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Should boyfriend do sexual arousal study without talking to girlfriend about it first?
November 18, 2011 2:37 AM   Subscribe

Should my boyfriend have done sexual arousal study without consulting me first?

I was waiting for my boyfriend (he was in a lecture from 7:30am-12pm, but it usually only lasts till 10) and he finally came to meet me at 1pm, and eventually during lunch says he actually was done with his lecture at 10a.m., but decided to participate for an hour in a sexual study for 20 dollars where he looks at nude photographs to see if they arouse him or not. This upset me a lot and I walked out of the cafeteria. I eventually talked with him again outside, and I asked him how he could do this, and didn't he know it would hurt me? And he told me that he knew I wouldn't like it, but $20 dollars is a lot to him. (He gets about $1,350 a month from his parents and a stipend. Not to mention he has never worked a paying job for a single day in his life and his parents give him and buy him everything he needs - so he absolutely didn't need the money.) I asked if $20 is worth it to do something that would hurt me so much, and he said yes. I asked him why he couldn't at least call me or write me to see if I was okay with it. He got mad at me for being upset (I was crying), saying he shouldn't have to ask me or tell me anything first, he can just decide for himself what's okay and what's not, and then he said he wants to break up with me because the way we see these things is too different. I am still staying with him until my flight on Monday. What do you all think about this? Was I out of line for getting upset about that? (He is 25 and in medical school, and I am 23, by the way, and staying with him in the foreign country where he lives)
posted by crawmama to Human Relations (68 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think the sexual study participation itself is kind of beside the point here. The problem is that he said he knew you wouldn't like it but did it anyway. And "I asked if $20 is worth it to do something that would hurt me so much, and he said yes." He's an asshole and he doesn't care about you. Or he's playing some weird game. Or he wanted to break up with you but deliberately did something to make you mad so he would have a "reason", or so you would do the breaking up.
posted by lollusc at 2:43 AM on November 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm sorry you're upset, which you clearly are. It take time perhaps to set comfortable boundaries with each other and learn what they are. There was no way he could know in advance that this would disturb you, was there?

For me, and admittedly, I'm much older, and perhaps have a different approach to research and science, I would have found his experience interesting and asked for details. It may have added to titillation for us later in private moments.

My understanding is that most adult men and women find themselves looking at other people without any intent to disturb their monogamous relationship. It's a normal, healthy part of sexuality.
posted by b33j at 2:44 AM on November 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Oh and he may have said he knew you wouldn't like it anyway but that could well have been a defense mechanism applied under attack yes, darling, I love and understand you, and this is the reason why I did it.
posted by b33j at 2:45 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everything else aside, yes, you were out of line for getting upset about him participating in the study.
posted by 6550 at 2:59 AM on November 18, 2011 [73 favorites]


The only reason I can assume he'd know that this would hurt you was if one of your relationship boundaries was no porn. I don't know what the culture is like where you are, but where I live, the idea of guy's (and many ladies as well) looking at porn is the norm. If you had previously indicated that looking at naked people (or porn, which may either be just naked people or go as far as naked people doing it) was a deal breaker and he was OK with that, then yes, I could understand you being upset. However, the idea of "no, you can not look at other people naked on a computer or in a magazine or on TV" is to everyone I know an absurd notion, similar to b33j's first comment. But if that's a line that both of you agreed not to cross, that's cool, different things for different people.

If this wasn't a pre-defined relationship boundary, then how would he know?

Now assuming this is a pre-defined relationship boundary and he crossed that line, the next issue is his attitude towards your reaction. Doing something that knowingly hurts someone you're in a relationship is a Bad Thing(tm). In this case, like b33j's second comment, if he was unaware that this was a boundary you wanted, I would assume his response was not an intentional response to anger and hurt you, but simply a defensive one of "why are you mad at me, how was I supposed to know I was never supposed to look at another naked person for the rest of my life". But if you had both previously agreed that never looking at naked people was something you both needed to be happy and he was onboard with that, then yes, I can see why you're upset. But you never addressed that issue and since it's such a weird thing (at least in the culture I'm from) I have to assume this was never something verboten and agree with 6550 and say you are overreacting to something that the majority of people do. Accordingly, his knee-jerk reaction to you was in response to your knee-jerk reaction to him participating the study.
posted by Brian Puccio at 3:02 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If he knew you wouldn't like it and did it anyway, thats the issue. You should discuss that with him, calmly. Was 20 dollars really worth more than your feelings? Or did he actually not know you'd react this way, and was just over-reacting to your unexpected emotional response.

