By Hannah Rice Berman
I (25M) have been dating my girlfriend (24F) for five years now. Four months ago, we moved in together. The day we moved in, “Sally”—I will call her Sally here, just so you can really get your toes into the narrative, but rest assured that all identifying information has been removed from this story—“Sally” revealed that she was very intent on adopting an animal.
“Sally,” I said (only I used her real name, of course); “Sally, why do we need an animal?”
“Well,” she responded, “I think it will be a great test for whether or not we should have a child together.” (“Sally” loves tests. Our brief *open* relationship was a test, too, to see how loyal I really would be if given the option to explore. I love that she likes to test me—it proves she thinks of me as an intellectual equal!)
I was not particularly enthused, but eventually, I gave in to “Sally.” What “Sally” wants, she wants deeply; when I want something, it’s more of a passing fancy. So, “Sally” got her way in this instance, as she did with most of the other logistics about us moving in, such as the neighborhood, the apartment, the decorations, ETC ETC.
“Sally” works in the office, while I am currently *in between* positions, so I was the only one home when the box containing “Sheldon” arrived. I assumed the box contained a new pair of slippers I had purchased to make my stomping less audible, so I opened the lid with haste, only to recoil immediately. Our new roommate was beady-eyed, thick as my shin, and LONG. I did the only thing that made sense—not because I was scared, but because there was no way to know whether the thing was venomous—I backed away and hid in the bathroom until “Sally” came home and found “Sheldon” slithering on the TV console.
“Baby, come out,” she called, “and say hi to our new pet!”
Cautiously, I emerged to find my beautiful GF standing in the middle of the living room with a snake hanging across her shoulders. I yelped a bit, just because the sight was so horrible. She laughed.
For the next few weeks, everything just got worse and worse. First, “Sally” refused to buy a tank for her serpent, and I was stuck dealing with it all day while she went to the office. Then one of the ladies that “Sally” had been seeing while we were still *open* started coming over, since “Sally” said that I was “unfit” to care for the snake. (I agreed; I detest feeding it and watching the bodies of those poor, defenseless frozen rodents travel down its gullet.)
This particular snake-sitter is a big, butch lesbian who goes by “Rock” (not in real life, of course) and who has what I like to call a powerful aura. Unfortunately, “Rock” and I have had a rocky relationship from the start, right when she started fucking my girlfriend. Listen, I am as open-minded as the next guy, but sitting outside of your girlfriend’s bedroom and listening to her moan and wail in pleasure, then seeing “Rock” emerge from the bedroom, naked body dripping with sweat, and then watching as she removes her strap-on, staring you right in the eyes—it’s not necessarily the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
When “Rock” first started showing up at our apartment, I asked very politely if she would like any of my cereal, and she rolled her eyes and told me she was just there to feed the snake. That’s the type of treatment I’ve grown to expect during the long days that I’m home alone with “Rock.” And now that “Rock” has started living here full-time (“Sally” said she was a “real snake-whisperer” and “Sheldon” needed the support), I rarely get a break—or a moment alone with my GF!
The worst part is that “Sally” has started calling my *DING DONG* her “little Sheldon.” Granted, it’s not as big as “SHELDON,” but I think it’s still passable. And also, it seems like she doesn’t even need a big “Sheldon” to get it going, based on what I’ve heard from when she and “Rock” make love.
So, here’s my question: AITA (Am I the Asshole) if I ask my girlfriend to get rid of her snake? I’m not sure how she’ll react, but I just can’t live with this serpent anymore, even though I love “Sally” very, very much. Thank you in advance for all your sage advice.
EDIT: OP here. Thank you to those of you who refrained from screaming at me in the comments and asked actual, salient questions. I’ve compiled a few of them and will post my answers below.
Q: Is “Sheldon” dangerous?
“Sally” tells me that there have not yet been enough studies done to determine whether Sheldon’s venom is lethal, but anecdotal evidence suggests it is not.
Q: Why were we in an open relationship?
Gosh, I don’t know… if YOUR GF came up to YOU and asked for space to sort out her sexuality, would you say no? I supported “Sally” because I pride myself on being open-minded—and I certainly still have an open mind when it comes to any FFM threesomes she might propose. 🙂
Q: Why was I sitting outside of the bedroom while “Rock” was fucking “Sally” for the first time?
Well, the night when “Rock” met “Sally” actually happened to be our anniversary. We had gone out for a nice dinner, and “Rock” was our waiter. This was when we were still in an *open* stage, because “Sally” was living with friends in NYC and I was living with my parents in Connecticut.
Even though “Rock” had several tables to wait, she came by ours often, and “Sally” had a hunch that she was interested. “Sally” asked me whether I minded if she flirted back with “Rock,” and I told her that anything was okay with me! Nothing could make me happier than helping my GF live her life “loud and proud,” so to speak.
