Please help me accept the human nature that is “men.”
Contrary to what many of our readers might think, you’re taking a very evolved stance and I want to congratulate you for it.
Relationships are about doing things for our partners that make THEM happy, not just doing what feels best for us. Holding the girlfriend’s purse when she’s shopping for perfume? That’s for her. Spending $350 on a meal because we’re hanging out with her wealthy friends? That’s for her, too. Calling her at the end of the night when I just want to go to sleep? That’s for her. It makes her happy, it makes her feel connected, and it keeps our bond strong, and that’s what I’ve got to do to make my relationship work. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I get a LOT out of my partnership and my girlfriend makes all sorts of sacrifices for me. I know it, I appreciate it, and I never fail to express how lucky I am.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, that’s all well and good, Evan. But holding your girlfriend’s bag in Bloomie’s is not a real sacrifice. Juliette is talking about ANOTHER WOMAN RUBBING HERSELF ON HER BOYFRIEND RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. How could you even compare the two?”
Oh, but I can. For one simple reason:
Neither of the two acts means anything. Now, I could CHOOSE to feel emasculated when I take my girlfriend shopping. I could CHOOSE to feel like a loser when I stay home on girls’ night out. I could CHOOSE to feel like the third wheel when my girlfriend is telling inside jokes to her best friend and I’m standing there like a bump on a log. But I don’t. Because it doesn’t MEAN anything about our relationship.
For the average guy who goes to a strip club once a year for a bachelor party, it’s just a meaningless diversion that combines all of a man’s greatest pleasures: booze, boobs, and his buddies.
And that’s what any woman who is threatened by a stripper has to get. Strip clubs don’t turn us on. They make us giggle.
Now, if you ever went out with some guy who blew his paycheck at Crazy Horse or left you for a woman named Sierra and her six inch heels, feel free to ignore my advice. But for the average guy who goes to a strip club once a year for a bachelor party, it’s just a meaningless diversion that combines all of a man’s greatest pleasures: booze, boobs, and his buddies. We get to gawk and point and laugh and drink and bond with our friends before reality sets in and we go home a few hundred dollars lighter….
Forbidding this behavior is very shortsighted and very dangerous. In fact, forbidding desire is almost always a losing proposition, as losing as forbidding drugs or alcohol or cigarettes or religion. So the real question becomes, not “how do I make my boyfriend stop liking other attractive naked women”, but “how do I channel this male lust into a form that is out in the open and condoned?” And I’ll tell ya, Juliette, taking him to a strip club is a pretty good way.
It shows him you’re not jealous. It shows him you’re not threatened. It shows him you’re in control of your emotions. It shows you’re interested in his pleasure, rather than in neutering him and making him pretend he doesn’t find other women attractive. I just don’t seem to see the downside here.
Ah, but there is one: it HURTS you. I get that, and I’m not just gonna suggest that if you snap your fingers, it’s going to go away. I think it’s a matter of bringing a certain awareness to the matter that can somewhat temper the pain you feel as you watch your boyfriend and his shit-eating grin. It’s a matter of knowing that anything you’re witnessing doesn’t mean he loves you less. It means he appreciates you more. I can’t overestimate how important this is. Which is why any form of jealousy is pretty much useless, all it does it create anger, tension, and resentment and remind your partner of one thing: I Don’t Trust You! Well, thanks, sweetie! I feel GREAT about our relationship now!
Any form of jealousy is pretty much useless, all it does it create anger, tension, and resentment and remind your partner of one thing: I Don’t Trust You!
As a guy who has never cheated, and hasn’t been to a strip club in years, I can tell you that if forbidding it is the worst thing you can do, allowing it is the best thing you can do. (Oh, and by the way, if it hurts so bad, you don’t have to bring him to the strip club. Just let him go once in awhile without drama.) And if, in the most unfathomable circumstances, he runs off with Sierra and her heels, well, you should probably consider yourself lucky to be rid of him.
In the meantime, you can make him realize how lucky he is to have you.