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,
My wife has several exes — really, just former sex partners — with whom she’s stayed friends. Her first husband didn’t seem to care. After she and I got engaged, she told me that she wanted to continue these friendships.
    I objected. Strongly. My exes are out of my life. To me, renewing your ties with former lovers is a sign that something’s missing in your current relationship. What’s your advice? Is it natural to feel creepy when your spouse wants to hang with former sackmates? Normally, I’m not a jealous guy. I have no problem with her having platonic male friends; it’s just the former boyfriends and casual screws who bother me. — Confused


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Dear Confused,
    This is gonna burn going down at first, but hear me out. While you don’t make a habit out of hanging out with people you used to fuck, your wife apparently does. Unless you want to deal with a lifetime’s worth of resentment, you can’t really forbid her from seeing certain people, exes included.
    I know it feels creepy and shitty, and that’s normal. I look forward to meeting my boyfriend’s exes about as much as I look forward to business lunches in which people give PowerPoint presentations and eat things on skewers. But, like business lunches, exes sometimes must be endured.
    That doesn’t mean your wife totally gets her way. It’s definitely appropriate to ask her for some compromises. Maybe she could pare down her ex list to those she really, truly cares about seeing. Fewer exes = less stress for you. You could also establish mutual ground rules, like "no contact with exes when we’ve been fighting" or "all one-on-one time with exes must be in a public setting." Some of those might sound lame, but I’m sure you guys can think of your own.
    I’ll leave you with one final, paranoid thought. In my experience, it’s not always the exes you have to watch. That cute co-worker, friend-of-a-friend, or even one of your buddies may pose a bigger threat to your wife’s fidelity than someone she’s already been-there-done-that-oh-my-God-never-again with. It’s a sad fact that cheating can happen anywhere, anytime. You just have to trust your partner as much as you can, and roll with it.


Dear Miss Information,
My problem is that I can’t find a relationship. I’ve met more than a few interesting men over the last few years, but the fact that I work as a nude internet pin-up girl seems to scare them all away. There’s no way I’m going to stop. All of my work is tasteful, celebrates the beauty of my imperfect body and has done wonders for my self-esteem. At what point should I bring this up? If I do it too soon, I’m seen as easy. If I confess later on, I’m accused of "hiding my double life." I live in a city where people aren’t that accepting of open sexuality. However, I’m not going to move just because no one wants to date me. I lead a fulfilling life, and I’d love to share it with someone. Any advice? — Confused Femme

Dear Confused Femme,
    It’s too bad you don’t live in NYC, because pin-up girls are a hot commodity in these parts. I can’t go out at night without running into some Bettie Page lookalike with a group of fan boys in hot pursuit. But because moving isn’t an option for you, let’s look at less-drastic measures.
    The next time you’re on a date, try a step-by-step reveal. Think of it as an emotional striptease. Tell your date that you have a job that’s ribald in nature, but stop short of telling him exactly where he can see your naked booty. This accomplishes two things: it saves you from putting it all out on the table, only to get shot down by someone with a very limited picture of who you are; and it acclimates him to an unusual situation more gradually, while giving him more context in which to get to know you.
    After you guage his reaction, let more of details out of the bag. You may even want to consider not showing him your modeling shots at all. Lots of people in your situation have maintained successful relationships by keeping those two areas of their life separate. If he insists on a full peep show, remind him that he may be opening up the relationship equivalent of Pandora’s box.
    Finally, have you tried looking for a date who’s somehow related to the industry? You don’t have to date a fan or photographer if that’s not your thing, but even someone who’s an acquaintance of someone in the erotic industry is likely to be more understanding — if not less shocked — than the average stranger off the street. Do some networking at your next shoot.


Dear Miss Information,
    I consider myself extremely liberal and urban. I love gay people, bisexuals, trannies, crossdressers — it’s all good! I even kiss girls sometimes, even though I’m pretty much straight. So why did I feel so weirded out when my new guy told me he’s had several serious boyfriends in the past? He put it quite simply: “I like girls sometimes, and I like boys sometimes.”
    I feel like such a bigot, but I can’t shake the feeling that his bisexuality is just a pit stop on the way to Gayville. When I found out he was bi, we were making out; I freaked and couldn’t continue. For some reason, it makes me feel really insecure. I really like him, though, so please help! — Do I Suck


Dear Do I Suck,
    No, you don’t. Someone who sucks would have dumped her boyfriend right then and there and certainly wouldn’t worry about being perceived as a bigot. (Bigots don’t worry about that type of thing; they’re too busy finding homosexual overtones in children’s programs).
    Same-sex action, particularly between two men, is still thought of as taboo by many. Even if you grew up knowing differently, it’s hard not to be affected by a media that treats one G-rated kiss between Britney and Madonna like it’s the onset of the apocalypse. Then there’s the "okay in theory but not in practice" thing. You’ve had years to get used to the idea of bisexuality, but up close and personal, it’s a different scenario.
    I don’t think his bisexuality is a layover on the way to Gayville. He was confident enough to come out to you early in the relationship. He didn’t hem and haw when you asked him why he’d been with guys. And he’s had serious relationships with men, not one-night stands in which he cheated on a girlfriend with a gay escort. Does that sound like confused, repressed behavior to you? It doesn’t to me.
    If you’re worried about what you’ll do when he gets a hankering for dick, ask yourself what you’d do if you were dating someone who had another sexual yen you couldn’t fulfill (i.e. he likes watersports; you find it disgusting). I’m not equating bisexuality with having a fetish, of course. My point is that you can’t be all things to all people, no matter what their orientation. If he really likes you — and it sounds like he does — it won’t matter.  


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©2005 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com