A little Close to Home

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Question

I've recently discovered (twice now) that my boyfriend of almost 4 years gets off on looking at personal ads on Craigslist. But the issue is that he's looking at men looking for men in our neighborhood, discreet encounters, and very explicit details. I'm freaking out and want to break up but he swears there's been no cheating and is ashamed of himself. He says he has to seek out the kinkiest thing to get off. Obviously our sex life has suffered quite a bit and we've come close to breaking up because of it but he promises he just wants to be with me and sees me in his future. Is this bullshit? He says he doesn't want to do it with a man but I consider myself to be smarter than to give in to this habit and want him to stop. He said he would a month ago and now I found out he did it again. What the hell do I do about this?

Confused and a Bit Grossed Out

Answer

It's not at all unusual for people of one orientation to be turned on by the hot and heavy details of another orientation—just look at how many dyed-in-the-wool dykes love to watch gay boy porn. Hurrah for the wonder of fantasies. People will often express shame and a pattern of recurrent furtive behaviour when they feel they can't be open about their kinks with a partner and sex lives do suffer when fantasies feel disparate or threatening. But in your case, the combination of these things along with the proximity of your boyfriend's intrigues does raise a red flag that something more is going on. It is very possible your boyfriend is wrestling with the fact that he's either gay or bisexual and because this doesn't really seem like a negotiable option at the moment, he's trying to tamp it down, hoping that maybe a good dose of remorseful self-loathing will "cure" him.

I guess the question is what do you want out of this relationship—an uneasy, distrustful arrangement or the truth? If you want the truth then you may have to be open to the possibility that sometimes people discover things about themselves when they are well into a relationship that they don't want to leave with someone they love very much. Yes, it is possible that your boyfriend simply gets off looking at ads for kinky gay encounters in your neighbourhood and never intends to act on this but even if this is the case, an open discussion is in order. If a person can't (or refuses to) grow, change and explore in a relationship—with the potential for leaving it if it no longer fits—then they will persist in lying to themselves and their partner, creating an atmosphere of hostility and resentment that is hard to crawl out of, both as a couple and as individuals.

You're dealing with a lot here, Confused and I think you know that being complicit in your boyfriend's rueful false promises is not the solution. So what are you going to do? You're going to be a big girl. You're going to tell yourself that you've been with this guy long enough to be able to talk to him compassionately about difficult and personal things. You're going to know that having a future with someone means accepting them for who they are and that that future might mean just being friends because who they are might just be too much, or not enough, for you. What's he going to do? He's going to be a big boy. He's going to tell himself that that he's been with you long enough to be able to talk to you compassionately about difficult and personal things. He's going to know that having a future with someone means accepting them for who they are and that that future might mean just being friends because who they are might just be too much, or not enough, for him. You're both going to know that this might be really stressful and that unkind words will likely be exchanged and as such, it's worth looking into online support groups for people coming out and/or questioning in your area. Nothing wrong with looking into an LGBT savvy therapist to mediate this challenge, too.