My boyfriend of two years, of course, hangs out with my friends. Nick has frequently invited all of us over for game nights, etc. My boyfriend also has only known Nick as male. He doesn’t know that he’s trans, which doesn’t matter except I feel like I’m hiding something from him. Sometimes my friend has said things like how he was a flower girl when he was a kid, and I think my boyfriend has just brushed off these comments or thought Nick was joking. Nick and my boyfriend are not Facebook friends, but it’s just probably because they are basically acquaintances through me rather than because Nick is hiding something.
It’s not my place to tell my boyfriend that Nick is trans. But I also don’t want him to feel like he’s not “in on it.” He sometimes puts his foot in his mouth unintentionally to lighten the mood, and I don’t want him to say something he doesn’t mean without context, even though he is not homophobic or transphobic. That is partly my own insecurity, I admit. I could ask my friend if he’d be ok if I told my boyfriend. I kind of don’t think we are close enough to do that, but maybe it’s my only option. Any advice? — Not So Transparent
This whole letter and conundrum feels like fetishizing Nick, who may not care if your boyfriend knows he’s trans but would likely hate knowing that you’re anguishing over whether or not or how to tell him. He’d also probably hate that you think his trans status is something you are “keeping” from your boyfriend as if it’s your personal information or your burden to unload. It isn’t. You are under no obligation to make sure your boyfriend knows about Nick’s past so that he can better understand one-line asides Nick might make on occasion. But I can understand how you’d be confused as to whether you have an obligation to keep it a secret if Nick is fairly open about it and makes comments that suggest he assumes most friends and acquaintances know about his past or he doesn’t care if they know. It’s still not your information to share though, and “outing” someone who is trans, even within a friend group which is supportive and open, can have consequences those of us who aren’t trans may not fully grasp or understand.
In that vein, while I would not suggest asking Nick if it would be ok if you tell your boyfriend about his trans status, I do think it would be ok to frame similar kinds of questions around wanting to be a supportive ally and seeking clarification on how best to do so. So, instead of saying, “Nick, would it be ok if I told my boyfriend you’re trans so he isn’t left out?”, you could say: “Nick, what are you thoughts on people sharing the status of trans friends with others? Do you think that’s something that should only be shared directly by the trans person or with direct consent from the trans friend or is there some flexibility?” You could even follow it up with: “For example, I’ve never told my boyfriend because I felt it wasn’t my information to share, but I also wasn’t sure if you cared whether people know since you’re pretty open about it.” When your questioning comes from a place of wanting to support your friend, rather than figuring out how to share gossip with your boyfriend in a way that doesn’t make you feel guilty, there’s much less room for unintentionally offending or hurting feelings and more room for dialogue that can lead to deeper understanding.
(Also, you’re right: this isn’t in my wheelhouse and while I’ve had trans friends, I don’t claim to know the best way to handle a situation like this, so anyone who thinks my reply is off, please let me know!).
When we first met, we had a no-strings sex relationship that was fun, exciting, and open. As feelings developed, other things took priority in the relationship, but sex stayed frequent. However, in recent months I’ve started to notice a pattern. Whenever he initiates, I always respond enthusiastically and it’s super enjoyable for the both of us. (Of course, if I am sick or exhausted, I’ll decline, and he’s always gracious if I do.) However, whenever I initiate, I somehow always seem to pick “the wrong time” – either he’s watching TV, or he wanted to relax, or it’s too late or too early, or I was too aggressive in coming onto him, or I was too subtle in coming onto him, or, wearing lingerie as a surprise, I “put a lot of pressure” on him and I “should try harder to get him in the mood.” I’ve had a few cases where I overreacted by getting upset that I was being rejected, but almost always I’ve been gracious and shrugged it off with a laugh and an apology.
I get that people should never participate in sex unless they want to. In our recent fight though, he told me that he’s turned off that I only initiate sex when I’m in the mood – and he feels like I’m just using him. I don’t get it! Don’t people only initiate when they’re in the mood? We have a fun, playful, and affectionate relationship otherwise (kiss frequently, are cuddly on the couch, do lots of things together), but he said that because I only initiate when I want sex, he feels like a piece of meat and he wants more foreplay before things move into a “sex zone.” When I asked him what that meant, he said the timing needed to be right and I should compliment his appearance and send him sexy texts throughout the day to let him know that we will have sex later. He says he compliments me all the time and that’s why I am always enthusiastic when he initiates.
Wendy, I swear I flatter him often, give daily compliments on his appearance, and flirt with him all the time (slap his butt, tell him he looks great in whatever he’s wearing, tell him that I love the nice things he does for me). I’m lost! Am I wrong here? We’re trying for a baby, and the sex has been so tied to when he wants things that I’m afraid I can’t initiate during my ovulation period because he’ll turn me down again. We have sex probably two times a week, so it’s not dead, but I just got married! I want to have quickies and be spontaneous without being made to feel like I’m a predator! Our last discussion about this turned pretty ugly, with my telling him I resented him for holding all the keys to sex and his telling me I was pushing him too hard and not trying hard enough and that, if I wanted to be a sl*t, to go ahead and be one. We ended with my apologizing for making him feel like crap and my promising to try to work harder at turning him on, and wjile things have been alright, I can tell I was saying those things to end the fight and move on.
What do I do?! I don’t just want validation that he’s being a jerk (though that’s how I feel right now) – we just got married and I want a long, happy (full of sex) life!
