Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He Wants to Save Out Next Kiss For When We Get Engaged”

My boyfriend of nine months recently went to a wedding in which the bride’s and groom’s first kiss was at the ceremony. He told me he thought it was really interesting and something he would have done if he had ever heard or thought about it. When he said that, I simply replied with “too late.” We are both faithful Christians and decided early on in our relationship that sex was something both of wanted to wait for, but kissing has never been an issue. I’m not sure why he’d want to save our next kiss until marriage. He says he’s not even sure yet and he needs a few days to decide if it’s really something he really wants to do – but definitely no kisses in the meantime. He says it’ll only be a few years before we’ll be married anyway, but it seems so far away.

I don’t want to make him do anything that he doesn’t want to do, but I feel like there needs to be a good reason to do something like this. I don’t think there is an issue of his losing interest or attraction, but I can’t understand why he would want to do this and not be able to explain why. When we were talking about it, he said two things that didn’t sit well with me. He said not kissing isn’t something he wants us to openly talk about with our friends. When I mentioned the time difference between us now and our being engaged versus us now and our being married, he said “Oh, I’d be okay with kissing after we’re engaged” which, at least to me, defeats the purpose of waiting.

I’m not sure how to handle this situation. I love him and I’d do anything for him. But I feel like there should be a good reason for such a big change in our relationship. I’d love to hear a detached, objective opinion about all of this. Thank you! — No Kissing and Telling

My opinion is that he’s probably gay and this “no kissing anymore for a few years” rule is buying him some time and helping him to set a precedent for what intimacy will be like with him should you two actually get married. As a devout Christian, he may not feel like he can be open about his sexuality. He may not even be open about it to himself. But unless he can give you a good reason why he suddenly doesn’t want to kiss you for several years — and he has yet to do so — I would assume he’s probably not interested in kissing women, period. Regardless, even if that isn’t the issue, I would not recommend staying in a relationship with someone who wants to impose restrictions on a relationship that you don’t want and that he can’t even explain.

I have been married to the same lady for 21 years and we love each other. My wife has always been a heavyset girl, which was not a problem. I married her because I liked the way she looked and acted. But 21 years years later my dear wife seems to be taking emotional refuge in food. Lots of food. The other night she ate a large pizza all by herself. I asked her if she thought that was wise because she is almost 40 and no longer fits into most of her clothes. (Only I was nicer.) Then again tonight she scooped out around two pounds of pasta, all of yesterday’s leftovers, onto her plate and started devouring it all. Once again, I asked her if she was not planning to share an entire family’s meal with the entire family. (Only I wasn’t that tactless.) She started yelling at me and screaming that I am abusive to her. Errrr. I’m not.

I am watching my wife destroy her health with food. Just like one would with cigarettes or alcohol. In 2018 it seems like everybody is supposed to turn a blind eye to this self-destructive food-based behavior and say nothing. I’m not afraid of speaking up. But do you think it’s abusive to calmly ask your spouse if she or he should take it easy on the food? I’m completely out of ideas for helping her, and, yes, she is rapidly gaining a large amount of weight. Please let me know if I should actually just ignore this, or if I have an obligation to help her. Thanks. — Concerned for Wife

 

Of course it’s not abusive to express concern for a spouse’s overeating and health. But you should probably do it when your wife isn’t about to sit down to a meal. Choose a time when you’re both calm and comfortable, when food isn’t immediately in the picture. Maybe in bed at the end of the day. Tell her calmly that you are concerned about her health and worried what her recent increase in eating might be a symptom of. Is she depressed? Is she anxious? Stressed out? Would she consider seeing a doctor and having some tests run? Would she consider seeing a therapist and talking about what might be bothering her? Remind her how much you love her, how attracted you’ve always been to her, and how this isn’t about policing her eating but about making sure she’s taking care of herself so that she will be healthy for a long time and you can enjoy many, many more happy years of marriage together.

I think your analogy to cigarettes and alcohol is a good one. If you were married to someone who was an alcoholic, do you think telling her to “take it easy on the booze” would have much impact? I mean, do you really think that’s all it would take for an alcoholic to stop drinking or to cut back on drinking? Of course not. There are doctors to consult, counselors to work with, multiple treatment programs that aim to help an alcoholic stop drinking and to support his or her family through the process. In many ways, overeating is a harder addiction to kick because you can’t stop eating. You have to have food to survive. So, simply saying “Hey, go easy on that pizza” is not going to have the effect you want it to have. You have to approach your wife with love and concern and tell her you’re in this together — that you are committed to helping her find the support and treatment she needs to be healthy.

