Frank Relationships: Relationship Columnist, Anna Pulley

Sunday, Jun. 30th 2013 11:20 PM

 

Some of us have no idea how to initiate difficult relationship conversations. To help out, we’re hanging out with columnist, Anna Pulley. She’s got answers … on this edition of Frank Relationships.


FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: RELATIONSHIP COLUMNIST, ANNA PULLEY
Guests: Anna Pulley
Date: July 01, 2013

Frank: There are people that want to say it, but have no idea how to initiate the conversation. What am I talking about? What do you say to your partner when you want a second lover? We’ve got the answers on this edition of Frank Relationships.

Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look at relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com.

There’s a lot of talk circulating this days on open relationships and even polyandrous relationships and everyone seems to have an opinion. Is it right or wrong? Is it perverted or expressive? Will my existing partner go for it and how do I even begin to introduce such a conversation?

Today, we’re joined by a freelance writer and social media manager that has an opinion on what seems like everything. She’s been the arts and culture editor at SF Weekly. That’s generally recognized as San Francisco, the social media and communications fellow at Mother Jones and has written about everything from bars and restaurants to news to theaters to sex toys.

In addition to writing several different sex and relationship columns for the Chicago Tribune’s Red Eye, After Ellen CenterStage Chicago and Chicago Now, she’s dating columnist Anna Pulley. And she’s here to offer her take on when to discuss your poly interests to an existing or potentially new interest. Welcome to the show, Ms. Pulley.

Anna: Thanks for having me.

Frank: You bet. Let’s get started. What’s your definition of a Poly relationship?

Anna: I think it’s varies from person to person, but I think that general definition would be having romantic relationships with more than one person. And then, how else you define that is up to you and your partners basically.

Frank: And why is Poly even of interest to you? How’d you get into discussing this as a topic?

Anna: I live in the Bay area. It’s a topic that comes up pretty often. It’s hard to get away from it actually.

Frank: Really?

Anna: And myself, am not Polyamorous, but I have a lot of friends who are and this definitely a topic that’s come up over and over again in my advice column. So I thought I would address it.

Frank: Got you and tell us about your column.

Anna: My column is a weekly sex and relationship advice column. It’s on the Chicago Tribune. It’s online and it’s in the paper every Friday for the metro Chicago area. I run it. I get questions detailing all sorts of things and answer depending on, I think, the topic of the day. It’s a fun column, but it’s also informative as well. And if anyone wants to reach out to me that way, you can email me at: redeyedating@gmail.com.

Frank: You had a video blog on how to make video blogs that don’t suck.

Anna: I do, yeah. I wish I could make more videos. I don’t have time to do that as much, but that was for SF Weekly. I did a social media advice column there for many years and so that was part of that.

Frank: Tell me about the benefits that your friends note to you or that you may see as it pertains to Poly relationships.

Anna: I think that the more people that you have in your life on a romantic level it definitely forces you to be more communicative. And obviously the sexual benefits, you get a lot of variety. If having outside sexual partners, is something that you’re interested in, then that’s obviously one of the major benefits of it. But like I said, it’s something that you have to be really open and honest about and that can be hard for most people, because the tendency is to think that how I’m betraying my partner and someone by having sexual interests in other people. But that’s not true if you’re being open and honest with your partners about who you’re interested in.

Frank: Are you betraying your partner if you’re not “open and honest?”

Anna: I think you can be. If you’re being elusive, if you’re lying, absolutely; I think that’s a form of deception that anyone Poly or not is going to take issue with.

Frank: And some would say Poly is accepted when we’re looking at dating. But hey, you’re just dating, you’re not married. What are your thoughts there? Is it accepted? Is it or is it mostly taboo or nonsense of crazy?

Anna: I think a lot of the time it’s assumed that you’re not monogamous when you first start dating someone. There’s a lot of options out there. There are a lot of people who contact you on online dating channels or what have you. And so, yeah, I think default assumption is that you’re going to be dating more than one person when you start out and whether that can be defined as Polyamorous or not, that’s sort of up for debate. But I do think that the default assumption is that you’re going to be dating more than one person and you have a discussion about it.

Frank: What are the risks of disclosure, assuming that at some point you do disclose?

Anna: I think the risks are likely of any kind of major issue that you might have in your life. I think it’s important to get it out there earlier if you’re dating or sleeping with someone who may be more conservative or traditional. But it’s not like you’re just disclosing a terrible disease or something. It’s a part of your life and a part of your relationship model and I don’t think it’s a risk per say.

