Dan Savage takes questions from just the ladies
Published: April 14, 2014
Q: I’m a 26-year-old girl, and my boyfriend is bi. I assumed he would be less jealous than the average man. After all, a lot of bi men have faced irrational jealousy from women. But my BF is more jealous than average. He accuses me of having slept with my male friends in the past. He makes negative comments about how many people I’ve hooked up with. Whenever I won’t divulge something, he says, “Well, obviously that means you did hook up with that guy before we met/you do think that waiter was cute/you were looking at porn on your phone.” If I do admit I was involved with someone (or even that I think someone is cute), he gets really upset. He knows he’s insecure. He says he’s working on it. But do people grow out of this kind of thing? Also, this is especially unfair given that I don’t object at all to the shirtless snapchats he gets from guys he used to hook up with. —Torn In Re Envious Drudgery
A: Your boyfriend is not insecure, TIRED, your boyfriend is an asshole.
You shouldn’t have to put up with slut-shaming or emotionally abusive behavior, TIRED, not even when — especially not when — it comes disguised as “jealousy and insecurity.” Your boyfriend is not, as he would have you believe, the tormented victim of his own psychic demons. He is tormenting and victimizing you — he is abusing you — and conning you into giving him a pass by crying to you about his bullshit insecurities.
While some people do overcome these particular strains of assholery, it usually takes being dumped several dozen times before a guy like your boyfriend starts to do the hard work of unpacking and dismantling his assholery. The longer someone like your boyfriend gets away with this kind of assholery, the longer he’ll be an asshole. So do your boyfriend and yourself a favor, TIRED, and DTMFA.
Lastly: I have a hunch your jealous, controlling, emotionally abusive boyfriend is playing a “good offense is the best defense” game with you. By which I mean to say: He’s probably doing more — a lot more — than just swapping shirtless pics with guys he “used to” hook up with. His jealous fits about your imaginary infidelities may be meant to distract you from his actual ones.
Q: I am a 22-year-old bisexual female, and I have a boyfriend who I love. He says he wouldn’t mind if I hooked up with other girls, as long as it was a one-night thing. That’s not what I want. Ultimately, I want to have a boyfriend and a girlfriend. He is not keen on the idea. He says he feels like he is not enough for me. I reassure him constantly that this is not the case. He is everything I want in a man, but I still crave a woman’s company. How can I approach this subject with him so that he will understand and be willing to accept it? I love him and want to be with him, but I also want a woman in my life, and I am not willing to sacrifice that. —Feeling Emotionally Maligned
A: Your boyfriend may be everything you want in a man, FEM, but he’s not everything you want. If you won’t sacrifice your dream of having a woman in your life — for him or any other man — then stop encouraging him to hope otherwise. When he says, “I worry that I’m not enough for you,” you should be saying, “You’re all the man I need, honey, but it’s true: You’re not enough for me.” Instead, you’re saying, “You’re everything I want! You’re enough for me! But, um, I totally need a girlfriend, too!”
No more mixed messages, FEM. Say this to him: “I don’t wanna have one-night stands with random women. I wanna have a relationship with one woman and a concurrent relationship with one man. I’d like that man to be you, sweetheart. But you’ll have to compromise on the only-one-night-stands-with-women thing if you want to be with me. Because, like I told Dan Savage, I’m simply not willing to sacrifice that. Not even for you.”
If you’ll settle for nothing less than polyamory, FEM, your boyfriend has to be told that in unambiguous terms. No mixed messages, no hedging. The risk, of course, is that your boyfriend will dump you. But if he doesn’t want what you want, FEM, then he’s not the right guy for you, is he?
Q: I am a heterosexual woman. There is no doubt in my mind that my boyfriend of four years loves women. Or that he loves me. My boyfriend says he is straight, but I sometimes think he is attracted to men. My gay best friend also thinks my boyfriend is attracted to men. Example: My boyfriend loves getting attention from this one gay waiter. My boyfriend goes out of his way to talk to him, the waiter responds with flirtation, and all the while, the gay waiter ignores and is rude to me. I asked my boyfriend if he had a crush on this waiter, and he got mad at me. What does this mean? —Worried Over Really Repressed Yearnings
A: Your boyfriend could be straight and comfortable with his sexuality and attracted to the occasional (rude) gay waiter. Some (rude) gay waiters are simply irresistible, WORRY, and some straight-identified guys aren’t 100 percent straight, just as some gay- and lesbian-identified folks aren’t 100 percent gay or lesbian. While some folks are bi and closeted, WORRY, lots of people are only so rarely attracted to someone of the same or opposite sex that the straight label (or the gay/lesbian label) feels more comfortable and more accurate than the bi label. As for your gay best friend, WORRY: Some (dumb) gay men are convinced that all straight-identified men are gay, bi, or persuadable. The more attractive the man, the more convinced these (dumb) gay men are. The fact that some straight-identified men have been known to fuck the odd (rude) gay waiter or (dumb) gay best friend only fans the flamers.
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