I have been best friends with a man for about five years now. We spend every day together and go out to dinner, movies, events, etc. He sleeps over at my house, and I cook for him almost every night. When we first became friends, we were intimate with each other a couple of times, but we have been strictly platonic since. The problem is that I am in love with him. He knows how I feel, and although he claims to not feel the same way, he continues to spend every waking moment with me and is always trying to better me. We do pretty much everything that a couple would do, minus the physical contact.

I think I should also mention that he is somewhat of a sex-addict. This makes me feel self-conscious that he is constantly thinking of sex but isn’t turned on by me, even when sleeping in the same bed… I don’t want to lose him as a friend and I do like the bond we share and what we have together, but I am constantly thinking about how much I love him and want to be with him. I even started working out at the gym, thinking that maybe my recent weight gain is the problem. I know he *loves* me, but he isn’t *attracted* to me. I’m afraid that if one of us starts dating someone else, our friendship will take a hit, since we are super close and I’m sure that any significant other wouldn’t appreciate our relationship at all. I really can’t see myself with anyone else… I’m not sure what to do.. Help! — Not His Type?

 
It’s been five years; your friend is never, ever, ever going to come around and fall in love with you. If it were going to happen, it would have happened by now. Going to the gym, losing weight, and “bettering yourself,” whatever the fuck that means, is not going to change anything. You need to have an honest conversation with yourself about why a man who would spend every waking hour with you, sleep in the same bed as you, eat meals with you every day, and do with you everything a member of a couple would, is not at all physically intimate with you. It doesn’t add up. He’s either lying about being a sex addict or he’s not interested in women. There really is no other option. A sex addict is not going to spend as much time with you as he does and NOT try to have sex with you. If he’s such a sex addict, how does he even have all this time to spend with you in the first place? Wouldn’t he be off having sex with someone else? It doesn’t make sense.

The bottom line is that you, for whatever reason, are not his type and that isn’t going to change. You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you. You need some healthy distance from this guy who isn’t or can’t give you what you want. MOA.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

62 comments… add one
  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 27, 2018, 8:21 am

    I honestly think LW3: Is just using her for a place to sleep, and free meals. By staying just friends, he gets to come and go as he pleases, and eat whatever he wants for free, and have sex with the people he actually wants to have sex with.

    LW1: WWS it’s just a strange turn of events, unless he is so devout to his faith that he thinks this is going to actually mean something

    LW2: Being a sometimes fat person, and always overweight person I think if my wife called me out at dinner in front of the family I would be super pissed for the way she did it, but I would also take it to heart that she cared about me. I feel like there has to be something else going on between you two for her to react the way she did.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    JD March 27, 2018, 8:41 am

    I am somewhat appalled at a few of these:

    LW1: Move on. Agree with Wendy that he is likely gay. If not, it just is somewhat odd to suddenly want to not kiss again. It could be cute say, the week before your wedding but years, ughh.

    LW2: Your wife is eating the whole families dinner!! WOW! Not just self destructive but rude. Um we are hungry too dear. I agree speak to her in a different setting. She likely needs some counseling.

    LW3: This is something I always say but I cannot believe I have to. Believe what people tell you. If he wanted to be with you he would have been….yearssss ago. Also, such a weird dynamic to sleep together and spend every minute together but not be in a relationship. You both are using each other. Him for free food and a place to sleep and you for a fill in boyfriend minus intimacy. Get him out of your life.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    brise March 27, 2018, 8:52 am

    LW1: why would you wait like this for someone who obviously has problem with physical contacts? Don’t expect any carnal bliss in a marriage with him, really.
    I don’t know if he is gay or not, but he is not at ease with sex at all. I would walk away, I don’t think you can be happy and blossoming with such a partner.
    LW3: just kick him away, of your bed, first of all, and of your everyday life. A friend should be seen from time to time, not on an everyday basis. You are in a kind of masochist link where he diminishes you, ignores you as a potential partner, yet using you for everything else. Open your eyes, like your post starts to do, and go out there finding a real partner.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      LisforLeslie March 27, 2018, 9:43 am

      Agreed on LW – he may not be gay but he’s clearly not comfortable with a physical relationship. Whether that’s all physical touching, romantic, sexual, whatever, who knows. And he wants to proudly proclaim his abstinence which is just as weird as talking about your sex life in public. I would hate for the LW to wait and wait and wait and then have a very dissatisfactory post marital sex life because he can’t deal with physical intimacy.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 27, 2018, 12:18 pm

        Totally agree about the “proudly proclaim his abstinence” part. Like it shouldn’t be public knowledge that this newly married couple saved their first kiss for marriage, but it IS… because they talk about it all the time. That kind of stuff should stay private whether you’re doing everything, nothing, or something in the middle.

