Shaving every day as the price of admission for sex
January 30, 2016 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Had a tiff last night with my boyfriend regarding leg stubble. When I tried to get frisky he told me I needed to go shave first since it had been three days. This has come up before and I'm feeling a bit hurt and resentful. He insisted he was joking and didn't care if I'd shaved. Do I need to just let it go?

I'm 29, he's 32. We've been dating for four months and see each other four to five days a week. Last night I went over to his place to watch a movie. I hadn't shaved my legs since Wednesday morning, and he noticed it while we massaged each other's feet. After the movie was over we were cuddling and I asked if we could have sex. He said, "well, someone needs to shave first" and walked away to play on his computer while waiting for me to hop in the shower.

This was the third time in the four months we've been dating that my body hair has come up during sex or when I try to initiate. The first was when he was starting to go down on me one afternoon and said "there's a bit of stubble down here." I'd shaved everything bare that morning, against the grain to get as close a shave as possible. Apparently the six hours of regrowth was substantial enough to warrant him saying something. He didn't stop sex so I tried to pass it off as a random comment. The second time was maybe a month later. I tried to initiate when I hadn't shaved in a few days again, and he said let's wait until you've had a chance to clean up. I said okay and didn't initiate until I was able to shave the next evening.

After this third comment, I'm worried that our sex life is dependent on my shaving every day. Last night I told him I felt like I had to be perfectly, recently shaved in order to have a sexual relationship with him. He insisted that wasn't true, that he was joking and pointed out that he continued to go down on me after the first comment. Fair enough, but I'm having a hard time taking this last comment as a joke since he 1) walked away and waited for me to go shave last night and 2) turned down sex previously to wait until I was shaved. And if my stubble isn't a big deal, why bring it up at all and why put off sex until later?

Part of the issue is I feel pretty resentful at the thought of shaving my legs every day we see each other to be prepared for just the possibility of sex. Some nights he's tired and we just go to bed. That's fine, but I'd prefer not to shave nearly every day if I don't have to. My skin is pretty sensitive and prone to razor rash, so the whole process takes 20-30 minutes with letting warm water soften the hair, exfoliating, shaving, applying acne medication to get rid of redness and razor rash, waiting for that to dry, and finally moisturizing. It wouldn't be such a big deal if it only took me 5 minutes, but at 20-30 minutes one or both of us is too tired or no longer in the mood by the time I get out of the shower. Shaving nearly every day also means I go through razors incredibly fast, and those cartridges aren't cheap.

So my question is how do I handle this? Do I need to suck it up and shave, or do I accept that he was just joking and stop worrying about it?
posted by Chkalovskaya to Human Relations (155 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

He's not joking. That's some gas-lighting right there.
posted by amanda at 9:52 AM on January 30, 2016 [256 favorites]

This would be 'I'm outta here' territory for me only because I couldn't live a lifetime of feeling judged for a normal natural thing like body hair. Only you can decide what kind of relationship you want this to be- is this a fun fling that you're willing to shave all the time for or are you looking for long term? He's made it pretty clear that he wants stubble free. He's also made it clear that he's unwilling to have a real conversation about something that's bothering you in the relationship which is a whole 'nother can o' worms.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:55 AM on January 30, 2016 [101 favorites]

I would dump him so fast that he would burn up on reentry but if that's not an option you're considering at this time then I would go for, um. Yeah, I can't actually see any legit reason to stay with this schmuck.

I guess you could tell him he's responsible for buying you razors or paying for your waxing appointments, but he sounds like the kind of person who would continue to make "i was just joking, omg!" passive aggressive snotty remarks about the situation anyway.

You could also just shave when you feel like shaving, as in when you haven't been guilted or sexually extorted into shaving, and the rest of the time when he's like "hey let's sex it up" you can be like "sorry, i don't feel like shaving" and just go to sleep or whatever.

Also, on preview, amanda is correct, he's not joking, he's just backpedaling a little on his shitty comments to look like less of an asshole AND to make you feel guilty about confronting him on his shittiness.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:55 AM on January 30, 2016 [192 favorites]

Do I need to suck it up and shave, or do I accept that he was just joking and stop worrying about it?

Wow neither.

"If you're just joking, why do you keep making that joke after I've told you that it hurts my feelings?"

(He's not just joking and this is probably about a much deeper-seated issue about women being real physical creatures whose bodies are sometimes inconvenient to him. But if he's going to claim he's joking, he needs to be ready to explain why his jokes are so mean.)

My skin is pretty sensitive and prone to razor rash, so the whole process takes 20-30 minutes with letting warm water soften the hair, exfoliating, shaving, applying acne medication to get rid of redness and razor rash, waiting for that to dry, and finally moisturizing.

Just want to note that if you see him 4-5 nights a week, that adds up to like five days a year you're spending purely on trying to exfoliate yourself to the point where he won't make nasty comments. He could try spending a fraction of that time on looking up women in Wikipedia and recognizing that they are mammals.
posted by babelfish at 9:57 AM on January 30, 2016 [143 favorites]

It's a really weird thing to "joke" about and I totally get why this is a point of frustration cause that's a really unrealistic expectations on his front.

It sounds like you tried talking about it but he doesn't seem that receptive. I know that this would be a serious deal breaker for me on several points for basically what PorcineWithMe said.

If you didn't want to break up immediately I would try to have serious conversation about this, and if he wasn't receptive to it, even if its just a hookup thing dump him cause no amount of sex would be worth that bullshit.
posted by KernalM at 9:58 AM on January 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

I mean in general people who are like "i won't touch you unless your body conforms to a specific standard" are not really people you want around for the long haul. They're not people you grow old with. This relationship already has a built-in expiration date that will be selected by him sometime in the future when your body's normal behavior becomes unacceptable to him in some fashion.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:00 AM on January 30, 2016 [161 favorites]

I suppose he's free to have his preferences, but (1) he shouldn't pretend he's just joking when that's clearly not the case and (2) you don't have to go along with it. He seems pretty unreasonable to me and you don't have to suck it up and go along. He could suck it up. Or you could dump him. At the very least, he should be non-jerky and honest about his demands.

I don't have any particularly male insight into his behavior, but I will say his preferences sure aren't universal.
posted by Area Man at 10:01 AM on January 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

He's raised this issue three times within the first few months of dating you (the first few months of getting to be with wonderful you, who he should be trying to impress at this stage). Echoing what was said above - he is not joking, he has an issue with female body hair but isn't willing to take ownership for that issue and passes it off as a "joke" in order to make *you* the one with the issue. I've dated a guy like this before, lived with a guy like this before, I even married that guy. And divorced him. He never stopped making me feel like my body was gross, no matter how often I shaved or showered or worked out or monitored my diet. Oh but he was just joking. Over our 6 years together he did real damage to my self esteem that I am still recovering from. Please don't let this guy do this to you. Address it head-on with him, and if he can't get over himself and his hang-up in favor of making you feel sexy and loveable as you are, then honestly I would strongly encourage you to move on.
posted by pammeke at 10:02 AM on January 30, 2016 [83 favorites]

He was not joking and you know that already. Don't let him gaslight you. Do not feel badly about the occasional lack of shaving. It sounds like a lot of work. Believe me, if you lasered every last hair off he would find something else to make you feel badly about. Been there.
posted by the webmistress at 10:02 AM on January 30, 2016 [11 favorites]

So my question is how do I handle this? Do I need to suck it up and shave, or do I accept that he was just joking and stop worrying about it?

I don't think he was joking, at all. Actions speak louder than words, and all that. And honestly, even if he was joking* it's still a shitty thing to say. And this wasn't a one off thing. It's happened three times in four months of dating.

Personally, I can't imagine staying in a relationship where I would be expected to shave right before sex every single time. Or not shave, and deal with these shitty comments, or wondering if he's thinking these shitty comments.

But if you want to stay with him... I mean, you could try to tell him that it really upset you, but it sounds like you did that already, and he did this whole "Just kidding" act. At the very least, if he ever says shit like this again, I would run far, far away, and find someone who is excited to have sex with you even if you haven't shaved since in 2 years, let alone two days.

*He definitely wasn't.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:03 AM on January 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

It's fine for him to have a preference. What makes him an asshole is the gaslighting, and not being honest about it. If you are ok with the asshole parts of him, suck it up and shave, because he is not joking. I would personally leave, though.
posted by kellyblah at 10:03 AM on January 30, 2016 [18 favorites]

So tempted to advise you to be similarly draconian about HIS hair. "Oooh... you've got a little five o'clock shadow there, I'll wait for you to go deal with it." "Yeah, of course I'll give you head, I just need you to do something about those balls." It would be mean and not help the relationship but it's fun to think about.
posted by babelfish at 10:04 AM on January 30, 2016 [40 favorites]

Or, you could tell him that you'll shave every day, but only if he also shaves all his body hair off too, every single day. Seems fair, right? See how he likes having to deal with this shit.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:04 AM on January 30, 2016 [103 favorites]

posted by heathrowga at 10:06 AM on January 30, 2016 [29 favorites]

I mean, what's the joke? That he finds your very natural body hair so off-putting that he completely loses all sexual interest? Oh! Haha! That's some top shelf hilarity right there.
posted by amanda at 10:06 AM on January 30, 2016 [107 favorites]

I would 100% break up with someone who told me that my body, as it is naturally, is not acceptable to him, even if he claimed to be joking. Maybe even especially if he claimed to be joking, since then it would be someone purposefully hurting my feelings for his own enjoyment rather than genuinely expressing his own feelings.

It's one thing to ask your partner to perform basic hygiene, the same hygiene you yourself perform (showering regularly, washing clothes and sheets, not showing up to bed with snaggly toenails that scratch me, etc.) But unless he's shaving his entire body daily, he's requiring something of you that is far, far above and beyond what it's reasonable to expect unless you want to do it--and it sounds like you don't.

It's totally fine for him to enjoy certain things. A person can say, "hey I love the way you look in high heels and I'd love if you wear them tonight," or "I like it when you wear your hair down so that I can play with it when we're fooling around," or even "I love the way your skin feels when you're shaved." What's not fine is for him to make statements that your body, as is, is not good enough for him, and for him to reject you based on what your body looks or feels like. And it's especially not okay for him to gaslight you and make you doubt whether you're right to feel bad when he makes comments that are designed to shame and guilt you.

posted by decathecting at 10:06 AM on January 30, 2016 [45 favorites]

Stop shaving like I did and let your leg hair grow out. If you're lucky, it will be lovely and soft. Or not. You can weed out anyone who clearly has a problem with women being people.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:07 AM on January 30, 2016 [57 favorites]

Yep. Dump him.

His jokes/demands are denigrating, controlling, unreasonable, and he's essentially objectifying you.

You are not a flesh and blood person to him. He treats you a bit too much like you are primarily there to please him in the ways he enjoys. I worry that he's so damn polished at getting his way. He sounds entirely self-centered and I wonder how many other ways he gets you to do and be and say exactly what he wants.

In short, he is not marriage or parent material. He's not a fully formed person yet. You should RUN.
posted by jbenben at 10:08 AM on January 30, 2016 [27 favorites]

Are you fucking kidding me? No. The attitude we look for in people with whom we share our bodies is like the Academy Awards: "It's just an honor to be nominated and I'm thrilled to be here tonight."
Anything else can walk the fuck home.

In addition to all of the comments above, I would invite you to imagine a future with this man. Because the future I'm imaging involves sobbing through a pregnancy when you can no longer reach anything you typically shave and he rejects you entirely. And, if he plays true to form, not dealing well with any other body changes that are entirely typical for women over time.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:09 AM on January 30, 2016 [227 favorites]

But... Sex should feel good. Stubble does not feel good. Stubble is very different from just being hairy, it's like sandpaper.

Have you considered using a different method of hair removal? Epilators, while "unpleasant" until hair growth thins out, are much cheaper than shaving and you only have to use one once every week or two. And hair regrowth is soft and sparse, so you can really skip weeks if you'd like.

