Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Won’t Remove the Condoms from His Car”

I have been with my boyfriend for over a year now, and although we’ve never had sex anywhere but at home, my boyfriend keeps condoms in his car, which I’ve recently expressed my discomfort over. He told me that he has always kept condoms in his car (even before me) and it is for no particular reason. However, he promised to remove them since it made me uncomfortable. Four weeks later, I found out he never removed them but rather put them in different locations in the car to throw me off. Every time we are about to have sex, he has to stop and get a condom out of his car, which I find to be absurd. Finally, I removed them myself and he had a big commotion about it.

In the town where we live, my boyfriend has a reputation for being the local “man whore.” I try hard to trust him, but people approach me all the time with stories of other girls that he’s fooling around with. He denies it all and gets really defensive — he swears up and down that he has changed, but his actions are proving differently. Am I overreacting or is the truth in my face and I’m too naive to accept it? I can’t help but feeling that I am setting myself up for bigger disappointments. — Man Whore’s Girlfriend


No one keeps condoms — in the car of anywhere else — for “no particular reason.” There’s a very specific reason people keep condoms: to have them when the opportunity of sex presents itself. What’s peculiar about this situation isn’t so much that your boyfriend keeps condoms in a place where you’ve never had sex together — there’s always a chance you might get frisky in the car, or find yourself somewhere where a condom in the glove compartment might come in handy — it’s that he doesn’t keep them at home, the one place you always do have sex. That he’s purposefully arranged it so that he has to run out to his car every time you guys get busy seems to me that he wants you to be suspicious. Certainly, if you asked him to remove the condoms from the car and he simply moved them around, means at the very least he doesn’t care what you think, and that, in addition to his “man whore” reputation and the fact that you don’t seem to trust him seem to be the biggest problems here.

If you actually have multiple people approach you “all the time” with stories of your boyfriend cheating on you, and you have enough circumstantial evidence to believe those stories might be true, and your boyfriend blatantly disregards your feelings, then yeah, I’d have to say you’re pretty foolish for staying with him. I’m not sure what it is exactly you’re waiting for before you decide it’s time to MOA. A paternity test on “Maury” that confirms your boyfriend is the baby daddy to some other girl in town? An STD from him? Catching him in the act? Not everyone who’s cheated on is lucky enough to get multiple warnings of the fact. You are and you’re still hanging on. At this point, if you get hurt, you kind of have yourself to blame. But I suspect you already know that or you wouldn’t have written to me. Right?

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

56 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Woman of Words March 8, 2011, 9:12 am

    It’s sound advice from Wendy… and it will be obvious to anyone reading about it, maybe even he LW. However, there’s a difference between knowing something on an intellectual level, and understanding it emotionally and being able to act on it. The LW will be getting something out of the relationship that perhaps isn’t obvious on an intellectual level that is preventing her from moving on. LW, I hope you come to realise that this relationship is not the best situation for you, and that you have the strength to change things. Be kind to youself; no-one deserves to be treated like that. Hugs to you.

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    • avatar

      thyme March 8, 2011, 6:38 pm

      “there’s a difference between knowing something on an intellectual level, and understanding it emotionally and being able to act on it.”

      This is great. I’ve noticed a lot of times on here that it’s real easy for those of us who aren’t in the LW’s situation to say, “I would NEVER put up with that. MOA!” It’s amazing what you’ll rationalize and accept when you love someone, and I think some of us are way to quick to judge LWs for not taking the obvious route. Those people are usually right, the LW should leave, but s/he shouldn’t be made to feel like a fool for having a hard time doing the right thing. Don’t judge unless you’ve been there. Or not even then.

      WoW, good job. I agree.