That he looked at naked women in a study?... meh, it wouldn't bother me. Does he have to ask you before he looks at porn? Do you object to porn? And he's a medical student, I'm sure he sees a LOT of people naked no? If I'm honest, to me your reaction seems completely unreasonable, but he still shouldn't be doing things if he knows they hurt you.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:04 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everything else aside, yes, you were out of line for getting upset about him participating in the study.

I don't agree with this. I wouldn't be upset because it just wouldn't bother me, but if upset is your natural reaction then that's how you feel and it doesn't help anyone to pretend you're okay when you aren't. That doesn't mean that he shouldn't have done it, it just means that your feelings of being upset are as valid as his feelings of being annoyed at you for being upset.

The real issue here is that you think this is a Big Deal, he thinks it's not a big deal at all, you feel like he doesn't care that it bothers you, and it seems like maybe he doesn't care that it bothers you. It also seems like you might be a bit contemptuous of him based on his financial situation ("He gets about $1,350 a month from his parents and a stipend. Not to mention he has never worked a paying job for a single day in his life and his parents give him and buy him everything he needs - so he absolutely didn't need the money."). Those are real problems that you need to consider. The sex study seems like kind of a red herring here.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:05 AM on November 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Just taking a shot in the dark here, but has the rest of the trip been so-so? This sounds like a perfect way for a coward to force a break-up right before you leave.
posted by Georgina at 3:06 AM on November 18, 2011


ugh, I remember your question about this douchebag last month. My answer that time applies too. It's not the specifics, it's his regular pattern of dismissing your feelings and needs in the relationship and prioritising his ($20!?) that's the problem. Stop getting caught up on specifics. Does this feel like a respectful, flexible relationship to you? It doesn't seem like it from here on askme.
posted by smoke at 3:09 AM on November 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


I don't really get why you're upset, but you don't seem to trust or respect him, so why are you together?
posted by chaiminda at 3:09 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I actually DID address this issue.... early in our relationship. He knows that the naked sexualized images of women that are plastered all over this (his) country really upset me. He says it is not a good thing either. We have been together for over 2 years and it is very clear that I am not okay with porn and he promised not to look at it and also told me that he doesn't want to.
posted by crawmama at 3:13 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


And he must see a lot of naked people for his medical training, and of course that is no problem. I plan to study medicine as well, and I have worked as a medical assistant and seen many naked people in a clinical setting. But he told me outside of his medical studies/career he would not be looking at or touching any other naked people. And it may be weird to him that I have such a problem with such a thing, but he knows it VERY well by now...
posted by crawmama at 3:16 AM on November 18, 2011


ugh, I remember your question about this douchebag last month.

Yeah, now I remember that one now. Go back home on Monday and then never see him again.

Also, a very strict no-porn policy may well net you more men who will lie and cover up porn usage than men who will never ever look at porn.
posted by 6550 at 3:17 AM on November 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


Well in that case, he should definately have discussed the study with you beforehand, although there is a chance he thought it didn't "count" because it was science and therefore more related to medicine more than his own personal pleasure. Still. He han.dled it very badly.

Seriously though, it sounds like you two just aren't well suited for each other (And I absolutely second 6550 on the whole porn thing, but thats your business and not the question)
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:20 AM on November 18, 2011


He never even expressed interest in looking at porn to me - it was rather a non-issue in our relationship... As far as I know it wasn't something he was feeling deprived of, or if it was I would have been willing to give further thought/consideration to the desire, to figure out how we can both feel respected and fulfilled. But he never brought it up... He only said that it wasn't good and he didn't need it. Who knows maybe porn deprivation is what is making him so unhappy in our relationship...
posted by crawmama at 3:23 AM on November 18, 2011


I doubt porn deprivation is making him unhappy. Either he's not interested, or he is looking at it secretly and not deprived. We should probably take your word on this one, mefites are just a bit biased because this tends to come up every so often in a "he said he wouldn't look at porn, but he was!" question.

Anyway, from the sounds of things, none of that is the issue. The actual issue is that he doesn't seem very good at respecting your feelings when you're upset.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:29 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who knows maybe porn deprivation is what is making him so unhappy in our relationship.

