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August 17, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I've recently discovered your website -- though it's too bad I've had to consult it in the first place, if you know what I mean.... I could write an epic saga here, because that's me, but I must keep it short due to the fact I'm at work. The situation: I've been in a relationship with KT for a little over a year now, and I love him immensely. He's bright, adorable, talented, incredibly fun, hysterically funny, "gets" me, and we truly have a wonderful time together. (BTW, I'm 26, he's 24). In fact, our relationship -- aside from the "normal" issues every relationship tends to face & tackle as it progresses -- felt like a truly blissful union of minds & hearts, UNTIL. Until I found out that he's what some call a "sex addict." HELLO? Believe me, I didn't see it coming either. We had certainly gone over our sexual histories together many times (who we'd been with, exes, flings, etc.) AND were both tested for HIV when we decided to commit to each other, but KT rather CONVENIENTLY (for himself) left out the details of his fondness for pornographic magazines, movies, phone sex, chat rooms, etc (to be fair, I DID know about this stuff, but not the EXTENT to which he partook), not to MENTION the fact that, in the years before he met me, he went through a phase where he called escorts and visited booths in Times Square, etc. How did I find all this out? One or two little suspicions ended up becoming a full on Spanish Inquisition one night -- and I honestly don't know...sometimes I wish I'd never even probed. You know the deal about how "don't ask the question if you don't want to hear the answer"...This whole shakedown occured about a month ago. Since then, we've had many talks, and he's even started to attend SAA meetings (I don't know whether to cringe in disgust that I have a bf who goes to freaking SAA meetings, or be happy that he honestly wants to change his destructive attitudes toward sex and learn how not to be compulsive for the betterment of our relationship). Meanwhile, I practically feel sorry for him at this point because he's been so contrite, giving, supportive of my feelings, understanding about my rage, and admitting to the fact that he was wrong and truly wants to grow up and forge a truly healthy relationship with me. I've been wanting to write for weeks now, but have avoided it because I do LOVE him -- does that mean I have the power to forgive these things he's done while with me (phone sex, computer stuff, no physical cheating -- but isn't it mental cheating, anyway? -- and overlook his past? Sometimes I can forget about everything and just enjoy our relationship. And then out of nowhere the realization -- that my sweet, wonderful boyfriend has the capacity to engage in behavior that frankly doesn't respect our love -- will hit me in the stomach like a ton of bricks. He has been extremely patient with my erratic handling of all this (one day everything's fine and I'm convinced we'll get through it just fine, the next day I'm freaking out and grilling him again for more details that will just hurt me to hear), but needless to say, this hasn't exactly been a boon to either my self esteem or my trust in him. Sometimes I feel "duped" -- because if I'd known about his past/current habits when we first started dating, I obviously wouldn't have gotten serious with him -- who would? But also, who's going to admit/reveal that kind of stuff to someone they're interested in and want to date? Did he screw me over unforgivably?? What I need to know is, is the damage already done and I should just end it now because there's no way I'll ever be able to forgive him/deal with this side of him....or is this something that time, talking (thank GOD we are definitely able to talk to each other) maybe even (gulp) counseling can help? The worst thing about a problem like this one is that I'm not even comfortable talking to my friends about it because it's downright embarassing. Who wants their friends to know this kind of info?? Anyway, this is why I'm thankful for the chance to benefit from some of the impartial yet sensitive advice I've observed in your site. So much for keeping it short... Thanks.

-- AR

Dear AR,

Actually, Belleruth and I would suggest that some slobbering over porn is not the same as cheating. Now, were you to tell me that he'd WRITTEN THE MUSICAL SCORE for any pornographic films, I'd send you straight to the Breakup List. But otherwise, I do think that we can all work something out. Especially because, as Belleruth points out: "Clearly he gets turned on by the idea of sex being anonymous, "dirty," whatever -- but it sounds like this guy knows how to have a relationship."


1. Try not to throw this baby with the bathwater. Says BR: "If in fact, this is a really great relationship, and the sharing, mutual kindness, sex and intimacy is all terrific, and he's getting help for his excessive leaning into his fantasy life, why, I say that's grand.

2. Stop grilling him.

3. Yeah, don't talk about this with friends, cause you might marry him and that could be awkward.

4. BR sez: "Look to see if you aren't perhaps over-reacting a tad with excessive prudishness. It's DEFINTELY upsetting to discover he's kept secrets; and maybe he's got a split going on in his psyche, with dirty sex in one corner and love sex in the other, but that's not the end of the world, especially if he finds you, his love interest, sexy. In fact at some point you may want to tramp up your routine with a nice hooker outfit, just to indulge him. Between two consenting, playful adults, really not a big deal."

5. Because of the points I've italicized above, I'd suggest that you grit your teeth and try and stop confusing this stuff with cheating. It's waaaaaaaay sexier than righteous indignation.

Breakup Girl



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