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  • avatar

    Desiree March 8, 2011, 9:15 am

    MOA. He doesn’t respect your feelings, and you have near-tangible evidence that he’s cheating. I wish the jerks I dated in the past had come with such obvious warning labels. You can’t continue to ignore his.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey March 8, 2011, 9:16 am

    An additional concern, on top of everything that Wendy addressed, is the fact that he is using the ones he keeps in the car whenever you two are intimate. I’m not sure where you live, but it’s advised to store condoms at room temperature. Exposure to extreme cold or high heat can wear at the latex, making it much easier for them to break. If I were you, I would be concerned about your increased chance of pregnancy and possible exposure to STD’s, especially given that it’s extremely likely that he’s also sleeping around with multiple other women. Definitely get yourself tested for your health’s sake, and then quickly MOA!!

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    • avatar

      AnitaBath March 8, 2011, 10:20 am

      This is what I was going to say!

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie March 8, 2011, 9:50 am

    From a guys perspective this woman is being very possessive. WTF is she digging into the nooks and crannies of his wheels? If you look long enough you’ll find a reason to breakup. But perhaps she has good reasons to be suspicious fueled by those other girls spreading rumors about him. True or not this question has more facets then quills on a porcupine but given the fact that if she needs fidelity and he isn’t ready to deliver there’s only one option, MOA. If that’s unappealing, buy 2 boxes of condoms, one for each others bedside table and ignore the impulse to frisk his car.

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    • avatar

      Woman of Words March 8, 2011, 9:59 am

      She may have just come across the condoms through normal use of the car. In any case, if he needs to go to the car to get a condom before having sex with her, he’s not hiding it, is he?

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      • avatar

        Sypher March 8, 2011, 10:26 am

        Why would anyone put condoms in a place, they don’t have sex? I have them stashed on every floor of the house, for convenience sake. It’s way SHADY that he keeps them in his car, has a man-whoring past, and that different random women are constantly telling you he’s messing around. I think another red flag is how defensive he got about keeping them in the car. Maybe he just doesn’t want to be “controlled” or told what to do, but he is doing it to the detriment of his relationship which granted, is his choice. I think I would have to MOA, because it’s also somewhat clear that you don’t trust him. He doesn’t sound particularly trustworthy or considerate—and you need both for a healthy relationship. I wish you the best and I hope you make the best decision for you.

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    • avatar

      GingerLaine March 8, 2011, 12:58 pm

      Also, if he’s using those condoms with/on HER, what’s possessive about being proactive about birth control?! I’ll be damned if as a woman with a vested interest in my own sexual health, I don’t have EVERY detail of where said contraceptives are kept, what their expiration date is, whether they are in functional order, if they are also being used on another woman, etc.

      From a woman’s perspective, you immediately jumped to a supposition of what SHE’S doing wrong without any discussion of the fact that HE’S the one who is showing disrespect for the relationship by not honoring a simple REQUEST. Relationships are about compromise, not trying to pull one over on the other person.

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie March 8, 2011, 3:20 pm

      When I clicked Submit, I fully expected a bunch of thumbs down although 27 and counting is a bit more then expected, but that’s the chance I willingly accepted. All the other contributors brought up valid points but so did I. In the 70s, before HIV and Herpes, many of us had multiple sex partners. Fidelity wasn’t all that common within marriage. Those were the good old days. (sigh)

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      • Roxy_84

        Roxy84 March 8, 2011, 4:49 pm

        I’m going to point out the obvious: this isn’t the 70’s, there is HIV and Herpes and fidelity is more often than not expected (certainly, it seems, by the LW). It’s one thing if there were different expectations or understandings (such as during the good old days), but this LW clearly expected him to be faithful, to not lie to her, and to not put her sexual health at risk. The last two should be a pre-requisite for any healthy relationship and the question of fidelity should be agreed upon by both parties.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't March 8, 2011, 9:44 pm

        Also, pretty sure STDs existed long before the 70’s.

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      • avatar

        nawilla March 9, 2011, 6:40 pm

        There were certainly STDs in the 70s. However, the ones people knew about did not have antibiotic resistance and didn’t tend to kill you.