I very much doubt it, but in any case, you both sound desparately unhappy in this relationship. He wants to break up? Do it. Let it go. Fly home on Monday and leave him behind, move on with your life, be stronger and happier without him.
posted by fight or flight at 3:31 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah I don't think porn deprivation is the issue either, just a thought because it is hard subject for me to understand because it seems like it is a commonly known that every single man looks at pornography... But yeah, anyway NOT really the issue here, as you guys have pointed out.
posted by crawmama at 3:34 AM on November 18, 2011


Yes, this is not something that a boyfriend should have to consult with you in advance, any more than he would have to consult with you about a study that would show him pictures of kittens, puppies, and dismembered corpses.
HOWEVER, since he apparently knew that it would hurt you, and his obvious dickishness about the whole thing, you're better off getting rid of him.
posted by HFSH at 3:59 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I have a new rule: If you have more than one AskMe about your significant other in a year about something s/he did to hurt you, just break it off.
posted by xingcat at 4:34 AM on November 18, 2011 [40 favorites]


I gather there's some context from a previous question of yours that I'm missing, but I also initially read his response about $20 being worth it coming from a place of defensiveness. I also wouldn't have had the slightest issue with this in my own relationship, but clearly you do, so my answer to your title question is that it depends on the prior boundaries set by the couple in question. In your case, you've clearly talked about it with him before, so yeah he shouldn't have done it. Just be careful that you don't approach his participation in the study without asking you as something that is universally wrong in relationships, because it isn't. But it was wrong in your specific relationship.
posted by lwb at 4:36 AM on November 18, 2011


You've twisted yourself into a pretzel to be with this guy, running all over the world and putting in well over 50 percent of the effort to continue the relationship. If I recall correctly, holidays are important to you and your boyfriend declined to spend either Thanksgiving or X-Mas with you, asking you to go to his family for both holidays for the second year in a row. Get on the plane Monday, go home for Thanksgiving, let the love of your family and friends help you heal, and resist any future entreaties/temptation to get back together. You deserve better. TL;DR - DTMFA.
posted by carmicha at 4:40 AM on November 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


It sounds like you guys are really bad at fighting. Here's how it could have gone:

You did that medical study without asking me? You know I'm not OK with porn!

But it was hardly porn, and I didn't masturbate. Also I could really use the money!

Tell me about it, what purpose does it have? .... Well that sounds interesting, but given how much I hate this kind of stuff you really should have texted me. Im pretty upset.

You're right, I can see how that would upset you. I'm sorry. Here let's take this 20$ and go get ice cream.

I'm lactose intolerant remember?

What? No. What does that mean?

We should break up.


Nevermind, even in my examples you all are badly suited for each other. DTMFA.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:45 AM on November 18, 2011 [17 favorites]


If I were in this position, I'd be more upset about being made to wait around until 1:00 when he was finished at 10:00 than the reason he was late (i.e., the particulars of the study). Communication is vital in any serious relationship. I know you said that his lecture could have lasted until 12:00, but even if it had (or if you thought it had), that's still an extra hour you were sitting around waiting. My point is that even in a relationship that isn't long distance (which I'm guessing from what you wrote, this is), if you're going to be an hour late, you call. Doubly so if your partner has flown in to visit you—if the time you have together is limited by distance, and you're just sitting around waiting in a cafeteria (versus, say, the comfort of your own home), that seems to creep onto an even higher level of rudeness. I won't say DTMFA, since I don't feel like I have enough context to go there, but definitely do some soul-searching about the kind of relationship you (both) want.
posted by divisjm at 5:01 AM on November 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


...looking back, I clearly misread the question a bit, and I'm guessing now that this isn't long distance. (Haven't had my coffee yet!) Regardless, my main point still stands. If you're going to be that late, you call.
posted by divisjm at 5:03 AM on November 18, 2011


Should boyfriend do sexual arousal study without talking to girlfriend about it first?

Based of course only on the slight and one-sided story above -- I'd be interested to hear his version straight from him -- I think I would side more with the boyfriend than with you: it shouldn't be such a big deal to you, and, if this is a representative picture of your relationship (he has to be careful not to do pretty unremarkable stuff because that stuff might make you cry at lunch and continue about it later and maybe take it to the internet to get new arguments to use on him), he should dump you if you don't dump him first.

And it looks like he isn't nearly as crazy about you as you are about him; he likes you fine, thinks you're good in bed or you make great toast or something like that, but maybe also thinks you're too clingy and ready to flip. You definitely aren't the center of his emotional universe.

Now, if you were actually wasting your time waiting for him and wondering where he was, he should have phoned you to let you know that he would be an hour later than usual, because promising you he'd be home at X o'clock but purposely getting home at X+1 would be rude as hell regardless of whether he was looking at naked ladies in a scientific study or helping his fully clothed mother move her collection of pictures of naked ladies. But if my girlfriend came home at a reasonable time -- didn't leave me standing and looking at my watch -- and told me she'd just made an unexpected 20 bucks just for looking at pictures of cock, and all in the name of science, I'd laugh and tell her she's buying lunch.
posted by pracowity at 5:05 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think that this seems an overreaction. Why would he need to check with you before participating in a scientific study that involves no physical contact with anyone else?

