Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.



Dear Miss Information,
I’m a twenty-four-year-old gay man who’s been with his boyfriend three years and counting. Recently, a friend of mine told me he came across my boyfriend’s online profile and thought I should know he was seeking "action/sex" and claiming to be single. I know this was wrong, but after I confronted him and he denied it, I decided to check my boyfriend’s email account. Lo and behold, an inbox full of profile registrations, mostly geared toward fighting/wrestling personals sites.
I’m no prude, and I’m open to all types of bedroom activities. Rather than call him out, I tried to find subtle and creative ways to incorporate his pro-wrestling fantasies into our sex life. The problem? He claimed he didn’t want to do that type of activity because "he might hurt me" and it didn’t turn him on. I decided to drop it but periodically check in on his profile to see if he continued to pursue these hookups. Unfortunately, he consistently logs onto these sites and advertises that he’d like to meet guys for wrestling (but no sex).
I want to make our relationship work, but I’m confused by this wrestling bit. First off, is this normal? Does he want to cheat on me? Will he ever be happy with me if I can’t fulfill his wrestling fantasies? Should I break it off before he decides to act on these feelings and/or cheat on me? — Against the Ropes

Dear Against the Ropes,
It’s not normal in the sense that Netflix is going to add a tab to your homepage with "More Gay Wrestling Classics You’ll Love!" Facebook isn’t teeming with status updates like "Eric, Kevin, and Filipe just joined the ‘Dude-on-Dude Wrestling Club’." But it’s not that abnormal, either. A lot of people, especially guys, get turned on to wrestling when it’s part of roughhousing during childhood. Perhaps your boyfriend had a crush on a wrestler in high school or spent long nights watching guys in tights go at it on cable. He could also be into the domination and submission aspect. Fetishes and fantasies come from weird, unexplainable places. Who knows.
Part of some people’s fantasies is to keep the activity secret from their partners. To share means to dampen the intrigue, the danger, the shamefulness, the excitement. This may be the reason your boyfriend isn’t responding to your enthusiastic half-nelsons. It’s not that you’re doing it wrong, it’s that you’re the one doing it. You feel differently about your sweetheart then you do an anonymous stranger. (Sigh.) Mature people who value their relationships accept this, or negotiate alternatives. Immature people… well. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Since the only knowledge you have of his fetish is secondhand, perhaps you could satisfy him. You just need more direct input about what he wants. It’s not the kind of thing you can learn by subtle suggestion. Your boyfriend’s probably holding back a little because he’s terrified of getting busted. "Who me? Wrestling? Naw, that’s for pervs and weirdos." I’m sure he’s more blunt with these anonymous online blokes.
Now that I’ve done my intellectual and sexual hypothesizing, can I say something a little blunt? Your boyfriend is behaving like a first-class maggot, Against the Ropes. I’ve seen cartoon tobacco mascots with more morals. You were wrong to check his email, yes, but that’s not enough to excuse a guy who lies, gets caught and goes on to lie some more.
I would get out. I don’t think I’d ever be able to trust him. If you’re willing to put in more work, you and boyfriend better start talking. What constitutes fidelity, how you can fix your communication and what you’re going to do about upping the level of honesty are all good starters. You might want to add in the irony of how he didn’t want to wrestle because he "might hurt you" if there’s any time left over. Because we all know that lying and deception feel so much better.

Dear Miss Information,
I’m travelling to the DNC and meeting up with two friends from college. They’re both great guys, and I’ve hooked up with each of them in the past. We’ve never all hung out at the same time, even though Boy A and Boy B are close friends.
We’re all single, and I’m interested in hooking up with Boy A. Boy A seems interested in this plan. However, I’m facing a twenty-five-hour drive home with both of them after the convention. Boy B is a great person and I really want to stay friends, but I’ve always suspected that he likes me more than I like him.
My question: Is there a safe way of getting my Boy A action without fucking over all our friendships? I suspect communicating with both of them would help, but I’ve never had to broach this sort of topic.
Do I ask Boy B if I can hook up with Boy A? Do I ask Boy A to talk to Boy B, since I’m sure they’ve talked about me before and might understand each other’s feelings better? Do we all go out and get drunk and hash it out when we get there? I want everyone to get along. Soon we’ll all be moving to the same city for the first time ever. — Politically Correct

Dear Politically Correct,
It’ll only take an hour of slogan-shouting and wine-sipping before Boy B figures out that you’re totally hot for Boy A’s sex business. Let’s not take him for a dummy. The question then is whether Boy B would like to be informed that you’re about to hook up with Boy A, or if he’d rather deal with the rejection in a more indirect manner. To continue the ruse that everything’s okay is to save some face and give himself time to process. He can’t really do that if he’s put on the spot and all parties involved are talking it out.
Boy B might like this. Then again, Boy B might not. There’s another camp of individuals whom, no matter how inconvenient or awkward, will do anything to avoid being out of the loop. "If you had just come to me, man-to-man/woman-to-woman…" is the refrain here. Which is kind of funny, because they still get angry when you tell them. They just find another thing to be angry about.
Waiting until you get home is probably the best option. The alternative is to tell Boy B that you’ve been feeling a connection with Boy A and that there might be some adult activity happening over the weekend. You value your relationship (don’t say "friendship," he’s already getting socked in the balls) and you don’t want to sneak around like two little children. You’ll of course respect his feelings and not make out with Boy A on the dance floor at the political mixer or fuck him on the way home, but other that that you can’t promise much. Odds are he’ll act like it’s okay but remain bubbling with resentment. Which might make you wonder if it’d be better if you never told him. To that I say — short term, yes. Long term, though, he’ll respect you more for it.

Dear Miss Information,
I’m approaching thirty-one, and I can’t remember a single adult year that I’ve been happy. My family and friends don’t take me seriously because I don’t have a mate or children. And, well… I’ve never been in a relationship at all, as a matter of fact. That doesn’t mean I haven’t loved or can’t. It just means that no one has loved me back. The girl I desire most recently told me that she’s into someone else, and I’d just love for a big ol’ bus to plow me down and get this over with. The days mean absolutely nothing and it’s hard to look on the bright side. Therapists and volunteer work haven’t helped a damn bit. So, I’m hoping you’ll say something simple and to the point that snaps me out of a never-ending funk. Maybe you know something I don’t? — I Miss the ’80s

Dear I Miss the ’80s,
Wrong focus. People get divorced. There are miserable moms and dads. Find one tiny bit of joy to hold onto, even if it’s just West Wing re-runs. Change therapists, consider meds.
Voila. Thirty-one words. One for each year of your bummer existence. Readers, do you have any similarly succinct advice for our ’80s-fixated friend? Post it in the feedback section, and tell him in the same number why despite the Cheetah Girls, the yo-yos in office and the terrible things happening to America’s signature beverage — it’s a good time to be alive, unattached and struggling like the rest of us. What gets you through the day when even the sunlight looks dark?


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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com