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Hey, Bonita!

Three’s Company and Staying Sober

Hey Bonita,

My wife has a boyfriend, and I don’t know how to feel.

Anon

Hey Anon,

There are a couple of ways to approach this. Are you two monogamous and her new relationship constitutes infidelity? There’s a way to handle that. Or, are you two non-monogamous, and the reality of what that means is hitting you now that she’s actually dating other people? There’s also a way to handle that. 

If you’re getting cheated on, then you should ask your wife what’s up and talk to her about what your monogamous agreement means to you.  Only you know whether this is a bridge too far or if y’all can come back from this, but there are lots of couples therapy options here locally. I definitely recommend seeking out a professional to help you navigate any tough feelings, especially if you share children. Infidelity isn’t always the dealbreaker that we think it is. Plenty of couples are able to talk through these issues and strengthen their bond in the end, as well as many who just have to walk away from such a shattering of trust. I want what’s best for you both, and it’s taken me a long time to stop just yelling “dump them!” at issues like this. People are complex, and love is strange. You’ll find your way through this, though I doubt it will be painless.

Now, maybe I’m completely wrong about all of that, and she’s having more success at non-monogamy than you are, and that’s getting under your skin. All relationship models have their challenges, monogamy included, and jealousy is a big one in ethical non-monogamy.  Maybe y’all have been keeping it very casual with others for a while, so her first emotional investment in someone else is blindsiding you. You have to remember that, while it’s an easy thing to read about something and give yourself the label of being a practitioner of it, the real hard work comes when those principles are put into practice. Navigating these feelings is part of the package of having an open relationship, and you have to sit with your jealousy and accept it for what it is. I recommend practicing mindfulness when you’re in those uncomfortable moments, and just letting yourself feel those feelings until they’ve lessened somewhat. THEN you can address the insecurities underneath that emotion.

Hey,

How do I stay sober in Athens? 

For a Friend

Hey Friend,

I used to drink so much that I would sneak entire six-packs into bars with me. I used to hang with a guy who was known for keeping a handle of cheap vodka in his backpack so he could top his drink off as needed in the bathroom. I know what it means to be sloppy and drunk in this town.  

You have to stop going out so much. Sorry, but that’s the answer. You have to go out for special events and shows, and not just for weeknight drinking. You have to make a trip downtown or to Hi-Lo Lounge or wherever into a special occasion instead of a necessary part of your daily life.  That’s not to say all barflies are alcoholics—plenty of folks just drink at home all day, every day, after all. But social life and drinking culture go hand-in-hand in Athens, so it’s best to get real about that and find places in your socializing where you can subtract the presence of drink from it.   

You can do this by finding hobbies that aren’t booze-adjacent, like hiking or gaming or becoming a barbecue pitmaster, who knows. Maybe start a garden or learn to code. I just think that boozing can be so fun sometimes that we forget that there’s plenty of other fun to be had in life.  Seek out other fun stuff—and maybe some AA meetings, too.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, or use our anonymous online form at flagpole.com/get-advice.

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