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      • avatar

        convexed March 9, 2011, 5:37 am

        Well there is nothing inherently wrong with having multiple sex partners, there is something wrong with deliberately perpetuating a lie. Since the boyfriend has sworn ‘up and down’ that he’s changed, it seems he wants (at least the appearance of) fidelity within his relationship. Sure, I’ve heard the 70’s were great, but I have a feeling that deceiving those who trust you in order to manipulate your sexual situation to your advantage at their expense is *definitely* out of style, if it was EVER acceptable to anyone but those getting away with it.

        The problem here is not that girlfriend is controlling, and it’s not even a question of whether it’s best to be exclusive or not. The issue is that if boyfriend wants to hold onto his wandering past, he might not also get to have a girlfriend who is faithful to him. He might have to live the hard life of lots of sex and not so much love. Or he might have to settle for a girlfriend he can’t trust in order to hang on to his own ‘freedom’.

        That’s not prudish, or controlling, it’s a difficult reality that people who lived in the 70s should be mature enough to understand by now. You might want everything your way, but you usually can’t have everything your way. The thumbs-down you got across the board are not because you’ve suggested that a carefree sexual lifestyle is the way to go. It’s because you’re suggesting that men get what they want, and women take what they get.

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  • Heather

    Heather March 8, 2011, 9:54 am

    Based off the information given by LW, it seems pretty apparent that something is going on. Girl, I know it’s hard to face because you’ve been with the guy for a year. But try to objectively read your letter back to yourself-that all just sounds so shady. And, as Wendy pointed out, its not just about having them in his car but that he doesn’t have them where you do have sex. And that he promised to remove them but moved them around, in your own words, to throw you off? MOA, you can do monumentally better than this jerk.

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR March 8, 2011, 10:08 am

    I agree with Wendy’s advice, but if the LW wants some element of proof, she should check to see how many condoms were “missing” after a week or two and compare that to the number of times she and her boyfriend have had sex. However, it’s certainly not fool proof, but she’s clearly doubting him and needing something more tangible.

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  • avatar

    Naneenya March 8, 2011, 10:26 am

    Mmmmm hmmm… preach!

    Seriously, if you can pin-point enough “reasons of suspicion” to write it in a paragraph, you already know what you need to do.

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  • avatar

    _jsw_ March 8, 2011, 10:33 am

    Ok, I think the near-universal consensus is to move on.

    If you don’t, buy some condoms to keep with you but don’t tell him. Next time he starts to run out, tell him you’re going to use yours because you’d poked holes in the other ones. See how he reacts. If he only uses them with you, no big deal, since you can both just use yours.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 8, 2011, 10:35 am

      Sorry, on phone so I can’t easily edit my comment – I meant the next time he starts to run out to the car.

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge March 8, 2011, 10:39 am

      hahahahahaha!

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 8, 2011, 10:56 am

      Obviously, I’m not advocating actually poking holes. That’s wrong on so many levels.

      However, injecting a bit of a skin irritant like pepper oil carefully inside the wrapper seems like a better idea, assuming you’ve got easy access to sterile hypodermic needles and are certain the other women know he’s cheating. To be sure of that, use a Sharpie to write your name on the underside of his penis the next time he passes out.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 8, 2011, 12:14 pm

        If you’re going to do all of that, why the concern to find a hypothermic needle that is sterile?

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      • avatar

        _jsw_ March 8, 2011, 12:27 pm

        Because then, if you slip, you don’t infect yourself. Common sense!

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 8, 2011, 1:18 pm

        Ah, I guess I didn’t think that through enough…I’m a little scared that you have, though.

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    • avatar

      RoyalEagle0408 March 8, 2011, 11:03 am

      Sharpie is extremely difficult to remove.

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      • avatar

        Daftendirekt March 8, 2011, 1:07 pm

        LoL he’d have to exfoliate 😛

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      • avatar

        MissDre March 8, 2011, 1:19 pm

        LOL @sharpie!