Also consider that he doesn't really want to have sex with you all that bad, and that the stubble is a convenient excuse.
posted by halogen at 10:09 AM on January 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


and this: Sex should feel good. Stubble does not feel good.

is entirely subjective. How do straight men think straight women deal with all the hair on men, anyway? Oh and speaking of that – how to straight men think gay men deal with man-hair? Yeah. Subjectivity is subjective. Go find someone who loves you as you are.
posted by fraula at 10:17 AM on January 30, 2016 [77 favorites]

He's not a fully formed person yet.

Best encapsulation of this problem that I've seen. Playing off your true preferences as just-joking-except-not-really is at best the mark of someone who hasn't learned how to communicate, as an adult, with another adult.

I'm not going to extrapolate into make-or-break relationship advice, but if this relationship is one that's important to you, step one is probably a conversation in which everyone expresses their actual feelings, without smokescreens or passive-aggressive feints. That should give you some more information that will help you decide what to do.
posted by itstheclamsname at 10:18 AM on January 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

You know, I went back and forth on this because my husband has very rough facial stubble and sometimes I would like to ask him to shave but....I don't. I just live with it because he's snuggly and great in other ways and, upon reflection, I realized that even though he might prefer I, say, trim by bush, or something, he is not actively turned off by it, and he would certainly never make me feel bad or like I owe him any one way of physically being in order for him to do me the great favor of fucking my natural body as it is naturally.

I also went and re-read your question and this: "Someone needs a shave..."? It just comes off as
infantilizing and entitled, and really off-putting. I mean, I don't passively make my three year-old do shit with that kind of ploy. It's immature, smug and a little mean.

Lastly, I do think it's okay to have some issues around hygiene and sex. If someone doesn't bathe often, say, or doesn't take good care of their teeth and breath. But it's not okay to make somebody jump through hoops in a passive-aggressive way because that erodes trust and makes a person feel inadequate and unacceptable.

The gas lighting? That speaks for itself, I think; he can't accept responsibility for his feelings. Red flag.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2016 [23 favorites]

Best answer: After the movie was over we were cuddling and I asked if we could have sex. He said, "well, someone needs to shave first" and walked away to play on his computer while waiting for me to hop in the shower.

If your SO's issue was that stubble genuinely feels unpleasant to him and was really interfering with him having a fulfilling sexual experience, the way to address that is with a straightforward conversation that acknowledges both his and your feelings about it, and then seeks to find a resolution that is satisfying to both parties. Not with a one off comment followed by immediately ignoring you.

This isn't exactly a DTMFA situation, but I would definitely say something about how much work it takes to conform to his standards and how you think you need to have a discussion and compromise about it. Being extremely generous, it's possible he just doesn't understand what he's asking for -- you might show him this video as an intro on the subject.
posted by telegraph at 10:20 AM on January 30, 2016 [23 favorites]

Also, look: there's nothing wrong with having shaving preferences specifically for sexual reasons, or handing over decisions about body maintenance stuff like this to your partner, or humiliation/objectification stuff IF IT IS A MUTUALLY AGREED-UPON KINK which you have previously discussed would play a part in your relationship. It does not appear to be the case for you. If it's legitimately something he needs, if it's a kink button he needs to have pushed in order to enjoy sex*, the very fucking least he could do would be to TALK ABOUT IT WITH YOU LIKE AN ADULT WITH ACTUAL WORDS and not just make nasty shitty hurtful remarks that he insists aren't even serious.

And under no circumstances are you required to fulfill any kink needs that he has if it makes you uncomfortable or unhappy.

*ftr i don't think this is the case, i think he's just a douche with juvenile porn-inspired thoughts about how sex is supposed to be
posted by poffin boffin at 10:20 AM on January 30, 2016 [29 favorites]

But... Sex should feel good. Stubble does not feel good. Stubble is very different from just being hairy, it's like sandpaper.

If stubble is the problem, then maybe you'd like to offer to stop shaving entirely. Problem solved! After all, he doesn't shave any of his body hair, right? You can both have sex as the furry creatures nature intended you to be.

But honestly, even if he decides to drop the shaving issue, I have zero tolerance for people who pull the passive aggressive, obnoxious, just kidding routine. It's toxic and crazy making and not the way adults should behave in a healthy, fulfilling relationship.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:20 AM on January 30, 2016 [38 favorites]

how do I handle this?

Stop shaving altogether. Use what you save on razors to buy this fool the completely hairless inflatable doll of his dreams. Then walk away.
posted by flabdablet at 10:23 AM on January 30, 2016 [42 favorites]

People can negotiate whatever they want about each other's body hair, but fake passive aggressive "joking" and being dishonest in your communication is, for me anyway, a real dealbreaker. There is a grownup way to talk about and handle relationship stuff, and then there's the juvenile approach he is taking.

A big part of healthy communicating in a relationship is doing so in ways that make your partner feel better about themselves, not worse. He is failing on all fronts here and unless he is extraordinarily amazing in every other way I am going to join the people suggesting that you move on and find a person who makes you feel loved and appreciated in all ways.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:23 AM on January 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

i think he's just a douche with juvenile porn-inspired thoughts about how sex is supposed to be

My read also.
posted by flabdablet at 10:23 AM on January 30, 2016 [15 favorites]

But... Sex should feel good. Stubble does not feel good. Stubble is very different from just being hairy, it's like sandpaper.

Then use your grownup words to say so. Pretending something isn't a problem when it's a problem for you is juvenile and harms your relationship, not to mention your partner.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:25 AM on January 30, 2016 [17 favorites]

Best answer: I'm 29, he's 32.

Also he's 32? Has he had sex with other women before? Did he make them shave right before sex every single time?

Look, I imagine it might be tough to see all these people jump to DTMFA. It's easier said than done, and this guy may very well have some other good qualities that make you want to salvage this relationship.

So if you want to try to work this out, have a serious, come to jesus conversation about this. Not when you're on the verge of sexy times. Tell him exactly how this makes you feel, and see if you can get past the juvenile just kidding routine and try to figure out if this is some sort of deal breaker kink on his part. And yeah, maybe try to find out how he resolved this in other relationships, if he's had them.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:26 AM on January 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

Some perspective.
posted by flabdablet at 10:26 AM on January 30, 2016

Fuck that guy. Not in the literal sense, though.

You want to be with someone who is into you enough, and understanding enough, that even if they find a few days of stubble less-than-sexy, they're still excited to be in bed with you. People who remove their body hair get stubbly from time to time, and anyone who's a worthwhile partner understands that.

Also, the "I'm just joking" bit is cowardly and douchey. Yes, his request is bullshit and you shouldn't feel obliged to honor it. But it's important enough to him that he's mentioned it several times - yet he won't be sincere about it when you call him on it. Son, the least you could do is own up to it when something's a big deal to you! That's not how adults handle sensitive requests. More importantly, "I'm just joking" is asshole code for "I don't have to apologize." He knows he's upsetting you and he's trying to shift the blame for that onto you. I'll repeat that for emphasis: he knows he's upsetting you.

At least this guy's managed to roll three dealbreakers into one convenient package. That's the only good thing I can say about him, though.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:26 AM on January 30, 2016 [30 favorites]

I'm going to just leave this here for you.

He's allowed to ask or state a preference or ask for a preference, just as you are. A grown up however doesn't use passive aggression, gaslight & then claim it's a "Joke" to get their way, specially in the bedroom. It would make me wonder about his future behavior on bigger more important issues. For me personally just how much he was willing to go out of his way to accommodate my bedroom foibles would play into it.
posted by wwax at 10:30 AM on January 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

File under "ha ha only serious" and cross-file under "either he grows the fuck up or you DTMF".
posted by holgate at 10:33 AM on January 30, 2016

Sarah Anderson She has a great comic about this.
posted by ilovewinter at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2016 [11 favorites]

Best answer: If this guy is totally amazing in every other way, you COULD have a frank discussion with him that is not in the moment.

"Hey Michael, I wanted to chat about that thing that happened the other day. You know when we were snuggling and getting into things and then you told me that I had to shave my legs? Well, that really hurt my feelings. It made me feel unwanted. But I do want to talk a bit more about this whole thing. I want us to think about what's at the root of your interest in me being 100% clean shaven. I mean, I totally get that people have preferences, but to be honest, it is pretty impractical to expect that I will be smooth all the time. That just isn't how hair growth works. It needs to grow a bit to remove it. And in fact, shaving every single day is actually really unhealthy. I like that we're spending so much time together, but I don't know if you can reasonably expect that kind of smoothness. But I want to hear from you - is this something that is absolutely essential to you?"

Cuz this is what I guess - he has this preference for smoothness that is somehow artificial - like he thinks that it is "right" and didn't realize that it is a huge pain in the ass and not natural and didn't really know the process involved. And maybe once this is made apparent to him he will stop caring. OR it is possible that this is a huge part of his sexuality and if you want to be with him and he needs this from you, he needs to pay for more permanent hair removal.

But as others have said, the gaslighting is a red flag.

And please be careful with using a razor every day like this, especially for your pubic hair. This could lead to ingrown hairs or worse.
posted by k8t at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

There are good men out there worthy of sharing your bed. He's not one of them.
posted by discopolo at 10:38 AM on January 30, 2016 [17 favorites]

Best answer: It is a newish relationship. Maybe this is his weird idea of breaking it to you gently. Lots of people have sub par social skills and I see no reason to make a federal case out of it yet.

I would talk to him about this and make it clear that the "jokes" need to stop because they hurt my feelings and it sounds like a passive aggressive approach to something that actually matters to him. If the issue is the stubble per se, perhaps he would be fine with an answer of "I shall just let it grow out." If the answer is that he thinks body hair is gross, you will need to decide whether or not that is a deal breaker. If it is not a deal breaker, you could resolve the issue by waxing or some other method that does not take daily maintenance.

I personally tend to prefer other methods of hair removal. I dislike stubble, whether my own or my man's facial stubble. I don't want a man missing me with stubble. Either shave, grow it out or don't get kissy with me when your face is like sand paper. So I would approach this as an issue of communication in a new relationship, though I would make it clear that if it isn't readily resolved, I have no plans to put up with passive aggressive bullshit.

I expect my men to take some pains for me to like getting jiggy with them. I expect that to be a two way street. But it has to involve healthy communication, not taking little digs at me until I conform to his expectations. That piece needs to stop post haste.
posted by Michele in California at 10:39 AM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seems like getting out of their having only sunk into the relationship is a bargain. DTMFA.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on January 30, 2016

Do I need to suck it up and shave, or do I accept that he was just joking and stop worrying about it?

Neither. You deserve better, please believe that.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:49 AM on January 30, 2016 [11 favorites]

I couldn't even read all the other comments, because everyone is saying the same thing and I'm so upset to read your "so do I just suck it up... " question.

Women have body hair. It's totally natural. Your body hair doesn't affect your kind and loving heart, your fun personality or your sexy body parts doin' their wonderful, sexy thing.

When my legs are freshly shaven, I've noticed my bf touches them a lot. He likes when I shave "down there" because it make him feel like (his words) V.I.P (very important penis). So, sometimes I shave up, when I remember and when we're going to see each other, and when I feel like it, if I feel like it. He has NEVER, in 8 years of knowing each other, expressed distaste for my body hair, or rejected me for it, or otherwise made me feel less attractive for it.

Ok, for whatever reasons you're ok with this - you could tell him, "since it's soooo much more important to you, if you want me all smooth, you can schedule and pay for my body wax/hair removal/laser whatever" Maybe that can be a thing for you guys.

Or, you could refuse to have sex with him unless he's all super clean shaven, legs and down there etc. 'Cause that would be fair and equal.

Or, you could just let your hair grow out, and see what he does. That might be difficult, though. If his "jokes" are difficult now, imagine how he'll react when you've got two weeks of growth going on.

You could also talk to him and break it down all the way - this is real life human body, I can try to be clean and attractive for you in ways that I feel comfortable, and you can be happy I share my body with you, you can fix this huge flaw in your self, or you can go look for a hairless woman.

This is really uncool, super controlling behavior on his part and he needs to cut it out immediately, or he needs to own that shit and tell women on first dates "I'm only attracted to hairless women, and if you have body hair, I will use it as an excuse to control you by making you feel shitty."

I'm so sorry you're finding this out 4 months into a relationship. I hope there is something that can be done about this where the both of you learn lots of cool stuff about each other. But maybe you'll just learn cool stuff about yourself and your own value.
posted by Locochona at 10:49 AM on January 30, 2016 [9 favorites]

Next time just laugh. Just stop, look at him, and laugh like a hyena.

