Q: Hi, Chris:
I am 56-years-old, divorced and have been dating my boyfriend (a bachelor age 51 and living in Maryland) for 2.5 years. As time goes on, I'm finding out he's more selfish and stubborn than ever. We see each other on weekends, taking turns with locations. We do have some wonderful times together, but then he has this totally different side which comes out of nowhere.
Since dating him, I've gained some weight (not obese) and I'm trying to get it off. He always says he loves me and my body as I am. I don't let my weight keep us from having a good sex life. His actions with Playboy publications, however, speak louder than words.
Here's the scenario:
We went into a bookstore, so I could find the Mediterranean diet. While I was looking, he picked out a few books AND a 2010 Playboy calendar. When I noticed the calendar I asked him, "Are you going to buy that?" and he said YES. His response to "why?” was, "because I can.”
I was visibly upset because he told me he would stop buying these at the end of 2008, and now I'm wondering why must he have this visual stimulation?
What an in-your-face contradiction this was to me and came across as disrespectful. He said he continues his Playboy subscription because he likes to read the articles, but it all seems like a lie now. I became silent and told him he hurt my feelings as it makes me more insecure about my body. When I tried to talk with him about it, he stopped me, said he didn't want to hear it.
He lashed back with a rude comment "you need to get over your insecurity", and we went our separate ways since Labor Day morning and still neither one has called the other.
He actually became angry with me because I was upset with him for hurting my feelings. (This always happens and I'm the one who typically breaks the silence.) I vowed this time to not do so and haven't contacted him. There have been a few other situations lately where he's been cocky.
My question is, am I wrong to feel so upset about his behavior with Playboy magazine/calendars? I'm thinking about dumping him, am I right?
-- Fuming in Fairfax, VA
A: Dear Bachelorette:
Playboy magazine is a pretty harmless magazine in my opinion, but I'm more liberal than most in those areas. Heck, I'd probably read it with him—as long as he doesn't mind my copy of Playgirl!
Where I'm not so liberal is someone who comes across as disrespectful, arrogant and not very compassionate. Your boyfriend, pardon me, sounds like he's been displaying those signs much too often.
It was rude for him to throw the Playboy calendar in your face, when he knows you want to lose weight and get back in shape. It was thoughtless and aggressive; he knew you went to the bookstore to buy a DIET book.
I wouldn't be so hard on him, though, for reading Playboy itself or buying a silly calendar (and I agree with him about one thing--stop being insecure about your body!) He tells you he loves you and your body when you're naked, right? I would take that at face value.
As far as dumping him, unless he's consistently making you feel inadequate, I'd do exactly as you are now--DO NOT CONTACT HIM. It's his turn to come around TO YOU. As you stated, you're the one who usually breaks the silence. I wonder why that is? It sounds like you are insecure about your partnership.
Good relationships take a lot of work, and it's not easy for anyone at any age--but when you are 50's and older, it's even harder to find someone compatible.
SO, if you have more wonderful times with him than not, I'd say hang in there and make sure you develop more of a spine. Demand he treat you respectfully with his words AND actions (meaning it's okay for him to read Playboy, but if he knows it bothers you, he shouldn't throw it in your face.)
Otherwise, do not bug him anymore about Playboy--or you will come across as an insecure niggling nag, and no man wants that in his life. Also, your sex life is good, so his reading habits aren't affecting that area at all (and may even be improving it :)
On the flip side, if you experience more bad times with this man than good, maybe it is time you give him the heave-ho. Sounds like your boyfriend needs to decide how much he wants you in his life, too.
P.S. While this may sound silly or "tit for tat,” next time you're in the bookstore with him, why don't you pick up a Playgirl magazine??? I would love to see or hear his reaction. I mean what's good for the goose, is good for the gander, right?
Thank you for writing. I really hope you two can work it out, and if not, bye-bye Mr. Playboy.