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Author Topic: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?  (Read 2531 times)

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Offline jay-uk

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Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« on: August 26, 2014, 04:55:48 AM »
Hi everyone,

I thought I would see if people had any views or guidance on something that I am currently going through. To give you my background...

I have been in a loving and incredible relationship with my gay partner for almost 15 happy years. He is the most amazing person - so caring and selfless and I could never wish for a better person to spend my life with.

Over time however, as many couples experience, sex did become less frequent and I guess it was natural that we decided to try and do something to rejuvenate our sex lives. I have always had an incredibly (unaturally LOL) high sex drive - whereas my BF has a lower sex drive. Either way, I guess sex is always more exciting and thrilling at the start of a relationship when you first meet someone because everything is so new - so it was inevitable that frequency would be affected after so many years together LOL. After a lot of consideration and talking, we decided to have occasional 3sums with other lads. We always did this together and for us it gave us the thrill of meeting new people and also overted cheating which could easily have been the risk had we not done something. Although this worked out pretty well, there were a couple of exceptions - a couple of guys who became too clingy toward one - leaving the other feeling a little like a gooseberry, but we just moved on politely and it was all fine. We never ever actually got hung up over the fact that we met other lads - to us, once the guy had gone, we just carried on with being a couple - as if we had done nothing more unusual than watching a movie or TV for the evening - something that more "normal" couples might have done LOL.

Unfortunately, from one meeting last year I became poz. Thankfully my BF is still neg. It means that we are now in a "magnetic" relationship. We continue to love each other dearly, however it has had a massive impact on sex. In short, nothing has happened more than kissing since I was diagnosed 11 months ago. In fairness, at the begining, it wasn't too much of an issue - I didn't feel particulary attractive and the last thing on my mind was sex, but naturally this did change. I know that my BF wasn't that bothered by sex even before I got diagnosed - the 3sums did help that a little, but sorting out a 3sum with a 3rd guy when one of us is poz and one is neg wouldn't probably work and I don't think my BF would want to go back to that now. Me being poz certainly hasn't picked up my BF's sex drive either. It's not that he's uncomfortable with me being poz. It's just he's not that botherred with sex and me being poz isn't going to improve that! It's totally natural and understandable.

I got diagnosed during sero-conversion at the end of last year. For me it was a very bad experience as I honestly thought I was dying for several weeks - and eventually got told I was HIV+. It has been an emotional strain the severity of which I could never imagine being able to survive, but I have thanks to some incredible people who have supported and been there for me - my BF being at the front of that queue .....never once thinking about himself - even at the start when he didn't know whether he too was poz. . I had constant panic attacks - to the extent that I could hardly breath for the first few months - along with tiredness and other minor problems.

A month ago I got put on a very low dose of antidepressants which have definately helped pick me up and put me in a less anxcious place. I actually feel as though my life is now moving forwards. I also started meds (Eviplera) a week ago today and other than one day of minor tummy problems lol I am doing well. Although it's only 11 months since I became poz, my CD4 didn't really climb back to dizzy heights and is down to around 400 already - something that may be a natural faster progression, or maybe a factor of the stress that I was under since diagnosis. Either way, I'm really glad that I've started meds and it now feels like I'm actually doing something about it all - which is great for my mental state!!

One thing that is for certain beyond question is that I LOVE him beyond any words that I could ever find, but equally the thought of being without sex is unbearable. Recently my BF has suggested the idea that we may consider an open relationship. This is NOT something that he is suggesting because he particularly wants it for himself, he is just conscious of the fact that he feels unable to give me sex. It was mentioned as something that we could consider, but not something that we have yet agreed on. It will take a lot more consideration as it is honestly something that neither of us thought we would ever consider - but then again, the situation we are in now and the year that we have both been through - neither of us could have imagined that either.

Neither of us know yet how we will feel if we do decide to open our relationship. Even though I know that it's not certain that my BF will meet other guys, I'm realistic that if I am allowed to meet people, then naturally it would be the same for him. I do know that I wouldn't want to know that he had met someone - the thought of sitting at home of an evening waiting for him, knowing he was with another guy isn't something that I could deal with. If on the other hand, I was able to meet guys and my own sexual needs were being met then as long as he was safe, happy and we were together then I am sure that I would get used to the arrangement.