Then say, "Gosh, honey, you're hilarious!"

Because he's joking, right? HA HA. And the situation actually is hilarious. Not because of his "joke" but because Jesus Christ what a ridiculously small-minded stereotypical and asinine thing to say. What a pathetic little child-man afraid of some leg hair. What a First World Problem this dude has. What a prima donna! Jesus.

You hold the trump card here. His stupid unrealistic and unloving standards? No sex. If he wants sex more than you want sex, this is easily winnable. And if he doesn't, dump him and good riddance.
posted by quincunx at 11:00 AM on January 30, 2016 [19 favorites]

Dump him, not because of his preference, but because he isn't being adult about this and is playing childish mind games with you. He should just admit his preference and ask you if you're accomadting it to some degree, especially if he's willing to buy you super fancy supplies, or run a bath and pour a glass of wine for you. As it is, he's gaslighting you and making this your PROBLEM. Everyone deserves better from an intimate partner. Dump him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on January 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

Oh hell no, fuck that. You've only been dating four months? In your shoes, I'd lay down a very hard line about how I was not willing to live my life around guaranteeing perpetual smoothness, nor have a sex life scheduled around my shaving, and he needed to decide if he could live with that. Then I'd probably go on strike from shaving, for like three months, to find out if he could.

He's welcome to his proclivities, and y'know, there's probably someone out there who shaves religiously or would get five sessions of electrolysis to permanently kill all the offending hair follicles, but I couldn't be in a relationship with proclivities that ticked me off the way this one would. Life is (hopefully) really long and busy and messy, and I don't know if you're looking for a life partner or just having a fling here, but there would be no way I could have a husband that got turned off by six hours of regrowth. So for me, this would very much be dealbreaker territory.
posted by salvia at 11:09 AM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Sounds to me like he was not joking. He is a man who likes his woman to be clean shaven. You have to decide if you are a woman willing to appease him and be clean shaven whenever you want sex.
posted by AugustWest at 11:18 AM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd go full Chi-raq on his ass. stop shaving completely. next time you see him if he says anything, tell him you've decided that shaving is a repressive patriarchal tool of female oppression and that you've decided to stop completely. everywhere.

if he complains dump him on the spot. direct punishment for sexist controlling gaslighting bullshit. be ready to walk away though. there is no future here unless you want to be a stepford wife.
posted by supermedusa at 11:21 AM on January 30, 2016 [21 favorites]

Best answer: I'd shaved everything bare that morning, against the grain to get as close a shave as possible. Apparently the six hours of regrowth was substantial enough to warrant him saying something.

just wondering, does he ever compliment or thank you when you do meet his smoothness standards? or just take it for granted? there's no way i would do all that for someone and have them complain. in the middle of having sex! does he care about your enjoyment of it at all?
posted by katieanne at 11:24 AM on January 30, 2016 [23 favorites]

Save your friskiness for someone who doesn't call you "someone" in your face. Seriously... this is about so much more than hair. Also why would it be about your hair exclusively? Power position anyone, perhaps? Yuck-er-dee-juck.

No he is not joking. He is doing the fatherly boyfriend hint-hint-routine from which it usually only goes downhill. Not a keeper.
posted by Namlit at 11:25 AM on January 30, 2016 [21 favorites]

You have to figure out how you feel about shaving then get him to tell you how he really feels about shaving. If those two truths are incompatible, you both need to compromise or move on. That's about it.

For me, I have dermatographism, which means that when I scratch my skin, it reacts by getting more itchy and sometimes breaking out in hives. It was around the time I got together with my now-husband that I even started to figure this out, and I eventually stopped shaving my legs almost entirely. He was completely supportive, even though he likes it when I sometimes shave for special occasions. He doesn't make me feel bad about not shaving, because he recognizes it's my body and my choice.

I also do still shave bikini line and up, because for some reason my skin doesn't react as much on my torso, but this isn't a big deal and I can keep up with it during my regular showers. And I feel no obligation to do so; that's the important part.

Anyway, whatever you have a medical condition or just dislike the time involved, it is your choice. So that's why I say you need to figure out what your own 100 percent solution would be, then compare it to his if you can get him to seriously answer the question. Then go from there.
posted by limeonaire at 11:25 AM on January 30, 2016

DTFMA. He wasn't joking, and he doesn't really care how you feel about it. Expecting you to be completely hairless at all times is unreasonable and unfair.
posted by sarcasticah at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

In four months, he has hurt your feelings three times about the same topic. If he is a control freak about this, imagine what other things he feels the need to control when you are not around, and how that urge might grow in him without someone checking it, into wishing to control other aspects of your appearance or your body.
posted by juniperesque at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2016 [10 favorites]

People are allowed to have their preferences. I don't think you should dump him because he has this preference. I think you should dump him because he can't talk to you about reasonably and outside of the situation. This gaslighting "just joking" bs isn't how loving adults communicate.

Drop him because he can't get his point across in a way that isn't judgmental and hurtful.
posted by 26.2 at 11:34 AM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

He feels entitled to your time, trouble, discomfort, and expense for his own pleasure.

I've been there and I can't tell you how many times I have regretted not doing what babelfish suggested. Yeah, terrible for the relationship, I'm sure, and that's probably why I didn't do it (that and I didn't think of it in time!), but who needs a relationship like that?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:35 AM on January 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

In the history of my time on metafilter I have never before said this: Dump the mother fucking asshole.
posted by latkes at 11:36 AM on January 30, 2016 [26 favorites]

Echoing what many people are saying here: his having specific desires is OK (in the sense of not intrinisically making him some sort of monster, not in the sense of making him necessarily right for you), but his way of communicating them is not. If this is important to him, he needs to own it, and if it's not, he needs to stop being hurtful about it.

And when/if he does actually communicate clearly, it gives you options: you could say "I can do that regularly" (which it sounds like is not something you're willing to do and that is also OK), or you could say "I'm not doing that and you will have to either be content with that or leave", or you could say anything in between with regard to what each of the two of you are willing to do. You can even say, "That's an unreasonable enough request that I don't want to be with you any more." and cut off negotiations right there.

But his poor communication thus far doesn't give me hope that he'd really be willing to reach a compromise which would work for you. And if you're not willing to either wait for him to communicate clearly or actually call him out on his bullshit, you should cut and run.
posted by jackbishop at 11:37 AM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Plenty of dudes strongly prefer that their partner shave her legs, and I don't think that's an unreasonable preference, but it sounds like he wants you to shave every fucking day, and that is unreasonable and you should dump him. Besides, the phrase "well, someone needs a shave first" is toe curlingly unsexy.

His standards for how smooth you must be at all times kind of make me suspect this might be a fetish for him.
posted by cakelite at 11:39 AM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

My ex fiance used to do this to me constantly. Then he'd take it back and get pissed off if I told him he was being shallow. In fact, one of the worst nights of my life was when I stood up to him and told him he was a shallow asshole for critiquing my "grooming" all the time when I was literally spending hundreds of dollars each month to keep myself completely hair free because he was such a dick about it. It is one thing if there's a mutually agreed upon set of "settings" so to speak for sex that both partners are into and flexible about. It's another to be shamed for something so out of your control in the way that your boyfriend is shaming you. Don't give him any more of your time -- and don't let him anywhere near your body ever again.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:44 AM on January 30, 2016 [18 favorites]

"well, someone needs a shave first" is probably the most disgustingly condescending shit I've heard in a while.

Do not fuck this guy, he'll tear you down bit by bit (always jokingly, of course!) until you don't even know which way is up.
posted by lydhre at 11:47 AM on January 30, 2016 [52 favorites]

This is one of those moments in a woman's life where you must gather your lady-balls in your hand and tell him he's made you feel like shit for the very last time. You can go down to the corner bus stop and get a man who loves your stubble.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 11:48 AM on January 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

Lots of people are saying "there's nothing wrong with having a preference" which in theory is true, but I do think there's something wrong (or at least extreme) with it when it's so unreasonable that 6 hours of growth is too much for him. What that means is he's expecting you to shower and shave literally immediately before you have sex, every time, or risk shitty "jokes"?

What everyone else is saying about the way he's communicating his preference is of course right. But even if he were communicating it well, realize that it's a big, outside-the-norm request to be fully, freshly-shaven smooth every time you are intimate. Even waxing requires some regrowth before you can go back so the wax has something to hold on to.

Personally I'm of the "you should be glad you even get to observe the state of my body hair" perspective, and I rarely shave my legs in winter.
posted by misskaz at 11:49 AM on January 30, 2016 [18 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you sincerely to everyone for responding. I didn't expect to get so many answers and I really appreciate getting some much-needed outside perspective on this.

I want to provide some extra information in case it's helpful. He's very complimentary and incredibly physically affectionate, loves to cuddle, kiss, hold hands and all that. I wonder if the importance of touch to him is driving this, rather than gender expectations or garden-variety shittiness. Halogen isn't wrong that stubble doesn't feel good, and if it's a genuine tactile issue for him I'm willing to discuss compromises. Also I'm a very pale-skinned brunette, so unfortunately the hair is pretty visible after a few days. If this is about gender, porn, or need to control then...time to round up my friends for a re-confirmed bachelorette party!

As far as his level of experience with women, I know for sure he's had at least one relationship that lasted two years and a one-night stand, but he said it's been a very long time since he's had a girlfriend. This was suprising because he truly does have a lot of positive qualities, but I do get the sense his relationship experience might be limited. In the beginning his oral sex skills were a bit...geographically challenged. He responded well to feedback on that, so I have a small flicker of hope that the whole shaving thing is at least partially due to inexperience and an honest conversation will help us out. At the very least it would give me more info on whether this was poor communication or something much worse.

Everyone hit the nail on the head that the bigger issue is the poor communication and not-jokes. This was our first big disagreement and my only frame of reference for his conflict skills. I'm talking to him about it this afternoon. Thank you again to everyone. This helped me calm down a lot and feel a bit more confident that I'm not unreasonable for feeling upset.
posted by Chkalovskaya at 11:52 AM on January 30, 2016 [18 favorites]

I flinched for a fraction of a second because I kiss a guy who, clean-shaven, makes the skin on my face raw because he's got heavy stubble seconds after shaving, and now he is a bearded guy, because of me. Am I body-policing inappropriately? Oh @#$%!

But it only lasted a fraction of a second because I first tried to deal with it, then kindly said I was having a problem, and, hey, I've seen old pictures of you with a beard, it looks really good, does it bother you at all to have a beard? Not at all? Cool, would it be okay if you stopped shaving for now, because I bet a beard would be less scratchy for me? Oh, awesome. And now I trim his beard for him.

If you want to keep this person around, I'd just grow stuff out. Stubble being scratchy is a legit complaint. He's allowed to have preferences, sure, but I wouldn't indulge anybody in a thing that caused me pain and discomfort and which was a big time suck, over and over and over, for the sake of aesthetics. Think about what that says about his priorities if he can't deal with the hair grown out -- he really does want a sex doll and not a human partner that he loves and cares for.
posted by kmennie at 11:57 AM on January 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

The reason I suggest you sit down and have a talk is because you need to develop some stronger skills yourself. Ideally, you should have had a talk with him either the first or second time it happened and resolved it without a fight. If it takes three incidents and a fight and then you need advice from strangers on the Internet for how to resolve it, taking the advice now to DTMFA potentially creates a situation where the only way you know how to advocate for yourself is to get on your high horse and be a bitch at the first sign of trouble. Having spent many years in bitch mode on my high horse, I can confidently say that doesn't lead to a loving, sweet, healthy intimate relationship.

Have that talk and, in the future, learn to hash it out sooner rather than waiting until it is a fight. Women get trained by the world to excuse crappy behavior, to say "Oh, he didn't mean it. I don't want to fight about it." If he didn't mean it, he shouldn't have a problem quitting if told it actually, sincerely bothers you.

So try to communicate first. If you cannot work it out, you at least leave the relationship with improved skills for the next one instead of primed to DTMFA every time you hit some little bump in the road. No relationship runs smoothly from the get go without hashing out a few things.