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      • avatar

        Fairhaired Child March 9, 2011, 2:24 pm

        Sharpie can be removed -slightly easier -by using sunscreen on the skin before using warm water to wash it off – though i dont suggest sunscreen on the penis… I’m sure it would sting to use sunscreen down there.

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  • avatar

    evanscr05 March 8, 2011, 10:37 am

    I disagree that he’s “obviously cheating”. I’m not saying he isn’t, but if leaving condoms in the car is a habit of a past he has lived (and admitted to), it’s possible he’s not intentionally leaving them there, but merely forgetting to bring them in. My fiance forgets stuff all the time, particularly if it’s categorized in his brain as “not that big of a deal”. Hell, sometimes he just plain forgets about important stuff, too. It happens. I agree that moving them around is suspect, but it’s not necessarily indicative that he IS cheating, just that he COULD cheat. Though the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater” is not born out of nothing, people do have the ability to change, and I’m not naive enough to think his actions aren’t questionable, just that the past does not always represent the future. People do deserve second chances, particularly if he has never cheated on this particular girlfriend. I do think the LW should MOA, though. Whether or not he’s cheated on her, she doesn’t trust him. All relationships, not just romantic ones, require a high level of trust between the two parties. If the balance is tipped, it is really hard to recover. Why waste your time on someone you whose word you don’t believe? This relationship has already started to erode. Get out now before the ground slips from beneath your feet.

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    • meadowphoenix

      AB March 8, 2011, 10:43 am

      He had just forgot then there would be no reason to get so upset when she brought them in.

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge March 8, 2011, 10:44 am

      But if he moved them around in the car instead of bringing them in, then he didn’t forget. He refused. He refused to bring the condoms into the house where they have sex and he insisted on keeping them in the car.

      For that matter, every time he runs out to the car he could just bring them all in, but he only brings one in. Typically it’s annoying enough to reach into the drawer which is right there and pause for long enough to put the damn thing on. The fact that he’s willing to run to the car to get them over and over indicates that it’s more convenient that he has them wherever he goes than that he has them in the house. Super shady. He’s definitely cheating, and if he’s not, he’s open to the idea of cheating and wants to be ready as soon as the moment presents itself.

      Definitely a MOA situation. And I agree, be glad that you got the red flag, because so many women don’t.

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      • avatar

        rosalee March 8, 2011, 9:40 pm

        Even if he isn’t cheating, his behavior is really passive aggressive, crappy, and dump-worthy. Like Wendy said, by constantly going out to the car to get a condom when they have sex, he is reminding her each time that he is consciously deciding to keep them there, even though it upsets her. If he wanted to hide the fact that he’s keeping them in the car, he could buy another box for the house and pretend he moved them. He *wants* her to know that’s where he has them – maybe to make her suspicious, maybe to make her insecure, or maybe just to make a statement like “oh yeah? well I can do what I want!” Whatever the reason, he probably hurts the LWs feelings every time he goes out to that car, he knows it hurts her feelings because she told him as much, and yet he continues to do it. That just seems… deliberately hostile to me. It sounds like a control issue, on HIS part, not hers.

        In sum, the guy’s a jerk, whether he’s cheating or not. He’s disregarding the LWs feelings, maybe even purposefully on some level. This relationship is only going to continue hurting the LW. Follow Wendy’s advice and get out now. This guy isn’t worth it, and you can do better!

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      • avatar

        rosalee March 8, 2011, 9:45 pm

        Or to put a finer point on it, he’s playing head games with the LW. I’m pissed off at him on her behalf!

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      • avatar

        convexed March 9, 2011, 5:44 am

        By the time he scrambles naked out to the car, unlocks it, finds a condom from one of his myriad caches, and stumbles back fumbling with the wrapper, maybe the LW will have lost interest and gone to sleep. What does he expect?