Frank: Is it assumed that basically when you start dating, you’re going to be Poly or at some level, but then one of you is going to bring it up and say, “Are we just exclusive or are we seeing other people?” And basically the answer that 99 percent of the people are going to give or feel compelled to give is going to be, “Yes, it’s just us.”

Very few people are going to say, “No, I’m not telling you that I’m only seeing you.” How do you determine what you’re going to say, particularly if you are seeing someone else? Are you telling listeners, “Hey, whatever your case may be, be honest?”

Anna: I think it’s a difficult challenge, especially because you’re getting to know someone and you don’t want to just blurt out every single thing about you. I think that the getting-to-know-you process is something that should be respected. But at that time, if it’s something that you’re concerned about, I think it’s definitely better to bring it up sooner than later.

And I always say that, it’s best to bring it up in an organic way, because you’re getting to know someone and things do come up. And so, when you have the opportunity, you should definitely express yourself. You shouldn’t keep that from your partner. And I also say the easiest way to just ask, “Are you dating anyone else,” which is a pretty common dating question and certainly one that I’ve encountered over and over in my experiences.

Frank: Do you ask it?

Anna: Yeah, I’ve asked or my partners have asked. Again, since I’m in the Bay area it’s assumed that you’re not monogamous. And to come out as monogamous can be seen in the same way that coming out Polyamorous elsewhere is here. It’s a particular challenge in the Bay area to be monogamous, because you’re assumed to not be.

Frank: Okay, so let’s say you’re not in the Bay area. How do you see it going down?

Anna: How do I come out as monogamous?

Frank: Would the question be broached or do you suggest that a person basically say, that they are or are not at a given period of time?

Anna: Oh yeah, I think if you’re dating other people and one of your partners asks about it, you should definitely be honest. You don’t have to give them every little sexual detail about your life, but I think it’s important for them to know and important for you. The more communication you have with someone, I don’t think it’s ever a downfall.

Frank: And what about the dynamic around telling people really what they want to hear. If you know someone wants to hear, it could be considered loaded, because you already know what they want to hear. It’s like many of us, we don’t say it outright, but we do make it clear, “Hey, I want to be the one and the only one.” If my partner knows we feel that way and tell us what they believe we want to hear, is there anything wrong with that? Aren’t they just giving what we ask for?

Anna: Yeah, if it’s something that you’re just saying, because you think they want to hear. That’s not how you actually feel, I think it’s deceptive. I don’t think it’s beneficial for anybody, certainly not yourself. That’s just a hole you’re going to have to dig out of later if it’s not really how you feel. I think that being upfront, even if it potentially scary topic.

I’ve dated people who had children and even that was hard for them to bring up. I think that there’s lots of potential issues that might be a little bit difficult to bring up, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring it up, because it will come out eventually.

Frank: However, when they had problems discussing children, did you make it clear beforehand that, “Hey, I’m not really with dating someone who has children,” or did you leave the landscape pretty open and leveled where they didn’t know what you felt one way or the other? Or did you even go the other direction?

Anna: They definitely did not know.

Frank: Okay.

Anna: They definitely didn’t know how I felt about children and I honestly didn’t know how I felt about dating someone with children. It was a little bit of a shock to me. But again, it came up naturally in a conversation and it was much easier for me to deal with it in that context. I appreciated her for saying that.

Frank: Based on whatever your thoughts are, is it an appropriate time to say, “Hey, I’m Poly,” before sex, after sex the first time, when you know you’re going to be together for a little while or you’re going to have sex again, that sort of thing?

Anna: Some people do things that you should come out as Poly before you have sex with them, before you get physical. I think that’s a little too ruled, lawyerly. I think again, you should come out when the time is right. And if you happen to be physically intimate before that happens, then it’s okay.

Obviously, you should be using protected sex. You should be having protected sex anyway with new partners so there’s not any kind of risk. But I don’t think that physical intimacy precludes having to have a conversation about being exclusive, unless you’ve talked about that.

If the person that you’re with is saying, “I’m not going to have sex with you unless we’re exclusive,” then absolutely. That’s the time you speak up about it.

Frank: You noted that you’re not Poly, which means that mostly likely, if you had a conversation with someone of this nature, you were telling them that you’re monogamous. Have you had any bad experiences with that conversation?