Given your problems with shaving, I would just wax anyway. When I was younger, I was very prone to ingrown hairs. Waxing was less torture than shaving for me. Give it a try. See if it is better for you.
posted by Michele in California at 12:05 PM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yay Chkalovskaya! I hope it goes well.

I was thinking about my own preferences some more—it comes up for me a lot in thinking about contexts other than my relationship with my husband, because this is a thing in American society in general. Would I shave for work? Yeah, on the occasion that I'm around clients or colleagues in person in warm-enough weather for it to be a thing, I have made that effort, and I would again, to ensure that it doesn't hinder any work interactions or cause the unenlightened to prejudge me. That's a calculated choice I make for myself, since there's always the chance it will give me a rash. When I worked in an office every day, I did not shave, because that would've irritated my skin way too much on a regular basis. Everyone just had to live with me as I am. And unfortunately, that probably did contribute in some way to some colleagues judging me, even though they never spoke about it to me.

But bottom line for me in relationships is that I would seriously think twice about being with any guy who expected me to shave my legs at this point. And if I had friends who gave me any trouble about it beyond joking, I pretty much wouldn't be having that either. I feel too liberated with regard to this now to go back. I've had a little girl in a grocery store tell me my legs looked dirty, and I explained to her that it's just hair and in that case some mosquito bites. I think more little kids need to see positive examples of this, and I don't mind being that person to first show them the reality that not every woman has plastic Barbie-looking legs. It does sadden me to think that being one woman among many to do this might just convince those little kids that I'm gross and the horrible exception that proves the rule that women should shave, though.

But yeah, I hope this gives you an occasion to think more deeply about your own preferences and your own dealbreaker point with this. Society has really done a number on most of us in this regard, to the point that it's sometimes hard to separate our own needs and preferences from our feelings about how everyone else will feel about our life choices with regard to grooming. And God, why do we have to have so many complex feelings about hair that naturally grows out of our skin? Heh.
posted by limeonaire at 12:11 PM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

There are nice, loving, supportive ways to discuss personal preferences. What you have described isn't that.
posted by biscotti at 12:12 PM on January 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

If my spouse had given me any comment like that I would have been out of there immediately. I shave my legs when I feel like it, which is not all that often. And while I'm sure he notices, eh has never, ever commented.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:14 PM on January 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

As far as his level of experience with women, I know for sure he's had at least one relationship that lasted two years and a one-night stand, but he said it's been a very long time since he's had a girlfriend.

Which makes me think he has a porn ideal, and hair doesn't fit with this ideal. At the worst end of this scale he has a pre-pubescent ideal.

If you think he has keeper qualities, you will need to invest in some raw and honest discussions about sex, porn, the objectification of women by the media and society etc. If he is able to discuss these things frankly you may have a chance to help him grow up.

I, personally, don't shave anywhere any more. But I have shaved, waxed etc for a fellow who loved it. I knew he loved it because he was so god-damned appreciative when I did, but never critical when I didn't, and frequently paid for my trips to the beautician because he knew that remaining hairless was expensive, time consuming and uncomfortable. Would your fellow be willing to contribute? If not, then he doesn't really value you as a whole person, only a body.
posted by Thella at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

I wonder if the importance of touch to him is driving this, rather than gender expectations or garden-variety shittiness. Halogen isn't wrong that stubble doesn't feel good, and if it's a genuine tactile issue for him I'm willing to discuss compromises.

As someone who finds stubble to be like nails on a blackboard from a tactile sense, I would sympathize with this. But there still needs to be A) a grownup approach to communicate about it, and B) a mutual search for the range of good alternatives, which of course includes the option of growing out your hair.

And even if you want to keep removing your hair, a good partner would recognize the amount of effort, pain, and money every modern option requires (from shaving to waxing to laser), and would be doing a hell of a lot more than playing video games while you take care of things like a scolded child. Placing all of this on you in such an entitled way wouldn't sit right with me. Maybe it's just a learning hiccup in an otherwise great relationship, but I'd look to make sure that it isn't an attitude that extends to other areas or returns after this issue is supposedly settled.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:46 PM on January 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

Also I'm a very pale-skinned brunette, so unfortunately the hair is pretty visible after a few days.

That's not unfortunate, it's just how your body is.
posted by listen, lady at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2016 [96 favorites]

Holy fuck, let me just say that breaking up with someone who gaslights you and messes with your sexual self esteem is neither being a "bitch" nor on a "high horse". You are absolutely NOT obligated to try and work things out with this guy out of some sense of obligation to "relationship skills". And you're not in any way obligated to find better ways of meeting this guy's extremely high standards. (yes, he's allowed to have them; doesn't make them reasonable.)

There are just way better dudes out there. Dudes who will literally beg you to skip the shower and shave, because they don't want to wait another 15 minutes to get with your fine stubbly self. Does that not sound like more fun than fighting endlessly with a grown-ass man to make him understand fundamental human biology? Biology he should have learned 20 years ago?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2016 [58 favorites]

Best answer: If you tolerate something a guy does, you're going to get more of it. Don't let this stuff slide.

One time a guy I was dating mentioned my stubbly legs when we were in bed. He wasn't criticizing or complaining -- just noticing it out loud. But it still gave me a an unpleasant jolt. Later I told him, ladies like to hear compliments in bed...if you point out flaws, you're not going to get your dick wet. After that, there were more compliments and never a negative.

As put off as I am by what you've described, I suggest you give this guy one more chance and tell him what you do want. You could ask him a few things that he finds sexy or beautiful about you, and tell him you'd love the hear about those things. That it would be fine with you if he exclaims about your silky smooth legs from time to time when you've waxed or whatever. Say that non-positive remarks make you feel less amorous. And tell him a couple of things you find attractive about him, just to set an example. Then see what happens.

If he can't respect your wishes about this, it's a very bad sign. Seriously, why would a man tell a naked woman something that would make her feel less sexy, once he understood it was unwelcome? Don't push your feelings down.
posted by wryly at 1:04 PM on January 30, 2016 [15 favorites]

Screw this knucklehead. Dump him. Go be awesome elsewhere.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:27 PM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I mentioned this to my husband and he asked if there was a way for the mods to check in with you, OP, to see if you have DTMFA'd yet and that this is seriously a pre-cursor for an abusive relationship. And my husband wants this guy's address so he can mail him pubes.

My take? I think 18 year-old barely-not-a-virgin me would have nope'd out of there. I will say that I dated a guy who sounds vaguely like this guy - sweet, smart, had one prior serious relationship, but weird hang-ups. I dated some horrible guys who treated me terribly. That guy did the most damage to my self esteem of any of the crappy guys I dated. Easily. And you've only been together four months? I don't think this is worth a conversation. I would probably just stop answering his calls. I don't think this relationship is going anywhere good. Best of luck.
posted by kat518 at 1:36 PM on January 30, 2016 [14 favorites]

this is seriously a pre-cursor for an abusive relationship
This, exactly. My abuser did the exact same things as your boyfriend, down to the story where he was going down on you and then stopped to complain about your stubble. It started early, and I thought it was a bit weird, but I was happy to spend the extra time shaving. Until I got super busy and it was becoming a big burden to spend 30 minutes in the shower shaving every damn day, and I tried to move it to every other day, and I got punished with mean comments, withholding of affection, and worse.

That is really shitty behavior on your boyfriend's part, especially bringing it up during sex. This is not a joke. He is not joking. It is not funny when you hurt your partner's feelings, and to brush off his shit behavior as something that you are making too much of, why can't you get a joke? is also incredibly dismissive and demeaning.

Take care of yourself. My new boyfriend literally does not notice or care when I shave or how I shave or whether I wax or whatever. You know why? Because he likes me and he cares about me and he recognizes that I am a human being. He has never made me feel grotesque or disgusting. At the end, my abuser was using those words to describe me, my body, and my body hair on a regular basis. I still can't look in the mirror naked, friend. I still can't do it, because I see a grotesque lumpy hairy gross person. This is tragic, and it starts with the "jokes" about your body hair during sex, a time that is supposed to be shared pleasure without a shred of judgement. And even if it doesn't get worse? It's bad enough already. This is bad enough to walk away from this guy. Trust me. You can find a whole slew of men who are just as "complimentary" and "physically affectionate" as you say your boyfriend is, but they're like that all of the time, not just when you conform to their whims about you and your body.

What's next, your weight? Your clothing? How you spend your time? Etc.

I'm sorry you're going through this. Take care of yourself.
posted by sockermom at 1:57 PM on January 30, 2016 [49 favorites]

I'm very confused about where this stubble is, and I think that makes a difference on how insulted I am on your behalf.

You keep saying you are shaving your legs, but then "shave it all bare" and have stubble when he goes down on you.. Leg stubble and pubic stubble are two different things.

Leg stubble? Yeah, that is worthy of sarcastic mockery at best, DTMFO at worst. However you handle that, don't feel bad about yourself because the problem isn't with you.

Pubic stubble? Well, he has more of a say in that because your bodies will be making direct contact in that region. Perhaps his issue is less aesthetics and more abrasion-possibilities. In this case, the problem is partly communication (which he is doing poorly) and partly your grooming choices (which you might want to alter). If you need/want to be bare, either bikini or Brazilian style, stop shaving down there and get waxed. The hair grows back in softer and slowly, so the clean-stubbly boundary isn't nearly so sudden, and the abrasion issue is off the table. And if he gets pissy about that, then you will know that he's off his rocker.

Final thought: it may be less about shaving and more about scent/hygiene. Maybe he just wants you to take a shower? Yeah, yeah, it's all natural, but sometimes a body gets naturally stanky. Again, bad communicator but maybe not terrible lover or person.
posted by dness2 at 2:26 PM on January 30, 2016

if it's a genuine tactile issue for him I'm willing to discuss compromises... If this is about gender, porn, or need to control then...

How would you know the difference? Of course he'll say "smoothness feels nice." I personally love the feeling of silk. But the expectations that women should BE that smooth and that he can high-handedly direct you to do that, those are about gender and power whether he's aware of that or not. I worry that approaching the conversation with that as your decision making rubric leaves you vulnerable if he persists in his denial.

I'd go into this conversation less in the spirit of inquiry and more in the spirit of outlining what does and does not work for you. It would be informative to see if he reflects your requests going forward.
posted by salvia at 2:39 PM on January 30, 2016 [29 favorites]

Also, I don't know why people are suggesting waxing. In between waxes, you're supposed to let the hair grow out to, I believe, 1/4". That's a lot longer than it needs to be for a quick touch up shave.

Cuz this is what I guess - he has this preference for smoothness that is somehow artificial - like he thinks that it is "right" and didn't realize that it is a huge pain in the ass and not natural and didn't really know the process involved.

Then you have to ask yourself "seeing as how I'm 29 and he's 32, how much time do I want to put into this remedial education?"
posted by salvia at 2:40 PM on January 30, 2016 [18 favorites]

He's not joking. And he's not communicating in an acceptable manner.

You should dump this jerk and find a grown-up to date.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:48 PM on January 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

For all those mentioning waxing, yes I do it because I hate daily shaving and as a light skinned brunette my pubic region can't stand shaving. HOWEVER while it leaves you gloriously smooth with soft regrowth, you have to grow the hair out again to rewax! I don't know if that guy would understand the reality.

Also OP, look through my question history to see the end game of being with a porn obsessed guy who made jk remarks about my body. Wrecked my self esteem, still wrecked, still not able to be comfortable in my own body years later. And I'm freaking HOT. I'd move on before you have to learn that lesson the hard way.
posted by cakebatter at 2:48 PM on January 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

Beyond the fact that it is unacceptable to demand porn-hairlessness for sex, it's so incredibly shitty that he's gas-lighting you with the "I was just joking!" bullshit.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:59 PM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think your boyfriend might have a fetish or a phobia, and isn't equipped or possibly trusting enough to talk about it. That isn't your problem, really, even though he is making it yours. I don't think you should have to shave daily to deal with his inconsistent criteria, and it is kind to the point of self-sacrifice of you to consider it.
Even if it's just dumb expectations from porn, you need him to face up to whatever is going on with him. If he can't, you should move on, because ongoing self-sacrifice isn't healthy.
posted by gingerest at 3:05 PM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sure, people have preferences. But refusing to have sex with someone who has shaved a mere six hours before is tipping over into "doesn't know or care how women's bodies work" territory, and the way he's expressing his preferences is just gross.