        Link
      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones March 27, 2018, 12:29 pm

        True. And it’s going to be terrible because there will be very little or no sex not because he will be bad at sex.
        .
        Honestly, I could deal with bad sex ’cause I can work with you until you got up to speed. But no sex? That would send me straight over the edge. We would be going to get that marriage annulled the next day.

        Link
  • Copa

    Copa March 27, 2018, 9:22 am

    LW1: I don’t know if he’s gay — it’s possible he’s just not physically attracted to you but feels pressure to stay with you. Whatever his reasons, I think this is strange and if I were you I’d move on. He doesn’t want to kiss you again for *years*? Nope!

    LW2: I agree you should talk to her about what’s going on, but not when she’s sitting down to eat. I think a lot of people turn to food as a coping mechanism, and that it’s usually a symptom of a larger problem. That aside, I suspect there’s more going on here based on her reaction and the way this is written. You say you’re tactful when you address this with her in person. Okay. Why not be as tactful in your letter? What you wrote makes it sound like you’re repulsed by her, not concerned about her health.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      LisforLeslie March 27, 2018, 9:46 am

      I interpreted it as a little venting (or possible trollishness – no clue) but yeah. I’m fat. I know I’m fat. I look in the mirror and I’m fat. I eat too much. But if someone points out what I’m eating isn’t healthy my first reaction is to shove more into my face as a big ol “FU” so if you want to discuss it, then do so when she’s not eating and do so with the right frame which is “You seem to be unhappy and I’m worried about you.” Observe if other things are evident -sleeping, working, etc. There is probably a larger picture that you can point to instead of focusing on one action.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Ale March 27, 2018, 9:46 am

    First though I had was “he’s gay”. But I don’t know, he could be straight or gay, but truth is, he is using his faith to justify not kissing you, This could mean he just doesn’t want to kiss you or that his faith is really important to him.
    Bottom line is, he is not meeting your needs. You need and want someone who shows you affection in the form of kisses and he doesn’t want to do that. So, he is not the person you need/want right now. Also, he made this decision (a fundamental one in your life as a couple) unilaterally, he hasn’t asked you what you think and that is not fair to you.
    So, you need to decide would you like this for your next couple of years? Someone who dictates what happens in your relationship unilaterally? Someone who doesn’t fulfill your needs?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    LisforLeslie March 27, 2018, 9:53 am

    LW 3 – You are putting your life on hold to try and meet some ridiculous standard that you will never meet because he does not see you that way. Stop running into a brick wall and wondering where all the bruises came from. Start finding things to do that don’t involve him. Widen your circle, be less available, move forward.

    And my armchair therapist thoughts are that he loves the attention without any of the complications (and he’s not attracted to you). You’re a project to him. He’ll craft the perfect woman. But he still won’t want to date you.

    I think he’s someone for whom sex and love don’t go together. That he’s one of those guys that prefers sex without love. It doesn’t mean he’s a sex addict. It just means he’s compartmentalized his life in ways that don’t align with what you want.

    Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark March 27, 2018, 10:00 am

    LW 1) TOTAL closet case. And he’s probably banging the othr groom. They go on “guy” trips, I bet.

    LW2) Wendy nailed it.

    LW3) Yeah, he’s using you.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Bekahtravels March 27, 2018, 10:19 am

    LW1- I’m not sure if he’s gay, but it is not ok for a partner to make unilateral decisions without your input that affect you. Imagine your life with him! “Hi honey, we are moving across country next week. I have a great business opportunity.” Or “Hey dear, I donated our life savings to the church, because that will show how faithful we are.” That is your future with him, as an unequal servant to his whims and desires. Do you want that kind of life?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    allornone March 27, 2018, 10:23 am

    LW1- Another option is that he may also simply be asexual, and not desire any kind of physical intimacy. If that is true, just like the possibility of him being gay and/or not attracted to you, it does not bode well for your intimate life after marriage. That’s a huge red flag.

    No matter what, he is making big decisions in your relationship without taking your wants/needs into consideration. Another huge red flag.

    If it were me, I’d MOA. I hope whatever you do, it works out.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      MMR March 27, 2018, 1:01 pm

      +1 for possibly asexual.

      Also, you’re talking about marriage engagement and marriage in this abstract way, like it’s not coming anytime soon. So he’s asking for no physical intimacy for an indeterminate about of time. It’s not like a “we’re getting married next month, so we’re holding out til then” situation. I’m going to make an assumption here, and say that you’re going to expect him to propose to you. i.e. He will get to determine when you get engaged and have to – sorry – GET to kiss again, and he can hold out until you finally get sick of him.