Anna: Oh absolutely, yeah.

Frank: Alright. Let’s hear the story.

Anna: I was told by someone that I was too emotionally stable to date one time, which was a new one. I’m a little fearful about coming out as monogamous on this radio show. Hopefully people won’t kill me for it.

Frank: Wow. What can I say? I never even thought someone would have that issue.

Anna: Really, because you have a lot of radio topics that are taboo, in that some people would be a little iffy about. And sometimes as a relationship columnist, people assume that I have personally experienced everything that I write about. I was wondering if that’s the case for you, because it’s definitely not true for me.

Frank: We talk about so many things. We really go there. Most of these things I have not personally done. The wildest–wild is not a fair statement, but I’ve never been to a swinger’s party. I’ve never, much less participated in one, but we did a show on it and the audience seemed to love it. And I learned a lot, but no I haven’t done it.

Is there an age? Does age matter in terms of being Poly or even it being accepted? Do you find 20 year olds are more against it and then you get to be 30 and you’re like, “I’m a little bit more liberal” and then 40 is just, “Hey, gangbusters.”

Anna: You know, I’ve never really thought about that. I don’t think age necessarily a factor. I certainly think the older you are and the more experience you have, the better you know yourself and the more you’re able to communicate those needs to someone else. But I think it’s more common to be in your 20’s and wild and dating and having sex with a bunch of people. But that’s certainly not everyone’s experience. It depends.

Frank: I want to hear that story. You noted that a bad experience and I love a good story. You told someone that you’re monogamous and they said, “Go to hell?”

Anna: That I was too emotionally stable.

Frank: You did mention that. Alright, and so the relationship went where? They just disappeared or you stopped dating or what?

Anna: No, I still tried, but eventually it didn’t go anywhere. I should have listened in that case. But the heart wants what it wants. Sometimes we try even though someone is expressly telling us, “I don’t want this thing.” And you go ahead and try anyway, because you’re in love or whatever. You’re silly.

Frank: Okay, let’s say you are in a relationship. You’ve been in a relationship for five years–a monogamous relationship. Both parties are under the assumptions/have-the-understanding that you’re going to be or have been monogamous. And one of the partners decides they want to dibble and dabble elsewhere, how does the conversation get introduced?

Anna: That is a great question. I think, hopefully, after five years that you can be honest enough with your partner to tell them that you’ve been having these thoughts and you’ve been having these desires. And maybe ask if you could explore any potential hostility, like whether it’s a threesome, whether it’s just insanity.

Some people are much more receptive than you think and your partner might be having the same exact feelings and fears that you have. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bringing it up. They could always say “no,” of course. That’s their right. But you never know until you ask.

Frank: And what about if you know your partner or think you know your partner so well, where you’re pretty sure they’re going to be insulted or that they’re going to take their breathe away, they’re going to go crying to their parents that, “Guess what ‘x, y, z’ said to me. You’ll never believe it.” What happens if you think you know your partner that well?

Anna: I still think it’s okay to bring it up. It’s also important that if you’re broach this, that your relationship is actually good and stable and all of that. I definitely don’t think you should try to explore Polyamory if you’re not in a good place in your relationship. It’s just going to make your problems worse.

But I would always approach the question by saying, “I love you so much, because our relationship is so good, I feel like I can be honest with you about this. And this is something that I have thought about recently.”

It doesn’t have to be any kind of huge confrontation or an ultimatum or anything. I was just reading about people on the Viagra pill and how sexual desire–if you’re cohabitating, tends to drop off really, really significantly. And to introduce a new partner into the mix actually be good for monogamy, is what some people are saying.

Frank: I agree. Be open, be honest, be yourself and reveal as much as you’re comfortable revealing to your partner.

Anna: Yeah.

Frank: I’m not one to tell you how much to reveal, because we’ve all got something that we’re not ready to talk about and I don’t think we should be pushed to talk about something before we’re comfortable. But generally speaking, reveal. Let your desires, your wants, and all of that good stuff be known.

Now, how about online dating? How does all of this play into online dating? Should you put it in your profile? “Hey, I’m Poly?”

Anna: That’s a good question. I think if it’s something that’s really important to you. Absolutely, put it in there. The beauty of online dating is that you have a giant bulletin board and you can say whatever you want. You can be really specific and say exactly, “These are the things I’m looking for in a partner.” And then, anyone can come along and read it and say “Yes, that’s me,” and message you then you’ll fall in love and be happily ever after.