This, so much. Preferences are okay, but sometimes people who are relatively inexperienced or kind of oblivious don't tend to understand how getting their preferences met affects other people. Sure, it's partly your job to communicate why you can't be stubble-free all the time, but a socially aware and empathetic partner isn't going to keep asking you to do things that are incompatible with how human bodies work. They're also going to listen to you when you tell them that someone doesn't work for you, and they'll respond maturely and not passive-aggressively. Understanding that unreasonable requests, in certain contexts, can make people feel bad isn't an Ask vs. Guess Culture thing, it's having basic social skills.

The other important thing is that a reasonable partner is going to understand and react appropriately to the trade-offs necessary to get their preferences met. An emotionally mature guy who prefers that you're smoothly waxed is going to understand that you'll have regrowth some of the time and not start withholding sex or being otherwise weird about it when you do have a bit of soft hair in places. Honestly, I don't think your guy is that guy.

It's about body hair now, but it'll be about something else later. I don't mean to shame the inexperienced or oblivious, but It's really hard to date someone who isn't good at communicating their way through difficult requests and who constantly needs to be told that their expectations aren't reasonable. It's exhausting and will make you feel like a crappy person for one reason or another.
posted by blerghamot at 3:11 PM on January 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

Dump this gross liar before his gaslighting and misogyny screw your perspective up so bad you end up dating or marrying the next piece of male trash to come along.
posted by shownomercy at 3:22 PM on January 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

In the beginning his oral sex skills were a bit...geographically challenged. He responded well to feedback on that, so I have a small flicker of hope that the whole shaving thing is at least partially due to inexperience and an honest conversation will help us out.

This is amateur hour. (Don't) Fuck that dude. Find an auteur who appreciates your body as it is, BECAUSE it is.
posted by listen, lady at 3:31 PM on January 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

Life is too short to date assholes. If he's willing to immediately correct his behavior (and stay corrected), then you can decide if he's worthy of giving that second chance to. If not, this is just the harbinger of worse things to come as you get deeper into the relationship.
posted by tdismukes at 3:42 PM on January 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

He said, "well, someone needs to shave first" and walked away to play on his computer while waiting for me to hop in the shower.

he said let's wait until you've had a chance to clean up.

I don't care what his tactile issues or relationship experience might be - the fact that he is thirty-two years old and behaving like this towards someone he is in a relationship with does not bode well at all. It's arrogant, condescending, and entitled.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:57 PM on January 30, 2016 [38 favorites]

On top of everything else said above, it sounds like he needs someone to teach him how to be a grown-up in relationships. Do you really want to be the one to take on that job?
posted by matildaben at 4:05 PM on January 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

Aside from the negativity and gaslighting? Other people have touched on this, but this guy had better be incredibly special to counterbalance the fact that he is a thirty two year old man with prior relationship experience who still needed to be taught where the god damned clitoris is.

This guy is not a functional adult when it comes to relationships and respecting women's bodies, and you are going to want to really, really think about what you are getting out of the time, effort, and emotional energy you're going to need to invest in this guy to bring him up to par-- whether he has some other qualities that make it worth it, or if you think you can do and deserve better than a boyfriend you need to construct from manchild LEGO components.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:35 PM on January 30, 2016 [13 favorites]

Fuck him. This speaks volumes about how he will handle and feel about literally everything else in his life. Get out of this. It's not going to get better as you get further and further in - quite the contrary.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 4:39 PM on January 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

Here's a rule of thumb for everybody, regardless of the circumstances:

When somebody says "I was only joking/it's just a joke" or some variation thereof, it's not a joke. It's downright mean, nasty and controlling.

Get away from anyone who says it.
posted by BostonTerrier at 4:42 PM on January 30, 2016 [19 favorites]

Geez. The calls to dump him and charges of emotional abuse are over the top. It could be gaslighting and an attempt to control and abuse you, I suppose. If he does this in other areas you should definitely get out.

Or he is very clumsy in his way of trying to talk to you about his preference like an adult. This could be a great opportunity for growth in your relationship. It's possible to validate his preference without bowing to his every desire.

"I don't think you're joking about the stubble. Let's talk about this before it becomes an issue. I'm willing to hear you out if you are willing to hear me out too, and compromise."

Shaving constantly is a bummer. I have shit to do with my life. I wouldn't do it either. But I do love the results of shaving and waxing so I do it as often as I can without being insane about it. I would totally get laser treatments if someone paid for them, for me, though. Maybe he would do that for you, if it's so important to him, and it would be desirable for you? Especially if he lightened up about stubble from time to time.
posted by pazazygeek at 4:45 PM on January 30, 2016

I want to add: I don't mean to minimize his behavior or deem it appropriate. I do think it's a red flag and you're right to be concerned. However, this could just be an unfortunate sheltered guy thing. 32 is pretty grown to behave this way, no doubt, but I think on mefi we tend to all look at single incidents through the prism of our own experiences. We literally only know this about your fella and so it is easy to extrapolate/assume that he is a total pig. If learnin' him on how lady bodies and equality ACTUALLY work is not something that seems worth it to you, you should totally walk. But I also think you will know best, if you think he'll respond well to your request for honesty and mutual respect and you really think he's a great guy, I don't think you're a chump for being willing to work on it with him.
posted by pazazygeek at 4:59 PM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

It may be that the most boy part of him is getting tore up and he's so inexperienced with talking about sex he doesn't know how to just say that. If that's the case and you quit shaving your labia, it will stop happening and he'll be back in clover. But a strategic grow-out will only get him to relax and quit being a dickhole about stubble if you tell him the plan and he understands what you're saying and says "Oh, okay, that works!" If that happens, then great, but if when you attempt to talk about it he clams up or blushes like an idiot turnip and says something rude and mean, then it's really time to go. I mean, come on, who has time for this bullshit after the age of about 22?
posted by Don Pepino at 5:15 PM on January 30, 2016

Or he is very clumsy in his way of trying to talk to you about his preference like an adult.
Nah, man, dude is 32. If he does not know that the way adults talk about their preferences is not to just announce them in a dismissive way? Nah. Fuck everything about that. He's had enough time on the earth to have learned that we do not behave that way towards people that we like, respect, or value. Would he walk away from his boss if he didn't like something about that interaction? His mother? His co-workers, or friends? Other women he has dated? Ok, sure, some topics are more difficult to talk about like an adult than others, but if he can't talk about his preferences or needs with respect to sex in a healthy way, the relationship isn't going to be healthy (or the sex, for that matter).

People talk about their preferences all the time with other people. This is not the first time this man has needed to talk about something he wanted. Whether he is being manipulative purposefully or just because he is a bit clueless or clumsy is no matter. It's manipulative to bring things up the way he has, and it's dismissive to tell her that these things are jokes, that the way she feels is not to be taken seriously because she just didn't get a joke. And being in a relationship that has this kind of manipulation in it is not good for the person who is being manipulated.
posted by sockermom at 5:31 PM on January 30, 2016 [21 favorites]

I don't know why people are saying you should grow anything or that your stubble is tearing his penis apart or something, since he said you need to "clean up" from three days of growth. He thinks women's body hair is unclean. He likely has no idea how much time it takes or that it's not something you love doing so much that it's no big deal to you.

The fact that he didn't have a conversation with you about any of this OUTSIDE of sexytimes and turned away from you to play on the computer - I mean, is that a turnon? A man who treats you like this when you're vulnerable?

Also, I hate the idea that it's just "preference." You can't exert your "preference" over other people's bodies all of the time. I understand that it's important, I dated a guy who had bad breath and sort of absurdly made a big deal about brushing our teeth together until he got the hint I guess, but I didn't push him away in the middle of sex over it or make him feel dirty.
posted by sweetkid at 5:38 PM on January 30, 2016 [24 favorites]

Clean up, huh? Maybe start by putting out on the curb and find someone who doesn't give you such bullshit. How would he feel if you asked him to shave and turned back to your computer in the meantime? My guess is he'd get pretty annoyed. DTMFA. You can do much better.
posted by SillyShepherd at 5:41 PM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

As far as his level of experience with women

If you are using this as an excuse for his not knowing how time consuming shaving is, stop.

He's a man. Men grow hair on their faces, and it's common to shave it off. Even if he has never shaved he's heard other men talk about how they hate shaving. He knows that it's time consuming to shave, he knows that shaving every 6 hours can irritate the skin.

Whether or not he cares that you have to go through it is a different thing.
posted by yohko at 7:17 PM on January 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

No, no, for sure, you don't have to DTMF, but in twenty years, long after the emotion he currently stirs in you has passed, if you DO DTMF you are going to be giving yourself a big high five and feeling very good about the whole thing. If you stay, and work feverishly to be the perfect hairless Barbie doll he wants, well, I just have serious doubts this is gonna wind up being a relationship you will look back on and feel good about.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:10 PM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

To me, this is less about your body hair, and more about a power game he's playing with you.
posted by NatalieWood at 8:58 PM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Heh, not me Kwadeng but that did give my heart a jump.

So the talk went...not great. I went over to his apartment and used pazazygeek's script in her first comment. I also told him I was not feeling desired, and the shaving issue contributed to that feeling. I previously brought this up about two weeks ago because I felt like I was doing most of the initiating. At the time I mentioned the impact of the shaving comments (two at that point). He had insisted he didn't remember making any comments and didn't care about shaving. So it really doesn't make sense to me that he would comment a third time after saying he didn't care when I brought this up a few weeks ago.

Tonight he was adamant that he said my legs were sandpaper-y yesterday, not that he insisted I shave first. That's not how I remember it at all, and even if it was true, it would still be a third comment after I told him two weeks ago that this was an issue for me. He got frustrated that I wouldn't let this go and asked me to leave because he didn't want to keep having a circular argument. I kept my voice calm the whole time and apologized for making him feel hurt and frustrated. He's right that I didn't want to drop it though and I'm sure that was incredibly irritating.

I talked to my mom after I got home and expressed my frustration with the disconnect between BF mentioning this three times but insisting it doesn't really matter to him. Her advice was to accept that this does matter to him, but for whatever reason he doesn't want to own it. Owning his preference is exactly what I wish he would do because his words seem so contradictory to me. She said I can't insist that people own things and everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them. That's true of course and I feel guilty for pushing him but also frustrated with the contradictory behavior.

Sorry if this update was muddled with the timeline, I'm having trouble getting my thoughts out right now.
posted by Chkalovskaya at 9:12 PM on January 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

apologized for making him feel hurt and frustrated.

!!!!!!! This is when you should start to wonder if the gaslighting is working.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:27 PM on January 30, 2016 [70 favorites]

I kept my voice calm the whole time and apologized for making him feel hurt and frustrated. He's right that I didn't want to drop it though and I'm sure that was incredibly irritating.

Probably not as irritating as it is for you to hear him lie to you and try to convince you that you're somehow remembering things he never said. And yes, this is textbook gaslighting.

She said I can't insist that people own things and everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them.

Gaslighting and rewriting argument history to make himself look better and to make you look unreasonable aren't "idiosyncrasies".
posted by poffin boffin at 9:35 PM on January 30, 2016 [69 favorites]

He got frustrated that I wouldn't let this go and asked me to leave because he didn't want to keep having a circular argument.

You wanted to have a conversation, and he asked you to leave. Not because he was feeling unsafe at that moment, or because he wanted time to think before having the conversation with you later, but because he decided he didn't want to have the conversation at all, and so he decided the conversation would not be happening ever. And he managed to do that in such a way that you're worried you were irritating him, and you convinced yourself that maybe the whole incident that upset you didn't actually happen, and you ended up apologizing. For having feelings and for wanting to talk about them and for continuing to have feelings even after he declared that your feelings were wrong.

posted by decathecting at 9:42 PM on January 30, 2016 [47 favorites]

You didn't want to drop it because it was important to you and he wasn't listening. You don't need to feel bad for expecting him to be accountable for his actions.

Emotionally and socially mature adults own their preferences. People who refuse to do so force everyone around them to basically parent them. You may not be able to insist that people own their preferences, but you're not obliged to treat their inability to do so as the price of admission.

