Boyfriend has fat fetish and monogamy issues - how to deal with it?
March 1, 2010 6:32 PM Subscribe
Boyfriend has fat fetish and monogamy issues. How to deal with it?
posted by anonymous to human relations (47 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've been in a serious monogamous relationship with my boyfriend for a couple of years. A number of months ago, several things were revealed to me - he had conducted what amounted to a more-than-friendship/not quite emotional affair with someone, which he later sheepishly admitted was mostly because of her weight. He had alluded to being attracted to heavy girls, thick thighs, etc. previously but had not done anything. I was initially devastated but was reassured throughout that he still loved me; eventually, he admitted that the incident had very little to do with the person in question but had more to do with his attraction to the general figure. (I initially had a hard time believing this, as she is strikingly attractive. Also, they are essentially coworkers, so he still sees her on a regular basis.) However, after some drawn-out confessions, I now believe him. He was very embarrassed when admitting this attraction to me. Additionally, several months earlier he had kissed a friend, a relationship he quickly cut off and which was also somewhat related to her weight.
We have since discussed both of these incidents. He has expressed a lot of regret for his actions and has basically explained it as this: he was so secure in his relationship to me and the security of our future together that he thought it was "okay" for him to pursue these other things, because we would ultimately still be the most important ones in each other's lives. This nearly caused us to break up but because of the ensuing discussions, I think we are stronger for it and more committed to our relationship. He has renounced past behavior and, as part of the renewal process, truly disclosed everything - any e-mails, texts, other contact he has had with these people, something he had a problem doing before. We live together and I have essentially had free rein to his e-mail account, something he encouraged to indicate his change of heart. I do believe he has been completely open to me since and I am not concerned about any sincerity in commitment on his part.
However... he is still sexually attracted to overweight female figures. In the past we had discussed the possibility of an open relationship, but I've realized that although I can rationalize the benefits of it, I still feel emotionally uncomfortable with the idea. The previous incidents clearly confirmed this, as I was very hurt by the idea of him with other women. He has stated that he does not feel the same way about the idea of me with other men; in fact, it's a possibility he finds exciting. I think part of this is because I still have difficulty disengaging sex with emotional attachment, and he does not. However, as someone who reads Savage Love regularly, I want to be open to exploring his fetishes, and since I can't fulfill those personally, I wonder if I should be more open to him fulfilling them with other people. (I am not overweight, btw.) But on a gut level the idea distresses me greatly, and I really do not want it to happen. Currently, he is definitely committed to monogamy, because he knows it is what I want. At the same time - he has confirmed this - it's the kind of fetish that will not go away and although he has used Internet sites and such, it's still a very strong urge. We have tried looking at this kind of porn/material together a couple times and although he is clearly aroused by it, I find myself at a loss and kind of turned off.
How do we reconcile this? Can we? I am concerned this is one of those situations where one partner is committed to monogamy and the other is not, and it means one person has to ultimately compromise. Also, I know there is a stigma associated with his fetish; I don't know if it's the kind of thing I should really try to fulfill or to just say "some things should remain fantasies, especially in the context of a committed long-term relationship where the other partner is not comfortable with an open relationship." However, I have to say, I don't know if it's me who should get over this "hang-up" with monogamy; I think if I explored the boundaries of our relationship first I would be more comfortable with him doing so. We are both fairly young. Also, to clarify: we both want to make this work. He will be reading these responses too.