      The fact that he hasn’t given you a reason, AND he wants to hide it from your friends and family tells me that he’s hiding something from you. Whatever it is, it’s obviously going to affect your life with him, and he’s not willing to be honest with you about it. That should be enough for you to know that you should MOA.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    GertietheDino March 27, 2018, 10:32 am

    I dated s man for a bit who whenever he’d talk to his devoutly Christian mother would want to stop having sex. It usually lasted about 3 days. Not gay, just an overly influenced ass.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      LisforLeslie March 27, 2018, 11:37 am

      That’s incredibly annoying but you could have used that for your own purposes: handed him the phone every time you had an important work week, you were on your period or you were just feeling like you needed some alone time.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Bacon Mistress March 27, 2018, 10:45 am

    YES, Wendy! At first I was wondering what position you would take with LW2 but your advice was spot on! Talk to her calmly, ALONE and not at meal time. I LOVE the new body positive images and stances that are highlighting the web. Love yourself! I am 15 pounds overweight and I struggle to love myself sometimes. BUT it still boils down to unhealthy when you hit a certain number. It is hard on your body and causes a number of different health problems. I would be frightened if my spouse started to be too overweight. I want to live a full long life with him. And love and attraction can be two separate things. I could love my overweight spouse but probably not be attracted to him. Good luck!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    anonymousse March 27, 2018, 10:46 am

    LW1: Agreed he is most likely gay or asexual…it doesn’t really matter why. He doesn’t want to KISS you for years. Nope. Nope. Nope. That’s all you need to hear to know that it’s time to split. Imagine five, ten, fifteen years down the road in a marriage where he doesn’t crave affection or intimacy from you. Spare yourself the pain of wondering why and just go. You’ll meet another man, who actually is attracted to you, and wants physical intimacy with you.
    LW2: your wife needs help. Talk to her about this away from the kitchen, in a neutral setting…like going for a short walk. Sometimes it’s easier to talk when you aren’t face-to-face with someone. And do it very, very delicately and with compassion. You are coming from a place of care and concern, right? Shaming her isn’t going to help AT ALL.
    Side note-When is the last time she has been to a doctor? If she will agree to it, I think you should go with her and make sure that she talk about her mental well being and her eating disorder.
    And maybe you should take some impetus in the kitchen and learn how to plan and prep healthier meals, in portions. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.
    LW3: Your letter is so very sad. He’s using you and knowingly prolonging your pain. He isn’t a friend, and it’s never going to change. He isn’t in love with you, the only love he might feel for you is “friends” only. But I highly doubt that. He likes the ego boost of your love and affection and he probably isn’t a sex addict, either. He just likes to use people for his own benefits. He’s really good at that.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      JD March 27, 2018, 10:50 am

      Yes I also don’t buy the sex addict. If he was, and especially if had already been interested in you, he would be having sex with you. You don’t even have to be insanely attracted to someone to end up having sex with them when you sleep together every night. I think it just boils down to him taking advantage.

      Reply Link
  • Lucidity

    Lucidity March 27, 2018, 12:32 pm

    I don’t agree that LW1’s boyfriend is necessarily gay or asexual. It’s telling that he had no problem with kissing until after witnessing a wedding where the bride and groom had their first kiss at the ceremony. I was raised in a religious environment, where my peers were constantly taking vows of chastity or “second virginity,” so to me, this sounds like he’s feeling guilty about not being as chaste as this other couple and second-guessing his lifestyle as a result. I’ve seen it in devout Christians of both genders, who have later gone on to have heterosexual, sexually-active marriages. Sure, he could be gay or asexual, but he could also just be super religious.

    Whatever the reason, I do agree with Wendy and the other commentators. If he’s putting restrictions on your relationship that you don’t agree with, you have every right to speak up and/or move on.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    ELIN March 27, 2018, 12:37 pm

    Yeah… I don’t think LW1’s bf is necessarily gay, that’s kind of a leap. I mean it’s entirely possible but idk, seems like it’s not the most logical conclusion. I think it’s far more likely he’s just a (little over the top) devout Christian. One who, perhaps, is easily influenced by others or by his own weak will, into thinking/doing “the most Christian thing”… Sometimes that thinking gets buried so deep that a person can legitimately believe that “god” doesn’t “want” them to kiss outside marriage.

    I’m not religious, so obviously this way of thinking is utterly absurd to me. But I do tend to live by a “you do you” philosophy SO LONG AS the thing you’re doing is what you TRULY believe in and WANT to do. So if this guy is completely genuine in not wanting to kiss until marriage, and fully understands and can defend why he thinks that is “right” then more power to him, I guess. But that just means his beliefs and LW’s are not aligned and that they’re not compatible.

