Several months ago I started dating a gorgeous, professional, and very loving woman. Our sex is great, but recently she’s been asking me to slap her—and not on the arse but a full face slap. My initial reaction was that she must have had some weird childhood experience that made her want to do this. But I’ve hung out with her friends and recently met her entire family at a dinner and they all seem relatively normal. I’ve tried it a few times and it’s getting less awkward each time, but I’m worried we could lose or miss some important connection if we continue with this.
Q: In college, when my then-girlfriend and I started living together, she had a part-time job as massage therapist. She also occasionally received money for having sex with three of her regular clients. This bothered me, but I’ve got some friends who are in successful open relationships and at least I could rationalize that she was only doing it for money. Fast-forward a few years: We’re out of school and married but, as neither of us has a fabulous income yet, she’s still “working” with two of these guys. I know she loves me, but I’m ready to do with less money and fewer people in our relationship. She feels like doing without the extra cash put a bigger strain on our marriage than continuing something that’s been manageable for several years. This has always been an issue between us, but the longer it goes on the worse it’s getting.
He Said: Your wife has been having sex with these two other men for several years now, since before she knew you. At this point I would be surprised if she isn’t emotionally attached to one or both of them, and they to her. Breaking up with a long-term lover (or two) could encompass a lot more than simply doing without the extra cash.
My girlfriend broke up with me because I neglected her and because she thought I had a thing for my ex. I didn’t. I just wanted to be friends after years of hatred with my ex. I spent an entire year trying to get my girlfriend back, and she finally decided—very abruptly after we exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts—that she could not forgive me for neglecting her and talking to my ex. How can I change her perception? Was she dragging me along for a year, just waiting for someone better to come along?
How do I change up my sexual routine with my boyfriend without it sounding like a criticism? Specifically, I want him to slow down. When I say “positive” things (“I like that really slow”), he slows down for about 30 seconds, then starts up fast again. I feel like the only way to get this across to him is to yell, “Slow the hell down, dude! Are you hard of hearing?!” But, um, I’m thinking that would ruin the mood.
He Said: Any guy worth having sex with should be more attentive to his partner’s needs than his own. A motivated man can climax after a few minutes of skank sex, so there’s little need for most of us to focus on our own sexual satisfaction at the expense of the women we love.
How do you make a graceful exit out of a live-in relationship? We’ve gotten a lot out of the past four years together, but I want more and he can't commit. It's a struggle for us to find stuff we like to do together, and I can't help but think we belong with other people who share our interests and with whom we can have a stronger bond. There are no big fights, betrayals, etc., but it's hard for us to even talk about our relationship. So I'm at a loss as to how to break up. Even good old-fashioned crushes on other people haven't been enough for me to pull the trigger. I'd like to end things with respect and as little damage as possible.
He Said: Unfortunately, the breakups I've initiated involved either me leaving town or convincing my girlfriend at the time to do so for a career upgrade. Effective, but overkill as an exit strategy. The good news, for you anyway, is I've had a lot of experience with women initiating breakups with me. And from these I've learned that the best separation route from traveling down life’s highway with your boyfriend is not crashing into a dead-end street, but a turning onto some other quieter avenue.
I’ve tried forgiving my live-in boyfriend for cheating on me (during a business trip) last year. He came home and promptly confessed, and after several weeks of shock, tears, fights, and a few therapy appointments, I thought I had let it go. Of course he’s sworn it’ll never happen again. I actually believe him, but here’s the problem: Deep down I just don’t think I’ll totally get over it until I pay him back. I want to be honest with him about this, get a free pass for the next time I’m out of town, and finally be done with it. I think, at bottom, I believe in an eye for an eye. But I know that doesn’t sound very evolved or trustworthy, and I don’t want to make more drama with him. I don't just want closure. Closure with consequences is what I want.
My boyfriend is going on vacation to Belize with a girl he's known since childhood and insists there's no reason to be concerned. He says they had sex a few times in college, but decided they were better friends than lovers, and haven't had sex since. I've met her a few times, and while she's been very nice to me, the whole trip seems weird and suspect. The farthest he and I have ever traveled together is Tahoe for a weekend. Now he's jet-setting off to Central America with another woman?
He Said: Even putting aside the sex issue, I think you have a couple of valid concerns here. First, he prefers to take this trip with her rather than you. Second, although he likely knows this decision bothers you, he's going anyway. This doesn't have to be a deal breaker. I'd take it as a red flag and pack it away in the closet -- not to wave it at him in some future fight but to use it as a signal of where you two are right now as a couple. For you to have the kind of intimacy he shares with his childhood friend may take you many years, and having his sexual fidelity isn't going to bring you closer by itself. Look past this trip, and work with him to plan some future trips or other meaningful events that you two can share and build on. However, if in the future he counties to prefer his friend's company to yours for long vacations or otherwise finds reasons to connect with others rather than you, take the hint and move on.
My sweet, sensitive boyfriend of three years is my best friend, and I can’t imagine life without him. But he’s not very masculine, and that’s had a huge effect on our relationship. About six months after we started dating, he began using baby talk, and I foolishly indulged him. Now we don’t even know how to be around each other without it. I feel like his mother. I want to talk to him about this, but I worry it would crumble his self-esteem. I find myself increasingly attracted to other men, so much so that I’ve quit drinking when my boyfriend isn’t present because I’m afraid of what I might do. I desperately want to make our relationship work, but I also desperately want to feel feminine, desired, and taken care of. Please help.
How, exactly do you define premature ejaculation? Does it mean a guy orgasms really fast, like within a few minutes, or does it mean he just climaxes before the woman does? And what if the woman takes an hour? Is he expected to just hold out? Or does it mean the guy simply has no control over his orgasm, regardless of how long he lasts?
I’m getting into a serious relationship with a single mom whose 14-year-old daughter is generally great, but she dresses like a hooker and occasionally sneaks out. When I make tentative suggestions to my girlfriend about discipline, she says I’m criticizing her parenting. I know the kid isn’t mine, but if we become a family and she falls off the rails, I’ll be helping pick up the emotional and financial pieces. How can I influence things early enough to make a difference without overstepping my boundaries?
He Said: The best way to help your girlfriend raise her teen is by acting like a committed, supportive, and trustworthy partner. You’re right: It’s tough knowing you may someday share responsibility for consequences without the authority to help prevent them. But your girlfriend is probably concerned enough about her daughter to begin with, and any criticisms you make will only add fuel to the fire. You need to first show your commitment to the two of them before your girlfriend will see you as an insider and consider taking your advice.
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