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    • avatar

      RoyalEagle0408 March 8, 2011, 11:07 am

      What watersedge said. You don’t make a conscious effort to move things around in the car if you’re just forgetting to bring them in. Or instead of grabbing 1 or 2 at a time, get them all.

      If I was the LW, I’d insist on using condoms I bought and kept somewhere, no matter what because as others have pointed out, the car is probably not the best place for them to be stored.

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  • avatar

    Amber March 8, 2011, 11:46 am

    If she trusted her boyfriend, she wouldn’t care where he keeps his condoms.

    And if he cared about how she feels, he would have compromised on this.

    MOA!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 8, 2011, 11:47 am

    This is a MOA situation.

    Even if you’re not sure about the cheating you definitely know that he promised to remove the condoms from the car but instead just hid them where you wouldn’t see them. This tells you he isn’t honest. Do you have other instances where he wasn’t honest? Do you see him lying to other people? We often think that even though someone we love lies to other people they won’t lie to us because we’re special. WRONG! If they lie to other people they will lie to you and often in the same manner. A man of integrity will have integrity with all people and a liar is a liar with all people, including you.

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  • avatar

    Daftendirekt March 8, 2011, 1:05 pm

    I think sometimes a person just needs someone unbiased to tell them what they already know. Women who lack confidence, and I’m certainly guilty of this, have trouble trusting their own intuition and need somebody else to tell them they’re right and give them the courage to act.

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  • avatar

    Jess March 8, 2011, 1:34 pm

    Is there a way you could contact the woman he’s supposedly cheating on you with? I think maybe hearing it from them that he definitely cheated would be the motivation you need to really leave him

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 8, 2011, 1:54 pm

      Though I understand the appeal of more evidence, your suggestion could set the stage for an intense dramafest. If he is known as the “man whore” about town, then she must live in a small town. Small towns can be rife with gossip and petty vendettas. If I called up certain girls that my boyfriend has known (we’re at college, but he’s from a small Southern town), they might lie about having relations with him just from spite. Involving other women is the surest path to catastrophic drama.

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  • avatar

    missarissa March 8, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Let me say from the beginning: this guy is all kinds of shade-ball and she should have nothing to do with him.

    But I totally agree with Wendy; it wasn’t weird to me that he wanted them out in the car, it was that he doesn’t have any in “the” house. (Which is also a bit unclear: is it THEIR house? her house? his house?) Maybe its just me, but I was also less worried that he moved them even though she asked him to get rid of them. Maybe he thought she was embarrassed by people being able to see them and so he hid them better — my boyfriend and I get into tiffs all the time where I ask him to do something because the entire concept bothers me (here: having condoms in the car) and he thinks he’s listening to me and being a good boyfriend by solving a problem (here: putting them out of sight to avoid embarrassment). It drives me nuts when he does that because I think its because he isn’t respecting my feelings, but its just a miscommunication.

    I’m more concerned with why he won’t have them in the house. And the ONLY conclusion I could think of is that he doesn’t trust her not to poke holes in her own condoms, in the OOPS-how-did-this-happen-even-though-we-wore-a-condom kind of way. And that is all kinds of shady on everybody’s part — that he would feel this way about his GF so strongly as to not even bring them in his pocket everytime he comes over, and by the possibility that maybe she’s that kind of woman.

    Either way, its over, because LOTS of random ppl don’t make up stories about one particular guy, saying that he’s CURRENTLY cheating on you. That kind of smoke just doesn’t happen (repeatedly!!) where there’s no fire.

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    • avatar

      Elle March 8, 2011, 2:31 pm

      I typically refrain myself from telling people whether to MOA or not. We’re seeing here just a part of their relationship – usually, the part that’s not working. We also don’t know how emotionally invested people are in these relationships. As a third party, it’s very easy to tell someone to MOA. While in a relationship, we are blinded by so many things (hormones among them), that it’s hard to see the whole picture. Lastly, the decision to MOA should belong to the person.

