Jenny Glick offers some unexpected advice. She think this is less about what he is doing and more about how she can respond.
My boyfriend comes from a very free, open relationship, and I am nothing like that. We have been dating for a year, now, but he’s a little too sexual. We have awesome sex, but it’s like it’s not enough for him. He has no problem telling me he is turned on by another woman (it could be Iggy Azalea, a woman on the bus, or a woman in a porn. It makes no difference), and it really bothers me.
He has made a lot of changes, but I just can’t stand it. The first thing I told him when we started dating was that I would only be in an exclusive relationship and he had no problem, but he was a disaster. He had softporn wallpapers on the computer, and would talk to me about how hot other women were in very explicit ways.
I am not like him. I love him and only want him. I still find other men attractive, but not in this manner. I have never dated anybody like this, either. I repeat, he changed a lot, but it still makes me uncomfortable, and fearful. I literally cannot listen to Katy Perry or Iggy Azalea anymore, and I am afraid to go to the beach with him. What can I do? Which is the correct way to face this?
Listen to your instincts with this. If you feel uncomfortable, than talk about it, face it head on with your partner.
Sex in a healthy and mature relationship is a fantastically fun and emotionally intimate thing. Sex in a relationship that is maturing but is still young is often pitted with land mines. The work of a committed relationship is to bring these tough issues to the forefront and engage in these potentially difficult talks together.
You might say, “I feel hurt when you comment about other women’s bodies.” Own how you are feeling — this is about you and focus less on what he is doing.
Often I hear people say, “I feel…like you don’t find me attractive.” This is not a feeling. This is blame cloaked as a feeling. Do your own work to figure out your feelings…sad, hurt, and scared are usually a good place to start.
Your partner may respond by being attentive and listening to your feelings. He may get angry and belittle what you say. It is common to get defensive, angry, or to shut down in these kinds of conversations.
They way that you express your feelings and his responses tell you a lot about the developmental stage of your relationship and what you both still have to learn together to be in a mature, committed relationship together.
That desire to attack or run away means that you and your partner have some work to do individually and together to grow your relationship in to what you both want it to be.
It would be very easy to make this about his “problem” with sex, sex addiction, or whatever he has going on. But instead, what if you make it about your own growth?
- Where is it that you are shutting down your own knowing or your voice?
- When you feel uncomfortable with something that he says or does, do you hide it?
- Are you passive aggressive about it?
- Do you try to do even more or have even better sex so that he isn’t looking at other women?
If any of these statements apply, then it would be worthwhile to consider the ways that you may be enabling his behavior or are unwilling to set a boundary that is important for you. It is your job to set the boundaries that you need in the relationship.
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Photo: Jack Marion/Flickr