Thanks so much – I love your column!! It has given me so much entertainment, new ideas, and tips over the years. Thanks for getting me through my 20s! — Deprived Newlywed
Oooh, hell no. I was somewhat sympathetic to him through most of your letter – it’s normal for sex to decline a bit after a while and maybe he *does* need a little more foreplay than you do to get in the mood — but then I got to the part where he called you a slut (!) and, oh, fuck no. The rejecting you and gaslighting you and manipulating you (like blaming you for only initiating sex when you’re in the mood when that’s how it works, bozo) was all bad enough, but calling you a slut for wanting sex (with him, your brand new husband!) crosses a major line, and if I were you, I’d honestly be thinking about annulment, or at the VERY least, making an appointment with a marriage counselor STAT and using, like, 18 forms of birth control in the meantime.
It is VERY concerning that your husband’s attitude toward sex – and the way he makes you feel about how and when you initiate it — began roughly when you got married a few months ago. Any time behavior changes right after a wedding — especially when it becomes hostile and more aggressive — is a serious red flag. Couple the newlywed status with your trying to get pregnant, and there’s a lot for a therapist to help unpack (and for you to be super cautious about – i.e., please stop trying to get pregnant!). There’s a pattern with men who are abusive, and so far your husband is following it to a “T.” He won you over with all his positive traits – he was loyal, kind, and helpful. The sex was exciting and fun and open. You married him and immediately things began to change. Within months of your wedding, he’s rejecting every attempt you make to get intimate and calling you a slut. I can predict what happens next and I hope I’m wrong. I hope you get the support – from a good therapist – to take the steps that you need to take before your husband really hurts you. The damage is already beginning. Please don’t let him take it further. This isn’t even about sex. This is about control and respect – your husband wants all the control and he has zero respect for you. The red flags are flying all over the place here. Please heed their warnings.
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.
Liz October 24, 2019, 8:24 am
He doesn’t want to make babies, 18 types of birth control is a good idea.
brise October 24, 2019, 8:57 am
LW1: Just tell your BF your friend is trans. Wait… you don’t do it because you know he will react badly. Right? What does it say about him?
LW2: Totally agree with Wendy. He wants to control you. He wants sex when HE is in the mood. And a guy who reacts like this when you vamp him with lingerie: he doesn’t love you. Really. He wants out. He doesn’t want you to be pregnant.
You are in serious trouble. Therapy, yes, and… attorney. Sorry.
ele4phant October 24, 2019, 1:04 pm
Yeah, I feel like if the reaction to learning someone is trans is anything other than a relatively disinterested “Oh, okay”, that’s not great.
Like, what does it matter whether or not someone is trans? I guess if they’re open about it and telling stories their past, that could maybe be a little confusing? But, if you feel like something is being withheld from you by not explicitly being told, or you feel like you are being made a fool or something, I mean what?
Nick is a dude. Treat him like a dude. If the boyfriend gets confused, he can ask Nick to clarify, or Nick can clarify. If the boyfriends says shit around Nick he *wouldn’t* say if he knew Nick were trans, those aren’t the sorts of things he should be saying, to anyone, ever.
Essie October 24, 2019, 9:03 am
LW1: I don’t see this as fetishizing, I see it as someone with the same “diplomat” trait that I have. 🙂 I can understand where you’re coming from – if your BF is new to the friend group, is he the only one who doesn’t know the guy is trans? And you don’t a) want him to inadvertently put his foot in his mouth and feel bad about it and b) inadvertently make your friend feel bad?
If everyone else in the group knows this guy’s backstory except your BF, and he’s out on social media, and comments are sometimes made in the group that reference friend’s trans-ness, I don’t think you’re breaking confidences by mentioning that friend is trans.
My answer would change if you were one of a select few people in the group that friend has confided in, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.
LW1 October 24, 2019, 11:45 am
Thanks, this is exactly where I was coming from.
ele4phant October 24, 2019, 12:49 pm
I mean, it shouldn’t be embarrassing if someone is like “Actually, just FYI I’m actually trans, not CIS.” It doesn’t sound like Nick has an issue with this fact about this life, and being clarified that a fact you assume about someone’s life is incorrect shouldn’t make you feel shameful. That should just be like “Oh, got it.”
What could the boyfriend possibly be saying that might be “hurtful”? He shouldn’t be saying those sorts of things, regardless of whether or not he’s in the presence of someone who is trans. If he says things that are on the bubble, well you can (should!) address that head on, regardless of who may or may not be in the room.
LW1 October 24, 2019, 8:37 pm
I’ve been replying a bit to you below. Thanks again for your comments. I do just want to clarify that my boyfriend never says anything homophobic or transphobic. I’ll give an example where I did talk with him once. With another group of friends somebody mentioned a friend (who wasn’t there)’s girlfriend. My boyfriend commented, “Oh, to be honest, I thought that person was gay.” I was a little embarrassed he said that. That night I told him it wasn’t cool to stereotype like that and he apologized and said it was a stupid comment and he wouldn’t do it again. He really hasn’t.
One time with Nick and our group of friends, we were playing Cards Against Humanity and somebody gave Nick a kind of awkward card given he’s trans and Nick even said, “Well, that’s awkward”. I asked my boyfriend casually later if he put that in and he said he didn’t. He totally forgot about that. But that’s the kind of situation I don’t want to put my boyfriend in — if he by accident said something that might be taken the wrong way.
