We usually need to adjust ourselves to some bizarre behaviors from our significant others at some point in the relationship.
But is there a point where that behavior becomes too bizarre and we need to put some distance between ourselves and them?
Redditor ThrowRA277373728181 ran into this highly uncomfortable question when she discovered that her boyfriend and his friends do something rather odd and awkward, even in mixed company.
She went to the popular subReddit "Relationship Advice" to discern how to move past this moment:
"My (F[emale]23) boyfriend (M[ale]25) and his friends hang out naked and it makes me very uncomfortable."
Our original poster, or OP, was so excited about dating Aaron, because he's just wonderful:
"Aaron is honestly the sweetest guy I've ever dated. We have been dating for six months now and have met each other's parents and families. Safe to say, we are very serious about each other and I honestly think I found the 'one' - he is tall, handsome and sexy all in one."
But even wonderful folks have some, er, idiosyncrasies:
"The one issue I have is with Aaron and his friends. During the second month of our relationship, he introduced me to his friends in the area. I had just moved to Portland and so was eager to meet new people. We got to his friend's place and walked in to a room of naked people."
After ensuring this wasn't a bizarre mistake, OP had a heck of a time adjusting:
"Thinking we had come to the wrong place, I was mortified and wanted to leave. Aaron instead began stripping his clothes and saying hello to everyone. It was about 8 males and 2 females. There was nothing sexual about it. They continued to pass a joint around the room and Aaron guided me to sit next to him. He didn't mention stripping but I was the elephant (?) in the room. Nobody pressured me to strip or anything but it was very awkward."
OP was understandably confused, and asked another friend for clarification:
"We leave and I ask him what the hell just happened. He says that ever since they were kids they have been like that. He also mentions I can do whatever I feel is more comfortable. A couple days pass, and we go to a different friend groups house. This time, all clothes are left on and the night proceeds on as normal. I speak to a friend of Aaron's and ask him if he knows the people at the original house. He says he knows them but does not associate with them and gives me an incredulous look. I think he wanted to say something but didn't in order to avoid conflict."
And the next go around, things got far more awkward:
"We head back to the original friends house probably a week later. This time, I notice Aaron doesn't leave a space for me next to him. He becomes very physical with the people around him; arm around the shoulder of a guy and a hand close enough to a woman's breast. Seeing this I became jealous and immediately begin to strip to my bra and underwear and sat between two guys."
"He gave me a look but then continued to ignore me. Eventually the drinks came out and it became VERY physical. The guys next to me scooted closer and let's just say I felt VERY uncomfortable (they had erections) and immediately got up and left. Aaron followed me and is mad at me for leaving early but I cannot continue a relationship with such a strange caveat. Is this a normal thing to feel uncomfortable about?"
Redditors came in to give some simple advice: walk away.
"Get out now. Red flag number one was not talking to you about a naked hangout beforehand and just springing it on you with no warning whatsoever. I can't get over that, tbh. Eerie vibes here is the nicest way I can put it."~justobsolete
"Okay..like I get being comfortable enough to be nude around your friends. I get non mono and poly relationships. Been there, done all of that."
"But what is NOT ok is springing any of that completely out of the blue on a new person!"
"Your bf is not a good dude. That was not fair to you at all. You should have been given the chance to accept or reject that kind of social interaction before it happened."~YouRADumb-ass
"You should be uncomfortable about this. The whole things seems very weird and he should have let you know beforehand. If you're considering staying with him maybe talk to Aaron's friend again to get more information about the whole situation."~almightypariah_16
"Sounds like a poly group. Never do anything you feel really uncomfortable with, for no one. Especially someone you met 6 months ago."
"I feel like he owes you an actual truth. Either they're Poly or a Cult, either way do what you feel ok with."~Mike00504
OP's boyfriend withheld the truth of the situation from her from the get-go, never acknowledging that this behavior might be out of some people's comfort zone.