Both of us have arranged counselling - not to specifically discuss this situation, but to make sure that we are both fine with everything that we have been though and to talk through some things we have both had to sort in the past - so no decisions would be made for a while.

I guess what I would love to hear is what other couples experiences of open relationships are..... what are the plus points ..... the negative points .... the advice regarding rules etc.

We did tentatively discuss some framework rules when my BF discussed open relationships - such as it being a don't ask don't tell type arrangement - no bringing guys into our home/bed, no going out of anevening leaving the other at home. Just sex/mates not dates etc. Although my BF suggested it as an option and you may think that as such he is the one that would want this the most out of the two of us, it's honestly not that hes the more sex driven out of the two of us - he just loves me and knows that it is something that is incredibly important to me and I guess thinks that it's something that he could consider if it made me happy. I need it to make BOTH of us happy though.

Sorry for this being such a HUGE post LOL, I would love any feedback or advice !


Jay x

Offline Jeff G

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Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 09:13:13 AM »
Welcome to the forums . I have been single so long the last thing I should do is give relationship advice but I can make a few observations . You seem very level headed and sound like a guy that's on the right track to getting on with your life after an HIV diagnosis and that is wonderful to hear . Is there some reason why you guys cant simply go back to the arrangement you had prior to HIV ? . I was also wondering if your BF has seen a doctor about his low sex drive ... has he been screened for low testosterone ?

With a few exceptions most of the guys I know in long term relationships has been through the same issues where sex has become a low priority to one of them and I think the key to staying together is the underlying devotion and love that is there and from what you shared you guys have that . Just be sure that whatever you choose to do you stay true to the integrity and honesty of what ever agreement you guys come to . If you fail to do this and you guys lose trust in one another its a slippery slope to all kinds of dysfunction from there .   
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Offline jay-uk

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Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 09:22:25 AM »
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for taking the time out to reply - I  really appreciate it x

To be honest my BF hasn't ever checked out why his sex drive is low - in fairness he doesn't have a problem with having a low sex drive. I think it doesn't help that mine is so abmormally high LOL.

The arrangement we had before was that we would meet occasional guys for a 3sum. On every occassion it was me that was the one that arranged a meet. My BF did enjoy it but was never proactive. I think he found them more fun than the prospect of just the two of us - probably because meeting someone new always is more exciting! I don't think that he's interested in going back to doing 3sums - whether it's because it would require us meeting a poz guy (which he probably wouldn't want) or whether it's because we would have to find a neg guy - which would either require discloure - or to meet a guy that we didn't tell. I just think that the whole 3sum thing is kind of dead in the water for him now.

I know he sees the open relationship as a way of giving me a sex life back and that he says that he's not that bothered for him, but I know he is human after all - and the prospect that he COULD play must be a little exciting to him - even if he worries about how he would handle the fact that I could be meeting guys. I know he has recently donwloaded Grindr again so maybe he is looking LOL.

J x

Offline Irish Eyes

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  • A closed mind is a beautiful thing to lose
Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 09:40:59 AM »
wrote, paused and thought for last 45mins.
my story has no correlation, and deleted.

Welcome though :-)

« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 10:02:11 AM by Irish Eyes »
10/30/13          Exposure
Mid-Nov-Jan    Seroconversion (7-8 rough wks)
12.26.2013      WB dx. HIV+
02.01.2014      OraQuick (result Negative?)
01.31.2014      VL 250700
02.03.2014      CD4  491  26%
02.26.2014      CD4  503  26%
03.05.2014      HLA B6701  not present
03.18.2014      VL 530873 (typical fluctuation)
03.21.2014      Start Stribild
04.14.2014      VL 104 after 24 doses
05.12.2014      VL 129 after 52 doses
06.10.2014      CD4 940 32%
06.11.2014      VL 87
07.22.2014      VL 20
09.23.2014      VL 43
11.26.2014      CD4 1350 33%
01.26.2015.     VL 27
01.26.2015      VL <20
06/03/2015      VL 28
06/03/2015      CD4 1135 42%
12/10/2015      VL 27
12/10/2015      CD4 1111 36% cd8+tcell 1058 34%
06/23/2016      VL 49
06/23/2016      CD4 1255 41% cd8+tcell 882 29%

Offline mecch

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Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 09:41:56 AM »
My observation of my peers, and my own experience in a long-term and open relationship includes:
1) Firm rules for open relationships usually suit one of the partners better than another. Firm rules are there to be broken and people get hurt as much because the rule was broken as the act committed in breaking the rule.