    I personally think continuing to pursue this relationship is a waste of LW’s time. Even if she manages to convince her bf that this particular thing is a little over the top, there comes the next new “belief” this guy is touting because someone gave him the idea and he wants to be a “good Christian.” I find it hard to be sympathetic. If his beliefs are different from hers in such a fundamental way, they’re just incompatible and it’s not going to work.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      MissD March 27, 2018, 12:39 pm

      Agree with everything you’ve said here.

      Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 27, 2018, 2:55 pm

      You think it’s a leap and illogical to suspect a guy might be gay when he immediately latches on to the idea that he can get away with not kissing his girlfriend for years? Sure, maybe he is just SUPER DUPER christian and only realized saving kissing for marriage was a “thing” he could do when he saw his friend get married. But I don’t think suggesting he’s gay is a bigger or more illogical leap than that. Like, at all.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 27, 2018, 3:06 pm

        I’ve never heard of that as a Christian “thing,” and from the letter it doesn’t sound like it is. Given that, I also think “likely gay” is the more logical explanation. PS I was raised pretty religious.

        Link
      • avatar

        MissD March 27, 2018, 3:14 pm

        Not saying you’re wrong at all.

        But I knew a really religious couple that wouldn’t do anything more than side-hug, and maybe once in a while hold hands! It could be that this guy is really religious like that and seeing his friends abstain from even kissing is causing him to struggle with guilt.

        Either way, him springing this on her is weird and I don’t really think they’re compatible. I don’t think she should stay with this guy.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 27, 2018, 3:32 pm

        The “when we’re engaged” thing seems weird and arbitrary… also the fact that he didn’t think *before this* of a “religious” reason not to kiss.

        Link
      • Copa

        Copa March 27, 2018, 4:25 pm

        Wasn’t there a show on TLC featuring couples who kissed for the first time on their wedding day? I can’t recall if that was an entire show or one episode I caught. It was super uncomfortable to watch that kiss, though, so it’s permanently seared into my memory.

        I think some people are super religious in this way. But I think they’re a small minority, and I imagine they’d establish their expectations at the beginning of a relationship. They’re not sprung on the other partner almost a year into the relationship.

        I don’t think it’s a leap to speculate to think he’s gay, but I also don’t think it matters what his sexual orientation is. This isn’t sitting well with LW, she isn’t getting what she wants or needs out of the relationship, and she shouldn’t stay with him.

        Link
      • avatar

        anonymousse March 27, 2018, 5:32 pm

        Ha ha ha.

        Even in evangelical circles that would be EXTREME.

        Link
      • avatar

        Anon from LA March 27, 2018, 9:30 pm

        I was raised in Christian fundamentalism–I do know couples who kissed for the first time on their wedding day.

        It is DEFINITELY a Christian thing, though only really, really conservative Christians abide by this rule.

        He could be gay, sure, but it’s also possible he’s just super religious or, as someone else mentioned, just very influenceable.

        Link
  • avatar

    Frizz March 27, 2018, 12:42 pm

    LW1: I had a boyfriend like this once. We had slept together though, and all of a sudden he had a bunch of rules we were never realistically going to keep them. It made me feel terrible -, I felt pushed away and unworthy of him and it also impacted my spiritual life which became all about pleading for forgiveness for getting too frisky. My boyfriend wasn’t gay, just very pious and a new Christian. He’s happily married to a woman and agnostic now.

    On the other hand, I do know people who have done this as a way of trying to work through their sexuality issues.

    And, lastly, I went to one of these weddings. It was awkward for everyone. But the couple were only together for six months before getting married, not years!

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Ange March 27, 2018, 6:42 pm

      And that last part is why I’m side-eyeing LW’s boyfriend. Most evangelicals who have those sorts of restrictions can’t WAIT to race down the aisle for some sanctified bonin’. This guy is happy to put it off for years, that seems off.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        csp March 28, 2018, 4:21 am

        I totally agree about the timing. Most Christians with this rule are running down the aisle and are very young. Like I stayed pure until I turned 18.

        Link
      • avatar

        MMR March 28, 2018, 10:25 am

        Exactly! They, apparently, aren’t even considering getting engaged any time soon, so the no-kissing rule is for a vague “in a few years probably” amount of time. That’s crazy! Anyone who is interested in physical intimacy with their partner wouldn’t be arbitrarily adhering to something so rigorous and limiting without a solid end date.

        Also, the revelation that no kissing was a possibility didn’t come from from a religious authority; it was a simple “who knew that was an option?!” That is the very definition of suspicious.

        Link
    • avatar

      Anon from LA March 27, 2018, 9:35 pm

      Regardless of the BF’s sexuality, I think this is actually the crux of the issue: “all of a sudden he had a bunch of rules we were never realistically going to keep them. It made me feel terrible -, I felt pushed away and unworthy of him.”