I hesitate to call what he's doing gaslighting or outright abuse, because I suspect that he truly doesn't understand the extent of accountability that's necessary in adult relationships. The thing is, though, that's not your problem to fix.
posted by blerghamot at 9:46 PM on January 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


I mean this guy better be a Nobel laureate or donating you a kidney for you to be in the headspace of "well, everyone has idiosyncrasies" right now.

Boyfriend is human garbage. Being unceremoniously dumped by you is TOO GOOD FOR HIM.

Go find an adult who knows where the clitoris is.
posted by Sara C. at 9:53 PM on January 30, 2016 [29 favorites]

She said I can't insist that people own things

Maybe not, but you can certainly decide that you'd rather be in a relationship with a person who is willing to own things.

and everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them.

I'm sure your mom is a lovely person, but she is of a different generation and may, quite possibly, have views (about gender relations and roles and the compromises she feels are "necessary" for a healthy relationship, for example) that don't really line up with the modern world, and that you don't have to agree with.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:55 PM on January 30, 2016 [20 favorites]

An idiosyncrasy might be wearing a special pair of underwear for good luck on certain days, or, I don’t know, stirring your coffee counter-clockwise.

However, an idiosyncrasy does NOT include policing your partner’s body hair or for them to actually DENY the pressure they’re blatantly putting on you maintain your body hair according to their preferences.


I’m really sorry you’re dealing with this. It’s such bullshit.

I saw in your previous question you posted about boundaries and feelings of uneasiness that you had experienced in previous toxic relationships. Those bad feelings that you’re experiencing right now, they’re pretty good indicators that you are not being treated well and that this is a toxic situation.

I’m also sorry, too, that this is so gendered. Women already get so much shit for maintaining their bodies (and this bs cultural indoctrination that when women’s bodies are ‘natural,’ they’re unruly, unkempt repellant and disgusting).

A realization that I’ve only been coming to recently (and far too late) is that what I want to do with MY body is infinitely more important than what ANYONE ELSE wants me to do with or to it. When it comes to your body, your agency and desires and preferences trump those of your partners. Always.
posted by twill at 10:01 PM on January 30, 2016 [16 favorites]

Tonight he was adamant that he said my legs were sandpaper-y yesterday, not that he insisted I shave first

Wait, he got upset because he remembered saying one crappy thing about your body instead of the other crappy thing about your body?
posted by Ndwright at 10:01 PM on January 30, 2016 [36 favorites]

apologized for making him feel hurt and frustrated.

Fuck. No.

You didn't "make" him feel hurt and frustrated. He's responsible for his own damn feelings. He needs to own them.

And I bet you all kinds of money that he's "hurt and frustrated" mostly because you won't let him blow you off. That's on him, not you.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:09 PM on January 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


I had some insecurities early on with my boyfriend because I hadn't had a chance to shave in... A bit of time.

I apologized to him for my state of hairiness.

He said "I don't care how long the grass is, I'm just happy I get to play the turf."

Find one more like that.
posted by slateyness at 10:11 PM on January 30, 2016 [43 favorites]

everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them

Truuuueeee. But also, some people have traits that make them really not ready for a healthy relationship. Some people are maddening and impossible to talk to. Some people will corrode your self esteem if you let them.

Why is your mom telling you to lower your standards and put up with something that's making you so frustrated only four months in? I could see if you called after five years, or if you'd called from your honeymoon, maybe saying "hey, nobody's perfect, everyone has something that short circuits them so they're not their normal wonderful selves." But, IS this his system short circuiting over one particular topic? Or does he not have the wiring in the first place? Have you seen other evidence of an ability to talk about the hard stuff and deal with issues in a mutually respectful way? It seems like, this early in the relationship, he'd be trying to communicate well.
posted by salvia at 10:39 PM on January 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

"everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them"

Making you feel like shit about your body--and then conveniently forgetting having done it--is not an idiosyncrasy. It's called being a fucking manbaby. Please dump this guy and find a man worthy of you.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:03 PM on January 30, 2016 [20 favorites]

Having read this whole thread, it's clear that he wasn't joking and he does care about the shaving, which in and of itself is not a crime. But he sounds a little immature and perhaps even untrustworthy if, even when confronted with his own words, he can't just acknowledge what he said and admit what he wants. It's not fair to make comments that leave an impact and then deny ever saying them. Maybe he felt bad about trying to tell you how to groom yourself, but he still let himself get judgey about it when it was time for sex. Or maybe he felt embarrassed because this is some sort of strong preference for him, but couples need to be able to talk about it.

I see your options as a) start waxing so you're smooth a lot of the time and then don't have sex in the regrowth phase before the re-wax, or b) dump him.

FWIW, I don't think there's anything wrong with you apologizing for pushing him on the issue. I'm sure it got a little uncomfortable for the both of you, by the sounds of it, and part of you felt a little bad. But it's concerning that it sounds like he never apologized at any point for his role in the conflict.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:06 PM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

The fact that he threw you out of his flat when you tried to maturely and calmly talk to him about it is what sealed my 'fuck THIS shit' reaction in stone. This dude, from how you've described him, sounds like he could be between 17-22. But he's not, he's 32! Sorry, but who he is now is permanent, it is not a phase he'll 'grow out of' and it is not about inexperience. He's had his 'growing time', he's had 14 years as an adult and learned absolutely nothing - he literally functions on the level of a teenager. This is not going to get any better.

My mother is the breadwinner in our family so she doesn't put up with any shit from my dad at all, but for reference about what mums (maybe 20-30 years older than me) can think is OK in relationships, here's a sample of my friends mum's opinions gathered over the years:

- You should put up with his creepy, inappropriate heavy flirting with others when he's out with you and be very grateful he's going home with you, that's what matters in the end
- You have to put up with his cheating because you want to keep your nice home, don't you?
- You should have a job that allows you to come home 2 hours before him so you can always make his dinner for him
- At least he's never punched you

How many people between the ages of 20-30, now, in 2016, do you think would agree with the above statements?

I think you need to re-calibrate completely your expectations and norms around men. When I look at my terrible exes and those of my friends or even people who are dating now, I notice something: everyone meets these people in life. But not everyone entertains them very long. I am making it my goal to be one of the people who can weed out the bad seeds before they grow too big and fuck your nicely planted garden up. I hope you can do this this year too, if you need any moral support please feel free to message me.
posted by everydayanewday at 11:21 PM on January 30, 2016 [37 favorites]

The larger issue here is that he does not want to have sex with you as much as you would like to have sex with him. The shaving thing is a bit of a red herring and I think just ties into the larger issue. It's an excuse for him not to have sex with you.

This makes sense to me because it explains why he doesn't remember saying what he said. He doesn't remember it because he really doesn't care about stubble. What he cares about is putting off sex with you. In the scenario where he was playing the video game, he probably wanted to keep playing the video game and just threw out a "looks like someone needs to shave first" because it was something to say to get you to go away, something that in the murky depths of his mind through only paying the vaguest attention to you, made sense to him as a plausible excuse.

Look, mismatched sex drives are one of the huge big serious and real killers of relationships. Right up there with disagreement over whether or not to have children, fighting over money, and not getting along with each other's families. This will only become more and more of a deal breaker. It is hair this time, next time you will need to wear sexier lingerie, then you will need to get him in the mood, then you will be "too aggressive" and it's a turn off, then blah blah blah blah blah di blah. All a wall of denial that he and his lack of interest in sex are the problem.

Get. Out. Now.
posted by quincunx at 11:39 PM on January 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

Wow quincunx, that is a ton of speculation and jumping to conclusions.

This makes sense to me because it explains why he doesn't remember saying what he said.

Uh, why are you assuming that the boyfriend is telling the truth when he says that he doesn't remember?
posted by futz at 11:55 PM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Futz, not speculating, based on OPs words here (in her follow up): be prepared for just the possibility of sex. Some nights he's tired and we just go to bed.

"I also told him I was not feeling desired, and the shaving issue contributed to that feeling. I previously brought this up about two weeks ago because I felt like I was doing most of the initiating."

"we were cuddling and I asked if we could have sex. He said, "well, someone needs to shave first" and walked away to play on his computer"

"When I tried to get frisky he told me I needed to go shave first since it had been three days."

She's intiating. He turns her down.
posted by quincunx at 12:00 AM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Well, he's acting like an idiot child. I hope he changes for your sake, but if he doesn't, he's acting like an idiot child. A really awful idiot child.

If he has a problem with the way stubble feels on your genital area, maybe he should... stop asking you to shave? Because once it grows out, it doesn't hurt anymore. The only way to really get rid of it sufficiently in that area is to wax. Which I would personally not do; if you chose to, that would be fine, but damn I would not do it for this fool.

So the way to talk about this is to say, "hey, Chkalovskaya, I know I told you it turns me on when you shave everywhere, but it turns out that shaving leaves this stubble that actually gives me a little bit of 'rug burn' if you will." If he knew that you like to be clean shaven, maybe waxing would be a good compromise.

But damn, he is acting like a pig and is also incapable of talking about things like an adult. I'd probably just dump him if he doesn't 'get it' because that is some petty shit.

It does honestly sound like you're a little desperate to please him, whereas he's comfortable turning you away, both for sex and just turning you out of his apartment when you're making him uncomfortable. That sounds fucked up.
posted by easter queen at 12:12 AM on January 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

FFS, and I can't even meet anyone.

Sorry, but I am jumping on the DTMFA bandwagon.

Just, seriously, this is BS.
posted by Samizdata at 12:21 AM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you look at the quality and length of your question and updates, you are putting in 1000% more effort than he is into this relationship. PLUS you are addressing his deficiencies as a functioning member of the relationship over your general happiness.

He's not had enough serious partners (hardly any!) at 32 years old. You will be teaching him EVERYTHING. This guy has not demonstrated he's worth the effort. Let me tell you a little story to demonstrate when it is worth it, to give you a baseline....

At your age I had just married my live-in boyfriend of 5 years, and we separated and divorced by the time I was 32. Nice guy, not enough to withstand a lifetime and parenthood with. Time goes by. I'm 38, thinking of all the duds I dated inbetween - into my life walks mr. jbenben. Dead sexy. Smart. Oops! 10 years younger. We marry almost instantly. For 2 years it is absolute BLISS. He's just stellar! Lacking in my level of life and emotional experience, but he's a genuinely awesome guy. FOR TWO YEARS WE DON'T ARGUE. NOT ONCE.

We get pregnant. He's more supportive than anyone ever... Then our child is born. Our son is 4.5 years old now, and studies show becoming a parent is absolutely as traumatic as the death of a loved one, plus his lack of life experience compared to mine, coupled with the reality that neither one of us has any family close by... I never would have predicted how difficult these years would be for us. Our son started crying the other day because he fell on something and got a huge scary (to him) scratch, and my husband freaked out instead of being calm, adult, and helping to diffuse our son's fears. In that moment, I was the only adult in the room. Man, was I aggravated! But my husband has been putting significant effort into this area for the past year. He immediately regulated himself and apologized for initially freaking out.

Not to mention, I'm not exactly the svelte sexy creature he married 8 years ago, but damn does that man corner me every chance he gets when the boy is at preschool, or I'm hopping out of the shower and our son is occupied in another area of the house! I'm not joking!

I previously said this guy you are dating was not parent material in my first comment. My ex-husband is 10 years older than my real husband. He was nice, but I did not want the experience of children with him, so we divorced.

The language this guy used "someone needs a shave" is indicative of some shitty tactics he experienced growing up. This guy doesn't understand why manipulative/shaming language like that is WRONG because it worked on him as a kid. This is how he'll treat your children, if you stick with him. He's already got you pulling 90% of the emotional weight in the relationship! It only gets worse!!

My husband was the youngest child, has zero experience with younger relatives, he comes from another culture and is younger than me, overall he has less intimate relationship experience... Yet somehow, he still puts in the necessary effort and listens to me when things come up. As they do. Because that's real life. Also, I'm someone he wants to get sexy with, no matter what.