Even I had to admit that the energy between those two was pretty electric—so much so that “Rock” ended up pouring way too much water into “Sally’s” glass, and it spilled everywhere! “Sally” leaped up, but there was already water all over her lovely celebratory skirt. She had to go to the restroom to clean up. “Rock” accompanied her to apologize. They were in there for a while. Clearly, they got to chatting, because it turned out (as I learned from “Sally” when she returned) that “Rock” lived nearby “Sally’s” apartment, and wanted to give us a ride home to make up for all the trouble.
The meal ended, and then we had to wait around for a couple of hours for “Rock’s” shift to end, too, so “Rock” brought us a few rounds of beer to celebrate, for free! Finally, we all got into “Rock’s” car; “Sally” really likes putting her knees up in the passenger seat, so I squeezed into the back, and off we went. The girls were bonding, talking about the music and television shows they like, so I sat quietly and listened.
When we got to the apartment, “Sally” turned to me and said, “Is it okay with you if I invite Rock up?” It would have been awkward to say no, so we all got into the elevator together. Once “Sally” unlocked the door I made a beeline to the bathroom.
When I was done, they had both disappeared into the bedroom. I knocked courteously and “Sally” told me to wait outside.
Sure, it wasn’t the best night of my life, but they were only busy for about an hour, anyway, and then “Rock” left—which I’ve already covered. In the morning, “Sally” said she was very proud of me for how I handled the situation, and that she was so glad we were growing together in this new, exciting direction. I had to concur!
Q: How much is our rent?
Not really sure why so many people asked this, but we are paying $4000/mo, which, I understand, is quite a steal for a one-bedroom in a *very prime* location in NYC.
Q: How did it come to happen that “Rock” moved in with us?
As I stated in the original post, “Sally” figured out that “Rock” was an extremely good carer for our snake, and informed me that “Rock” would be moving in several days before she actually did. I was not “left out of the decision,” as some commenters have assumed.
Q: Where does “Rock” sleep at night?
It used to be all three of us in the bed, but “Rock” started complaining that I “breathe weird” in my sleep, so my sleeping quarters have shifted to the living room couch. It sucks that I don’t get to cuddle with my GF at night anymore, but I actually have been quite enjoying the couch lifestyle—it’s kind of fun to make the bed anew each night, and the nights are definitely a lot more breezy now that I’m not sleeping next to both women!
UPDATE: OP again. Updating this post to explain why I should never, EVER have come to this group for advice.
I don’t generally believe in listening to the *haters*, but all the comments about “Sally” and “Rock” got to me—and you all came close to ruining my loving, five-year relationship.
Last Tuesday, I woke up earlier than usual so I could ask “Sally” how long “Rock” would be staying with us before “Rock” woke up. “Sally” was immediately annoyed. Arms crossed, she said, “Rock doesn’t have anywhere else to go. She’ll be with us until that changes.”
I foolishly pressed the point, saying, “I’m only asking because sometimes I feel like I’m not a part of this relationship anymore? Like, it sometimes feels like I’m not even included? And it’s making me think that maybe you’re” —even as I said it, I regretted it— “…cheating on me? Or… something like that.”
“Sally” was very offended that I would suggest such a thing, and she said it made her feel “unsafe” in her own home. She immediately told me to pack my bags and get out. Of course, I respected her wishes.
I didn’t have anywhere to go, aside from my childhood home, but I couldn’t tell my parents that me and “Sally” were on the rocks for fear that they would stop paying our rent—and then all three of us would be out of a place to live! So I checked into a hotel across the street from our apartment, and took to journaling while waiting at the window for a glimpse of “Sally.”
After a week, I contacted her to let her know that I had thought about our situation very carefully and that I wanted to try to fix things. Thankfully, she was willing to listen. When I entered the apartment, I saw that “Rock” had redecorated a bit; the mini freezer filled with frozen mice now sat right by the television, which is where “Sheldon” likes to hang out most—actually quite a pragmatic idea—and there were flowers on the counter, white lilies. It looked very much like a home.
I apologized to “Sally,” and explained the source of my paranoia. After she and “Rock” deliberated in the kitchenette for a few minutes, they decided that she was willing to take me back.
I can’t believe I almost lost everything this week, just because of a few trolls on an online forum. You all would do well to remember that there are real people behind these screens and that your words can do real damage.
I’ve decided to learn to live with “Sheldon.” I have my apartment and my GF back, and I’m very, very happy.
Signing off FOREVER,
Hannah Rice Berman is a Brooklyn-based writer. She has previously been published in On the Run Fiction, Allegory Ridge’s fiction anthology, Thirty West’s imprint Tilde, and the Sad Girls Club. You can read more of her work at hannah-berman.com.