Dear Audrey, I’ve been having sex with this guy for six months. Normally I would say I was “seeing” him, but one of the problems is that he insists we’re not dating or seeing each other—we’re just having sex. He had some kind of bad relationship experience, and now he’s obsessed with enforcing these incredibly strict boundaries around what we’re doing. Which is fine! I don’t want a relationship. What I do want is to be allowed to keep a small bag of stuff at his house. Just, like, a change of clothes, toothbrush, underpants, deodorant. Our hookups are often unplanned/last minute. I can’t go to work in old clothes, and we don’t live near each other. I’m not asking for a drawer—just literally a plastic bag in a closet corner with a few things. He says no. Normally I’d be, like, forget it, but he’s actually a really great dude and an excellent lay. I swear this is not some diabolical plan to entrap him. How can I make this clear? Or should I cut my losses?
Wow, those are some serious fucking commitment issues for someone who has been happily banging the same person for six months. But. Rule #1 of sex, relationships, and life in general is that you cannot make someone do something they don’t want to do. Trying will make you both miserable. So if you’re going to fuck someone who has the world’s biggest relationship phobia, you kinda can’t be surprised when he’s not into your leaving a morning-after bag at his house. You knew what you were getting into, right?
It’s like that story about the scorpion and the frog and the river that always bums me out, or the ant and the grasshopper, maybe? I think so many versions of that parable are floating around because human beings are the worst about deluding themselves in exactly that way. “No, I’m totally down with how much this guy completely loathes even the suggestion that we’re dating each other, but I’m sure he’ll view my request to move some of my things into his house in a purely practical light.” Yes, of course! He absolutely does sound like the kind of person who will understand that your need to go to work in fresh underpants trumps his pathological resistance to any and
So, basically, in for a penny, in for a pound. If you are actually willing to put up with his peculiarities, then put up with them and walk around with a wadded-up pair of panties and a toothbrush in your purse. If you’re not willing to do that, then stop fucking him. You say you’re not trying to entrap him in a relationship, but it seems to me that that kind of compromise is exactly what romantic relationships are about.
If you guys were in any kind of relationship and he acted that way, I’d be, like, what an asshole. But since you are absolutely, clearly, emphatically NOT, there’s really not much to say. He’s insisting that all you two will ever owe each other is the consideration that one human being gives another. I don’t think that basic human decency extends to leaving a toothbrush in someone’s closet. Given this guy’s take-it-or leave-it attitude, my choice would almost certainly be to leave it. But if you choose to take it, then take it you must.
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