Lastly with the flower girl comment, I think my friend asked me if I’ve ever been a flower girl. Then my boyfriend made a stupid joke, “I’ve been a flower girl too.” Like ha ha, why didn’t you ask me. That’s when Nick said, “I’ve been a flower girl.” Obviously my boyfriend didn’t mean any harm in it. It was a silly dad joke. Would he have said that if he knew Nick was trans? Maybe. Maybe not.
SpaceySteph October 25, 2019, 1:48 pm
The fact that your boyfriend makes a lot of jokes that you think are rude in the presence of a trans person is a bigger deal than you make it out to be.
Casual homophobia and transphobia is absolutely a thing and maybe it doesn’t seem as damaging to you as overt transphobia like petitioning to keep trans people out of bathrooms that match their gender identity, it is still a huge problem.
If its something you shouldn’t say in front of a trans person, you shouldn’t say it period. Besides, you KNOW Nick is trans but there may be other people who you encounter that also pass and you don’t even know. So you never know who you might be hurting.
Boyfriend needs to examine his own behavior, regardless of whether Nick is trans. And you should think about whether this is someone you really want to associate with.
LW1 October 26, 2019, 7:46 am
I totally agree that casual homophobia and transphobia is a thing and just as hurtful. On the flip side I think we are fortunate that we have been educated. My boyfriend is from a small town and he hasn’t had that much exposure. It’s not an excuse but it’s a reason. I have told him the two what seemed like innocuous comments times it wasn’t ok and as far as I know he hasn’t done it again. I guess yes I am worried he will do it again because he will sometimes say stupid jokes (and I don’t even think the flowers girl “joke” is transphobic just a stupid comment) when he is nervous.,
Bittergaymark October 26, 2019, 10:53 am
The flower girl just was pretty unfunny. But transphobic? Eh, I don’t see it.
Moe October 24, 2019, 9:08 am
I felt the first letter was strange. Your boyfriend seems like mild acquaintances with Nick. Your boyfriend is probably not deeply invested in Nick’s life. Nick is a guy, a man, a dude. End of story. By agonizing about a big secret, you are communicating that you feel Nick’s manhood is somehow false and, as Wendy said, some kind of fetish or dirty little secret. If it happens to come up, tell him to ask Nick.
Essie October 24, 2019, 9:12 am
LW2: So, sex is great when he wants it, but when you want it, you’re a slut?
Jesus. That is the red flag to top all red flags. Counseling, stat. And until and unless you are convinced he’s completely over these (really disturbing) ideas around female sexuality, DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN WITH THIS MAN.
Skyblossom October 24, 2019, 9:13 am
LW2 Your husband calls you a slut and you end up apologizing for making him feel like crap? That’s terrible. That is inexcusable. I’d run to a counselor regardless of whether he wants to go. I think you need to go by yourself anyway to openly discuss the terrible way your husband is treating you and what you should do about it.
Whatever you do, don’t get pregnant at this time. I’m sorry to say but if this is the way your husband is going to treat you while married you should end the marriage. You didn’t agree to this. You married someone else and got a bait and switch guy.
Skyblossom October 24, 2019, 9:23 am
LW1 I don’t know your age group so don’t know if it is remotely the same and don’t know where you life, because that is probably highly relevant.
My daughter graduated from high school this spring. In her school and in her friend group kids were openly trans. It was no secret to be kept. It was just a fact.
If you live in an area where it isn’t safe to tell anyone that a friend is trans don’t say a word. If the friend is trans but never lets anyone know then don’t say a word.
I’d follow the lead of the trans friend. If they are openly trans, and in groups that include your boyfriend, making references to before they transitioned then they aren’t keeping the fact that they are trans a secret from your boyfriend. If you boyfriend has any friends who would be negative in any way to this trans friend then I would also probably say nothing. Look at your entire situation but follow the lead of the trans friend.
ktfran October 24, 2019, 9:53 am
I agree with this. If your trans friend is out, openly talks about it, it’s on his Social Media, etc., I think telling your boyfriend would be fine, especially since it will put some of Nick’s comments in better context. If he’s not hiding it, I don’t think it’s a secret you have to keep.
If Nick was a lot more secretive about his transition or you lived somewhere that could cause harm, I’d leave it completely up to him.
I’d love to hear from a Trans person on this.
ktfran October 24, 2019, 11:16 am
Also, this is very telling “We’re trying for a baby, and the sex has been so tied to when he wants things that I’m afraid I can’t initiate during my ovulation period because he’ll turn me down again.”
You should never be afraid to discuss things with your partner.
ktfran October 24, 2019, 11:16 am
Wrong post. That was supposed to be to LW2 and added to my post below.
LW1 October 24, 2019, 11:51 am
Thanks, this is truly just for context. My friend has made off hand remarks about transitioning (eg playing on girl only sports team when younger) and without context, it’s easy to brush off. And now that I think about it my boyfriend never made a joke about that either even when I’m pretty sure he didn’t understand. I think it’s just him not understanding or knowing that is giving me these feelings.
csp October 24, 2019, 9:27 am
LW2 – I am going to take a slightly different approach here. When you initiate, is it when you feel like he isn’t paying attention to you? And thus, when he is busy. I might be projecting here but I faced this early on in my marriage. My husband watches a TON of football and plays video games with his friends online. When he was doing this, I would be bored and think that was a good time to get frisky. But he had already made plans with his friends or wanted to watch football. So he would get mad and it took awhile to articulate why it was so annoying. I never stopped him from cleaning or mowing. I only stopped him from having fun and relaxing. So I learned to respect those times. Now, I think it would be good to go to a counselor. Honestly, marriages are long and things happen. It is nice to talk things out so little things don’t become big things.
ktfran October 24, 2019, 9:47 am
So, that is what I was initially wondering, was she initiating sex at super inconvenient times? After I read her entire post, I don’t think that’s the case. It sounds like he only wants sex when he wants it. The heated argument, the slut shaming, the making her feel so bad that she has to apologize… he’s not taking ownership of anything. He’s being a bully.