      Kissing is a normal routine part of their relationship, and now suddenly the BF has started acting like it’s a dirty, wrong thing. This may also set up a really unhealthy dynamic where BF is the pious one trying to do the right thing and LW is the temptress who keeps “causing” him to sin. (In other words, if he gives in to temptation, he can just blame her as his spiritual out.)

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    convexexed March 27, 2018, 1:39 pm

    I do not think LW1’s partner is necessarily gay OR asexual. I grew up around a lot of evangelical thinking, and I’ve seen a lot of deep and complex guilt come up around even something so mild as kissing. Still, most of the people I knew who made these kinds of abstinence declarations broke their own rules. I doubt he would go more than a few weeks without kissing her; it’s easy to have these lofty ideals and very hard to meet them. Regardless, this constitutes a unilateral change in terms to the relationship, and the LW does not have to be okay with it. These decisions need to be made as a couple. Now, there are obviously caveats with that. Of course, one person is always free to draw their own lines about what kind of sexual contact they are comfortable with–no forced kissing!– and the other person is free to leave if that doesn’t meet their needs. If you grew up in an environment where sexuality and relationships weren’t so heavily regulated, I can easily see how you could assume a guy who doesn’t want to kiss his girlfriend must be closeted. But in very conservative sects of Christianity (and maybe in other religions) the indoctrination begins very young, long before puberty even, and I’ve known people, even those who are no longer religious, really struggle to untangle their own desires and needs from what they’ve been taught is moral behavior.

    Reply Link
    • TheLadyE

      TheLadyE March 28, 2018, 9:15 am

      +1. Totally agree. I was raised in a similar environment and I’ve had more than 3 experiences as a 30+ adult with men who are still struggling with this. Two are abstinent, not because they are gay or asexual, but because untangling those feelings of guilt are too hard – at least right now. One stopped talking to me after 3 years of friendship because we (very mildly, at 30 years old) fooled around.

      @convexexed I was thinking all day about how to express this – you did it beautifully.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Bree March 27, 2018, 1:39 pm

    LW1 – WWS. Also, it is my understandings that most of the courtships/engagements of conservative Christians are not very long, so the lack of kissing and sex ends up being pretty short. The fact that he wants to drag the no kissing thing out potentially years is a red flag. Now, there can be really good reasons to delay getting married, like being young and in school (which I suspect they are). So if you’re going to have a long engagement, then why wait on the kissing. They are also not even engaged yet. How long does he want to delay that? Something doesn’t add up.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Ange March 27, 2018, 6:43 pm

      Aw man I should have read your comment! Exactly.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Anonymous March 27, 2018, 2:37 pm

    LW2:

    Buy all these books. They have helped me so much, I am NOT dieting, but i’ve learned that I have an emotional attachment to food that’s unhealthy. I’ve lost 14 pounds in 5 weeks, so maybe share with her some of this knowledge! 🙂

    Or maybe watch my 600 pound life when she’s around.. that got me eating better QUICK. Good luck! 🙂

    https://www.amazon.com/Geneen-Roth/e/B000APDO9O/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Sarah March 27, 2018, 11:05 pm

    Lw1 I’m southern baptist and my first boyfriend in high school and I were waiting until marriage for sex, but kissing touching and eventually other things we did not wait for. Looking back a big part of the fun was finding places to do those things when we both lived at home. I really can’t imagine us going 9 months with only kissing let alone an undisclosed amount of time doing less than kissing. I’ve seen on tv the 40 kids and counting that cant be alone but I have never heard of someone choosing to do less with their gf. I’m not saying gay but he is leaving something out.

    LW 3 stop, you have taken in the human equilivent of a stray cat, and the sex addict piece just stop no one is buying that.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Val Greene March 28, 2018, 2:04 am

    LW2: I think a sudden increase in appetite is not normal. I think you should talk to your wife and ask her the reason. She might be normal but she can also be depressed or going through some serious problem. Often it is scene that people tend to fight their problems and lonelines or anxiety by eating more and more. Talk to your wife in a relaxed manner and try to reach her problem as a friend.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Northern_Coast March 28, 2018, 5:38 am

    LW2: Speaking as an overweight woman with a fiancé who sometimes takes it upon himself to make comments like yours when I’m about to start eating: It is fucking INFURIATING! Please don’t.
    It’s good that you’re concerned for your wife and it is indeed unhealthy for her (physically and psychologically) to eat her feelings. However, I’m sure your wife knows that.
    Wendy’s advice is very good: Wait for a good moment and calmly talk with her about it. She will only change her behaviour if that’s what she wants to do, and only then will it be successful.
    Otherwise she’ll just start to hide her overeating from you, and will resent you. Commenting on what a person is allowed to eat is super controlling. She is an adult and makes her own decision about what and how much she eats.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      JD March 28, 2018, 9:35 am