You deserve no less. The sooner you dump this guy, the sooner you find a great partner. Don't waste time helping or training someone who does not know he needs to do his own emotional work to keep a relationship going before the hard stuff has even happened. You have better options. I'm proof.
posted by jbenben at 12:33 AM on January 31, 2016 [21 favorites]

I kept my voice calm the whole time and apologized for making him feel hurt and frustrated. He's right that I didn't want to drop it though and I'm sure that was incredibly irritating.

You don't need to apologize for that. You were telling him that something he did hurt you and he responded by being hurt that you dared to be hurt by anything. That's beyond the pale.

This guy is lying to you and lying to himself and this is just a preview of other arguments you will have in the future should this ever be resolved or, more likely, dropped. So, I'm suggesting you don't let it drop. I hope you continue to fight for yourself and your right to be and feel sexy regardless of the length of your body hair.
posted by inturnaround at 12:46 AM on January 31, 2016 [12 favorites]

I come from a dysfunctional home where people "forgot" their inconsiderate (and more) statements all the time, along with constant rewriting of history. It was also a home where one person's level of distress/guilt/shame dictated the end of conversations.

This guy sounds familiar.

If he is like my parent, he is super nice and funny...when he wants to be and is feeling fine. But underneath, he's like a sunny 4 year old. He hasn't really truly learned that his words are hurtful to others, that people have other priorities and desires than his own, and also that sitting with his own discomfort is part of relating...and also part of learning.

So as long as your thoughts and feelings are pretty much in the same space as his, it's great. But as soon as it's different and it's something that matters to him, things go wonky.

I would be very cautious in continuing this relationship.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:18 AM on January 31, 2016 [32 favorites]

Not to beat a dead horse but if you do decide to drop this (although you shouldn't) and continue seeing him, I'm giving you a glimpse into your future with him.

He got frustrated that I wouldn't let this go and asked me to leave because he didn't want to keep having a circular argument. I kept my voice calm the whole time and apologized for making him feel hurt and frustrated.

This method of having a discussion never gets better because he is a Master of Avoiding Confrontation. Stripping everything down to bare bones, he is a person who will prove to be excellent at immediately stopping you when you have an issue and twist it into, "You're always attacking me! Stop yelling! Why can't you let things go?!" until you feel like you've been on a steady diet of Crazy Pills.

Whether it's your legs, getting pizza two nights in a row, taking out the trash, cleaning the cat box, picking up his dirty socks, whose turn it is to pick the movie, this guy is really amazing at avoiding any type of confrontation. The second you ever raise a perfectly reasonable, "Hey, I would like to discuss _____," he is going to flip the script, accuse you of yelling or harping or being unreasonable.

And he told you to LEAVE?! He's telling you that he cannot and will not have discussions with you. This will never, ever get better.

Take your cue and leave this guy.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:24 AM on January 31, 2016 [31 favorites]

After seeing your update: he's just not that into you.

Find someone who is. You deserve better than this, and be glad you found this out before you devoted any more of your precious time and energy to this guy. He sounds like someone incapable of having an adult relationship at this point in his life.

Read your posts here out loud and pretend your dearest friend wrote them. How do you feel about this guy now? HE KICKED YOU OUT OF HIS HOUSE BECAUSE YOU TRIED TO HAVE AN ADULT CONVERSATION WITH HIM ABOUT HOW MUCH HIS COMMENTS UPSET YOU. He doesn't want to have a real relationship with you for whatever reason and again, HE KICKED YOU OUT OF HIS HOUSE! Not because you were threatening him with a knife, not because you threw hot bacon grease at him, not even because you were yelling at him, HE KICKED YOU OUT because you tried to DISCUSS YOUR RELATIONSHIP. This will only get worse. So DTMFA. Future you will be glad you did.
posted by biscotti at 5:30 AM on January 31, 2016 [9 favorites]

She said I can't insist that people own things and everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them. That's true of course and I feel guilty for pushing him but also frustrated with the contradictory behavior.

Yeah, four months is not a serious enough investment to consider putting up with this "idiosyncrasy." Break up with him, go no-contact, pretend he got eaten by tigers.
posted by listen, lady at 5:42 AM on January 31, 2016 [16 favorites]

Your update seals the deal: he is a piece of shit.

This kind of argument style, where you want to discuss something and he refuses and you feel like you did something wrong, will be about everything. This isn't a shaving thing.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:04 AM on January 31, 2016 [14 favorites]

Hey OP, you sound pretty awesome in that you're willing to entertain his preference to some degree. But it's not easy for you to do on what you think its his timetable, so you'd like to work something out. But he's been an asshole about his articulating his preference, and when you bring it up for discussion, he shuts you down and gaslights you, leaving you doubting the beauty of your physical self.

Yet, you're apologizing to him and your mom has made you feel guilty about how this is affecting him. I'd like to politely remind you of your previous AskMe question that dealt with issues with boundaries and wish to please everyone else and note that you're totally fine in what you want to discuss with your SO and there's no reason you should feel guilty here. You're doing a great job of bringing up an issue in a relationship and you shouldn't let it rest. You don't have please him or anyone else. You'd totally within your rights to ask and expect that your lover treat your mind and body positively.h deference to your needs, wants and desires. One should feel glorious when getting naked with someone, not have to deal with side cracks that attack you.

Keep your boundaries and enforce them if you have to. If may not be easy, but it's the right thing, period.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on January 31, 2016 [25 favorites]

Ugh. After your update, it's clear that your guy has something going on. Like, it may or may not be Stubblegate. He's clearly using that as a thing to manipulate you, though. It may be that he both has a stubble thing and also some other thing. But, he's willing to put you down and let you just feel the waves of suck without owning any part of that. That's just a really, really immature and hurtful way to be in a relationship with another person. It's not atypical for total assholes to also be bad at confrontation. I don't feel like this is a love-match that will last the distance.

Take a break from this guy and do some self-care. This next week, go no contact. You can tell him that you need time to assess how he dealt with the difficult conversation you both had but don't dwell on it with him or get into a long conversation about it. You are a grown up, smart and beautiful woman who is allowed space to think your thoughts. Make plans with friends this week. See a silly movie. If you are into massage or yoga or punching bags, make some time to do that. Look around you and reconnect with some things that make you feel good.

Your mom may mean well, but it's a trite thing to say about "idiosyncrasies." I know my own mom would be hesitant to offer advice that put her in the middle of my relationship so it'd be more like, "Whatever you think is best, I'll be here for you." That's sort of the tone I get from your mom's comments but her advice isn't really germane to your situation or particularly good. Four months in? You don't have to accept "idiosyncrasies" that are in fact red flags for how one person thinks about and treats another person. That's pretty fundamental. I hope you give yourself the space you need this week to feel strong.
posted by amanda at 6:51 AM on January 31, 2016 [5 favorites]

On behalf of moms everywhere, I get your mom's response of ...I can't insist that people own things and everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them... because she's kind of right, obviously.

You certainly can't force anyone to own their shit, and yeah, if you want to be with anyone you need to understand that everyone's got idiosyncrasies you need to let them have,

but that doesn't mean you should put up with this level of nonsense.

She may have been trying to note that nobody's perfect, and I kind of get where she's coming from. It seems like she missed the larger concern of Gaslighting Master Manipulator who threw you out. To reiterate, him throwing you out should be game over for you.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:40 AM on January 31, 2016 [5 favorites]

The stubble seems like the pretext, not the main point. Even in your original posting, the red flag for many of us was his attempt (and it worked) to chide you, demean you, treat you like his object by telling you that you needed to take care of his problem -- and then immediately leaving the situation to play video games. What I can't understand is why you would even want to continue along the sex track after this.

My take is that this is not about him (he has communication problems, for sure, and from what you say he seems dishonest and unable to admit his own complicity in a conflict) but it's about you and how you feel people can legitimately treat you. In an adult relationship, whether you're having sex with each other or not, one person acting like the other person is a child who needs to shape up or risk upsetting him is not OK.
posted by mmw at 7:42 AM on January 31, 2016 [6 favorites]

I'm going to concur with yes I said yes I will Yes, in that this guy is conflict avoidant, and that is such an incredibly huge red flag. The issue that has brought it to a surface for you is shaving, but I'll bet if you think about it as a pattern of relating, you can probably find other examples in how you interact.

The evidence to support it:

His absolute gracelessness in making a request to you. A big theme in the discussion on this thread is that its ok to have preferences, but it's necessary to own them and negotiate in adult ways. His gracelessness in stating his preferences is because (a) it's a really big deal to him, (b) he absolutely hates having to be assertive about it, so (c) this manifests as irritation toward you. From his perspective, you have "forced" him to make these incredibly uncomfortable requests and he resents you for it.

His "forgetting" that the issue came up, and rewriting history about what he said. He knows perfectly well what happened. This is gaslighting, because he wants to avoid the conflict.

His wanting to put you out rather than have the discussion about somethig he did that upsets you.

Notice that what lies under this is that he's totally self centered. There is nothing in his behavior that shows that he thinks that you have a right to your experience and preferences. It's all about what he wants.

Think about what other ways this might manifest in your experience with him. If you are gearing up to say, "but we agree about everything else!" Note that this is a red flag too. If he is so very agreeable about everything else, odds are good it's because he's avoiding conflict by going along with you when the stakes aren't as high to him.

You may think the extrapolation in the comments to abusive behavior were a bit far fetched, but after a long and incredibly damaging marriage to a conflict avoidant man, I do think that conflict avoidance and passive aggressiveness (where frustration and retaliation seep out indirectly) truly are abusive. If he can't handle disagreement in a way that can maturely balance both his own point of view and your own, then it really is DTMFA worthy.
posted by Sublimity at 7:51 AM on January 31, 2016 [16 favorites]

So when I was younger, almost a decade ago, I went through a year or two where I had a bunch of run-ins with panhandlers and touts. They fed off my desire to be honest, helpful and kind, and treat everyone I met with respect and benefit of the doubt. And they exploited my inability to walk away from a conversation I couldn't end, or to make critical judgements under pressure.

I left these interactions feeling used, foolish, and like I was enabling society's parasites. In one case, I even became a little scared for my safety. I decided "well okay, if I just don't give any money, no matter what, I'm safe." And then I'd run into a guy in a foreign country who offered me help and then demanded money for it and wouldn't leave me alone.

What finally happened was that I realized that I couldn't trust my judgement in these particular situations. I just couldn't. And that it was alright not to engage strangers who approached me in public. Either at all, or as soon as my gut felt uncomfortable with their approach. And maybe there were some folks out there that I ignored unjustly. But I had tried my hardest to make these situations work and learned that I wasn't as clever as I though; that I probably even stood out as a good mark. And I'd earned the right to put my emotional comfort first.[*]

I mention all this because your previous question says you recognize a pattern in your relationships where you feel like you can't be assertive and wind up feeling used. And I wonder if you too are trying to put others' needs first in situations where you don't really trust them, or worry they're manipulating you. If you're letting yourself being taken advantage of for your politeness or attempts at being fair and giving.

It's okay to say: "Someone else can love these guys, or teach them how to be adults in relationships, but given my history I know it can't be me." Really, it's okay.

Best of luck to you.

[*] Which isn't to say one should use this as a rationale for racist bias, or for not helping the needy in other ways.
posted by serathen at 8:02 AM on January 31, 2016 [11 favorites]

Okay, so, this is how your boyfriend communicates. He makes passive-aggressive statements about his preferences for your personal grooming that make you feel bad, he won't own his statements or take any responsibility for what he says, and when you try to have a calm and rational discussion about how that's not a tenable situation, he refuses to participate in the discussion, makes you leave his home, and makes you feel like you've done something wrong by even bringing it up.

Your mom's right, everyone has their idiosyncrasies... but that's not what this is. This is a dysfunctional mode of communication, not a little quirk that is slightly annoying like he never lets you walk through a door first or something. Life with him means a future of exactly this kind of communication, on every level of your life, from how you keep your pubic hair to how you discipline your children. Just do things however he wants them, don't question him over it or expect him to behave any differently than exactly how he's being right now, and you'll be fine.

Is that a life that sounds like one you want to live? How many more awful evenings like this do you want?
posted by palomar at 9:05 AM on January 31, 2016 [11 favorites]

I mention all this because your previous question says you recognize a pattern in your relationships where you feel like you can't be assertive and wind up feeling used.