Couples counseling could work. Personally, I’d consider a divorce.
Miss MJ October 24, 2019, 9:53 am
I’m a “football widow” in the fall, too, so I get it. But even if she’s initiating during The Big Game (and they all are, amirite?), her husband calling her a slut for wanting to have sex with *him* is absolutely beyond the pale.
Ange October 24, 2019, 3:43 pm
That comment alone, even as a one off would have me seriously reconsidering things. It’s so pointed and nasty and designed to make her feel bad about wanting sex – with her own damn husband! To me it’s absolutely a tool designed to degrade and control her.
csp October 24, 2019, 11:58 am
I am not justifying the slut comment at all. But I wonder if that was a one off comment. They were angry and emotional. I know that I would not be looked at fondly for the worst thing I ever said to my husband. It might be that he is controlling or nervous about trying to have a baby. There is tremendous pressure when you make that decision. I just wanted to give her an option to think about. I think I assumed that men should always want sex at the drop of a hat. Then I would be hurt and assume that I wasn’t desirable at all because he wanted to do something else. I put too much of my self worth into it once we were married.
Bambi October 24, 2019, 9:49 am
Yikes! I think yall are being really hard on the husband in from LW2. Is calling his wife a slut OK? Hell no! However, do we all say things in the heat of the moment that we regret later? I would say, at least speaking for myself, yes. The LW admitted that she lost her temper during their arguments about sex from time to time. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! The LW did nothing wrong. Talking about sex, such an intimate topic, and for many people layered with self consciousness or guilt (not that it should be), is really challenging and bound to lead to defensiveness and lashing out. But come on shes only been married a few months and yall suggest she find an attorney and consider annulment? And Wendy, while I generally love you advice, I think it’s a stretch to say that the husband is on the the road toward abusive status.
Is therapy in order? I would say so. Mostly because I think there is something else going on regarding the husbands reticence to engage with his wife. My guess is some for of a Madonna-Whore complex. But not necessarily because he doesn’t want a baby, as some letter commentators suggested. Either way, exploring and unpacking these issues and having a save space to communicate about a difficult topic is exactly what therapy is for.
So LW I say don’t give up. I’m so sorry you are going through this and it sounds to me like you are doing nothing wrong. The first year of marriage is hard and I hope you can both find the tools to navigate through this rough patch.
golfer.gal October 24, 2019, 12:40 pm
But the problem is, this isn’t a one time incident where he said something awful and regrettable and immediately apologised and promised to never do it again. The derogatory name calling is part of a much larger pattern of manipulation and gaslighting. He is making it literally impossible for the LW to initiate sex (a super normal, healthy thing to do with her new husband) and then conveniently moves the goalposts every time she does what he asks of her. She shouldn’t be initiating when she’s in the mood (what the fuck?) and he calls her a slut for wanting intimacy with him (what the fuckity fuck), which has the underlying implication that she is, or would, sleep with someone else. Which is really manipulative- Instead of this being a *him* problem where he is treating his wife like garbage it’s now a *her* problem because she’s someone who would cheat on him and she should feel ashamed. She should try harder to get him in the mood, but apparently putting on sexy lingerie for that purpose is too much trying because then there’s pressure on him. He needs the timing to be exactly right, but he won’t tell her what that timing is, and when she gets it wrong he gives her hell. He also gets to tell her why she is so enthusiastic about him initiating sex (it’s all the compliments he gives, apparently)- he just gets to tell her why she does things and what she thinks and feels without ever, you know, asking her. This is absolutely, 100% about power and control. And I will bet dollars to donuts the LW will never find the right, magical combination of factors to initiate sex and have him be receptive.
Something is very, very wrong here. Maybe he doesn’t actually want children. Maybe he is showing you that he is a chauvinistic, insecure, abusive douchecanoe. Maybe both. Maybe neither. Therapy, stat, if you aren’t ready to initiate an annulment or divorce. I’d also take all sex off the table for now and get back on birth control.
Skyblossom October 24, 2019, 1:05 pm
“However, do we all say things in the heat of the moment that we regret later? I would say, at least speaking for myself, yes.”
Have you ever read any of the books by John Gottman? He’s the marriage researcher who became able to predict whether a couple would get divorced within five years by the way they argued. Lashing out during an argument is one of those key things that leads to divorce. It is highly destructive. The satisfaction you get out of causing hurt in the moment doesn’t at all match the hurt your partner feels. The hurt goes on after the argument and changes the way you view your partner. It changes you from seeing them as positive to seeing them as a negative, ugly, harmful person.
Some people don’t try to hurt their partner during an argument. They focus on trying to resolve the issue. That’s the constructive way to argue. That’s the way to care about the marriage, even during an argument. That’s the way to stay married.
brise October 25, 2019, 4:32 am
The LW2’s husband is not only on the road of abusive behavior. He is already abusive towards his wife: dismissing her, calling her normal, natural advances as alienating and “slutty”, making her feel she doesn’t adore him enough to be allowed to express her desire… This is called emotional and verbal abuse. The very sign is: she is APOLOGISING for HIS abuse!!!
