We live in Canada in an area where lap dances are all-touch with few exceptions. There are many strip clubs that offer other “services” at the right price, too. A few months ago John went out with the boys. Before he left, he was very loving and affectionate, saying things like he couldn’t wait to get home later so we could have some time together. However, after he got home he was weird: very chatty and avoiding eye contact. After his shower he came into bed and turned his back to me. He never does that. Something was wrong and I knew he was hiding something. I cried myself to sleep because this was familiar. When my ex had been with someone else, this is how he acted when he got home. I was so hurt.
John’s friends are known to go to strip clubs and they are not shy there… for example, they purchased a blowjob for John at his bachelor party.
As far as he knows, I am ok with strip clubs as long as it’s look-only — no private rooms and no lap dances (again, here in Canada lap dances are full-touch in most places except no penetration). However, he lied to me about going to the strip club the other night, and the way he was acting leads me to believe there was more than just looking that took place.
I haven’t confronted him yet as I’m afraid I will end up saying things I will regret. But I’m hurt that he lied. I am also not ok if his outings with friends are going to be to strip clubs. He has told his friends he doesn’t want to go anymore (I’ve overheard this), but they keep insisting and he ends up there anyway. This is a deal-breaker for me, but it will sound like an ultimatum — like I’m saying “me or them.”
The relationship is amazing in all other aspects. But this is a deal-breaker. We’ve discussed marriage, but if his bachelor party were to end up with another blowjob or anything that crosses the line, I’d call it off. How should I bring this up without sounding prudish or unfair? — Doesn’t Want to Sound Prudish
I don’t understand how you’ve been with John three years, you live with him, you presumably moved your three children in with him, you were cheated on multiple times in your past relationship, you have issues with strip clubs, you live in an area where there “touching” is allowed at strip clubs, you know that your boyfriend whom you moved in with even participated in “extra services” in strip clubs in the past, and yet, AND YET, he doesn’t know that you are not ok with him going to strip clubs?!?! You haven’t expressed this to him DESPITE the strip clubs being a deal-breaker for you?!
You think/know he lied to you about going to a strip club recently, you suspect that he crossed the line there (and the time before, a few months ago) and engaged in “special services” and yet, AND YET, you are afraid of talking to him about it for fear of sounding “prudish” (prudish! for suggesting you don’t want your boyfriend to get a blowjob from a hooker!) and saying something you’ll regret, even though this is a deal-breaker for you?!
If this is a deal-breaker, what on earth would you/could you actually say that you’d regret? Certainly, “we’re done” wouldn’t be regrettable if you know that strip clubs and cheating are deal-breakers. If he engaged in those things, you SHOULD be breaking up with him. If his friends are the kinds of guys who frequent strip clubs and you know that in the past they paid a woman to perform oral sex on John, how are you JUST NOW feeling iffy about his hanging out with them? How did you move yourself and three children in with a guy who exhibited pretty clear red flags around cheating?
Of course, his potentially cheating on you is a problem. His going to strip clubs when that’s a deal-breaker for you is a problem. But the REAL problem here is your total lack of communication and making the line in the sand super clear. The real problem is your passivity, moving along with this relationship, letting it progress to such a serious point, when you aren’t sure you share common values and when you haven’t clearly expressed your boundaries.
It’s as if you’ve been on a boat that looks like it might have a hole in it and, rather than confirm it’s a hole and take measures to either repair the hole or get off the boat, you’ve simply been gliding along as the boat fills with water, hoping it all works out. It doesn’t work out without your putting in a modicum of effort.
I honestly don’t know if the hole is repairable now. Of course, you can try. That will take your actually speaking up, voicing your concerns and your suspicions over the last few months (Months! You’ve been sitting on this for months and haven’t said anything!!), drawing the line in the sand about strip clubs and John’s friends, and making the ultimatum. But even then — even if he chooses you, can you trust him? Can you trust the guy who got a paid blowjob from a hooker right before his wedding and who has lied to you about going to a strip club as recently as a few days ago?
The good news is, you can get off the boat. It’s not too late to save yourself from drowning.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.