But that's not even the main problem. The main problem is that you are clearly very insecure and he's very dismissive (which makes you want his attention and approval more, most likely). Did you come from a chaotic childhood? Ask yourself why you would be with someone who doesn't value your feelings.

And beyond that, ask yourself why this was so hurtful to you. Do you fear that if he sees someone else naked, even in print or video form, that you will lose him? You may want to work on that, too.

It won't be the end of the world if you're no longer with him. You're a complete person without him, too, you know. Remember that. Internalize it. You can even be stronger by leaving him.
posted by inturnaround at 5:33 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't cry in public. I left the "public" area as soon as I felt upset... as I do not like to be in public when I am upset.
posted by crawmama at 5:35 AM on November 18, 2011


Yeah, I wasn't afraid I would lose him, it was more that he knew I was very sensitive to these things (porn or any sexual acts outside of our relationship) and knowingly did something that I wouldn't like without talking to me about it... It mostly hurt me because of the disregard for my feelings, and his attitude that he should not ever have to consider me in any of his decisions. And I realize that not all women would have had an issue with it...
posted by crawmama at 5:40 AM on November 18, 2011


Looking back on the public record it seems like there are impossibly difficult issues here that go beyond porn and sex. I'm just gonna throw out there that I think you should break up. This does not look like anything approaching a healthy relationship. The fact that you love him so much is working against your best interest here.

Please, please just leave him. He's not respecting your feelings here and doesn't seem entirely capable of empathy. The fact that you're kinda contemptuous of him isn't helping. There's a big mismatch in how the two of you view the relationship, in the degree of control over each other you expect, etc. You guys are not a good match.
posted by pjaust at 5:49 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I realize that not all women would have had an issue with it

Speaking as a woman who wouldn't have had an issue with this particular thing, I can assure you I would have had one hell of an issue with my boyfriend being totally dismissive of my time and my feelings - to the point of telling me that $20 was totally worth upsetting me for! - and then getting angry with me for being upset, no matter what the actual study in question was. That's just not okay.
posted by Catseye at 5:52 AM on November 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


I see absolutely no reason why he would need to consult you before participating in this study. But that is hardly the most important point. It is this part: "I asked if $20 is worth it to do something that would hurt me so much, and he said yes". That pretty much says it all. He probably does not love you. This statement drips with disdain for you. You should just walk away from this relationship. It will not work.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:01 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


one thing to get it out of the way. Virtually all men look at porn. A man who doesn't is either asexual or repressed to the point of dysfunction. Or they are a Unicorn. good luck with that.

It was so totally bullshit that he said twenty bucks was more important than your feelings. It was also bullshit for you to flip your shit at him over a scientific study. He didn't have to touch anyone's junk, he didn't have to take any drugs and he made a twenty.

Why are you even putting yourself through all this garbage for someone who lives a zillion miles away, isn't that nice to you? You can love him to pieces and it's not going to make you happy. You're twenty three. it'll be fine.

Break up and go to counseling to figure out how secure adults deal with disappointment and conflict inside and outside relationships. Maybe he can grow out of being a dick, you can grow out of being intensely hurt if he looks at another person's boob, and in five years you can get back together.
posted by Blisterlips at 6:07 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am sure that you are going to get a few responses that directly reference the porn itself (OMG! I loves the porns! I must protect y fellow brothers right to porns!), but I personally think that the actual naked images are not the point here.

You have been together, as you have stated, for two years and have discussed this issue before. That makes the "I didn't know" excuse of his pretty weak.

He is what a healthy relationship looks like:

ring. ring. ring. "Hello dear. I may be a little late today as I have been invited to participate in a study where I look at naked photos for $20. Are you OK with this? I know how you feel about porn, but I am not sure if this qualifies."

Personal story: I am in favor of porn, strip clubs, etc. I have no problem with it and state that to my partners. However, in the past, my very best and kindest boyfriends have STILL called to ask me about their strip club trips.

"Hi honey, I know that you have no problem with strip clubs, but I just wanted to let you know that JimBob is having a bachelors party at BigTitTay tonight. You are still OK with this right?"

THAT is what a healthy relationship looks like. Where your partner of two years knows and respects your boundaries. Hell, most of my past partners have known my boundaries and still called to make sure because they loved me and didn't want me to be sad, even accidentally.
posted by Shouraku at 6:11 AM on November 18, 2011 [21 favorites]


(I agree with Blisterlips.)

