Fantasy Game

24 Mar

Dear LetterBalm: After a failed marriage and too many years of online dating, I finally connected with a man I really like. He’s smart, nice and pretty good in bed. But there’s one thing that troubles me. Any time we’re out socially, he likes me to talk to other guys and mildly flirt with them. Afterwards, he goes on about how they all wanted me and were attracted to me, but they can’t have me. It’s really stupid because they’re not attracted to me at all. Besides, I don’t like to flirt because I only like my boyfriend. He persists in these fantasies – they get him all worked up and he wants to have sex – even when I tell him I get uncomfortable doing all this and I’m not in the mood to make love. He needs to cool his imagination.

–Not a Tease

Ms. L.B. supposes that, on one level, it is rather sweet that your lover finds you so beautiful that he wants to show you off. If you were more outgoing, you might find it harmless fun. But his penchant for pimping you out for flirtations when you’re unwilling is, frankly, mildly creepy. The central issue is whether your boyfriend’s imagination is compelling him to act in a way that presents problems for your future relationship. Does your lover get jealous as he imagines other men desiring you? Are his fantasies taking over in the bedroom – can he have sex only in this context? Does he stop when you tell him you don’t want to make love? Is he trying to control you in other ways? You need to consider carefully whether all his good qualities outweigh this quirk, and how serious it is in the bigger picture of your life together. Weigh what might happen if he refuses to back down from his fantasies. Think about what you’ll say because you have to make him understand it could be a dealbreaker:

Maury, please pay attention and listen to what I’m going to say. This is very important to me, to us, and it’s no joking matter. You’re such a wonderful man in so many ways. But there’s one thing that’s a problem – you wanting me to approach other men when we’re out together. I’m all in favor of fantasies but only when both people share them. You know I’m reluctant about flirting with other guys. It makes me uncomfortable. I’m concerned because you insist on it, you want us to have sex when we get home and you talk about the flirting in detail. I’ve asked you repeatedly not to ask me to do it anymore, but you won’t listen and you tell me I’m being too sensitive. And, really, neither me nor the guys is making any kind of connection. I feel like you want to control me in ways I don’t want. Would you be willing for us to talk to a counselor who can help us sort this out? Because if you’re not, I gotta tell you that all this is a big turnoff and raises big alarms for me.

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