      I wholeheartedly agree with your last paragraph, missarissa, and that was what I wanted to write too. There’s no smoke without fire, and the LW has seen a lot of smoke already. Maybe she needs to see some more smoke before she realizes there’s a fire there.

      LW – what kind of people approach you all the time with stories about your boyfriend? People that you trust? People he has wronged in the past? Girls he had one-night stands with, but didn’t want a relationship with them? (If he’s a ‘man-whore’, a lot of girls are very jealous of you and they will come out of the shadows). You can figure out the validity of their accusations easier if you know what/if they stand to win if you two break up.

      Maybe people are trying to break you up because you too are too happy and they’re jealous? (I know I’m making a LOT of assumptions here haha).

      Maybe you don’t want to leave him because in a small town your dating prospects are not looking that good (I live in a small town, and it’s atrocious :).

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you’re not so bad yourself. I mean, if the man-whore, who can have any girl he wants, only calls you his girlfriend, then you’re giving him something he can’t get from any other girl.

      I have no advice. If you can answer the questions raised in the comments to your post, maybe you can figure out what you want to do.

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  • avatar

    MellaJade March 8, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Good Lord LW!

    You need to do 2 things right away – give him is walking papers and make an appt with your OB/GYN for a full barrage of tests!

    Okay, maybe 3 things – I really loved _jsw_’s idea of getting some kind of pepper oil onto the car condoms…that’s just awesome! Revenge is a dish best served cold!

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  • avatar

    rainbow March 8, 2011, 2:38 pm

    “Finally, I removed them myself”

    For the love of god, woman, you DO NOT mess with people’s birth control / sexual health like that. It’s abusive. People have a RIGHT to be safe whenever they decide to have sex, and if you mess with that, then you’re making your relationship with this man more important than his health, his potential partners’ and yours.

    Do you really think that if he was doing other people before you took them out, he just stopped because of your interference? NO. If he’s a responsible adult he got some more condoms, if he’s not then he just did it WITHOUT THEM. So if this shadeball of a boyfriend you have gives you an STI, well, sorry, but you are responsible too.

    Here. Have some info: http://www.google.com.ar/search?hl=en&q=gender+violence+birth+control+sabotage
    Now what makes you think it’s ok for you to do it just because you’re a woman?

    Also, taking into account that you’re the kind of person who feels entitled to do something like taking condoms from a man to control his sex life, i think what missarissa said is reasonable: maybe he doesn’t trust you not to try to control his reproductive choices by poking holes in them if he keeps them in the house.

    Now, i’m not saying he’s right and you shouldn’t MOA. I’m just saying you should have done so BEFORE you got all dictatorial on his ass and put everybody at risk.

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    • avatar

      Maracuya March 8, 2011, 2:47 pm

      Uh, I’m gonna say that while it was somewhat presumptuous of an action, the LW is making an assumption that he’s only using them with her. She shouldn’t have to ‘control’ his sex life because based on the fact that they’re, you know, dating that should be done by him. MOA.

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      • avatar

        rainbow March 8, 2011, 3:00 pm

        That’s relying on a technicality to put LW’s right to be in control over ShadyBoyfriend’s right to sexual health.
        It’s like asking your girlfriend what she’ll do all afternoon while you’re out, and then if she says “oh, i mean to stay here watching tv” locking her up inside the house when you leave. Because she was gonna, you know, stay in anyway.

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        Maracuya March 8, 2011, 3:55 pm

        Afternoon plans are not the same thing as having discussed a committed and exclusive relationship. I don’t think she was right to move them, but I think you’re defending his ability to go and step out a little too much.

        Plus, she was actually doing him a bit of a favor and protecting his sexual health since high heat or cold (as experienced in a glovebox) degrades the integrity of said contraceptive.