Frank: Right.

Anna: That’s how it works, right?

Frank: Right, all the time.

You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with Anna Pulley, a dating columnist who offers advice to Poly people on the external question of when to break the news to a potential new interest and many, many other topics.

What else are you talking about online these days? Besides Poly and what’s going on in those types of relationships?

Anna: What else am I talking about?

Frank: Yep.

Anna: I have actually been talking a lot about bi-sexuality. That has been a hot topic that’s come up over and over again. I talk about jealousy. I talked about what to do if your boyfriend disappears. That was a weird one.

This woman’s boyfriend, after six months just disappeared, stopped talking to her and that tends to happen a lot–the disappearing person.

Frank: Really?

Anna: But usually but usually it’s not after six months at that point. You deserve a phone call and an actual break-up.

Frank: Bi-sexuality, what do you have to say about that?

Anna: Bi-sexuality?

Frank: Yep.

Anna: I really, really wish that it was less stigmatized. I wish that we could talk about it openly and not have people be up on our cases about it. It’s 2013. There are still people who are questioning whether they’re bi-sexuality exists or not, which I think is ridiculous.

Frank: How does that work?

Anna: And there’s just–what’s that?

Frank: How does that work? Where you’re questioning how or whether it exists?

Anna: Yeah, there’s that stigma. There’s a stereotype that bi-sexuality is a phase or that it’s something that you tell people as you’re on your way to becoming gay. It’s sort of like gay “light.” And if you’re a woman, you’re doing it to turn a straight guy on. That’s why you’re bi-sexual, it’s not because you actually desire people of all genders. It’s that you’re doing it to turn someone else on.

It’s in the gay communities as well. It’s not just straight people. Gay people think that bi-sexuality is a copout. It’s something that you can’t admit to yourself that you’re gay, so you’re saying you’re bisexual in order to garner that straight privilege that exists.

Frank: Okay. I heard you say that you date women. Are you gay or bisexual?

Anna: I’m pretty gay, is what I like to tell people. Yeah, I’ve dated men in the past. I’ve slept with them. I’m in a lesbian relationship right now.

Frank: Got it.

Anna: Again, I hop back and forth. I tend to call myself bi-sexual for political reasons, again, because you feel invisible when you’re bi-sexual and so I think the more people are vocal about it, the better. But it is hard, because you counter a lot of resistance from people and I don’t like siding with people at bars about my sexual orientation. Sometimes I just say I am gay, because it’s easier.

Frank: I’m absolutely amazed that the gay community who is often noting that they are discriminated against, it sounds as though–I don’t know it for a fact, but it sounds as though they might or some individuals in that community might discriminate against bi-sexuals. Is that right?

Anna: I know. Isn’t that weird?

Frank: Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. Okay, Jealousy?

Anna: Yeah, one time I was at a bar and I met this gay man. He was my friend of my friend. And my introduced me as bi-sexual–I don’t know why she did that, but she did. And the guy looked at me, like, “Bi-sexuals? Oh they can’t make up their minds.” And I was right there. And I was like, “I don’t have a problem making up my mind. I think you’re an asshole.”

Frank: I’ve made up my mind about that.

Anna: Yeah.

Frank: Alright, jealousy. You’ve written about that. What do you have there?

Anna: Jealousy, yes it’s natural. Everyone experiences jealousy, don’t go into relationships thinking that you are a special snowflake and that you’re the only person who doesn’t experience. Everyone does. It’s healthy. It’s completely normal for you to fear that your partner wants to sleep with someone else. We do. We have the desires. It’s completely natural. And again, this is my main motto. Just be honest, just be open. It’s okay to say, “Oh, that guy was checking you out,” or “That girl was checking you out. I feel jealous about that.” It’s not the end of the world. And I think the more we talk about it the better.

Frank: Tell me about some of the conversations that you’ve witnessed when people have been honest. I’m sure they’ve gone both ways, but please give its some color.

Anna: I can certainly talk about my own jealousy which seems to be easiest. There was a girl at a bar and she was trying to get my girlfriend to come into the bar. And my girlfriend told me about this later in like a joking way and I got really quiet at first and then I told her that I was jealous about this random bar girl who was trying to get her to come into the bar.

We had a really sweet conversation and my girlfriend was like, “Yeah.” It reaffirmed our relationship basically. She told me that she loved me and desired me and all that stuff. I thought it was really sweet. It was nice. It was relieving to be able to tell her that sometimes I have fears.