By the way, a madonna/whore complex is probable. And it is very bad news for the LW. Personally, I think she would be better off with a rapid divorce because it is not going to be solved by miracle. She is angry and miserable. Sex is awfully important. You can’t change a personality and an inconscious pattern. This relationship is a crash in motion.
brise October 25, 2019, 7:07 am
A recent wedding is no argument to stay in an abusive relationship. This is the “sunk costs fallacy”. It is not uncommun that a relationship crashes soon after a wedding. It reveals the personalities, the couple’s dynamics, and the long term prospect. If you see that it is imploding, leaving is the most reasonable option. In such a case of deterioration, it is best to break up before too much is invested, and before children are born. It is painful, but it will be more and more painful and damageable the longer you stay. You have to respect yourself first.
The question is: are you ready to live like this for the next 50 years? I wouldn’t. A therapy and a discussion with an attorney about the options are the right way to go.
Skyblossom October 24, 2019, 10:23 am
LW2 People often carry over the patterns that they saw in their parents marriage into their own. If your husband watched either or both parents insulting each other during arguments he may drop into the same pattern. That doesn’t make it excusable. There is no excuse for treating you that way. None.
Many people feel that they can be themselves once they are married. Once the commitment is all sealed up by marriage they don’t have to be “fake” anymore. I would take a hard look at him and think about whether he can change and whether you could spend your life living this way.
If he ever calls you any name while arguing you should look him in the eye and tell him it is inexcusable. Tell him that if he wants to remain married to you he will never call you names again. Instead of you apologizing you need to set the boundary about how you will be treated in this marriage. A counselor could do a better job of explaining how to handle a situation like this but this must be handled now. You need to stop this now.
Skyblossom October 24, 2019, 10:58 am
You should then ask him why he would think it was okay to call you a slut. Then ask why he is being that insulting.
Him: You slut.
You: There is never an excuse for calling me a slut. If you want to remain married to me you will never call me a slut, or any or derogatory name, again. Do you understand? (However you would word this but it must be firm and nonnegotiable. You are setting the standards for how you will be treated in this marriage. You are setting the standard for what your children will learn to see as normal and acceptable.)
Look him in the eye and wait for an answer. Do not be afraid of a long, quiet, dead space. Do not try to fill the silence. You are waiting for him to speak. If he says he won’t call you names again, good. If he tries to justify the names look him in the eye and say it won’t be happening again. There is no way to justify calling your wife names.
Either way, whether he agrees to quit calling you names or tries to justify it ask him why he thought it was okay to call you a slut/or whatever he came up with.
Keep looking at him and expecting an answer. Why does he think it is okay to call you names. Then add, why do you think it is okay to treat me this way? Why do you think it is okay to insult me? Why do you think it is okay to be cruel?
He is probably not thinking of himself as bad or mean or insulting or cruel. You need to frame it for what it is. It is insulting. He is saying you are an immoral woman. He is treating you with contempt. It is up to you to put him on the spot and call it exactly what it is. Make him explain why he would be the person to treat you that way. Make him realize that he is being ugly. Make him own his behavior.
If you tell him he can’t call you names if he wants to remain married you need to be ready to walk out the door if it happens again. It means know where you would go on a moments notice. It means grab a bag and leave. It means don’t go back until he has had enough counseling that you have confidence it won’t repeat.
Tree October 24, 2019, 11:09 am
This is excellent advice, especially about letting the silence sit.
I’d just add that beyond making him explain why he thought it was okay to name-call, make him explain why he thinks wanting sex with your husband makes someone a slut. The name calling is a huge concern. So is the underlying attitude. He sounds like he has a madonna/whore mindset and that’s still going to be there if he starts biting his tongue.
Skyblossom October 24, 2019, 1:09 pm
The reason he gives for calling you a slut, or anything else, will be telling.
If the reason is because that’s the way people argue or that’s what his parents always did there is room for him to learn a better way of arguing.
If the reason is because you are a slut or because you deserve it or because you made him talk to you that way then I think you are done. Those are core attitudes. That would be the way he thinks and acts in a marriage. It is pretty impossible to get someone who thinks you are a slut and need to be put in your place to change.
You need to figure out which mindset you are dealing with. One has some hope for change and one doesn’t.
LW1 October 24, 2019, 11:56 am
Thanks for the response. I will say the word “fetishizing” made me upset but overall I agree and appreciate Wendy’s advice. I am certainly not fetishizing. But if my letter reads like it, I will accept it.
My friend is male. He dates females. It’s a fact to me. I don’t think it’s a secret to hide. But just like I don’t announce to people an out friend is gay I don’t want to do it here either. I am cautious about privacy. Fortunately I live in an accepting and supportive community where LGBTQ are relatively safe. I am sure if I told my boyfriend he would just say “oh ok”. So yes I don’t want to “gossip” and talk about Nick behind his back. But I do want to give context to my boyfriend so he’s not just brushing off what Nick says.
ele4phant October 24, 2019, 12:42 pm
I mean, does it matter if your boyfriend brushes off what Nick says? Does it matter if he realizes Nick isn’t CIS? If he treats Nick like a man, well Nick is a man.
It sounds like Nick is open about his past, so it’s not like it’s a secret. But, all the same, it is Nick’s personal information, not yours, that Nick can choose to share or make explicit to who he wants when he wants. It isn’t your information.
If your boyfriend is being dense, your boyfriend is being dense.
However, if “putting his foot in his mouth” means he’s making trans jokes or something, that’s inappropriate and you should call him on that, regardless of whose in the room or who specifically the jokes are in reference to.