OP, see, you have good instincts, and you listened to your gut and came here for a reality check. After reading your update I have to say it took a lot of courage to have that conversation, so great job. It might be a little overwhelming right now, but I will repeat my first comment: you deserve better. Being able to walk away from someone who doesn't treat you well is very empowering.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:24 AM on January 31, 2016 [14 favorites]

She said I can't insist that people own things and everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them.

No. People have to own their own idiosyncrasies before anyone else can accept them. And you always have the right to insist that a partner treat you with a reasonable adult level of respect. You can't force them to do it, because you can't force anyone to do anything, but being a weasely disingenuous gaslighting shitty partner is not an "idiosyncrasy" that anyone should ever "accept."

Sorry to be the eightieth person to pile on this sentence, but this is terrible advice in the context of your particular conflict. "Idiosyncrasies" are things like eating cereal without milk or hating parties, not making your girlfriend feel awful and avoiding responsibility for it.

You have handled all of this extremely well and you should feel proud of yourself, not guilty. Sadly, there's nothing you can do other than dump him, because he's demonstrated that he is not at all willing to work through problems together with you. He will never be on your team.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:05 PM on January 31, 2016 [17 favorites]

I just came here to say that you seem like an awesome, caring, reasonable, and intelligent person, and you deserve so much better than this. I have been gas lighted before and I know how hard it can be to get back into the habit of trusting yourself and your own perceptions after someone has put you through this mindfuckery. This guy IS gaslighting you. TRUST YOURSELF. You know deep down that he is treating you badly, lying and manipulating you.

You are strong and awesome and you'll be much better off if you ditch this guy.
posted by a strong female character at 12:41 PM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

She said I can't insist that people own things and everyone has idiosyncrasies that you have to accept if you want a relationship with them.

This is true. So ask yourself: Do you want the relationship? You don't have to stay.

The unstated assumption I am hearing is that you just have to put up with it. This is not true. But you should make that decision yourself and own it. No one should make that decision for you.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

There's a concept that came up in the amazing thread last summer about emotional labour, the idea of how some men seek to turn women into bonsai humans. In this question, I see you pruning and snipping bits of yourself — snipping at your time and money to prune your body, hiding your hurt, altering your own body preferences. Softening your anger and confusion. Lowering the volume of your voice.

Everything is becoming smaller and more compliant, more him-shaped than you-shaped. This is why so many people are bringing up abusive relationships, because this trimming and pruning and molding is how it starts until you are so small and quiet and compliant and isolated that you cannot rise up and assert yourself.

I'm also going to refer you to Against Chill, because you don't have to be the super chill relaxed cool girlfriend with no preferences. You can have body hair, and quirks, and the flu, and your period, and weird moods, and a personality, and an off day, and you are GREAT at all of those times. Your worth isn't based on his desire of you. Your worth is in you and no one else.
posted by sadmadglad at 1:05 PM on January 31, 2016 [41 favorites]

Response by poster: Welp, my parents just called back encouraging me to suck it up because my mom shaved every day for 40 years. My dad also left me with this gem when I pointed out that the crappy communication was the real issue: "Well, keep in mind that the y chromosome comes with an inability to understand female emotions."

Sooo I'm taking a break from boyfriends and family for a few days now. I had an absolutely wonderful therapist help me with some work-related stress last year, so I'll be checking in with her to tackle this stuff. In the meantime if I could reserve a hut on Crone Island, that would be super. I'll need space for two cats to come along.

Huge thank you again and internet jedi hugs for anyone who wants one. The support, food for thought, and awesome links have meant a lot these past few days and I hope other readers and responders get something out of it too. Hope you have a very happy Sunday afternoon.

Mods, please let me know how to mark this question as resolved.
posted by Chkalovskaya at 2:29 PM on January 31, 2016 [84 favorites]

You should see a button reading "mark as resolved" right after your username ie:

posted by Chkalovskaya to Human Relations (141 answers total) mark as resolved
posted by sweetkid at 3:20 PM on January 31, 2016

Response by poster: Found it, thank you!
posted by Chkalovskaya at 3:24 PM on January 31, 2016

It's worth remembering that sometimes parents are dumb and give bad advice.
posted by Sara C. at 6:37 PM on January 31, 2016 [32 favorites]

What worked for your parents, or friends, may not work for you. Also, based on your previous question, the fact that you're giving him the side-eye enough to question his motives and follow up with a question here, is huge. You followed up by addressing it with him, and not just accepting it as the status quo. Unfortunately, it didn't go as you hoped, but that's completely on him, and totally out of your control. Setting boundaries isn't necessarily telling others what to do, but stating what is and isn't acceptable to you and following through. (Someone told me years ago, how she expected certain basic things from a relationship, and wasn't shy about asking for them. This blew my mind as a totally novel (to me) concept.)

I see you looking at this from many angles and considering things. It's too bad he is unable to do the same. Find a guy who is willing to earn your trust. You deserve nothing less.
posted by SillyShepherd at 7:35 PM on January 31, 2016

In your last question, you state that you grew up in a toxic family. I'd like to gently suggest that given the dynamics you described, talking about your romantic relationship with your parents is not a great idea. Have they become non-toxic? From what you've shared, your parents do not have the skills or experience they need to comment on your relationship in a healthy or productive way. Talk about this with a therapist, not with them -- and in the future, draw some stronger boundaries between your love life and your family. They can't help you with this kind of stuff.

His kicking you out because he didn't want to talk about this sounds awful, immature and abusive. You should absolutely DTMFA. In a good relationship, each partner has (or builds) the capacity to address conflict .. Throwing your partner out of your house when they aren't being abusive toward you is not a thing that sane, kind people do to each other. Worst case scenario, if he wasn't able to discuss the issue at the time you brought it up, he could have taken a walk or left the apartment for a while or simply said: "I'd like to talk about this later - can we take a break from the conversation?"

I'm sorry you're going through this. Do not hesitate to dump this asshole and work with a therapist who can help you process, heal and move on.
posted by Gray Skies at 5:22 AM on February 1, 2016 [7 favorites]

Guys, she said she's taking a break from "boyfriends and family", it sounds like she knows they gave her bad "advice".

Chkalovskaya, I wish you the best. I've been following this thread because I'm so appalled at your boyfriend's behaviour. To interrupt sexy times to make non-funny non-jokes that makes you feel bad and then deny it later is just beyond. You deserve someone who loves you no matter what kind of package you come in.
posted by like_neon at 5:51 AM on February 1, 2016 [6 favorites]

Following the whole arc of this thread, I am thrilled to see you taking a break not only from boyfriends but also from family. Your mom's comment to the effect of "you can just suck it up, right?" was terrible in your previous update and in this update it becomes way clear to me that she's just trying to feel better about her own minimizing and shrinking her preferences and her own meh relationship. And your dad, wow. "Don't expect better because relationships with men will always suck". So glad you recognize that as toxic bunk - that's a long way to come, when you can recognize the people who raised you are giving you terrible advice.

Therapy is such a good thing. :-)
posted by Lady Li at 2:15 PM on February 1, 2016 [14 favorites]

The method of conflict resolution is a red flag for dealing with folks on the NPD spectrum. In talking through the repeated comments he'd made, he didn't talk about the central issue which is 'I don't feel desired' and 'your comments hurt me.' Instead the conversation does the meta-dance, and culminates in you taking responsibility for upsetting him. Not him warmly embracing who you are, thanking you for trying to make your feelings known in a kind manner for the benefit of the relationship etc. This trains you from the outset to linger on thoughts of How To Talk to the person who has upset you. You're putting in the work, the furious peddling work, of trying to be understood and trying to understand the man - not staying with your own feelings of being hurt, and getting comfort.

I've done this dance on the same level of micro-management, and it just becomes so tiring, and ongoing. There is more of this kind of thing ahead. The NPD can't be wrong and they will expend an enormous amount of energy making you feel wrong. What you should have gotten: 'honey, you're hurt? Nooooo. You're awesome, hair or no hair. I'm sorry I made you feel bad!' Instead you got dramatics and derailing into whether something happened or not.

I've got a metric for this after my time with a person like this: when you disagree or are hurt what does the Other actually do? In this case: escape clauses via denial, tantrum, abandonment threats. You have done the best thing and left, giving yourself some days to re-group. Don't buy into the apology cycle - your own in particular. When he does the dance back to you, don't commit to anything until he specifically addresses *your* feelings and apologises to you for his comments and behaviour. Watch carefully.

Your parents are part of the training programme too. They shouldn't even be the people you share this with really. A therapist is a good idea, especially since you've been trained in co-dependency type thinking where the Other is a mystery for you to solve.
posted by honey-barbara at 3:24 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: For anyone who's curious, he's officially been dumped.

Several people pointed out that he was gaslighting me. I'd heard the term before and knew what it meant in a general sense, but some additional research was very helpful. This link has a list of gaslighting techniques, and as I read through it I realized he employed every. single. one. between Friday and Saturday.

1) Witholding - He pulled the "I'm not having this conversation again" and "I've had a long day and I'm not dealing with this crap," after telling me earlier his Friday was pretty uneventful.

2) Countering - He tried to get me to question my memory in general. I'm embarrassed to even dignify this by writing it down, but he tried to convince me that I pooped myself during sex a few weeks ago. When I asked for more information, he insisted he'd told me it happened during the act and had me go clean myself up. If this had happened (it didn't), I like to think I would have felt or smelled it, noticed it during the cleanup process, noticed it on the towel underneath me, or remembered having the conversation at all. Because if this had actually taken place, I'm pretty sure I would have curled so tightly into a ball of mortification that I collapsed in on myself like a dying star. At the very least, you'd think it would ring a bell when he brought it up. I guess the point of this was to prove how unreliable my memory is and how understanding he was of little ol' me who can't even control her bowels.

3) Blocking and diverting - "You're just using this to beat me over the head" and "I just don't think you even understand me"

4) Trivializing - "I can't believe you're making such a big deal out of this. There are more important things to worry about. We don't have to live in fear every day of having our heads chopped off by terrorists."

5) Forgetting/denial - Covered previously where he insisted he called me sandpaper-y instead of telling me to go shave.

His takeaway from all of this was that I was failing him by not taking him at his word. Clearly he is the injured party.

At any rate, thank you again to everyone. I read this thread several times over the past few days and honestly don't think I'd be in as good of shape as I am right now without the input and support here. Thank you a million times over.
posted by Chkalovskaya at 7:21 PM on February 3, 2016 [69 favorites]

Hey, I hope you're doing ok. Gaslighting is no joke and can take down the very smartest of us. He sounds awful but I know he's someone you did care about and that dissonance is hard. I hope it was helpful for you to break down all the steps of the gaslighting the way you did - denial, trivializing, diversion. It will help others who read this question and for that you're doing a service.

Best of luck to you, I'm glad you found help here.
posted by sweetkid at 7:54 PM on February 3, 2016 [10 favorites]

His takeaway from all of this was that I was failing him by not taking him at his word. Clearly he is the injured party.

Oh yes, absolutely! ;)

That kind of victim-playing is also so textbook. If you haven't read Why Does He Do That?, it's a classic that gets recommended around here often for good reason. It describes a bunch of different abusive patterns, which makes it easier to avoid them in the future. Nice work getting out of this relationship so quickly!
posted by salvia at 10:10 PM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Chkalovskaya, thank you so much for the update. I couldn't repress a "Yaaaay!"
posted by Don Pepino at 7:31 AM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Girl, I think you dodged a bullet on this one. That level of lying and crap he was giving you sounds almost scary. You did the right thing!!! One further thought before I go. It took me awhile to figure out that it might not be in my best interests to share every aspect of my life with my parents. Now that you are an adult it is perfectly right that you have parts of your life that are private. It does not mean that you love your parents any less or that you do not trust them, it's just the healthy thing to do. Best of luck to you! Remember, trust your instincts, they almost never fail you. Also, yay you! You did a great job taking care of yourself here.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:46 AM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Totally cheering for you. Good for you for being able and willing to read the warning signs.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:51 AM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yay! I'm so happy for you! This is one of those occasions when a breakup is actually really, really good news. I hope you celebrate accordingly.
posted by Gray Skies at 12:41 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

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