I could really use your advice with regards to my relationship, since I wanna sit down with my boyfriend and have a final, end-it-or-continue-it talk in the near future, and I am completely lost as to how to address certain issues or even start this talk.

We’ve been in this relationship for two years now. Right from the beginning, the topics of monogamy, infidelity, trust, and jealousy have been a trigger for arguments and stress. I’m the first to admit that I have trust issues and am a jealous person, at least in the beginning of a relationship. My boyfriend though, he’s basically cool with everything, and he was always open about his "everything goes" attitude. After a couple of months, we finally agreed on having threesomes, but only when we’re away together on trips and vacations. We used Grindr and Scruff and looked for guys that interested us both, and most of the time we texted them together. It made me feel included.

But at times it was very stressful for me, especially when I felt excluded—for example, when he chatted with other guys on Grindr without showing me, and especially last year when he admitted to continuing chatting with some of those guys on Facebook, long after we returned home and deleted Grindr. But it’s not only some guys we met on Grindr—I always suspected that he is sexting with other guys, mostly friends of his, on Facebook or via Whatsapp (exchanging dick-pics, chatting about sex).

Three months ago we moved in together. I knew that it would be tempting to snoop around, but I do not wanna be that person and I tried to ignore my urges to go through his stuff. But we kept arguing, and in a moment of "Fuck this" a couple of weeks ago, I snooped on his laptop and his mobile phone. And there it was. Proof. Nude pics from at least 10 other guys, chats about sex with a close friend of his, Facebook chats with guys we met on Grindr when we were out of town.

Now here’s the thing: one week ago he asked me if I would be ok with him inviting a close friend over for coffee and maybe having a threesome. I knew that he was exchanging pics with this friend, I knew that they were chatting about this for at least a couple of months, and I felt hurt and betrayed and excluded. This isn’t us texting strangers on Grindr together—this is him and his friend chatting about a threesome with me being the third party who’s late to the game. And as hard as I try—and as hard as I try to be GGG—I can’t get this feeling of betrayal and exclusion out of my system.

But I didn’t tell him that, because I would have had to admit that I snooped around his stuff. I just said "No." And I asked him if he already chatted with this friend about a threesome, if they already exchanged pictures, and he denied it. All of this led to a huge argument once again, cause he says that I’m not opening myself up to new possibilities, that I am not seeing his side of the argument, that I still don’t trust him. And he’s right, I don’t trust him. But now I know that my distrust is justified.

So we said: Let’s talk again in a couple of weeks. And here I am now. Lost. Do I admit my wrongdoing and tell him that I know about him chatting and sexting with guys on Facebook and Whatsapp? Should I just let it go and get on Grindr myself in order to create some balance, i.e. "You do it so I'm doing it too!" Is way for him to follow his desires that would allow for me trust in him again? Why does his chatting and sexting hurt and anger me so much?

I’m lost and I'm afraid that in a couple of weeks I won’t be in this relationship anymore. It's a relationship I treasure very much, Dan, because I do love this guy.

Thankful For Any Advice

You did something wrong: you snooped. Your boyfriend did something wrong: he broke the rules—the rules you two worked out together around flirting and sexting with other men.

Here's what your boyfriend didn't do: he didn't cheat on you.

I have to assume you didn't find any evidence on your boyfriend's phone or computer that he fucked someone else behind your back. If there were messages that read, "Thanks for shoving your big dick in me!," or, "I'm never going to wash my sheets again because I'm in love with the Rorschach blot come stain you left behind!", you would've mentioned that fact. If there were videos of your boyfriend balls deep in some other dude, you certainly would've mentioned that fact.

Which means your boyfriend would appear to be guilty of flirting and sexting and flirting and sexting only. Not only didn't he fuck someone else behind your back, TFAA, he didn't make plans to fuck someone else behind your back. And when he wanted to get with one of the guys with whom he was flirting—in contravention of the established rules—he didn't sneak off and bang the guy. He proposed a threesome. So you could say your boyfriend violated the letter of the law (flirting and sexting), but not the spirit of it (you guys are monogamous save for the occasional threesome).

Important rules were broken, TFAA, but not the most important rule.

I would advise you to tell your boyfriend you snooped. You know what you know, TFAA, and any attempt to discuss this conflict without owning up to the snooping is only gonna make matters worse. If you don't tell him and your boyfriend doubles down on the lies he's already told you—he hasn't already exchanged photos, he didn't discuss the possibility of a threesome with this other guy before proposing it to you—you'll get angrier and angrier and your boyfriend will get more and more defensive until one or both of you explodes. If you want staying together to be an option, TFAA, that's an explosion you want to avoid.

Own the snooping and apologize for it and ask him to apologize for lying to you. If the rules he agreed to weren't working for him—if he needed to be free to sext and flirt with guys—he shouldn't have agreed to the rules you set down.

With the apologies out of the way... then what?

Well, that depends on what you and and what you're willing to put up with.

Do you want a boyfriend who won't flirt with other people? Well, maybe this guy isn't the right boyfriend for you.

But if he's the guy you want, TFAA, maybe you can learn to put up with—and not feel so threatened by—him flirting and sexting with other men. You might be able to get your boyfriend to agree never to sext or flirt with anyone else ever again, TFAA, but he broke that rule already and odds are good he'll break it again. And if you don't want to spend the rest of your life worrying that he might be flirting or policing him for evidence that he might be flirting, you should allow him to flirt—so long as it's only flirting. Which is all it's been up to now, TFAA.

Make sure he understands that you don't ever want to be the last to know. You'll work on feeling more secure and less threatened by harmless flirting if he'll work on being honest with you and more transparent.

As for this question...

Why does his chatting and sexting hurt and anger me so much?

Probably because you think it means he's going to leave you. If you allow him some space to flirt and sext—if you grant him a small zone of erotic autonomy—and he doesn't leave, TFAA, your fear of being abandoned may subside.

P.S. I'm on your boyfriend's side when it comes to exchanging friendly messages with guys you met and had threesomes with on vacation. Your thirds—your very special guest stars—are human beings, not tissues. Treating people who were kind enough to suck your cock and/or kind enough to let you suck their cocks with courtesy should be the bare minimum. And if you hit it off with a third, if he was nice, if he seemed like someone you would be friends with if you all lived in the same place, TFAA, why not follow him on Facebook and occasionally exchange a friendly message? We gay men have enough haters who dehumanize us by insisting we're just a collection of sex acts. We shouldn't do the haters' work for them by treating each other as if that's true.

P.P.S. Revenge is a lousy reason to sext guys on Grindr. If the reconfigured rules of your relationship allow for flirting on apps, sext with guys on Grindr because you enjoy it, not to stick it to your boyfriend. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

Listen to my podcast, the Savage Lovecast, at www.savagelovecast.com.

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