      I agree it could make her feel bad but I don’t think saying “hey hon that’s dinner for the whole family” is controlling. I just had to explain to my step son yesterday that a sandwich has a few slices of meat not the whole pack because other people want some too.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Kate March 28, 2018, 10:19 am

      My parents do this to my adult brother who’s overweight and will take huge portions, not thinking about what’s left for others. I think it’s fine to remind a child, like, hey, don’t drink half the carton of OJ, we need it for the week, because they do need to be aware of that and they’re buying the food. But it’s really cringey and uncomfortable to witness this interaction between adults. Still, my parents are talking to their kid. If it’s spouse to spouse, I do think it’s controlling and not an appropriate approach, to portion-shame someone right as she’s about to eat. Presumably these two share responsibility for household finances and food prep. She’s not a child.

      Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 28, 2018, 11:32 am

      I think it depends on things like how tight is the family budget. What will the rest of the family eat if she eats what has already been prepared. Is there time to cook another dinner. Is there food in the kitchen that can be cooked or will someone need to go to the grocery store before another meal can be cooked. Are there activities that they need to get to on time and now the only way to feed the family is to go for fast food.

      When your decisions leave the rest of your family without dinner then the other parent does have an obligation to speak up because the kids can’t. If you are eating your children’s dinner then you are the rude one. If you are eating one set of leftovers and there are plenty more then not so much rude. If the leftovers were counted on to cover a meal for the week and there is either not enough time or not enough money to prepare another meal then the partner must speak up for the sake of the kids who will go hungry. The LW doesn’t say what the full scenario is so we don’t know. If I watched my husband eat my kid’s dinner I would be livid. Even if I knew that he was suffering some emotional problem. You don’t eat your kid’s dinner.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 28, 2018, 11:39 am

        I assume she had a plan in mind to feed her kids and not let them go to bed hungry, but regardless, I think this is a conversation to be had in private during downtime. There’s no reason to believe from the letter that the kids are at risk of not eating.

        Link
      • avatar

        JD March 28, 2018, 11:50 am

        Ya I am not thinking they are going hungry but if I was about to heat up dinner to find someone shoveling down the entire families meal I would be annoyed that I now get to replan dinner….which I regularly get to do with a teenager in the house…but then again I am bitter right now as I just scrubbed his bathroom down after telling him to do it for two weeks. Teenage boys are traumatizing.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 28, 2018, 11:51 am

        To build on that, I think it’s upsetting for the kids to hear Dad accusing Mom of being selfish, not sharing, and overeating, and then Mom feels attacked and the kids have to witness a fight where Mom calls Dad abusive (if the kids were around when this happened). It’s honestly so uncomfortable to witness this stuff even as an adult.

        Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 28, 2018, 5:16 pm

        If the kids knew that the pasta was intended to be their dinner either that night or another night and they saw mom eating it they would be upset even if dad said nothing. You don’t watch your mom eat your dinner and have no reaction. If they are school age they will be going to school and telling the teacher and the other kids that their mom ate their dinner. Kids pretty much tell all to anyone who will listen.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 28, 2018, 6:00 pm

        Again, I’m sure as their mom, she wasn’t going to let her kids go unfed. Come on.

        Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 28, 2018, 6:56 pm

        As their mom she wasn’t jumping up to cook a different meal either. I kind of think she is doing this to irritate the husband and get a reaction. I have no idea why but she is doing it when he is watching so I assume she wants to be seen eating the food. If she doesn’t go cook another meal then he will have to do it even though the meal was sitting there in the refrigerator ready to go. It seems to me that she is the one who is being controlling here. She is eating the food and if not replacing it then that is putting him on the spot to provide an alternate meal. Maybe she’s depressed. Maybe she is really angry with him. It doesn’t matter what the reason is he is being put on the spot and she’s the one doing that.

        My husband ate more than his share of dessert a few times and the kids got angry every time he did it because it was their dessert he ate and they told him exactly what they though of him doing that. If their kids liked the pasta and wanted to it the kids are going to be upset all on their own. If they don’t like the pasta they will be pleased that mom ate it and they get to eat something else.

        Link
      • avatar

        Kate March 28, 2018, 7:04 pm

        Yeah, she may be doing it to get a reaction, I could see that.

        I’m sorry though, I think it’s a lot worse to see your parents tearing into each other than it is to see your mom eating leftover spaghetti out of the fridge. Fight in private. Or better yet, don’t fight, talk through it.

        Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 29, 2018, 7:41 am

        They definitely should be doing this in private. She is the one who is making it public by eating an entire meals worth of food in front of at least the husband but probably the kids are around too. If they smell dinner cooking and show up to get some only to see mom eating the entire thing herself they are already involved. They’ve been married for 21 years so the kids could easily be teens and they will be seeing what is happening.

        Link
    • avatar

      dinoceros March 28, 2018, 11:58 am

      Or he could just make more food? I mean, sure, it’s an issue that may need to be dealt with long-term, but in the moment, unless it meant that nobody had any other food, then it’s not necessary to comment on.

      Also, if 2 pounds of pasta was leftovers for the family, then how much did they cook initially? Four pounds?

      Reply Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 28, 2018, 5:14 pm

        Many families that have kids have at least one day a week that is so busy that they make extra on another day and the leftovers are earmarked for the busy day. Eating those leftovers ahead of time is especially inconvenient because you then need a new meal for the extra busy day.

        I would assume that they made extra so that they had another meal in the refrigerator that needed nothing more than reheating. I would think that if you ate the made ahead meal then you need to make sure there is another meal ready to go at the time it is needed to replace the one you ate.

        Link
      • avatar

        dinoceros March 28, 2018, 8:53 pm

        Well, yeah, I mean, I’m aware of how leftovers work. It’s not really particular to families. Plenty of people eat leftovers and choose not to cook every night.

        I was half joking and half wondering if the LW was exaggerating how much she ate because he was angry.

        Link
      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 29, 2018, 7:42 am

        I’m thinking teenage boys. They can really eat.

        Link
  • avatar

    dinoceros March 28, 2018, 11:50 am

    LW1: This is weird. It’s one thing if someone has these beliefs when you meet them, but to suddenly decide he no longer wants to kiss his girlfriend for years is odd. Whatever his reason, it’s a very bad sign for the future of your relationship. I’d probably move on. I think he’s pretending “think” about it because he knows how weird it looks.

    LW2: The issue here is that all you seem to be focusing on is her weight and how much food she eats, and you don’t seem at all concerned with what is making her feel this way that she finds refuge in food. If she’s your partner of 21 years, might you, just a little, worry about how she’s feeling too? If someone is under that much stress, depression, or low self esteem, do you think making them feel bad for eating a lot of food will help them? Tell her that you’re worried because it seems like she’s unhappy or stressed or whatever you think it is.

    Also, your little comment about it being 2018 — telling someone that they are eating too much food didn’t suddenly become cruel, it always has been. Any “censorship” you perceive is you learning that you can’t just say whatever rude thing you want with no consequence.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      dinoceros March 28, 2018, 11:56 am

      LW3: A lot of women fail to realize that men can enjoy spending time with you for the sake of spending time with you. They also like social contact just like the next person. You’re assuming that he wouldn’t enjoy a friendship or hanging out unless he wanted a relationship, with is an inaccurate assumption. Men –they’re people too!

      I don’t think this friendship is healthy for you. You’re claiming it’s all about friendship, but the only reason you’re THAT into the friendship is for your feelings. Of course, if he dates someone, it’ll change. This closeness has an expiration date. Personally, I wouldn’t subject myself to pining over someone who doesn’t like me for longer than I had to — it’ll just prolong the pain.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    findingtheearth March 28, 2018, 2:11 pm

    I spent a few years in a church and the not kissing thing was fairly common. I knew a few couples who quit kissing, because they felt they lacked self control and it easily could lead to more.

    However, their courtships and engagements were usually brief. A year and a half tops from meeting to married. So I am skeptical of someone who wants to keep this other person in their life for years but not have intimacy they are used to having. It seems controlling and possibly manipulative.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    CET March 29, 2018, 9:09 am

    LW1 – BIG RED FLAG. I’ve been with my husband now for 26 years. If he doesn’t want to be intimate with you and kiss you something is really wrong. Also, waiting to have sex before marriage is a huge huge mistake. You might be totally incompatible. If you find this out after you are married you are in for a lifetime of unhappiness. You should tell him no, you strongly disagree and will not go along with this no kissing thing. And I am sure you won’t do it bc of religious beliefs…but I advise you two to start having sex. I also advise you two to start going to a therapist (not a religious based one) who specializes in premarital counseling.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Manish Balda July 28, 2018, 1:33 am

    These decisions need to be made as a couple. Now, there are obviously caveats with that. Of course, one person is always free to draw their own lines about what kind of sexual contact they are comfortable with–no forced kissing!– and the other person is free to leave if that doesn’t meet their needs.

    Reply Link

Leave a Comment