OK, so based on further information, this was a clearly defined boundary ("deal breaker", whatever you want to call it) and he crossed it and doesn't care. It looks like you either need to re-evaluate this boundary or accept that he's more OK with porn than he's willing to admit and willing to cross previously agreed upon relationship boundaries and move on with your life. The boundary issue is bigger than the porn issue.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:13 AM on November 18, 2011


I don't think there's anything wrong with doing a sexual arousal studying without telling you, in itself. Why would that bother you? He wasn't doing anything wrong and it had nothing to do with you.

I do think keeping you waiting without giving you a heads up, if that's what happened, is not cool. And I really think that telling you he cares more about $20 than your feelings is not cool.

Given that he also broke up with you or tried to, maybe you should stop and consider whether he's right that it's a problem that your views are so divergent about these things. Maybe you're incompatible. It sure sounds like he was/is frustrated with how different you guys view things like this (studies? things involving sex?) -- or else he's just a bastard who's with you because it's easy but he doesn't really give a fuck about you (in that scenario, your needs don't matter, because he doesn't care about them, and you will not enforce them because you have prioritized being with him over your own needs).
posted by J. Wilson at 6:18 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's where I see things differently than many... I think my man seeking sexual arousal does (or should) have something to do with me...
posted by crawmama at 6:22 AM on November 18, 2011


That's where I see things differently than many... I think my man seeking sexual arousal does (or should) have something to do with me...

You should probably be dating someone who sees it that way too. Or someone who's willing to meet you halfway on this.

You should probably not be dating this guy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:27 AM on November 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


He was seeking $20.
posted by lathrop at 6:28 AM on November 18, 2011


Yeah, Crawmama -- the issue here isn't the porn, really. Some of us care about that; some don't. That's not the problem.

The problem is that he intentionally crossed your explicit boundary and, when he was forced to admit it to you, basically rolled his eyes at you and acted like it was no big deal. If he cared about you he wouldn't have done that.

You're worth more than $20. Go find someone who believes that.
posted by AmandaA at 6:30 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I asked if $20 is worth it to do something that would hurt me so much, and he said yes

dealbreaker
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:44 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


PS: He had a class from 12-1, so it wasn't that he was late. It was just knowing that we were planning to meet there during his breaks from class, and he was free from 10-12 and didn't even say "boo" - but was instead doing something he knew would hurt me. But for the record, we were planning to eat lunch at 1 the whole time.
posted by crawmama at 6:59 AM on November 18, 2011


I think my man seeking sexual arousal does (or should) have something to do with me...

He wasn't "seeking" arousal. He was participating in a study. There's a huge difference here. Yeah, he may have become aroused in the course of participating in the study, but that's far from his dogging around looking for some surreptitious thrills with others. Do you get similarly upset if he masturbates in private?

His only real faux-pax here is that he neglected to inform you he was going to be otherwise occupied and wasn't going to be able to do anything with you until 1:00.

Unfortunately, your controlling nature is liable to simply teach him to lie to you in the future.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:08 AM on November 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Ok, so he didn't keep you waiting for lunch, he kept you waiting during what was ostensibly his break time during which you had agreed to meet up. What's the difference? None. He left you hanging. He doesn't have respect for your time.

But I am going to re-state what others have said already: the real problem is that you had drawn a boundary, he knew about it, he agreed that it was a boundary he could stay within, he crossed it anyway, and when you called him out on it he was all, "yeah, whatev" about it. That's the problem. He doesn't respect your time, but more importantly he doesn't respect your feelings, and this is not the first time this has happened. And it won't be the last, either.

The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. This guy has demonstrated several times over that he simply does not take your feelings seriously, and he doesn't even care that that's how he feels. Why are you continuing in this relationship hoping for something different? Get on the damn place, go home, be with the fam, regroup, and do not have anything to do with this assclown ever again. You deserve better.
posted by thereemix at 7:12 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It sounds to me like you'll both be very much better off without one another. Fly away and never return.
posted by txmon at 7:13 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let me try to play devil's advocate here.

My parents supported me in college, so I wasn't exactly rolling in cash, but I wasn't desperate either. If someone asked me "would you like to look at naked pictures for $20?" I'd have said yes. Admittedly, I didn't have a girlfriend, but I probably would have said yes anyhow, just because it wouldn't strike me as a big deal and I was pretty callous.

All that said: "I asked if $20 is worth it to do something that would hurt me so much, and he said yes." This tells you all you need to know. Your relationship is worth less than $20 to him.
posted by adamrice at 7:35 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's where I see things differently than many... I think my man seeking sexual arousal does (or should) have something to do with me...

