am an 18-year-old student. I have trust issues. I have been
with my boyfriend for 10 months now and he’s very supportive.
I am not a jealous person or a controlling head case because
I have no problem with him going to bars/clubs with friends,
going to parties when other girls are there, having conversations
with other women, etc. However, I have an uncontrollable fear
that he is going to cheat on me. I break down crying and have
anxiety attacks every two days or so when the “idea” that
he might cheat pops into my head. I have this problem in every
relationship. I’ve trusted all my boyfriends in every other
aspect and let them do what they want, but I just can’t help
feeling as though they’re going to cheat on me, something
none of them ever did. Do you know if there is any way I can
overcome my phobia?
Dominatrix Experiencing Anxiety Severely
know what? Sooner or later everyone gets cheated on. Some
researchers put the odds of one or both partners in a long-term
relationship cheating at 80 percent. Toss in the likelihood
of being cheated on in a short-term relationship, IDEAS, and
the odds that you will be cheated on sooner or later climb
to 100 percent. It sucks, sister, but there’s not a lot you
can do about it.
I would advise you to regard cheating the way you no doubt
regard something else that you can’t do anything about: death.
Surely you’re aware that you’re going to die; we’re all going
to die. And why don’t you run around in a panic about that?
Because you refuse to obsess. You put it out of your mind.
You live, as we all do, in a state of denial about death.
Oh, you may think about death every once in a while, IDEAS,
and you may consciously avoid doing dumb things that might
hasten your death (smoking, shooting heroin, voting for Ralph
Nader), but most of the time you live in pure, unalloyed,
comforting denial about your certain demise.
Why not take the same approach to cheating? Like death, it’s
gonna happen to you sooner or later. You can do your best
to avoid it by, say, getting to know guys well before you
make a commitment, refusing to date guys you know have cheated
on other women, and refusing to date Nader supporters (they’re
notorious cheaters). If, despite your best efforts to avoid
cheaters and Nader voters, you realize you’re dating a guy
who gives you cause to believe he’s cheating on you, then
you can worry about it. Otherwise, be in denial about the
likelihood, if not the certainty, that some guy, some day,
is going to cheat on you. And if you’re lucky, IDEAS, the
guy who does cheat on you will have the decency to hide it
a 22-year-old gay man. I moved to New York from San Francisco,
and decided to try and start dating again. I’ve only been
here a little over a week but have had no luck meeting anyone.
I’ve posted ads on several websites and have gotten lots of
responses, but everyone that I send my photo to suddenly loses
interest. I know the photo I’m sending isn’t the greatest
(it was taken in a photo both) but I didn’t think I was that
bad looking. Do I just give up and stick to masturbating or
Kid In Town
You can see the photo I’m talking about at my.gay.com/nicholasnine.
Two things are working against you when you send that photo
to guys who respond to your personal ads, NKIT. First, it’s
a terrible photo. Second, you seem to be unaware of an assumption
that people generally make about the photos other people send
out or post on personals Web sites. When you send someone
your photo, he assumes that it’s the best photo that has ever
or will ever be taken of you. So when you send out a bad photo—and
that’s an awful photo—guys look at it and think, “Shit, if
that’s the best photo that has ever been taken of this guy,
he must be one ugly motherfucker!” My advice: Get some better,
more flattering pictures, ones that make you look a little
less like a Nader voter who’s just been hit on the head with
know your liberal heart means well, Dan, but the response
you gave to SAUDI typifies much that is wrong with the Western
attitude toward the Middle East.
While SAUDI is partially to blame for having the poor judgment
to ask you about sexual ethics, your statement, “Unlike the
country you left behind, there are no morals police in the
part of North America where you live” smacks of haughty, imperialistic
condescension. You totally ignored the fact that the values
SAUDI was taught as a Muslim have a deep and completely valid
cultural context that needs to be considered when dispensing
advice. You reduced the conundrum of a devout man experiencing
serious cultural conflict to the influence of the “morals
police,” and in quite a smirking tone. I don’t care how progressive
Canadians are. It is incredibly offensive to imply the superiority
of morals in Canada to values taught in Saudi Arabia. To paraphrase
Gandhi, have some goddamned cultural sensitivity, man.
I imply the superiority of morals in Canada to values taught
in Saudi Arabia? Jesus H. Christ, SOS, I feel terrible about
that. So let me set the record straight: I never meant to
imply the superiority of morals in Canada to values taught
in Saudi Arabia. I meant to state, loudly and clearly and
for the record, the absolute superiority of morals in Canada
to values taught in Saudi Arabia.
Let us count the ways in which Canada is superior: equality
of the sexes, political and religious pluralism, a little
thing called democracy, and, of course, the radical notion
that consenting adults are free to have sex with other consenting
adults without having to worry about being lashed or having
their heads cut off in public. Canada’s also got vodka tonics,
BC bud, and pornography going for it, along with Tim Hortons,
pork-sausage gravy on fries, and a just and equitable social-welfare
system. Is Canada morally superior to Saudi Arabia? You bet.
It’s also morally superior to the United States of America.
But back to the big SA: Unless you believe that cutting off
the heads of homosexuals has a “deep and completely valid
cultural context,” or men treating women as their property
is a “value,” you have to acknowledge that Saudi Arabia practices
and promotes a thoroughly fucked-up brand of Islam. Furthermore,
Saudi Arabia’s state-sanctioned “morals police” are not, as
you imply, an imperialistic fantasy of mine. They are, sadly,
a fact of everyday life for Saudi Arabian women, gays, atheists,
moderate/non-Wahabi Muslims, and anyone else who fails to
live up to the pinched, sex-negative, deeply psychotic brand
of monotheism practiced there.
To paraphrase the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, I believe that human rights are universal, man.
As Saudi Arabia exists in this universe, I think that the
humans there—Muslim or not, liberal or conservative, male
or female, gay or straight—are entitled to their full human
rights. Until that day comes, SOS, I’m going to go right on
thinking that Canada kicks Saudi Arabia’s ass when it comes
to morals and values. And bud.