Frank: Let’s say a woman has been dating a guy as you said for six months and her boyfriend disappears. What do you tell her to ameliorate some of the heartache?

Anna: That was a very strange situation. And a part of me was, “Have you called the police?” I was a little afraid for his life. But at the end of the day, it did seem like a run of the mill–a cowardly way for him to end the relationship. I think it was very bizarre, but she wanted closure. And so I told her, you have to garner your own closure in this case.

If he’s not coming back, he’s not coming back and you have to make peace with that. That was basically what I told her. Take as much time as you need to mourn the relationship. And certainly, if he does contact you in the future, I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions. But I told her not to go hunting for him. It seems liked it was over. It had been several weeks since he disappeared.

Frank: I did a blog some years ago and it’s one of the most popular blogs that I’ve done. It was called, “I Don’t Know Where My Boyfriend Lives.” And this woman basically said they’d been together for a few years and he never invites her to his place. My advice to her was that matters only if it matters.

Now clearly at some level it mattered to her, because she had written to me about it. But she might have been writing to me, because society or her girlfriend said, “Hey, you shouldn’t go for that,” and the whole time she’s not really cared much. Or she could have been writing, because it was actually bothering her.

Anna: Right.

Frank: What are your thoughts?

Anna: So, the boyfriend never let her into his apartment or they just never stayed there?

Frank: I don’t think she’d ever been to his apartment.

Anna: Wow. Yeah, I think that would bother me too. Not in the sense that it matters so much where you sleep, but it seem like you’re hiding something at that point. I would be suspect if someone didn’t want me to see their personal space where they lived and worked and ate and slept and all of that.

It just seems like–I don’t know, like not letting someone into that part of your life is pretty challenging and I certainly would bring that up.

Frank: Is hiding something automatically a deal breaker. Does that have to be a problem or can you accept that someone’s hiding something and say, “Hey, they’re just not comfortable revealing it right now? So what? Let’s go get something to eat?”

Anna: I think it would be a deal breaker eventually, yeah. If you’re dating for months and months and this person just refused to take you into their personal space. I think, yeah, that would be a deal breaker, because again, what are you hiding? I don’t know? Are they a hoarder? A bunch of questions come up and unless that person can reasonably argue his way out of it, it seems like it would be a problem going forward.

Frank: Do you want to know everything about your partner? Do you want nothing left to question in order to be in the–

Anna: Oh, no. I don’t think it’s possible to know everything about a person. And yeah, I certainly have ideas and beliefs and memories that I keep to myself in my relationship and I think that’s perfectly fine too.

Unless it’s eating you up inside, then I think it’s something you should be able to express to your partner if you want to. But you don’t have to. It’s not like you’re a truth machine who’s constantly turning out every single thought and opinion on your partner. They probably don’t want to know.

Frank: “Rape or Regretted Sex,” was another blog that I wrote. I wrote and responded to an issue in this blog. And this was where a woman said that she had sex with her boyfriend and he was kind of pressing it.

He wasn’t physically pressing it, but he was nagging her and she ended up having sex and felt bad about it afterwards. And the columnist that I originally read that had commented on it, said that it sounded as though it was rape. And I said that didn’t sound like rape. What are your thoughts?

Anna: It sounds like things probably went farther than she was comfortable with, but unless she expressly said, “No, I don’t want to do this,” then I think it’s kind of a gray area. I probably wouldn’t call it rape. That’s kind of a scary word.

Frank: Yeah.

Anna: But she should definitely, it’s hard too in sexual context to be like, “Oh, I’m not comfortable with this, but I am comfortable with this.” That’s why it’s better to talk as much as you can before you have sex with someone as un-sexy as that sounds, so that you’re not during anything that you’re uncomfortable with. But yeah, tell her to speak up next time.

Frank: Okay, another blog. A father and mom, they’re married. Mom wanted children and was ready to leave dad if he didn’t in impregnate her. Well, dad wanted mom and so he said, “Okay, we’ll have a baby.” Baby gets here. Mom is frustrated, because dad is not active in the child’s life. Yet, dad made it clear he didn’t want a child in the first place and never committed to being an “active” parent. Mom’s frustrated. What do you tell mom?

Anna: That’s a tough one.

Frank: That’s a tough one.

Anna: Yeah. He never wanted kids in the first place, but agreed to have a child anyway?