When I was much younger, I used to feel very insecure at the thought my boyfriend would be looking at porn. It took me a while to realise that visual porn is exactly the same thing as any fantasy - just a fantasy. Just because you want a chocolate bar today doesn't mean it's all you want to eat for the rest of the week. And what didn't help was that the porn I had seen was pretty unattractive or misogynistic. The things you say about visibilty suggests you come from a much more conservative nation - not sure why but I assumed an Islamic country - so I'm sure it is shocking to you, and you need to explain this to him if it is an issue.

However, if your boyfriend knows that it makes you uncomfortable, and doesn't hide his consumption of porn or does it discreetly, then this is the issue that you should be thinking about. It isn't clear whether his participation in this study was part of a wider argument about this - as others have said, it is a study, no more sexual than being examined by a doctor.

"Unfortunately, your controlling nature is liable to simply teach him to lie to you in the future."

Yes. This is very true. Once you start telling someone they can't do something, they're going to be resentful, or hide it, even if eventually they come round to your way of thinking. And if what you're telling him not to do isn't self-destructive or harmful, or seriously hurtful, then you have little business doing so.
posted by mippy at 8:02 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would have more qualms about sticking with someone who'd never had to work or pay his own way - this would be different from my experience and I'd find it suggested a bit of a lack of self-respect to be dependent on one's parents into your mid-twenties.
posted by mippy at 8:03 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


HSounds like you guys have come to end anyways. He was a bit of an ass to not touch base if I understand the situation correctly of seeing you in between classes. But if you were only suppose to meet up at one, than I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

In the future, just a piece of advice, take it or leave it, but you should work on your hang ups on porn and the like. At the end of the day, you are only deluding yourself if you think any guy only explicitly thinks of you sexually. If a guy tells you anything differently, he is lying. People both male and female are sexual creatures and enjoy fantasies and images of others. Sounds like a bit of insecurity on your part.
posted by handbanana at 8:20 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a degree from Oprah University, and so I will tell you, because I recall your previous question:

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Really, he keeps showing you that he doesn't care quite enough about you and what you feel is important in a relationship. That's all it is in this case too. If (based on what you've written on two occasions now) he once cared more, I'd say he no longer even wants to maintain the facade and now he's actively trying to get himself fired. The timing - your flying out on Monday - is significant, no?

That said, obviously, peoples' reactions are all over the map in response to relationship issues. What concerns me in this instance is that your crying over it, which provoked his anger, shows that emotions are running high. Is your emotional/physical tension level at odds with your brain on this? Does some part of you know that the issues in this relationship are not only not so far insurmountable, but never particularly desirable? If you're emotionally beyond having a calm-ish "checking in" conversation with him on the spot and then moving on, but instead directly proceeding to upset and crying, the relationship likely just isn't right for either of you.

I feel for you - your stress level really comes through in your questions and responses. Is this the way you want to feel until you're old and gray with him? You're young and smart, and if you choose to move on (since it sounds doubtful that he'll actively initiate a break-up), you will surely find someone more naturally and wonderfully compatible in time. Wouldn't it be great to live without so much angst? Why not let this relationship go, instead of spending all of this effort and energy getting your nightie in a knot over this once possibly just clueless and now becoming ever more hostile guy?
posted by peagood at 8:31 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that he wants to dump you but he is being a coward about it. I recommend that you get a head start on your new awesome better life by dumping him. Yesterday if not before.
posted by Kwine at 9:00 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


The headline on this question is misleading. When I read it I thought that was what you really wanted an answer to. If you want my opinion on that, no, I wouldn't care at all if my husband was in such a study, I would find it hilarious that he got paid to do that. We would have a great laugh about it later.

But if I was visiting my significant other in a long distance relationship and just screwing around waiting for them, and they blew 2 hours doing something, *anything* that wasn't necessary when we could have been hanging out, I would have been very annoyed at the least. I mean, you're supposed to have having quality time together. He can do stupid stuff for money while you're not around. If someone said to him "you can have $20 or you can spend 2 hours with your girlfriend who's briefly in town from outside the country", I would expect him to choose spending time with me. After all how much must you have spent to travel there to see him? I bet it would come out to a lot more than $10 an hour....
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:03 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


If he was after naked images, I'm pretty sure he could find them without a 3rd party study. He was after some money and your (well known, deeply held) concern was worth less to him than that. He doesn't care about you. That's the key point. You should end it.

As for this: your controlling nature is liable to simply teach him to lie to you in the future.

I agree that the level of partner-policing you're permitting yourself will probably backfire in future partners, and is likely to attract (or manufacture) liars and/or pleasers.

