Nothing Is Sacred

I have been dating this guy for over 6 months, known him for 1.5 years, and we recently became boyfriends 2 months ago (we are exclusive). I love him very much but we have been having some problems as of recently.

To make a long story short, I found on his computer that he had been texting someone else about having sex about a month back. I was really thrown and hurt and confronted him, he said he fucked up, did it for validation and that he was never going to do it again and that I am the one he chooses. He gave me his word but said that he’s not gonna show me his texts b/c he considers that an invasion of privacy. Since then I have had a lot of intrusive thoughts about the status of our relationship and whether I think I can fully trust him. He is 8 years older than me, has lived in the city for almost 15 years and has a lot more experience in terms of life and sex. I want to trust him and make this work, but I am afraid of getting hurt/cheated on. 

One aspect that complicates things is that he does nude modeling on the side. I have never been a big fan or proponent of this “side-gig” that he has. Recently he did a photoshoot that depicted him and another guy embracing in skimpy underwear and it tugged at my nerves. He also recently posted a picture where you can see the outline of his penis (a picture he sent to me a week or so back that I took to be a cute moment for myself). Overall, he says that nudity is something that’s been a part of his content and these are just jobs that ask him to model and they don’t mean anything.

I still don’t feel totally comfortable seeing him with another man in such an intimate way. But these risqué photos that have been put out on the internet make me uncomfortable. I have a lot of vulnerability around nudity that he doesn’t have. I see all these guys post these thirsty comments and it makes me jealous and sad because I see his nudity as something that is apart of the intimacy of our sexual relationship, something I hold sacred, that I don’t really want the rest of the world to be in on. But now it kind of feels like what I hold sacred is out there for everyone else so I’m left with nothing. 

So I am not too sure what to do. I don’t like the nude work that he does. I tell him how I feel and he gets mad that I am not supporting him, that these are my insecurities that I am projecting onto him, and that he hopes I see things his way. It hurts b/c I don’t feel like we have an effective conversation about it & I don’t know how to just “be okay with it”.

 

If you truly feel you’re left with nothing, that’s something you need to really think about. If “thirsty” comments and crotch shots invalidate the fact that you have someone who cares about you, you may need to rethink what you value in a relationship.

There’s a lot of judgment in the way you talk about your boyfriend’s work. Words like “risqué” and “skimpy,” and writing “side gig” in quotation marks, show that you see little integrity or validity in what he does. That’s a problem. If this judgment is clear to me, someone who doesn’t know you, it’s probably coming out in your face-to-face conversation, and that may be part of the reason why you’ve never had an effective talk with him about this. Think about how he might feel being judged by someone he cares about for something he does.

At this point, you don’t have many options. It’s evident that you are not comfortable with his side hustle, in fact, it’s causing major problems for you. It sounds like a dealbreaker to me, and if you agree, you need to tell him that in explicit terms so he can choose between dating you or continuing to model. It doesn’t sound like he can continue doing both.

No, you cannot go through his texts or check his phone, and you shouldn’t have snooped through his computer if that’s what you were doing. That is an invasion of privacy, and it’s abusive.

Relationships are built on trust, friend. If you can’t trust him going forward, this relationship is over. I know he cheated on you and lied about it by omission, so you have two options: You can believe him, and trust his word, or you can’t. If you can’t, there’s nowhere to go from here. Without trust, you have no foundation upon which to build anything. And since we’re using words like “sacred,” which should make anyone uncomfortable, let me say this: Trust is the only sacred thing in a healthy relationship, not bodies or skin or even sex. Trust is the magic elixir, the oil that keeps all happy relationships running smoothly. If you trusted him, his modeling gig wouldn’t be so threatening to you. But you don’t.

Here’s why “sacred” is such a dirty word, one that prickles my skin whenever it’s used in talks of love and sex. When my father found out I was gay, he told me that the union between a man and a woman was “sacred,” something anointed by God. Therefore, he told me, “unnatural” unions like mine are worse than wrong; they are a mockery of something beautiful. Men and women, he explained, embody God’s complete nature: strong and protective, yet motherly and paternal. Ignoring the obvious gender stereotyping employed, this idea that God is embodied by hetero marriage renders queer relationships as its inverse: a disfiguration of God, something blighted and ugly and evil.

The same cruel charge has been used to decry all kinds of nontraditional relationships, and by extension, people who do nontraditional things. For centuries, fidelity and sexual exclusivity (including nudity) have been sacred concepts, and that’s how you describe them above. The implication that creates is that his nude modeling and skimpy underwear and human sex drive, which will invariably extend beyond an attraction to only you, is more than wrong; rather, it’s an affront to something holy. People like me have been fighting that idea for generations, but we’re working against thousands of years of history.

That may not have been your intention, but using that word betrays your belief that the privacies between people in love are elevated, special, and not to be shared. Inversely, you probably see the world outside your relationship as a delicate minefield of threats and temptations. Many people see their relationships as holy things being drug through the muck of sinful reality where every attractive person is a threat. That’s a horrible — and ultimately ruinous — way to approach dating.

Here’s something to think about: His body isn’t yours. He shared his body with others before you and he’s sharing it with you now. Appreciate it, pleasure it, but know that you’re one of many people who will see it, touch it, hold it, fuck it, and love it. You can allow that truth to make you uncomfortable and jealous, or you can love the full human he is. He has a timeline that extends before and beyond you, and a private life you will never fully be privy to. You can never know all the secrets and hungers of a person’s inner life any more than they can know yours, and you must respect that.

Why is trust so important? Because of his inner life, you can never completely check him on his word. If he wants to, he can delete messages, rename contacts, and slip away quietly to cheat. If you try to check what he says, or worse, catch him in lies, that’s not love — that’s abuse. You’re not a fucking prison warden, you’re a boyfriend. But that very kind of relationship is seen by many people as normal and acceptable.

You have to respect everything about him that you don’t know, and will never know, and trust that when you’re sick and lonely, he’ll be there, and when you get up in the morning feeling better, he’ll be there, and after he makes mistakes, like a quick and callous hookup, he’ll be there. That’s love. Honestly, the cheating is not the worst crime he committed — it’s not telling you after. You have to trust him to tell you the truth, even when he slips up, and he’s already failed once on that front. Again, you can only do one of two things now: You can trust him, or you can’t.

I know you have hangups about nudity, and it’s OK to have insecurities. Everyone does, and everyone projects their insecurities onto those they date. I do that, and most people do that. While doing that nearly always causes fights, it hardly warrants a breakup.

What does warrant a breakup is the lack of trust, along with this absurd notion that one of you will convince the other to see things your way. You won’t and he won’t. Your views of nudity, exclusivity, and privacy are not aligned with his, and that’s a foundational difference — a dealbreaker in itself. You are at an impasse, an ideological hurdle, one that’s impossible to overcome without you feeling resentful or pushed out of your comfort zone, or him feeling restricted and unsupported.

Shared beliefs about nudity, privacy, and exclusivity are fundamental to a healthy relationship. If your views on what is “sacred” — for your eyes only — are not aligned with his, your relationship is over before it starts.

– Beastly 

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