Frank: Yep, because he loved mom and wanted to give her what she wanted so she would stay with him.

Anna: Man, that’s really rough. I would say that she should definitely keep trying. It’s possible that he’s not ready for a kid right now, but as the child grows up, if it’s his child, he’s going to be invested him or her in some way. Although man, that’s a hard start out the gate to deal with.

I would tell the mom also to look for support in other areas. There are certainly a lot of mom groups. There are play care centers and all of that. And for her to develop another unity of support if she can, if the father is just really won’t be there. But again, I would keep trying and I would keep on it.

Frank: Cheating, do you use the term?

Anna: Do I use the term cheating?

Frank: Yep.

Anna: Absolutely.

Frank: I don’t and the reason I don’t is I find that it’s a heavy term. It’s an unnecessarily heavy term and I believe that we can just say what it is, which is you had sex with someone else and you told me you wouldn’t have or you wouldn’t have or some variation of that. And I’m not sure why we decide to be so heavy on our partners by using the term “cheating” when we can just say literally, what it is. What are your thoughts about that?

Anna: I think that’s a great point and I think that cheating is different for, probably, every person. I remember having a conversation about it my girlfriends. And she was like, “Oh you think that’s cheating,” and something that I personally consider–I was like, “Of course this is cheating” and had never thought of it that way. And so, I think it’s really interesting that you put it in those terms, especially because it’s very specific, I think, depending on the two people that are involved, what constitutes cheating.

And again, yeah you should have conversations about that. “This is something that I consider a boundary that you should not cross and if you do then it’s an infidelity.” It’s certainly an issue to bring up.

Frank: And because you feel that way, do you believe that if you reveal that, that they better not do it? Or is it just should be accepted as a preference and people do what they do?

Anna: I think if you expressly say, “If you do this it’s going to hurt my feelings and it’s going to break my trust,” and they do it anyway that’s probably a really bad sign. That they’re not going to respect you or they’re not going to respect your needs and wishes. I would be pretty hurt if I said, “Tis will made me feel bad,” and my partner went out and did it.

Frank: Doesn’t that leave–

Anna: Yeah, I think it’s–oh, go ahead.

Frank; Doesn’t that leave the area, the field open for manipulation? “Hey, in order for me to get you to do what I want you to do, all I got to do is tell you that I don’t want you to do ‘x, y and z’ and then you’ll be obligated to do it Otherwise, I feel as though you don’t care about what I want?”

Anna: That’s sounds more like emotional blackmail.

Frank: It does, yes. So, your thoughts on that?

Anna: The way you phrase things is very important. If you’re like, “This is something I want. Do you think it’s possible to explore this with you?” That’s different than saying, “Well, this is how I feel and you can’t do this.” Phrase it as a conversation and not a demand and I think you’ll have much more success. I’ve certainly had partners that were very jealous and any conversation about that turns into, “You’re cheating,” or “You’re looking at other people,” and it was very upsetting.

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Unprotected sex–when do you suggest that people have unprotected sex? What’s your suggested unprotected sex protocol?

Anna: I think that’s definitely a conversation that you should have with someone. I wouldn’t have unprotected sex with someone that wasn’t exclusive with me.

It seems like a risk that I don’t want to take. But again, that’s something to be discussed with each individual person. I certainly wouldn’t define a date or stamp on it when people should have–or if people should have–some people don’t ever have unprotected sex, even if they are monogamous. It just depends on whatever situation that you’re in.

Frank: Do you agree that unprotected sex feels better?

Anna: Yes.

Frank: I had a–

Anna: But you know what also feels better is not having to worry that you’re pregnant or that you have an STD.

Frank: Yeah-

Anna: That feels great.

Frank: Being alive feels better too. I did a blog some time ago called, “Unprotected Sex Feels Better.” And the point there was when we’re talking about using a condom or not using a condom, let’s have the full conversation. Yes, I am all for using one and being protected. I’m also for people being educated and knowing what the risks are and going with whatever their decision is. So, you’re not wrong if you don’t use a condom, you’re just taking a risk and you have to live with what consequences are.

Anna: Right.

Frank: Okay, would you let your ex-husband or your ex-boyfriend that you may have had a child with go to Europe for a week with his current wife with your child?

Anna: How old is the child?

Frank: Two.

Anna: Two?

Frank: Yep. And you don’t believe that he’s not going to bring her back. There’s no reason to think that he’s going to kidnap her.