2) Not uNusual that one person is oversexed and one undersexed -- but not so fast easy - my shrink has since shared her wisdom that these are unreliable stereotypes and anyway, a couple is 2 people in a relation and it takes 2 to tango so the undersexed is so in part NOT by his own character but often because of something in the relation.

3) The ideal open relation is when the two people stray with the same M.O. That is, they both obtain affective and interesting side relations.  Or they both trick but try to keep attachment to a minimum. 

4) But the real world of couples is a crap shoot and often its one who falls into casual sex, and the other obtains side relationships.
The problem with this scenario is the one who has entire mini relationships can, sometimes, judge the randy tricking one - slut shame, or be afraid of diseases.  Conversely, the one who tricks is going to eventually get scared/jealous/lonely (and/or) when his bf has very serious relationships with lots of feelings and dependencies with a new guy.

Its very dangerous, often enough, for a relation to let one, or both, partners engage in affective side relationships.  People finally fall in love with the new, and the old relationship suffers and perhaps is destroyed...

This is a shame, in some respects, because after all whats so bad about sharing the love and feelings and having something human....   Nothing.  Except it can destroy relationships...

Finally, my personal experience of being in an open relationship and tricking TOGETHER, not separately, was that it didn't work for me. Sadly. Also, when I was the third in other couples, never personally floated my boat..  Just me, I guess, not my cup of tea. 

The world of couples is impossibly complex so any one couple might surmount any of these challenges.. While another couple cannot.

Those are some of my observations, experiences, opinions.  Your reality may differ.

« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 09:47:23 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 09:51:28 AM »
I would say open relationships are great until they are not.
The key is deciding and acting on what to do next when an open relationship goes sour.
It would be nice if people didn't get as hurt or angry or bitter as some people do.

Open relationships - negotiated or coerced - can lead to Rock N Roll break-ups, divorces. Nobody likes those!   >:( :o :-[
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2014, 10:03:42 AM »
And a word about single guys who get involved with a guy who is in a LTR.

Homewrecker. Its a heavy, quickly and perhaps inappropriately made and applied stereotype, but really, who wants to be one.  I know I know people don't intend to. I know, chill, zen, live in the now, if one relationship ends because a new love blossoms, its all manageable and inevitable, destiny, whatever.

But still. Now I am 50+ and my experience is, life is better and relationships are better when they are with AVAILABLE and free partners. 

If its an affective relation, easily this result: the single guy is going to burn someone or get burned himself.

Single guys, take a cold shower before really getting involved with a partnered up or married guy. But he's in an "open relationship" yada yada. My experience is more often than not, people are getting hurt.  And certainly where there are lies and secrets involved, try to find something more matter a fact and basic.... huh. hun.

Caveat - Ok, individual experience may suggest other than the above.  SO just IMO.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 10:20:02 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline jay-uk

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Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 09:41:03 AM »
Thankyou to everyone for taking the time to leave your posts ..... it's really helped to give me some thoughts and ideas. I've also managed to find a couple of good books on the subject that have allowed me to explore some of the elements associated with open relationships -- such as the jealousy risks etc.

I would still love to hear from anyone else that wants to chirp in ! The more views the better. I guess for the moment, I need to give my partner some time to reflect on how he feels and then maybe have more discussions with him. Although I am pretty sure that I am happy with it, I don't want him to feel as though I'm pushing the subject too much.

Take care and thanks everyone,

Jay xx

Offline timmm55

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Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 02:25:26 PM »
I don't think that he's interested in going back to doing 3sums - whether it's because it would require us meeting a poz guy (which he probably wouldn't want) or whether it's because we would have to find a neg guy - which would either require discloure - or to meet a guy that we didn't tell. I just think that the whole 3sum thing is kind of dead in the water for him now.

Are you undetectable yet? That's my main concern. If you are..... you are safe for him (HIV Partners Study http://www.positivelite.com/component/zoo/tag/news/PARTNER%20study), and that's would be good for a manage a trois too! Search "Undetectable is the new Negative" to get more of an idea of it's benefits to him TOO. He has a better chance of getting HIV from a so-called "neg" guy.