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    • avatar

      missarissa March 8, 2011, 3:10 pm

      I’m sorry but I disagree with your invocation of “birth-control sabotage” to illustrate your point here. I went and read the link (I assume you were referencing the study by Center for Impact Research; I did not mean to imply i read the entire internet contents on this topic.) And while I agree that this is can be a multi-gender issue, I don’t think removing a box of condoms from her boyfriend’s car qualifies. I think it would qualify if she sabotaged the condoms in some way, but she didn’t. She brought them into the house. It might be petty, it might be petty larceny, but it is not abusive.

      Furthermore, I think it is incredibly unfair to attribute blame for any future STD’s to her. People do have a right to be safe, in that they have the right to take steps to ensure that they are safe. If, like in the citation you gave, someone forces you to have sex without protection, they have clearly violated that right (and many many others). No one is forcing him to have sex without protection. These were not the last condoms in the world, nor were they his only option to ensure his safety. I’m not condoning her actions, but to blame her for his willful and purposeful decision to engage in unprotected sex with someone else and endager 3 people’s health because she moved his condoms out of his car (and I believe, informed him of this) is grossly unfair.

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      • avatar

        rainbow March 8, 2011, 3:18 pm

        I can definitely see your point there, missarissa, that’s what I meant by “If he’s a responsible adult he got some more condoms”. But we don’t know if he is.
        My point is: this whole situation is really shady already, and she’s taking extra risks by messing with the immediate availability of what’s keeping her from getting infected.
        About the birth control sabotage reference: I once read a study about it being really common for abusive men to hide / flush down the toilet women’s bc pills. Those were not the last bc pills on the world either, but it doesn’t mean it was a harmless thing to do or they were entitled to it.

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        missarissa March 8, 2011, 3:59 pm

        But in the instance of the BC pill flushings, the power dynamic is what made that act abusive. I am certainly not an expert in abuse, but as I understand it, unless the person is a truly-scientifically-diagnosed actually deranged psycho/sociopath, (hannibal lector- style), abuse is about control. By depriving their mate’s of access to birth control and the ability to use it, they exert control. When he flushes her birth control pills (if she’s there to witness it), it is a display that he, not she, controls her reproductive choices.

        And it wouldn’t be a very effective one if she could just hop into her car, go down to the easily accessible, affordable store and buy another readily available pack without much thought or trouble. If she could do that, she would not FEEL that he was in control of her sexuality and reproductive choices; she would feel her bf was a jerk who made her go to the store again. However, due to the prescription nature, the health insurance issue, and the chances that the woman involved is most likely being abused in other ways than just reproductively and thus he already exherts tremendous control over her, he shows that he not only controls the location of her birth control, but he controls her and her body.

        That doesn’t really apply here. While I grant you that the situations sound rather analogous (he takes her BC, she takes his condoms), I disagree about the power dynamic. She really had an issue with the location of the condoms and him not respecting her request to move them. She clearly does not exhert a powerful control over his sexuality and he does not feel controlled. She does nothing to control his access to BC other than the actual condoms which were in his car at the time and he is not in a situation to be dependent on her for all other forms, or to feel that he is.

        Second, there’s an aspect that all these instances of BC-Abuse seem to mention (in the materials and the flushing), and thus, need to be addressed — the men in these instances want to get the women pregnant and through that pregnancy, gain control. They do not merely want to restrict access to a consumer good, they want its effect (i.e. pregnancy), whether to ensure that she won’t cheat on him or to make her further dependent on him. (Same is true for the reverse: getting pregnant on purpose to “trap” him).

        The closest aalagous situation here, i guess, would be the STD, though I don’t think it holds. I don’t think you are arguing that she wants him to get an STD, but rather, by restricting access to condoms, he can’t have sex with anyone but her. However, they use condoms, and he seems to provide them (though why she doesn’t just buy some is beyond me). I would have to assert again that this situation is not one of abuse because the motives are off and it can not be about control, but rather location, if she still relies on him for condoms.