If what you mean your boyfriend will say something like :”Oh, wait, did you mean you were a flower boy?” to one of Nick’s stories, Nick can just handle it however Nick wants. I mean, it really shouldn’t be a big embarrassing thing…for anyone…if that happens. Its just letting Nick clarify a fact about himself.
LW1 October 24, 2019, 2:05 pm
Yes, the flower boy comment is exactly the thing my boyfriend would say. The “embarrassing” moment would pass but this leads to a couple things:
1) it’s weird I haven’t already told my boyfriend but
2) it’s Nick’s personal information. I don’t expect him to make it explicit.
Skyblossom October 24, 2019, 1:11 pm
Nick may just assume the boyfriend knows. His being trans is common knowledge and he may find it ridiculous to personally tell each person he knows that he is trans.
Miss MJ October 24, 2019, 1:21 pm
I would assume this, as well, given how open Nick is about it. Just mention it to your boyfriend, LW, the next time it seems appropriate to do so (i.e., no need for a Big Conversation or anything like that) because I think it’s probably weirder that no one would have just told him since everyone (but him, apparently) knows, you know?
LW1 October 24, 2019, 2:09 pm
I don’t expect him to. I could take his “flower girl” comment as consent that he’s ok with my boyfriend knowing so the next opportunity I can let him know. Definitely not a Big Conversation.
But see all the points that it is Nick’s personal information.
ele4phant October 24, 2019, 2:29 pm
Yeah, I mean if boyfriend was later like, wait that story about Nick being a flower girl was confusing, I’m sure it’s fine to say “Oh, Nick is trans.” I’m sure Nick wouldn’t mind that, given that he is already pretty public with his life history.
But to make it into a big production just seems…unnecessary. And frankly, if your boyfriend isn’t asking I don’t think he cares. that much. As long as he is being respectful to and around Nick (and really, behind Nick’s back too), I don’t see a problem.
If it comes up, sure, clarify. But there’s no need to go out of your way looking for an opportunity to do so.
dinoceros October 24, 2019, 4:01 pm
I probably would have just said after that conversation, “You know he’s trans, right?” Since I noticed that it was causing confusion.
CurlyQue October 24, 2019, 1:30 pm
Your spending an awful lot of effort wanting to clarify something for your boyfriend that he’s shown no interest in. It really seems like your projecting something (i dunno know what). I’d suggest let it go. Your bf can ask Nick to explain a comment, or ask you about it later (in which case i think it’d be ok to confirm) but for now just leave it be.
Ange October 24, 2019, 3:55 pm
I think too framing it as some sort of big secret you’re hiding from your boyfriend isn’t helping. I think one thing we do wrong when talking about diversity and inclusion is we get so tied up in trying to be inclusive we accidentally ‘other’ someone. Nick is out here being Nick, I just don’t think his life requires so much worry behind the scenes. If your BF accidentally says something innocuous and Nick corrects him I’m sure you’ll all move on pretty easily. If he gets mad at you for not telling him then I think it’s pretty easy to point out it’s not your business to tell and it doesn’t change the previous friend dynamic that was working well for all of you.
C October 24, 2019, 12:16 pm
Rather than trans, is the situation any different than if friend was divorced, widowed, adopted, prior felon, or host of any other “defining” characteristics, as to sharing the information with boyfriend or others? If the individual openly references such in public environments, then I think it’s safe to assume they are comfortable with the information / background being known.
SubbyP October 24, 2019, 2:48 pm
LW1: I’m nonbinary and my fiancee is a trans woman, so I have tons of first-hand experience, and I gotta ask–have you considered just asking Nick what his comfort level is in terms of friends and acquaintances knowing about him being trans?
Seriously, no need to dance around the topic. Just pull him aside when you’re hanging out, or shoot him a private message on social media, and say something like, “Hey, Nick, for future reference, are you okay with me referring to you being trans, and, if so, in what circumstances and with what wording should I do it?” Then follow his instructions.
Comfort levels and preferred language vary in the trans/nonbinary community. For example, I’m completely uncloseted, have legally changed my name, and REALLY don’t like to be referred to as “female” or with any gendered term, whereas my fiancee is open socially but uses her dead name with the legal system and considers “male” to be an accurate descriptor for some of her experiences. It’s better to ask! It might feel a bit awkward, but you’ll know what’s what, and I for one would rather answer questions than have to deal with dysphoria and confusion.
NB: I’m autistic, so I’m more comfortable being frank than the average person might be. Also, DON’T ask Nick questions about highly intimate things like his sex life or his physical transition status and/or plans.
dinoceros October 24, 2019, 3:57 pm
LW1: I’m a little uncomfortable with what I see as some of the assumptions here. First, for Nick not to tell someone, doesn’t mean he’s hiding. Some trans people identify as trans and some just identify as man or woman or any other gender. So, it’s certainly not them hiding something to simply present themselves to people they meet as that particular gender, without saying they are trans.
If your boyfriend would be mad not to know or needs to be told a trans person is present in order to not make inappropriate comments, then that’s a personal problem that has nothing to do with Nick.
Ange October 24, 2019, 3:59 pm
I had an ex that was similar about sex. Always when he wanted and he regularly denied me. He would say it was because I initiated wrong or whatever but looking back it was really because he could tell it was something I wanted and he enjoyed having that control that denial gave him. I’m sure the feeling of power he got from knowing a woman wanted him and he could turn her down didn’t hurt either ?
