My boyfriend and I have been together for two years and we live together. Recently, his ex was killed in a car accident. They were not on good terms and he often made scathing statements about her. I made the mistake of saying the following several days after her death (after offering him my sympathy on numerous occasions): “I don’t know how to help you grieve in this situation because you didn’t like her.”
Obviously, that was a stupid, careless thing to say. I apologized numerous times and he said that he forgave me. Fast-forward two weeks: We were out having drinks with friends and he disappeared from the bar, refusing to answer my calls.
I ended up calling a cab and heading home by myself. When I got home, he was there drinking with our roommate and some of his friends who were crashing at our house, including his friend’s wife. I was angry and went to bed. I awoke at 8 a.m. alone and went downstairs, where I found him making out with his friend’s wife on our porch; they were both incredibly drunk.
Later, he told me he was still angry about my comment, accused me of hating his ex and informed me that he spent the entire night venting about me to his friends. I am totally capable of getting over one drunken kiss — everybody makes mistakes. However, I feel like the whole context was incredibly toxic and hurtful, especially him airing our dirty laundry to his friends. I’m not sure if I’m interested in staying with someone who can’t speak to me like an adult when he has an issue, and instead gets scary drunk and makes out with people.
Does it seem like our relationship is worth salvaging? We’ve had our ups and downs, but I hope we love each other enough to get past this.
—Confused and Concerned
Let’s review your boyfriend’s behavior: Gets drunk, ditches girlfriend, gets completely shitfaced back at shared home, bitches about girlfriend to drunk friends, makes out with another woman — who happens to be married to another friend — while his girlfriend sleeps in the next room, gets caught, blames girlfriend.
To me, that looks like someone slamming his hand down on the eject button, i.e., he wants out of this relationship.
Which means your willingness to stay in this relationship — if “this chick” comes through with an apology you feel she owes you, if your boyfriend corrects the record and quits boozing — may be irrelevant.
If your boyfriend wants to dump you but lacks the decency, balls or self-awareness to end it himself (it’s possible that he may not be consciously aware that he wants out), CAC, he’ll keep pulling stunts like this until you’ve had enough and you dump him.
I could be wrong, of course, and I’ve been wrong in the past — see “clitoris, location” and “male bisexuality, existence of” — and this is advice not binding arbitration, blah blah blah.
Maybe his behavior can be attributed to a crazy meltdown reaction to his ex-girlfriend’s death. Clearly, his feelings for his ex were more complicated than he let on. I’m thinking he still had feelings for her, CAC, and I’m betting that she dumped him.
He may have said only shitty things to you about his ex because he thought that’s what you wanted to hear. Reminding him about all of the shit he talked about his ex may have made him angry with himself and he projected that anger onto you, and now, in the cold/sober light of day, he’ll be able to see that and he’ll apologize and you can rebuild your relationship.
Or, you know, not.
My uncle died in a car wreck. I didn’t know him well, but we lived in the same city and he named me executor of his estate. He was single, childless, straight, unmarried, and — as it turns out — pretty kinky. I’ve been looking around online and some of this stuff in his “playroom” is worth a lot of money. But you can’t haul a $1,000 bondage table out on the lawn for a yard sale (at least not where he lived). So what do you do with a dungeon full of BDSM gear when the owner dies unexpectedly?
—Boy De-acquisitioning Sadistic Merch
There’s an adult section on eBay where you can unload the stuff, BDSM, and NaughtyBids.com is a site dedicated to auctioning off pre-owned sex toys and gear. But if you don’t want to do the work (and you don’t care about cashing in on that bondage table), Google around a bit and I bet you’ll find a local BDSM group in your area that would be happy take your late uncle’s gear off your hands.
I’m a gay man in a happy and open marriage. I routinely seek the services of an erotic masseur, a man with whom I have a great client/service-provider relationship. I found out when booking my next massage with him that he was recently in a car accident with his long-term partner, who died in the hospital. Normally, I’d send flowers and a card. However, due to the nature of our working relationship, I don’t want to extend myself in ways that could be uncomfortable for him. I wouldn’t want to put him in the position of having to explain who I am if the card I sent was read by someone else. Any advice would be appreciated.
—Wants To Be Respectful
A: He’s a sex worker, WTBR, not a moron.
Backing up: If we were talking about your lawyer, hairstylist or housekeeper — anyone else with whom you had a client/service-provider relationship — you wouldn’t hesitate to send flowers and a card. The only reason you’re hesitating in this case is because you fear outing your masseur as a sex worker. And here’s what’s fucked up about that: You’re assuming that he isn’t already out about doing sex work. You’re assuming that being outed as a sex worker is the worst possible thing that could happen to him (I think your masseur can attest that there are worse things).
Most shockingly — you’re assuming that your masseur is too stupid to cover for himself if he isn’t out about doing sex work and if someone else reads your card and if that person asks who you are.
Trust me, should a nosy relative ask him who you are — which is highly unlikely — your masseur has lots of options before he gets around to “a decent and kind guy I sometimes jack off for money.” He can say you’re a friend or an acquaintance or someone with whom he’s worked.
Sex workers are subjected to far too much of that by people who don’t see them as fully human. Don’t participate in the dehumanization of sex workers. Send the flowers.
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Find Dan Savage’s weekly podcast every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @fakedansavage on Twitter.
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