(Saying this as one of the few people in this thread broadly "anti-porn", it's simply not a policy you can realistically force another person into. Ask potential partners for their feelings on the matter, and if they don't already match yours, and it's this important to you, move on. You can't force changes in someone's fantasy life, it's too low-level, beneath your reach.)
posted by ead at 9:15 AM on November 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the people saying that it's no big deal are "right" in the sense that in a healthy relationship this shouldn't be a big deal.

It really doesn't sound like the two of you have a healthy relationship, so focusing on this one event probably isn't terribly beneficial.
posted by auto-correct at 9:34 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's where I see things differently than many... I think my man seeking sexual arousal does (or should) have something to do with me...

Seriously, realistically though, porn is such a common thing. It will be very difficult to find people for whom it holds zero interest. And is it fair for you to ask someone to see things your way? It's better to find someone whose values match your own than ask someone to conform to yours.

But you have a right to feel the way you do. He should have told you that wasn't something he could live with and that he felt it was too much for someone to ask (I would have said this...I feel what I look at or fantasize about is my choice alone) and broke things off. As it stands, it seems he accepted your rule, lied about it and led you to believe he was on your side.

Red flag, red flag, red flag. Seriously, there are so many red flags, it looks like a battlefield.
posted by inturnaround at 9:38 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, having had a bit of time to sit and think about the situation, I offer this:

He got mad at me for being upset (I was crying), saying he shouldn't have to ask me or tell me anything first, he can just decide for himself what's okay and what's not, and then he said he wants to break up with me because the way we see these things is too different.

I was once handed a lovely piece of wisdom: When a couple fights about the silverware, it's not really about the silverware. This fight was not over how he earned twenty bucks. This is a guy who deliberately did something he knew would upset you for an amount of money that is meaningless to him and when you got upset, he started making much more categorical statements about your relationship and said he wants to break up.

I'm not going to pretend I know him or you or your relationship. For all I know, you're super controlling. Or for all I know, you're not controlling at all and he's paranoid and immature. I really have no idea, and I couldn't even begin to speculate about it without hearing both sides of this argument, something I don't see happening. But it doesn't matter how you got here, what matters is you're here.

Here's the deal: Discussions of what to do next in the context of this relationship are irrelevant. Your boyfriend just dumped you in a roundabout and incredibly shitty way. If he didn't, then you need to dump him because, for whatever reason, he's pretty much done with this relationship and you'd be doing yourself an incredible disservice if you stayed in it.

Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:16 AM on November 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


I would explore the idea of changing your flight so you can leave sooner.
posted by rhizome at 11:36 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Was I out of line for getting upset about that?

Impossible to answer, since you haven't told us why you find this upsetting ("I don't like porn" and "porn objectifies women" aren't answers; they're just repeating the question).
posted by coolguymichael at 12:24 PM on November 18, 2011


This is actually the next available flight... I was supposed to fly out the 30th and I paid $250 to change it to the soonest one possible (Monday)...
posted by crawmama at 12:25 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, honey: I think your relationship is broken.

To synthesize a lot of comments above - I think one can make the argument that you are being a little controlling (to demand that your SO never view porn and expends all thoughts of arousal on you is, as others have pointed out, fairly unrealistic, and will probably just lead to lying and hurt feelings in the long run) and that, frankly, a study such as this doesn't constitute infidelity or, even, watching pornography.

That said, I don't think this "controlling" nature is due to you being a harpy or anything. I remember your prior question; frankly, I think this is an understandable response to being in a relationship in which you have little control, and are making HUGE sacrifices for someone you A) are not married to/partnered with B) haven't really dated that long. You have followed him around the world, moved a bunch of times to suit his education and career, and have generally accommodated ALL of his life goals...at the expense of your own.

I think my own boyfriend would be horrified by that idea; I doubt he would expect me to just follow him around like that. Even if we were married, I know he wouldn't just assume that I would uproot myself at a moment's notice for his benefit, because he actually cares about me and my career. Such a move would probably involve a lot of conversation and planning and taking both of our lives into account.

The type of relationship you're in would probably make me feel groundless, unappreciated, vulnerable on such a large scale, which would make me freak out about a bunch of little things that in order to place something, anything, under my control. And the fact that he doesn't seem to acknowledge that, or the situation you are in, seems pretty indicative that he is okay being the one to dictate where this relationship goes.

You are not fighting about the silverware, indeed.
posted by vivid postcard at 12:27 PM on November 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm so, so sorry to hear about this. I remember your last question, and I'm sorry that things have gotten to this point. But I honestly think you can do better. This so isn't about the study or anything except his complete and utter lack of respect for you.