Anyway OP that relationship ended TERRIBLY so please, please look after yourself and hold off on babies until it’s sorted one way or another.
ron October 24, 2019, 4:11 pm
Yes, LW#2 describes a rapidly dying relationship.
Bittergaymark October 24, 2019, 4:15 pm
LW1) The whole trans thing can be a real power-keg as far as saying the wrong thing. Wendy has good advice. But…,Honestly, the whole reason this is even an issue is Nick keeps saying things that make it so — like him being a flower girl in some long ago wedding. Ask Nick what he wants — but really, if he wants this kept hush-hush… he should stop talking about being a flower girl in the past.
LW2). This is yet another dreary I’m married to a great guy introductory paragraph —quickly and cluelessly followed up by a long ass letter about just how truly awful this so called great guy is. NEWSFLASH: He’s NOT that great. Far from it.
Part-time Lurker October 24, 2019, 4:25 pm
LW 1 if your friend had red hair, would you feel the need to tell your boyfriend that he used to be blonde? If you set aside all of the emotional issues and extraneous questions, that’s really all it boils down to. Your friend used to present as female, now he presents as male. End of story. Please don’t think that I’m trying to minimize the difficulties, emotional upheaval, pain or danger of being trans. What I’m getting at is that acceptance of someone’s identity should be just that, acceptance of things at face value without adding qualifiers or explanations so that other people “get it”. Hopefully, that makes sense.
Dear Wendy October 25, 2019, 7:45 am
In a sense this is true, but the reality is that no one is going to face much persecution for being outed as having once had a different hair color whereas in our society at large, trans people face enormous risk being out – they risk losing jobs, privacy, their families, and all kinds of legal rights (of course, these risks vary depending on where one lives, but generally-speaking, it’s a dangerous world and country for trans people). If we lived in a fair and just world, your analogy would totally fit, but the reality is that we live in a really fucked up, backwards, hate-filled world where people are afraid of what they perceive as different and so those who *are* different than the masses are at high risk for all sorts of things the rest of us are privileged to never even have to think about.
Part-time Lurker October 25, 2019, 8:51 am
This is true and I was not in any way trying to minimize what trans people go thru or how they feel. (I knew I would have a hard time articulating this and I still am.) My point is more that the LW should stop tying herself in knots over this, because while it is a very important part of life for her friend, by transitioning he’s already implicitly stated how he wants to be seen and rather than discussing his past she should focus on who he is now, because that’s what’s important. I guess maybe what it boils down too is if she thinks her boyfriend will do anything more than shrug when he finds out what she should actually be thinking about is her relationship. (Sigh) I’m still unable to find a better way to express this.
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 12:35 pm
Hi all, I’m the spouse in question.
My wife left out quite a few details, including (as she mentions in her update) her comments about finding a boyfriend who would satisfy her on demand the way I used to. I take responsibility for calling her something very rude but it certainly wasn’t out of the blue and it absolutely wasn’t related to her wanting sex inside of our marriage, but which I believe is always healthy.
As she said we’ve been talking about what makes me comfortable enough to have sex. I have a much lower libido than her and the way she used to initiate made me feel very used, thus the call for more compliments and foreplay. There’s nothing wrong with foreplay, especially when it’s spread out throughout the day.
I just wanted everyone in here (and the update post if you make it that far) to know that I fully believe in a healthy sex life and that my wife and I are working towards more productive and less heated arguments.
anonymousse November 5, 2019, 12:55 pm
You feel your wife is using you for sex? Your wife. For trying to initiate sex?
It doesn’t matter the context, calling your new wife a slut is really beyond the pale. I can’t believe you think that’s okay. I feel sorry for your wife. She will probably never forget that you called her that.
Seek counseling. You coming on this site to defend yourself and not your wife is yet another red flag. Talk about controlling!
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 1:03 pm
So just so I’m clear here, you’re saying my new wife can threaten cheating on me to satisfy her sexual urges but I can’t call her names related to those threats?
anonymousse November 5, 2019, 1:15 pm
I don’t think her empty threat was fair, but she doesn’t deserve to be called a slut. If striking back with one of the worst insults is your first inclination in a disagreement, you need to find a counselor. You’re not a nice person. You only allow sex on your terms. That’s not a fair partnership.
You want compliments and foreplay, you want to call her names and then you come on here to defend your own shitty behavior. You’re selfish and controlling.
Vathena November 5, 2019, 1:09 pm
“…satisfy her on demand the way I used to…As she said we’ve been talking about what makes me comfortable enough to have sex. I have a much lower libido than her…”
So, was it just a straight up bait and switch? Now that you’re married, you can just dispense with pretending to want sex with your wife, instead making her jump through hoops to get the situation juuuust right (foreplay and compliments, but not trying TOO hard! Or putting on pressure! But you need foreplay! But not any obvious display of desire!) so you can reject her for any reason and have her think it’s her fault?
I return again and again to, you’ve only been married a few months. Is this how you want to spend a LIFETIME? Right now your should be blissfully in love and unable to keep your hands off each other. Birth control, birth control, birth control until you figure this out.
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 1:13 pm
I see I’ve come to the wrong place for understanding. I say my wife mentions wanting a boyfriend to satisfy her because I wouldn’t have sex with her instantly on the spot for the 4th time that week and *I’m* the controlling one? I’m sorry for commenting.
Vathena November 5, 2019, 1:15 pm
Of course threatening to cheat is horrifying as well. You and your wife sound poorly matched and have a pretty toxic way of interacting. I can’t believe that you would consider having kids when you JUST got married and you’re already having these kinds of fights. The future of your marriage looks pretty grim. Happily married people don’t speak to each other that way.