If you say he probably "wouldn't want"(a POZ guy) what does that say about your relationship....and you? Has he said that? Or as that your assumption? Do NOT feel unwanted because you are POZ......ever! Even if you are detectable, you can have a rewarding and fulfilling sex life.

Offline jay-uk

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Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 04:59:00 PM »
Hey timmm55,

Thanks for the post - really interesting points. I started meds a week ago so I'm not undetectable yet. Hopefully in a month or so that will change.

I do understand the difference that will make to things being a lot safer. To be fair I don't think it will make a great deal of difference to my BFs interest in sex - he just has a low sex drive.  He has said that he's just not that bothered about sex - it's not that he doesn't love me that's not remotely in doubt or even he says it being anything to do with my status. I KNOW he wants me but just that he's not that into sex. For me it's a critical part of feeling alive and something that has gotten me down a lot since diagnosis. It's just working out something that makes both of us happy - we both want to stay together.

Jay x

Offline mecch

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Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 06:27:18 PM »
timmm - you have been spreading this "undetectable is the new negative" idea in a few threads and it really doesn't sit right with me - this is why.
Being HIV+ and being undetectable is different than being HIV-.  Its just apples and oranges.  There is no such thing as a "new negative".  People are positive, or they are negative.
There are many many things that still hold true about being HIV+ - for everyone HIV+ - no matter if they are on effective treatment, or not.

I know you are talking about risk of transmission, so why don't you just state that.  Instead of this misleading "label" that it is somehow the same as being HIV-.

Also, a few years ago with the Swiss Statement and other research, it seemed the medical establishment was getting comfortable with undetectable meaning 0% transmissions...   But this year, there has been hedging on that idea....   Risk is very low, but experts are hedging back to say low is not 0%.... over time. with many many sexual acts...
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline timmm55

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  • Unapologetically HIV Undetectable
Re: Magnetic and Maybe Open Relationship?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 08:57:23 PM »
 Few people can grasp the benefits of being undetectable, even POZ people who want to wait. It isn't just risk reduction. Treatment as Prevention is a world wide goal. If everyone gets that fine.  It's a simplistic buzz phrase I will admit.

With my 27 years of HIV history alone, I could never go back to being Negative even if there was a cure. I will always be POZ.

'Undetectable' Is the New 'Negative'?


"What I hope will not happen is for HIV-positive people with undetectable viral loads to hide behind these results and live life as if they were HIV-negative. Not being able to transmit the virus is the only thing the two types of individuals have in common. An undetectable viral load is not to be used as a justification for not disclosing your status before engaging in unprotected sex. Instead, these results should build up your confidence so that you can be more open about your HIV status and, if you are HIV-positive, keep up on maintaining your undetectable viral load as well as being healthy. "

After the Swiss Undetectable Study, and it's 0 implications, the Australians came back with a  rebuttal of sorts "Condom and Education" is the only way to beat HIV. http://www.afao.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/4534/ASHM08_PKeen_Swiss-Statement.pdf
Then the Partners Study reinforced the Swiss conclusions. I understand confidence limits, hence the hedge of "... that the “true” risk through one act of condomless receptive anal sex when undetectable is extremely likely to be lower than 0.05%."
While the “true” risk is more likely to be closer to zero than the upper confidence limit, the researchers could not statistically rule out the possibility that the risk is as high as 0.05%.
But the Aussies are working on their own "Opposites Attract" Study. If their conclusions are different than the Swiss or Partners, I would consider it suspect, it may be political. But I think they will reach the same consensus as everyone one else.

An interesting political/medical post from the comments:
"In response to Bob Leahy "Poz guys with an undetectable viral load ARE a safer bet for neg guys to
have condomless sex with than "neg" guys. Why don't you hear this from
HIV prevention people? Ask them. Marc-Andre is right on the mark on
this one."

We do not hear this from HIV prevention people because the institutions are too afraid to make such statements. They are held accountable to and therefore silenced by their donors. Donors do not want to hear this sort of discussion. It scares them and they perceive it as promoting negligence. They want to cling to the condom message. As institutions continue in this bind they make little progress, are terribly ineffective and make one question whether they are simply trying to justify their existence."

There's a lot more than just "People are positive, or they are negative."
Beyond "Poz" and "Neg": Five HIV Statuses, Plus a New One


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