you want a free pass.
I'm also kind of amused by the level of parsing that is required to take this scenario and spin it as "not sex." They clearly got together, one of them invited the other up to their room, both of them got substantially naked, no doubt got all manner handsy and kissy, he ate her, she blew him. But this whole situation is not to be considered "sex" because it didn't specifically involve a penis in a vagina?

And HE'S the one getting lambasted for standing on a "technicality?"

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