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 1:41 pm
Miss MJ November 5, 2019, 1:24 pm
OMG, did you go through your wife’s phone or computer to find this or did she tell you about it (and if so, why???)? And, either way, what did you expect when you came on here to “defend” yourself by justifying calling her terrible names by saying “she’s awful, too!” without doing anything to address the underlying problem, which is, at best hugely incompatible sex drives and at worst you using access to sex as a controlling technique.
Also, LW – this behavior right here – it’s a huge red flag. Your husband would rather come on here and justify his behavior and blame it on you rather than work on the actual issue with you. He’s still literally blaming it all on you. You know this marriage is a mistake.
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 1:29 pm
Of course she told me about it, there’s no need to assume even more horrible things about me than everyone here already has. We are working on it together, not here on this website. Both of us can say extremely hurtful things to each other during fights. I just thought it was important for people to see that her story is only half the story.
Kate November 5, 2019, 1:26 pm
Wow, the two of you are making me really uncomfortable, but particularly you. The way you’re fighting and talking to each other and about each other is really really bad. Considering it’s a new marriage, this is awful. I don’t like your tone or your bait and switch at all, and I find it hard to believe she threatened you with cheating because you didn’t want to have sex for a 4th time that week. That doesn’t really add up. God, I feel icky reading your self-righteous response. Why are you even posting here? I agree, get help.
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 1:30 pm
While you may find it hard to believe, that doesn’t change the facts.
Kate November 5, 2019, 1:32 pm
The fact that you’re posting on here is scary and creepy.
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 1:40 pm
Very unfair. She gave me the link herself, I have every right to comment.
Kate November 5, 2019, 1:43 pm
“Very unfair,” ok Donald Trump.
But seriously, your ~rights~ aside, why are you posting? If your marriage was at all functional, you’d be working through this extremely disturbing material offline together, and maybe she would come back and update us on the progress. You jumping into this thread is beyond disturbing. You’re proving Wendy right.
Kate November 5, 2019, 1:46 pm
Oh and I see you agreed above you’re poorly matched and your marriage has a grim future. Go make an appointment with a divorce lawyer. This is sick.
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 2:02 pm
I agreed that the way things are going it does not look good, yes. I’m posting because my wife wrote about us and I also am writing about us. I find it hard to find the difference between these two acts. Is this website only for one-sided stories? If so, I see why you wouldn’t want me intruding.
Kate November 5, 2019, 2:15 pm
Dude, your wife tried to paint you in a good light. Wendy saw through it, obviously, and then your wife wrote an update basically defending you and your marriage. Then you decide to jump in here instead of communicating directly with your wife, and you look just as bad as Wendy thought. You’re making things worse every time you post.
anonymousse November 5, 2019, 2:42 pm
Go see a therapist and learn how to act like an adult. You should not even be thinking of having kids when you behave worse than a child would. It’s ridiculous you treat your wife this way.
Ange November 5, 2019, 4:22 pm
At the very least you got to the marriage stage by lying about your true libido and not once talking about what you needed to feel comfortable for sex, then when your wife is naturally blind sided and hurt you have a terrible fight and call her names.
Her fighting style by threatening to cheat isn’t good but dude you faked a whole fucking sex life until you got her down the aisle. Your mutual communication is absolutely shithouse but how exactly did you think that was going to play out? Marriage isn’t some get out of jail free card for changing the rules. You did a massive bait and switch while she kept playing the way she knew how, work on your shit with her instead of coming here to play hurt and sling blame.
Vathena November 5, 2019, 4:30 pm
Allornone November 5, 2019, 2:44 pm
I wonder if “her” update was her own idea…
Kate November 5, 2019, 2:58 pm
Spouse of Deprived November 5, 2019, 3:05 pm
Kate November 5, 2019, 3:10 pm
It checks out.
MaterialsGirl November 5, 2019, 3:48 pm
I really hope the wife isn’t in the groveling stages now and ‘apologizing’ for writing in. That’s another huge red flag: cutting off a person’s contact with resources like friends or sounding boards.
Kate November 5, 2019, 5:12 pm
Allornone’s theory is more likely, but I have a slight suspicion that the LW and the “spouse” are one and the same, and the “spouse’s” posts are just part of the campaign to not make the husband look so bad. If so, it’s definitely not working. This marriage is a hot garbage pile.
Peggy November 5, 2019, 4:20 pm
I don’t understand why either of you went ahead and got married-surely things were terrible before you did, since this is already a s#it show.? If you magically thought marriage would fix that you are both mistaken.
Moe April 18, 2022, 2:11 pm
lW1: I think you are making WAY too much of this, especially considering you and especially your boyfriend aren’t even that CLOSE to him! Something you are forgetting is that anyone could be trans so any remark that is transphobic or inappropriate for company in which you KNOW there is a trans person shouldn’t be said in ANY space with others. Have a talk with him about that! The way I’d handle it is if it comes up in conversation, like saying he was a flower girl, I might ask, if he seemed ok discussing it, “Did you know then that you were a dude?” Then your boyfriend might say, “Huh. I didn’t know you were trans.” But a very important lesson is that YOU are not responsible for what your boyfriend says or does!!! If Nick is very sensitive or feels that it is a topic he’d rather not discuss, you might casually mention, “just FYI: Nick h in a trans so he prefers not to talk about….”. The key is to not think of it as a DEEP DARK EXCITING SECRET!