Anna: Okay. Yeah, I think that would be hard. Are they on good terms?

Frank: Well, that’s I guess if they were on good terms, it wouldn’t be an issue, but–

Anna: Right.

Frank: Let’s say no. They’re not on good terms.

Anna: They’re not on good terms. I think I would have a hard time if that was me, especially because of that’s a really young age for a kid to be traveling out of the country. I think that would be harder for me. If it was something that my ex was really gung-ho about, although I don’t know why you would want to take a small child to Europe anyway. It’s not like they’re going to really enjoy that.

Frank: What would be the difference between Europe and North Carolina if you live in New Jersey? A child isn’t going to know the difference between North Carolina and Europe.

Anna: Right.

Frank: But you still want to take them with you on vacation.

Anna: Yeah, I don’t know. If it was something that was really important to me. Maybe you want a little mini vacation from your kid, then sure, why not? But yeah, it seems a little bit extraneous. I would probably argue for letting the kids stay and not taking them to Europe.

Frank: Now what if it was you going to Europe? Would you want to take the baby or would you leave the baby with dad? Or would you have a problem with dad having a problem with you taking baby to Europe?

Anna: I wouldn’t, assuming they were responsible parents and they obviously cared for the child’s welfare. I don’t think it would be an issue of safety or anything. But yeah, I would question why, you’d want to take a two year old out of the country.

Frank: No, I mean if you were going out of the country, you wanted to go to Europe and you wanted to take your daughter.

Anna: Oh, okay.

Frank: Would you want to take your daughter or your two year old or would you leave your daughter with dad?

Anna: I would probably leave them with dad.

Frank: That’s balanced. I appreciate that.

Anna: Sure.

Frank: Memories of relationships past. We can go at it one of two ways. When you think of your past relationships, do you look at the good side more than the bad? And when you are giving advice, do you advise people to look at the good side of relationships and not harp on the bad? Jump in wherever you like.

Anna: I definitely think of both the good and bad times in past relationships. It seems difficult not to. I think often we tend to remember the bad parts more succinctly than we do the good parts, actually. But yeah, I don’t think that you should dwell or ruminate on necessarily, on past relationships. I think that you should like in the present and make decisions based on how things are now, because people change constantly and to have those always-looking-backward moments, it just seems like you’re going to get stuck there.

Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with Anna Pulley, a dating columnist who offers advice on a whole litany of issues related to relationships including Poly, bi-sexuality and she’s also noted jealousy and what happens when a boyfriend disappears.

I wrote a book called, How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship. Any suggestions on how to gracefully exit a relationship?

Anna: How to gracefully end what kind of relationship?

Frank: How to gracefully exit a relationship–a romantic relationship.

Anna: Any relationship?

Frank: Yep.

Anna: Yeah, I think you should be honest, but I think you should be gentle as well. I think if they have a bunch of flaws that annoy you, you should probably keep those mostly to yourself.

Again, I think you should be honest to the point that you’re not just willingly hurting them. For instance, if your boyfriend chews really loudly and you just hate it. You don’t have to tell them that when you’re breaking up. You can be vague about it. You could say, “We in many directions. We’re not a good match.” Truthful but not hurtful is just the basic gist of that.

I know that’s really vague, but break-ups are challenging and you’re going to have to have a conversation about it anyway.

Frank: Well sometimes. There are people who just disappear or there are people who may send you a text or worse. They may be just send out a tweet and you’re just might be the–

Anna: Oh, my goodness. How horrifying. I hope that never happens to me.

Frank: Yep. You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’ve been talking with Anna Pulley, a dating columnist. You want to tell our guests how they can find you and your various columns?

Anna: Yeah. You can always find me on my website, which is annapulley.com. I post most of my columns there, so that’s a great resource. And if you want to reach me again, it’s redeyedating@gmail.com.

Along today’s journey we’ve discussed of all things, bi-sexual discrimination, disclosing a Poly lifestyle and the benefits of disclosure.

I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had discussing having a Poly conversation with your partner as well as many other dating and relationship related issues. I’m certainly grateful for the opportunity and the information.

As always it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that’ll help you create a relationship that’s as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook/relationshipflove, on Twitter @mrfranklove or at franklove.com.
On behalf of my producer, Phileta Legette and my assistant producer, Anayza Stewart, keep rising. This is Frank Love.

END OF TRANSCRIPT

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How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship

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