What Does "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Mean in Open Relationships?

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Betty Dodson

Hi Betty-

I'm wondering what exactly is meant by "Don't Ask Don't Tell". Is it that the one partner in the couple knows that the other is seeing someone else, and just doesn't want to know details? Or is it that the partner literally has no idea that the other is seeing someone else?

I'm currently in a situation - the third party to a DADT relationship. However, I've been told that whenever my partner's partner has discovered her side pieces, there is hell to pay. Is this normal? How do third parties deal with the lack of control over their own schedules and the possibility of getting their asses kicked by an angry, surprised significant other? I really like this person - should I just go with it and not worry?

Dear A,

Good question. There are numerous ways to define DADT and both of your examples could apply. Most often, one partner might expect their SO is fucking someone else but simply doesn't want to face it or know the truth with or without any details. The other scenario is that one partner has no idea their lover is seeing someone else. The best scenario is when one lover actually gets turned on by knowing his/her partner is having sex with someone else, but that's rare.

So it's up to you to decide whether or not you want to continue. Just make sure you're not having sex in a place where the Other partner might show up. Jealousy can produce volatile emotional responses. Frankly it gives me the creeps to have sex with someone in a place where the other lover might appear. I'd definitely avoid that. Ultimately the best scenario would be to establish an open relationship but that requires a fairly secure person.

Dr. Betty

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