"I don't understand why there are so many posts like 'I'm pretty sure I found my soulmate, best person I've ever met. Almost immediately, my soulmate started to treat me poorly and/or betrayed me fundamentally. How should I feel about that?'"~yet_anothr_throwawy
"1 - without warning, it's normal for you to feel uncomfortable. Like many are saying, it sounds like it was his plan"
"2 - undressing and using other people to make a point isn't going to work. They're all into it. You compromise your principles trying to send a message, only getting you participating was what they were hoping for."
"3 - there's definitely more to this story then he's telling you. I've had people I knew in HS that had "parties" like this. Introducing new people can freak them out. Don't say anything and act like it's no big deal is a way to get you to relax and possibly join in."~PeterStreet
"I'm a liberal guy. In fact, I love nudism! But this is not really social nudism, if he was trying to explain it like that."
"The fact that it was sexual seems like it was more on the 'swinger' side of things."
"Which makes it creepy and awful for him to spring it on you - respectable nudists usually do a lot of explaining to new partners before introducing them to their lifestyle, and I'm sure it's the same for respectable people in poly relationships. This wasn't respectful."
"I am sorry that you went through this, it really sounds like he abused your trust."~Genetic_Nudist_AMA
"Yeah, so this is a bit weird."
"Like hanging out with all these friends naked...ok...weird, but no one pressured you so cool. That's fine. The wrong thing is that he didn't warn you ahead of time as it feels uncomfortable when you're thrown into a situation."
"The next wrong thing is getting upset at you for removing yourself from an uncomfortable situation. That's not ok."
"I think it's important you have an open and honest conversation with him about how you're feeling and what happened. You obviously have boundaries that you tried to enforce and he got mad about it. I think you need to consider if this friend group situation is something that you would ever feel comfortable with. If not, then I'd end it because if it's not something you're ok with its just gonna end being a stress for you."~MoreTumbleweed
The best thing OP can do at this point is keep herself and her boundaries safe, say Redditors.
"6 months is not a long time to know anyone, let alone a significant other. He's not communicating and putting you in bizarre situations for no reason other than his own pleasure. Do what you want but be aware of this utter crap. None of this is normal at all."~ScullyNess
"You felt jealous and took off your bra so he'd feel the same, despite having other ladies around? Hang with him around more, and you'll gradually accept that this is normal behavior. The question is: is that what you want? IMO, there's no way you can talk him out of it because he has been doing it since he was young. Leave him."~SkyLightTenki
"OP, take a step back for a second. Reread your post and consider how absurd and bizarre this situation is - have you ever encountered this before? Has your boyfriend ever spoken of this to you before introducing you to his friends?"
"I'm far more concerned that you have so little trust in yourself that you needed to come to the internet to ask strangers for advice. Did you really need people to tell you that this is strange, inappropriate and potentially dangerous??"
"I do not mean to be harsh, but you need to get some perspective on this. Forget about your boyfriend for a moment. You are so lacking in self-trust, denying your instincts, ignoring your boundaries - for what?!? Why are you putting yourself into this situation in the first place? If it makes you uncomfortable, then don't do it!!!"
"It's okay to say no to things that make you uncomfortable. It's okay to have firm boundaries. It's okay to find being naked around friends inappropriate."
"You do not need the internet to validate you. Trust yourself. Allow your beliefs and opinions to have weight. Do not allow others to try and convince you to do things you know you don't want to do."~neverendingsurfboard
"It's fine that he and his friends do that as long as it's all consensual. It's NOT FINE that he didn't talk you about it before inviting you over. It's even worse that he didn't talk to you about it after. And it's even more worse that he brought you back again and then just took that as a go ahead to flirt with people in front of you and leave you alone to figure your way through it."
"I would say ditch that guy. He doesn't know how to do it ethically and doesn't give a shit about confirming your boundaries and explaining to you want the situation is. Ethical poly people have a duty to discuss with their new partners what you both are okay with, and even more so if the other person is not familiar with it."~BeartholomewTheThird
Boundaries are an important part of a relationship.
Boundary-work is messy, but necessary. And OP is in for a lot of boundary work with Aaron as soon as possible.
Here's hoping it all goes off without a hitch.