My boyfriend sometimes expresses sexual attraction to other girls when he's with me and I'm wondering if a) his actions are reasonable, b) my reaction to this is reasonable or c) if there are underlying issues behind this that need to be addressed.
posted by sweetshine to Human Relations (72 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
FYI I'm 24, female, and started dating this guy, P, a little over four months ago.
Overall P is a great boyfriend - he's very loving and affectionate and committed and I have no reason to believe that he would cheat on me.
He's a pretty strange guy, and quite different to all the other guys I've dated previously. I guess you'd say he's not my usual 'type', but I love him and value our relationship.
On a couple of occasions he's said or done things that have really upset me. The first time was shortly after we started having sex, when we revealed our fantasies to one another. I know this can be minefield territory for some people, but I was cool about it at the time (I guess I wasn't so emotionally invested in the relationship at that stage either). He revealed that he was turned on by the idea of group sex/swingers/orgies and that it was something he wanted to try. I halfheartedly admitted that it was something I might try, but definitely not with someone to whom I was emotionally attached, so he knows where I stand on the issue and has never actually asked me to do it. One night P suggested watching porn together and he asked me if I wanted to be the girl in this video, and I said I did (the video was in the category of one of my fantasies). I then asked him (because I felt awkward and didn't know what else to do/say) if he wanted to be the guy in the video, and he said 'yeah...especially if I got to fuck her'. I didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to ruin the moment, but it upset me, the way he was focused on her and fantasising about fucking her (I know, I know, I asked the question and I got the response). We watched porn maybe once or twice after that and each time it was hurtful to see him transfixed on this image of another girl, as if I wasn't even there. It just made me feel so shitty and inadequate. Afterwards I told him I'm not really into watching porn together and we haven't done it since then. I totally get that it's normal to fantasise about other people, and that most guys have a desire to sleep with multiple women, but it's not something I want to hear about. And I don't think most guys would talk about this stuff openly with their girlfriends (and rightly so), for fear of upsetting them.
On a couple of other occasions he's upset me - once when he was not-so-subtly checking out a well-endowed girl at the gym (and later tried to make up for this by saying he used to think he liked big boobs but now he finds my small boobs extremely sexy), and another time when he said that he finds athletically toned women attractive and that whenever he sees a girl with abs he imagines that she's really great in bed (since he goes to the gym quite a bit, my jealousy kicked into overdrive after hearing that). For the record, I am not well-endowed or athletically toned (I'm your typical Asian girl - short, on the slender side and not curvy) and am sometimes insecure about my body.
P seems very preoccupied with sex in general - he has a high sex drive and wants to talk about sex a lot (he tries to 'sext' me most days, talks about past sexual partners, mentions that he finds certain girls attractive, and will, out of the blue and in non-sexual settings, describe his fantasies to me). I know that mental landscape is pretty normal for guys, but it just doesn't seem appropriate for him to communicate those things to me. Each time he says something that upsets me, I do my best to calmly express my hurt, and P always responds with genuine regret and concern, and apologises sincerely, but I don't think he really understands how or why I feel the way I do; he just feels bad for upsetting me. We seem to smooth things over fine, but I wish he was more sensitive to my perspective. He also knows that I go through episodes of depression and have previously struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
I get that I need to work on my self-esteem, but am I right in thinking that he is in the wrong here? After expressing my hurt on several occasions, you'd think that'd be enough for him to stop putting his foot in his mouth. Sometimes I get paranoid and think that he's doing this to plant seeds of insecurity in me, so that I'll seek his approval and become more attracted or more attached to him, because isn't that one of the theories of 'The Game' and PUAs? I know that he's read extensively on that sort of thing.
What's even more unsettling is that I've started taking on this hurt as sexual fantasy. When we're having sex, or when I'm masturbating, I fantasise about him fucking other women and debasing me by making me watch or making me participate against my will. Whenever I want to orgasm, that's what I fantasise about. I feel like I'm starting to become fixated on it. I have amazing orgasms but I feel awful afterwards; I get this real visceral experience of jealousy and inadequacy, like there's something festering away inside me. It makes me feel so alone; I don't want to tell him about these fantasies because I can't stomach the idea of him fantasising about these things too (even though he might already...though maybe not to the extreme that I do, and maybe without the sadomasochistic bent).
I guess my question is...am I being crazy/neurotic? It's been getting to me more lately, and sometimes he'll say something that will send me tail-spinning into a very dark place. These feelings with P are all new to me as I'm usually very level-headed and have always been made to feel like I'm completely and exclusively desired by my partner, even though I know, intellectually, that it's a just one of those pretty illusions we uphold in relationships (but dammit, I want the illusion!).