Advice on manners and morals (May 29, 2008).

Advice on manners and morals.
May 29 2008 6:57 AM

He Likes To Pamper Himself

My boyfriend's kinky fetish might doom our relationship.

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Dear Prudence,
My boyfriend of four years recently told me about an odd fetish he's dealt with all his life: He is fascinated by adult diapers and would like to wear them occasionally. If he had told me about this years ago, it probably would have been enough for me to end the relationship, because it genuinely bothers me. Though I love him and find it hard to imagine life without him, I'm having a difficult time thinking of him sexually, or even talking to him, now that I know about his strange fantasy. It's like his confession has transformed him into a different person. It was very difficult for him to tell me about this, and when he saw my reaction, he apologized for bringing it up. I know he feels awkward and ashamed, but I can't bring myself to comfort him or to say it's all right. I can't accept it, don't want to hear him speak of it, and don't want to think about it. But I don't know how to explain to him how deeply his fetish disturbs me without really hurting our relationship. I am worried that if I ask him not to speak of it anymore, he will be afraid to open up to me in the future. What should I do?

—Wiped Out

Dear Wiped,
Now we know there is at least one person in the world actually looking forward to the day he loses control of his bodily functions and ends up wearing nappies. Actually, your boyfriend is not alone—here's the Wikipedia entry about people with paraphilic infantilism and the one about people who call themselves D.L.s, or diaper lovers. I know it's hard to absorb this news, but try to imagine the anguish your boyfriend has felt over the last four years wanting to tell you and wondering whether he would lose you if he did. While there are some women who can explore the deep kinks in their partner's psyche (think of the stories about couples who stay together after the husband has undergone a sex change), you clearly are not one of them. I understand that the image of your boyfriend looking like Baby Huey is killing your libido, but remember that the man you love is not a different person; he's the same man who harbored these fantasies all along. And now that the diaper's out of the bag, you two simply can't pretend he's never mentioned his fixation. For one thing, you've got the little problem of the fact that you can't bring yourself to speak to him. You could try to get past this impasse with some humor. Perhaps tell him you two need to talk, but you definitely don't want to know whether he prefers cloth or disposable. Ultimately, his confession may have so shattered your conception of the two of you that you won't be able to go on. But since you say you can't imagine life without him, consider seeing a counselor together to at least make sure you don't come to a rash conclusion.

—Prudie

Dear Prudie,
My partner of three years and I are not married by choice. We own a home together, share our lives in every way that a married couple does, are legally recognized as common-law, and are now expecting a baby together. So what is the problem? My partner's brother is getting married in a few weeks, and his fiancee's family has a "tradition" that I am very uncomfortable with. If a younger sibling marries before an older sibling in this family, the older sibling is expected to perform a dance during the reception during which he is jeered at and teased for not yet tying the knot. My partner is expected to do this dance, and because he is the type of guy who hates to "rock the boat," he is going through with it. I can't stand this ridiculous "tradition." I don't want to make a fuss, but I also don't want to feel slighted by people I consider to be my family on what should be a lovely day for everyone. Should I make a strong objection to the dance or just smile and put up a good front?

—Sit This One Out

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Dear Sit,
If the older sibling is gay, does the family stone him or her during the finale? Every family has its special customs that outsiders may find ridiculous or perplexing but go along with just to be polite (think of Garrison Keillor on the seasonal Scandinavian delicacy lutefisk). But surely one can draw the line at ritual humiliation. In addition, this is not your partner's family's appalling tradition; it's your partner's brother's fiancee's family's appalling tradition. Your partner should simply say thanks for the lovely opportunity but that he's not much of a dancer, so he'll take a pass. If he won't, you can find yourself having an extended stay in the ladies' room during the fun.

—Prudie