How do you count grilled cheese?

Chat at 1 p.m.

Also: I suspect this letter writer has written in before.

I'm sure you've addressed this in the past, but I'd like to know you and your readers' opinions. In fact, I'd like to take a survey. And I can assure all readers – this is a true situation.

The background: I've been with my girlfriend for almost three years (we are both around 50). Everything is pretty good. Early in our relationship she was doing online dating. In the year before we met, she said she had met up with 30 guys. She also confessed (?) to having sex with a third of them. This was a shock to me. I'm an old-fashioned guy, but we got through it.

Well, fast forward and we are having another discussion regarding what I believe you and your column call a grilled cheese. She says that a grilled cheese is not sex (thank you, Bill Clinton). Like I said, I'm old-fashioned and say that it is. Obviously, this now makes me wonder what went on with the other 20 guys (she won't respond).

Of course, when I swap things around and ask how she'd feel if I had been with 20 women, I get no response. So I am really confused. Do your readers consider a grilled cheese as two people having sex? I will be compiling the results of the feedback/survey.

– Help


There are many ways to enjoy sexual activity. Grilled cheese, as we’ve called it here (because, back in 2009, I wasn't sure what the Globe would allow me to post on its website), is one of them. When we limit the definition of sex to a specific kind of intercourse, it's pretty heteronormative.

But that's not why you want your girlfriend to expand her view of sex, right? You're not looking to broaden her definition to be more inclusive. You're just upset that she's had plenty of it. This is all about judgement.

You're looking to punish your girlfriend for her sexual past, but I'm not sure why. Do you want her to pretend to be sorry about her choices? If so, examine that. Why do you believe she should feel remorse?

Maybe this about you needing to know that you're different than her other partners. If that's the case, please remember that she's been showing up for you for three years. What she has with you is unique.

You say you're an old-fashioned guy, but ... I'd encourage you not to be. Your girlfriend is a grownup who's lived her life. Her experiences – whether they add up to 10 or 30 – led her to be a "pretty good" partner to you. Stop counting and surveying, and let it go.

– Meredith

Readers? What is the letter writer trying to do here?