He Said, She Said: Your Partner’s Fantasies About Other People- What They Mean About You.

By on March 14, 2016
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This week’s question is…

 

‘What do your sexual fantasies about other men/women have to do with me? ‘ -Tamra.

 
 

Sara Says…

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Nothing, and everything.

 
If you’re in a relationship where the context is one of honesty, chances are you’re going to enter the minefield of ‘attraction to others’. I haven’t met many men (or women) who say they’ve been free of desire for anyone else since entering their relationship. We may choose to be monogamous, but that doesn’t mean we become ‘sexy-blind’.

The question in this kind of relationship becomes, ‘What does it mean if I want other people?’ Some couples choose to take it as a sign that the relationship isn’t fulfilling a need, and either break up or explore polyamory.

Others see it as a normal part of interaction, and use attraction as a means to explore their own triggers around jealousy, body image, trust, etc.

Some even use it to spice up their relationship, by talking about people that both find sexy, or using fantasies they have about someone else to inform what might be possible with their partner.
 
 

I consider sexual fantasies as a sign of what my partner enjoys.

 
Whether he’s talking about me or about someone else, I want to know what he’s into. I don’t feel comfortable hearing about it until the context is set that he doesn’t plan to act on the fantasies.

If we can get shared reality around that, and why I want to hear about his desires, then hearing these fantasies is pretty sexy for me.
 
 
But this is the crucial part…

I need to know what my partner thinks his fantasies have to do with me. He needs to know what I think his fantasies have to do with me. If we aren’t on the same page – if he starts telling me about desires before I know why he’s doing it – I’m much more likely to get scared, jealous, or confused. I need to have the freedom to ask for these fantasies, or to say no if I’m not ready to talk about them.

Whatever can’t be looked at in a connection is where your shadows come to lie.

If attraction to others, or fantasies about others, is off the table, then any mention of these may herald the end of a good relationship. However, if the attraction and fantasies are present anyways, ignoring them may make you or your partner even more likely to want to act on them.

The catch – of course – is that speaking about these things brings up a lot of trigger, both in the person with the fantasies (who might feel ashamed of them or attached to following them), and the person hearing them.

 

So, to make the interaction cleaner, I’d suggest doing a couple things…

  1. Set context. Tell your partner why you want to talk about your fantasies – what you imagine it might further in your relationship, what you want to hear from them, etc.
  2. Ask for impact. Give your partner a space to have their emotions around the topic, and ideally, explore these emotions with them. At the least, make sure they feel heard.
  3. Stay unattached to the outcome. If you come in thinking ‘I need this or the relationship is going to end,’ your partner is right to feel scared. You’ve just removed all agency they have in the relationship except for saying yes or no. Remain open to co-creating an outcome that works for both of you.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

 
Don’t write off the relationship until you have an honest conversation with your partner Click To Tweet
 
 
Continue exploring your fantasies and your relationship to them.

If you get to the point of making a request around this, that’s great – for my relationship, the requests have been ‘tell me about your attraction to other people when you feel it’ and, ‘don’t fantasize about other people when we’re having sex. If you start fantasizing, stop having sex’ – but, the exploration is what’s important. You may find a whole world of new needs, desires, and possibilities for closeness that would never have been revealed without this trigger.
 
 
Tell your partner why you love them.

If you’re in this relationship, there’s a reason for it. Tell your partner those reasons.

After a tough conversation, I always want to know that it’s safe to keep opening up; that my partner isn’t going to leave me or break my trust. If a reason doesn’t come to mind, you might consider why you’re in the connection, and what you want out of it – in this case, fantasies might be a sign that something really is missing that you need.

But…

Don’t write off the relationship until you have an honest conversation with your partner
 
…about that need
. They might never have known it was something you wanted, or something they could give.

 

I hope this helps, Tamra. I would have loved to know the emotion behind that question – whether it came from interest, excitement, anger, or something else entirely. Let me know how the answer lands with you!  You can write it in the comments section below this article.

 

(Click the image to get some resources for having the tough conversations, from Sara’s project.
-Editor.)

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Now click over to to the next page for ‘He Said’…

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One Comment

  1. Tanya

    March 14, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    I find it interesting that anyone would truly care what someone else is thinking about while having sex. If someone were thinking of someone else while fulfilling or even talking about their fantasies, how would the recipient know? Only if your partner speaks of something or someone in a threesome, should you worry about his intentions. Otherwise, be sure to tell him about your fantasies and only do what you want to do to fulfill his.

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