I found out that my boyfriend slept with his ex-wife last Christmas while I was away. He says it “just happened,” and that he’ll never sleep with her again. They have kids, so they talk to each other quite frequently, and I feel anxious and jealous when I know he’s talking to or seeing her. Is it possible for me to get over this and start to trust him again? If so, how?
Yes, it is possible for you to get over this indiscretion and start to trust your boyfriend again. Whether or not this happens will likely depend upon how the two of you proceed from this point. Building trust has three basic steps:
- Say what you are going to do;
- Do what you say you are going to do;
- Repeat steps One and Two.
If your boyfriend follows these steps and is consistent in his words and actions, over time your anxiety should lessen and the two of you will move on from this event. In the meantime, there are a couple of concerns I would like to draw to your attention. The first is his explanation: “It just happened.” This might be an acceptable answer if your relationship was new and uncommitted at the time he had sex with his ex, because in this case he would not owe you a detailed explanation. But if the two of you had been together for a period of time, and your commitment was clear, then more information is required.
To give you such a short answer to an important issue raises concern about his sense of responsibility and the integrity of his commitment to your relationship. Since the sexual contact happened some time ago, however, his behavior since then is likely a better indication of the level of trust you can place in him. Do you feel a part of his ongoing daily life? Are you included in regular activities with the children? Does he communicate comfortably to his ex-wife in your presence? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then your jealous feelings are likely temporary and in a short amount of time you will move on to a more comfortable place with this piece of history.
I love my boyfriend, and we’re very compatible in every way except in the bedroom. He gets very carried away during sex, and likes to give — and receive — what he calls “love-bites.” They don’t draw blood or anything, but they hurt, and that’s a huge turn-off for me. I have asked him to be more gentle, and he tries, but he always ends up biting me a little too hard at some point. I want him to enjoy sex with me, but I want to enjoy it too — and I can’t while I’m wondering when and where I’m going to feel his teeth. What should we do?
If you two are compatible everywhere but in the bedroom, maybe you should have sex in the dining room. This way you could tie your boyfriend to the table legs and he could anxiously await your love-bites while you escape his.
However you choose to resolve this difference in your sexual preferences, each of you must find a way to control the pleasure and the pain you experience. No matter how much pleasure your boyfriend gets from biting, it’s not acceptable for him to hurt you. While he might enjoy getting carried away, it’s important for you not to get turned off in the process. If you’re going to venture into an area of loveplay that involves either physical or emotional discomfort, you need to have a signal that truly means stop. So before you have sex again, pick a time when the two of you can talk and come up with a code word that will call a halt to any unacceptable activity. Be sure to pick a word that can’t be confused for regular conversation. For example, words like “don’t,” “no,” or “stop” are sometimes used playfully when you really want someone to continue. But if you choose a word like “firetruck” or “mayday,” there should be no confusion.
Take the time to come up with a win/win solution to this problem, because if you plan to stay together, there are bound to be more personal differences that arise. In fact, it’s the contrasts between you that keep passion alive over the life of the relationship. So sink your teeth into this problem and come up with a solution you can both swallow.
I’ve been dating since my divorce became final a year ago, and I have noticed that women seem to approach sex differently than I do. To me, sex is part of the “compatibility checklist” — I need to sleep with a woman before I decide whether or not I want to commit to her — but women seem to have already decided they want to commit before they’ll sleep with a guy. I feel like a schmuck when I have to tell a woman I don’t want to pursue a relationship with her after we’ve had sex, but I don’t see any way around this. Do you have any suggestions?
Just the fact that you’re posing such a thoughtful question says to me that you’re going to find your way around this important issue without much effort. If you’re dating women who have enough self-respect to avoid jumping into sex, this speaks to your maturity as well as theirs. Meanwhile, let me provide some information that might explain why many women are hesitant to be sexually involved before a commit is made. Oxytocin, the neurohormone that triggers orgasm, is a bonding agent. Oxytocin is released when a mother breast-feeds her baby, causing her to bond with the child, and the same bonding takes place when two people have sex. Oxytocin affects men as well as women, except it has a stronger effect on women. A woman feels more attached to a man once she has sex with him; this is why it makes sense for women to take time and get to know someone before she is sexual. Otherwise, using your word, she finds herself attached to a schmuck. If a woman comes to me complaining about a man she’s dating who treats her with disrespect, the first question I ask is: “Are you having sex with him?” If the answer is “Yes,” I say, “Don’t do that! Sex keeps you bonded to this guy.”
Another interesting property of oxytocin is that it has an amnesic effect. This means for a short while after sex, you forget the fact that she/he put you down in front of your friends, or stood you up last week. While this side-effect is beneficial to a mother who needs to forget those sleepless nights so she can feel nurturing and loving toward her baby, it can be highly inconvenient when you’re trying to determine if someone is relationship material.
Finally, I’m wondering if the issue you present is simply one of timing. My hunch is that if you were patient and put off sex a little longer, there would be fewer women you’d have to leave the morning after.