Dear Dan: I’m a 44-year-old married gay male. I recently found out my 30-year-old husband has been sending dick pics to randoms on Grindr. He says he doesn’t remember who he sent pics to, or why, other than I was working late and he was drunk and pissed at me. I want to be mature about this, but I’m really hurt. We’ve been together more than four years and married six months. We have a closed, monogamous relationship. He says he’s been faithful, and I believe him. I’m struggling to trust him, however. Am I overreacting?
— Help Understanding Relationship Trauma
Dear HURT: Which would you rather have, HURT: This particular husband (aka the man you married) or a husband (a generic husband) who wouldn’t, couldn’t, and didn’t send dick pics to randoms on Grindr? Given a choice between a perfect, flawless, blameless but imaginary husband and the imperfect, flawed, living, breathing husband you’ve got, which would you pick?
Personally, I recommend choosing actual-and-flawed husbands over perfect-and-imaginary ones. (I’m not telling you to do anything I haven’t done and that my own husband hasn’t done.)
With that said, HURT, and hopefully with that choice made, your husband needs to drop the “I was mad at you for working late” bullshit and take responsibility for his actions. Drunk may have played a role, as booze is the great disinhibitor, but swapping dick pics isn’t something reasonable dick-having people do in response to run-of-the-mill annoyances. Your husband sent those pics because he enjoys showing off the goods. Your husband has an exhibitionistic streak.
So what to do about it? You could forbid it, HURT, but creating a little space in our marriages for pleasures we may not share or fully understand — making accommodations instead of issuing threats — can make our marriages stronger, not weaker, less contentious and therefore less brittle. If swapping pics makes your husband feel desirable, and he plows that sexual energy into you… not only aren’t you being betrayed, you’re benefiting.
If I were you, HURT, I would grant him this small zone of erotic autonomy.
Dear Dan: I’m a Canadian gay man, married eight years to a man with a thing for men spitting in his face. It’s a degradation thing (of course), and I would do it for him but it can’t be me. It can’t be someone he loves, someone who loves him, it has to be someone he doesn’t know, someone who regards him with contempt. He finds guys to do this for him on the hookup apps, and I don’t have a problem with it. I do have a problem leaning in for a kiss when his face reeks of some other man’s spit. He likes the “lingering scent” — I do not. He says I’m kink-shaming him when I recoil and ask him to go wash his face. He’s agreed to abide by your ruling, Dan. Should he wash his damn face?
— Smelling Patooey Irks This Spouse
Dear SPITS: You’ve accommodated your husband’s kink. He needs to return the favor and accommodate your nose. He should wash his damn face — and get his damn flu shot.
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