        As such, I still think it is unfair to blame her in anyway for his independent decision to proceed with having unprotected sex and infecting her. (in the scenario we’ve painted).

        [If we were to go round and round, I might eventually grant you that this might have been, depending on her motives, “technically”, an attempted abuse. After all, perhaps she wanted to control him, and thought that by controlling his ability to have sex with other women, she would achieve this. Perhaps, she thought (misguidedly) that by taking the condoms, this would demonstrate her control of him, and thus took them with the intent. But if it was one, it was an ineffective one, because she was unsuccessful in controlling his actions, he feels neither dependent on her for BC or for other approval of his sexuality, or anything else. As far as he is concerned, in our stated scenario, she merely inconvenienced him, on his way to sleeping with other women.]

        [oops… that got long]

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't March 8, 2011, 4:10 pm

        This is incredibly insightful, intelligent and well-written!

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        missarissa March 8, 2011, 4:59 pm

        Thank you!

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    Green_Blessings_Goddess March 8, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Dump his ass and move on! Find someone that respects you. The bad boys can be alluring and there are bad boys that are faithful but the fact that many people are telling you stories is suspicious, the whole keeping condoms in the car thing isn’t good at all and doesn’t changing temperatures in a car and the outside weather affect the condoms durability, they can break easier?

    Girlfriend, I think you can do a lot better, dump his sorry ass and find someone else or just be alone awhile. I would suggest therapy too to work on self esteem why did you allow someone to treat you so disrespectfully and for so long, work on that in therapy, you need better self esteem and then you won’t put up with this nasty treatment.

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    SpaceySteph March 8, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Just a thought, triggering off the “his house? her house? their house?” question posed above…
    Maybe he keeps them in the car to hide them from a roommate/sibling/parents? Maybe he freaked out because he doesn’t want his mom to find them when she brings his folded underwear up from the laundry room every week?

    Not saying it couldn’t be shady (or if he lives with Mom, possibly have a different issue altogether depending on age and other variables), but we don’t have enough information to prosecute him for not keeping condoms in the house or for freaking out when she brought them in.
    Of the complete information we do have: She asked him to take them out of the car, he didn’t, and he didn’t offer a good reason why he couldn’t (aka that he’s afraid of live-in mom or thieving roommate and keeps them in the car so the roommate wont use them all and leave them condom-free), so there is something wrong there, namely communication and respect.

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didn't March 8, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I’d like to give the boyfriend the benefit of the doubt and believe that he has *some* good reason for leaving the condoms in the car because this is only one side of the story…but based on the other information in this letter, I really don’t think that’s the case. He seems to want to have them readily available in the car (where he and the LW never have sex) for the purpose of being prepared for action- with someone else, as evidenced by the fact that he was defensive and angry when the LW confronted him about them, and that he *hid* them, rather than just complying with her request. Also if he’s seriously hiding the condoms in his car because he’s afraid she’s gonna poke holes in them, home boy (and home girl) have serious issues that can’t be solved.

    And the fact that every time they do get busy he has to pause the action to run out to the car? That in itself is just really bizarre and what I’m kind of stuck on in this letter- kind of a serious mood killer, one would think? Although like other people mentioned, the LW could also purchase condoms to have in the house. It’s not like they’re super expensive or hard to come by.

    I second/third/50th the comment that suggested the LW needs to get herself tested because condoms that have been out in a car for even a few weeks are not reliable birth control or STD protection! And it seems to me like the LW should escape with her dignity intact and dump this chump ASAP.

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    anna728 March 14, 2011, 1:58 am

    The first and second paragraphs of the letter could practically have been totally separate people. Reading the thing about the condoms in the car, cheating never crossed my mind, I just thought it was weird. Especially, as Wendy pointed out, that he ONLY keeps them in the car and not in the house. But then the second paragraph- oh by the way I also hear he’s cheating? That sounds like the bigger issue to me!

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