I'm happy that you were able to change your flight out to Monday--at least you'll be able to spend Thanksgiving with people who love you. I hope the time lets you realize you can do so much better than this guy. You can find a guy who loves and respects you, and when you do, you'll be so grateful you didn't end up with this guy.
posted by McPuppington the Third at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why don't you set a calendar reminder for a year from now so that, a year from now, you can be happy and thank yourself for buying yourself that early flight home?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:04 PM on November 18, 2011


I'm pretty confused by what's going on in your relationship, and possibly you are too. It seems like there are a few different issues at play here - I'm only going off of this question, not any of your previous ones:

A) he doesn't seem to respect you - by doing something that he knew would upset you and then telling you that it was worth it (although that could have been an emotional response)

B) you seem to not be able to distinguish a difference between what he did, and porn (which aren't the same thing)

C) there seems to be some issue over control/boundaries in the relationship

D) what probably should have been a minor fight or discussion turned into a brutal breakup

It doesn't really matter if there's a right or wrong person here, you are clearly not compatible just based on any one of these things. Unfortunately, such are the wages of romantic relationships, particularly for the young. As for your questions, they are kind of difficult to answer without context. I can't say I would have reacted as either of you did, but what difference does it make? The only thing to understand at this point is that it's over.
posted by sm1tten at 4:36 PM on November 18, 2011


If my boyfriend managed to get someone to pay him $20 to look at naked people, I'd probably give him a high-five. But that's me. Your boundaries are different, and good for you for sticking to them. The thing I wouldn't stand for (and neither should you) is someone who crosses my clearly stated boundaries, hurts my feelings and then gets mad at me for being upset about it!

It sounds like you've been trying to hold this relationship together by sheer force of will for too long now. I know it's hard when you feel like you've invested so much, but let it go.

The breakup is done. Stop beating yourself up with the details. It's not your fault that he can't give you the relationship you want and ruminating over the details will only make you miserable. Go home, give yourself some time to heal and see what it feels like to put your priorities first for awhile. Let us know how it goes.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:25 PM on November 18, 2011


Actually i don't consider this porn. It was one of the first responders, Brian Puccio, that compared it to porn when he said said "The only reason I can assume he'd know that this would hurt you was if one of your relationship boundaries was no porn. "
posted by crawmama at 12:36 AM on November 19, 2011


ok, that makes me really confused. you don't consider it porn but you didn't like it anyway- you just don't want him to look at any other woman he might find attractive at all?

"becoming aroused" isn't an emotion thing, it's getting a boner. Dudes get boners- and are not emotionally invested, do not want or plan to use those boners on the source of those boners, and frankly it's impossible to for them to NOT have boners at random times. I can think of a couple of times being flabbergasted at the shit that gets a dude's motor running. You literally can't stop him from becoming aroused any other times than with you- ESPECIALLY when you guys live a plan ride away. It's completely natural and outside of pharmaceuticals there is nothing that even he can do to stop it.

And frankly, you probably also get aroused without him. Read romantic literature? Notice a gent's nice hands or shoulders? You gain pleasure from looking at or reading things that are just a little bit exciting. Just because you don't get an OBVIOUS boner doesn't mean you don't. Would it be cool of him to tell you that you can never ever ever watch a rom-com again because your enjoyment of them is at least partially based in sexuality? Part of the reason we watch/read/look at romantic/sexy content is because it kind of gives us a little spank of sexual titillation. When i watch True Blood- it ain't for the story line. Should my boyfriend be pissed that I am seeking out arousal and titillation without him (as I think he would rather put his hand in a thresher than watch True Blood)?

Once again- he was mean and by all means break up with him= but please don't jump into any other relationships until you get a better handle on this control issue.
posted by Blisterlips at 6:19 AM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


crawmama, here's my big problem with your man: You flew to another country to spend time with him and he spends from 10am to 1pm in a study for 20 bucks, when he clearly doesn't need the money. YOU FLEW TO SEE HIM and he's spending his time doing something that he obviously knows will upset you (your quote: "I asked if $20 is worth it to do something that would hurt me so much, and he said yes.") instead of spending time with you. This guy is an asshole. I agree with others who say he's probably treating you like this because he wants to break up with you but is too much of a coward. Get on that plane, fly home, and forget this motherfucker. There are so many better men worth your time.
posted by jabes at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks everybody. We are broken up. I am back home now and with my family. It's really sad and really hard to be alone again after two years together, but I know it is right that I came home. Thank you all for your advice and answers.
Best wishes,
Crawmama
posted by crawmama at 1:41 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


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