Open Relationships, Thin Walls 

Dear Audrey,
A few months ago, my boyfriend and I decided to have an open relationship. We promised we'd tell each other, though, when someone happened. Well, now it has — but I'm scared to break the news, since he hasn't gone off with anyone yet. How do I tell him?

Yeah, see, you know that thing where people are like, "Open relationships can be challenging and maybe they aren't for everyone," and you're like, "What? It sounds awesome! What's not to like?" This is the part that they were talking about. Which is not to say don't have an open relationship. Because in many ways and for many people, they are completely awesome and there isn't anything not to like.

So my thinking is, just tell him. Keep it casual, almost off-hand. Because here's the thing: you two are just starting to figure out how this relationship is going to work. And in some ways, I think we never grow out of that thing that toddlers do, where, after they fall they don't start to cry until an adult comes rushing over looking worried.

I think if you make this into a big, grave conversation he's going to be more likely to react negatively, like, "Oh, it must be a horrible, embarrassing deal that my partner got with someone and I didn't" and "Oh no, I am worried and now this is a thing, and nothing will ever be the same."

Whereas a lighthearted, "Oh hey, by the way, I had a date last night and it went awesome," signals that hey, no big! Aren't we having fun! Won't it be fun when you have an extra-relationship hookup! Whee! Boners!

Does that make sense? It often seems to me that if you don't make a big deal of things, then they won't be a big deal. And if it does turn into a big deal, then maybe it's time for the big, grave conversation.

Dear Audrey,
My roommate and I share a wall. You can hear everything through that wall. I hear him and his boyfriend having sex, and I want it to stop stop stop. They're not being especially loud, though, it's just that the walls are paper-thin. Any tips on what I should do?

That, my friend, is a real pickle. And yet, a pretty familiar pickle to anyone who has paid their living-with-a-roommate dues, which is almost everyone in New York. I'm sorry to say, there's just not a whole lot you can do. It's definitely not fair for you to ask them not to have sex at the apartment, or to only do it when you're not around.

On the other hand, do make sure they know how thin the walls are. A fake phone conversation while they're doing it can achieve that easily. I know I personally would just go to the other person's house all the time if I had thin walls and a boyfriend, because I am shy.

But if your roommate and his boyfriend aren't, then you're kinda stuck with the earplugs, headphones, a white noise machine, or just taking a walk for a while options. Sorry, I know that really sucks. But look, you won't live there forever, and then it will just be a funny aren't-we-New Yorkers-wacky anecdote.

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